Columbus Crew SC has been clicking recently, dropping only two of its last nine matches. One of those came on Sunday, when the Black & Gold were faced with a tough FC Dallas defense and a couple counterattacks.
Despite the loss, Crew SC kept control of the match and pushed to score the entire 90 minutes. Here’s how the Black & Gold stand in this week’s MLS Power Rankings:
MLSsoccer.com bumps Crew SC down a few notches from seventh to 10th, saying Sunday could’ve been a different match if Gaston Sauro hadn’t exited early due to a head injury.
SI.com ranks Crew SC in fourth, acknowledging its efforts to create an attack from several slants to break through Dallas’ five-man backline. “They’re still in good shape for the playoffs,” SI.com says.
Bleacher Report concurs with MLSsoccer.com's ranking, putting the Black & Gold in seventh and stressing that the loss was Crew SC's first since August 1.
By Brad Friedman
Columbus Crew SC did many things right against FC Dallas on Sunday night, but was punished for its mistakes by the visitors who exhibited their strength on defense and counter-attacks.
The box score painted a picture in which Crew SC controlled much of the action, but could not break down FC Dallas’ backline en route to a 3-0 loss. Below, we break down the match by the numbers.
Sunday's nationally televised match was played in front of a crowd of 20,217, the fourth sellout of the season at MAPFRE Stadium. The match also marked the third time in MAPFRE Stadium history that the venue was sold out for back-to-back Crew SC home matches, following a crowd of 20,018 on August 22 against Sporting Kansas City. The Black & Gold are one sellout away from tying the all-time single-season record for the most sellouts at MAPFRE Stadium, set in 2014 (five).
Crew SC fired off 15 shots and kept FC Dallas’ defense on its toes, especially when Columbus attempted its second-half comeback. The Black & Gold spread the wealth with six different players registering at least one shot. Jack McInerney fired off three in his first start for Crew SC.
A high number of crosses put FC Dallas’ defense to the test. Overall, the visitors did well to diffuse many Crew SC attacks to the tune of 41 clearances. To put that number in perspective, Crew SC’s backline registered 16 clearances.
Columbus maintained much of the possession throughout the night, partially thanks to FC Dallas fielding five defenders for much of the second half and parking the bus defensively. Not only did Crew SC hold the ball for the majority of the time, but it also took care of it. Columbus finished with 553 passes, to FC Dallas’ 269, and completed 81 percent of them.
Crew SC players Aaron Schoenfeld and Brad Stuver spent the morning helping out at Pets Without Parents.
The players helped out by interacting and playing with the dogs at the shelter. Pets Without Parents is a non-profit, no-kill shelter for dogs and cats.
The event was part of Crew SC’s “Give Forward” initiative, which is sponsored by MAPFRE Insurance.
Columbus Crew SC continues to impress on the road, and the MLS Power Rankings are responding accordingly.
With goal contributions from Federico Higuain and Justin Meram, the Black & Gold showed resiliency on their way to earning the club’s third road win of the season after defeating New York City FC 2-1 in its first-ever match at Yankee Stadium. With the victory, here’s how the Black & Gold stand in this week’s Power Rankings:
MLSsoccer.com has Crew SC slotted in at the seventh spot, up two positions from last week, seeing the win on the road as a testament to the club’s current strong level of play.
Bleacher Report brings Columbus up two spots – from eighth to sixth – marking another week of positive gains after applauding the skills of Crew SC goalkeeper Steve Clark.
SI.com gives Crew SC the best ranking of the three publications, putting the Black & Gold at the number two slot overall, noting that the club has lost just once in its previous eight matches.
“Three is the magic number.” Crew SC traveled to Yankee Stadium for the first time ever and left one of North America’s most hallowed sports venues with three points. Road wins are hard to come by in the Eastern Conference, and in such a tight playoff race, these points are huge for the Black & Gold—amusing something so big for Columbus happens on the smallest pitch in MLS.
Justin Meram recorded his second game-winning goal this season in the 83rd minute, after subbing in for Cedrick Mabwati in the second half. Following Mabwati's goal on August 19 against New York City FC and Jack McInerney's tally on August 22 versus Sporting Kansas City, Crew SC has now received a goal from a substitute in three straight matches.
Three is also the number of Champions League winners NYCFC boasts, with Andrea Pirlo, Frank Lampard and David Villa.
Finally, three is the number of saves Crew SC goalkeeper Steve Clark made tonight to ensure his team’s victory. This was his 25th all-time win in Black & Gold and is now just one shy of tying Andy Gruenebaum for fourth place in club history.
Federico Higuain recorded Crew SC's first goal in the 10th minute and added the game-winning assist on Meram's tally. Higuain broke a tie with Guillermo Barros Schelotto in all-time club goal-scoring with his 34th, moving into solo sixth place in club history. Plus, his game-winning helper this afternoon was his ninth all-time, breaking a tie in that category with Simon Elliott and Brian Maisonneuve to move into fifth place all-time in Black & Gold history.
Crew SC also notched 34 crosses against New York City FC, compared to the expansion club’s four. This led to 23 clearances by NYC, while Columbus was only required to get it out of danger nine times.