MLSSoccer.com's Dan Haiek and Armchair Analyst Matt Doyle preview the Saturday evening match between D.C. United and the Columbus Crew. What can we learn from the previous two meetings between these two clubs? Will Ben Speas continue to pull the strings in the Columbus attack?
On June 5, 2002, the U.S. Men's National Team began its historic run in the 2002 FIFA World Cup with a 3-1 win over world power Portugal. The team, featuring Crew legends Brad Friedel, Frankie Hejduk and Brian McBride and current coaches Gregg Berhalter and Josh Wolff went on to the tournament's Quarterfinal round.
Columbus Crew midfielder/defender Kevan George was in the active roster for Trinidad & Tobago's friendly against Lionel Messi and Argentina on Wednesday night. George, wearing the number five shirt, came on as a second-half substitute in the 71st minute, replacing Andre Boucaud.
Argentina won the match by a 3-0 final in its capital city of Buenos Aires. George, who earned his sixth cap, helped the Soca Warriors keep Argentina scoreless over the match's final 19 minutes of play.
George and Trinidad & Tobago next face Iran on Sunday in Sao Paolo, Brazil.
Photo Credit: Action Images
Play-by-play man Neil Sika and defender Chad Barson join Matt Finkes on 95.5 The Game's BIG Show.
MLSsoccer.com's Nick Firchau and Armchair Analyst Matt Doyle take a look at the midweek match between the Columbus Crew and Real Salt Lake. Can RSL bounce back from their 4-0 loss to Seattle? Will Columbus be the one to dictate the match via possession?
Steve Clark nearly saved the penalty kick attempt against Toronto FC on Saturday that tied the match at 1-1 in the first half. Saturday marked the first time in 2014 -- in match number 13 -- that an opponent of the Black & Gold has earned a penalty kick. The Crew has taken and converted four penalty kicks in 2014 with Federico Higuain scoring three times and Jairo Arrieta adding another. Last season, the Crew went 17 matches before allowing a penalty kick as the LA Galaxy struck twice from the spot on July 4, 2013.
Agustin Viana scored his first goal in his MLS career last Saturday in Toronto. Viana became the seventh Crew player to record a tally in 2014 as he was able to get a head on a Ben Speas corner kick. Viana now has 22 career appearances with the Black & Gold.
Tony Tchani was able to avoid a fifth yellow card last Saturday in Toronto. Because of this, Tchani -- who had four yellows and went three matches without one -- was able to take advantage of the League’s “Good Behavior” clause and had one yellow card expunged. He’s now down to three yellow cards. If Wil Trapp can avoid a yellow in his next appearance, he too will be bumped down to a trio of cautions, but presently enters the week with four.
STRONG TRENDS AGAINST REAL SALT LAKE
The Crew returns home for a test against Real Salt Lake ... despite the loss against Real Salt Lake last year, the Crew has won three of its last four contests against the Utah side ... the Crew is 7-1-0 against RSL at home and has won its last six regular-season clashes between the clubs at Crew Stadium.
MIDFIELD DEPTH SHOWN IN TORONTO
Four Crew players that did not play on May 24 against Chicago featured in the match at Toronto FC last weekend ... two Crew players made their 2014 debut on Saturday in Toronto: Ben Speas earned an assist on his first appearance of the year while Kingsley “Fifi” Baiden made his Crew -- and MLS -- debuts in a substitute appearance ... Daniel Paladini made his first start of the season in the place of Federico Higuain ... Agustin Viana made his second start of the season with Wil Trapp out last Saturday in Toronto.
A SECOND FOR JUSTIN
For the second time this season, Justin Meram has scored a well-placed curling shot to the upper 90 for a Crew goal ... his second tally of the year came in Toronto to open the scoring in the match before he revealed a special note on his undershirt, honoring his Uncle Neil, who suddenly passed away recently ... earlier this season, Meram delivered the game-winning strike in the fourth minute of stoppage time to give the Crew a 2-1 win in Seattle on March 29.
RE-GROUPING BEFORE WEDNESDAY
The Crew looks to rebound following a tough 3-2 loss in Toronto last Saturday ... defender Josh Williams was quick to point out on Saturday that the club can re-focus ahead of Wednesday’s match: “It’s not one guy, I think the defense as a whole needs to get together and regroup. We’ve got a game Wednesday at home, and I know a lot of supporters will be there, so we’ve got to forget this, put it behind us, come out and be ready Wednesday to get three points.”
In its first tune-up for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, Costa Rica fell to Japan, 3-1, Monday night in Tampa, Fla. as Manchester United's Shinji Kagawa found the winner for Japan in the 80th minute. The Crew's Giancarlo Gonzalez played all 90 minutes and picked up a yellow card in the defeat, while leftback Waylon Francis did not see action for Costa Rica.
Los Ticos continue their preparation for Brazil on Friday in a friendly against Ireland at PPL Park in Chester, Penn. TheCrew.com will be on the ground with full coverage of the match.
PHOTO: Action Images