MLSsoccer.com's Dan Haiek and Armchair Analyst Matt Doyle preview the Wednesday night match between the Columbus Crew and Sporting KC.
The Crew enters the week looking at a three-match homestand with a pair of League tilts on Wednesday and Saturday. The Black & Gold are unbeaten (1-0-2) in their last three contests at Crew Stadium dating back to May 24 against Chicago. In the current home unbeaten span, the team is averaging 13.33 shots per game.
Since 2006, Columbus and Sporting Kansas City have traded off streaks of at least five consecutive matches of success for one club in the all-time regular-season series. The Crew dropped five straight matches from 2006-2007 before the Black & Gold rattled-off a six match (5-0-1) stretch of points against the Kansas City side from 2008 to 2010. With Sporting KC now 4-0-1 in their last five matches against the Crew since 2012, the historical tides are due for a shift for the better in Columbus against Sporting.
For the second straight week, the Crew faces one of the League’s top goal scorers in its upcoming match. Last weekend, Bradley Wright-Phillips scored his League-leading 15th of the season. On Wednesday, Sporting KC’s Dom Dwyer comes to Columbus with the Crew looking to keep his season total at 14 tallies.
MOVING FORWARD AFTER LOSS AT NEW YORK
Following the club’s 4-1 defeat on Saturday in New York, Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter remained positive in providing a course of action heading into a stretch of four matches in 11 days, beginning Wednesday ... said Berhalter, “We got to pick ourselves up, right? We got to pick ourselves up and move on. Put this game behind us. It’s over as of now and we’re moving forward. I think the message to the guys is ‘Let’s not talk about it, let’s do it.’”
FRANCIS, GONZALEZ AVAILABLE FOR SELECTION
Crew defenders Waylon Francis and Giancarlo Gonzalez represented the Crew in Brazil during the 2014 FIFA World Cup and are now available for selection this week after meeting the team in New York last weekend ... Gonzalez started and played in every single match for The Ticos ... Gonzalez also added successful spot kicks during penalty kicks on June 29 as Costa Rica advanced past Greece and in the team’s final match against the Netherlands on July 5 in the Quarterfinals ... Gonzalez last played MLS action on May 17 at Portland while Francis departed ahead of that trip and last took the field in League play on May 10 against Portland.
BEDELL BAGS HIS FIRST
Adam Bedell came on as a substitute and provided the Crew’s lone goal on Saturday night in New York ... the tally was Bedell’s first career strike in his rookie campaign ... per MLS, he also becomes the tallest player (6 feet, 7 inches) to score a goal in MLS history.
FOLLOWING ARRIETA INJURY, BERHALTER TURNED TO BEDELL
Needing to make an early substitution due to a Jairo Arrieta leg injury, Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter turned to forward Adam Bedell in the 25th minute ... Bedell went on to score his first career goal 14 minutes later ... said Berhalter, “I think it’s great that he got off the mark and he got a goal. He’s a good finisher. We need to keep creating opportunities for him because he can finish.”
On Saturday, July 12, the Dayton Dutch Lions fell to the Harrisburg City Islanders by a 3-1 score at DOC Stadium.
Dayton, playing without leading goal-scorer Aaron Schoenfeld, conceded two first-half goals in the contest. Brock Granger made it 2-1 in the 77th minute, but a late insurance goal by Harrisburg's Robbie Derschang sealed the three points for the visitors.
Crew loanees Ross Friedman (pictured) and Matt Wiet started the match. Matt Walker entered as a first-half substitute.
Photo Credit: Jeremi Blurton
The Crew heads to Red Bull Arena for the first of two meetings at the home of the Red Bulls in 2014. The Crew is 1-1-2 in its previous four meetings in the venue, but has secured points in three of the four meetings, including a victory in the team’s first visit to the building that opened in 2010. Those results have helped improve the Crew’s overall road record against New York, which stands at 9-14-5. Despite the historical struggle on New Jersey soil, the clubs remain almost deadlocked in regular-season action all-time, with the Crew currently 24-25-9 against New York.
The Crew has played to four consecutive draws dating back to June 4 against Real Salt Lake. The streak matches a previous Black & Gold record for consecutive draws (four) from the 2006 season. That year, the team played to consecutive 1-1 draws at home against New England (June 21) and Chivas USA (June 24) before a pair of road draws: 0-0 at New York (June 28) before a 1-1 tilt at Houston (July 4). Both stretches -- the 2006 string of matches and the current one -- began in June and involved a 1-1 Fourth of July draw.
Midfielder Tony Tchani has started each of the team’s first 17 matches through the midway point of the year. His 1,502 minutes are fast approaching a career high (1,610) that was set in his rookie season with Saturday’s opponent, the New York Red Bulls, in 2010. As a rookie, Tchani made 27 appearances and 17 starts. His 17 starts this year have already trumped his 13 starts for the Crew in 2013 and he is on pace to reach the 20 appearance mark for the third consecutive year in Black & Gold.
CREW ENTERS WEEK WITH FOUR-MATCH UNBEATEN STREAK
Following last Friday’s 1-1 draw in Colorado, the Crew enters this week riding a four-match unbeaten streak dating back to June 4 against Real Salt Lake ... in that time, the team has played to four consecutive draws in MLS action ... the team has never had a five-match streak of consecutive draws in club history.
BACK TO NEW JERSEY
Saturday’s match is a homecoming trip to New Jersey for Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter, who grew up in the Garden State ... the Englewood native took to the field in his home state as a player on two occassions in regular-season MLS action ... in 2009, he played with the Galaxy at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford and then played at Red Bull Arena in its first year of matches in 2010.
... FRANCIS, GONZALEZ TO MEET TEAM ON THE ROAD THIS WEEKEND
Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter told the press on Tuesday that Giancarlo Gonzalez and Waylon Francis plan to meet the team out East following Costa Rican celebrations for the team’s success in the 2014 FIFA World Cup ... Gonzalez last played MLS action on May 17 at Portland while Francis departed ahead of that trip and last took the field in League play on May 10 against Portland.
HIGUAIN’S 2013 AGAINST NEW YORK
Federico Higuain scored three goals in three total games against New York in 2013 ... his 74th-minute penalty kick was critical in the 2-2 draw at Red Bull Arena on May 26 and his brace in the last meeting between the two teams in 2013 included one of his most memorable goals in a Crew uniform, chipping goalkeeper Luis Robles.
MLSsoccer.com's Nick Firchau and Armchair Analyst Matt Doyle preview the Saturday evening match between the New York Red Bulls and Columbus Crew.