BACK ON THE ROAD
After a three-game homestand, the Black & Gold return to the road for a test at Montreal this weekend ... since June 7, the Crew has secured at least one point on the road in four of its last five away tilts, including a two-match road unbeaten streak that began with a win at New England on July 26 ... after this weekend, the Crew plays just one road match in the month of September -- a clash at Houston on the 13th -- before a three-match road swing to open the month of October.
SECOND AND FINAL TRIP NORTH OF THE BORDER IN 2014
After five trips to Canada in 2013, the Crew makes just its second -- and final -- trip to Canada in 2014 this Saturday ... the upcoming trip to Montreal is the Crew’s 16th overall regular-season match north of the border ... although the Black & Gold fell to Toronto on May 31, 2014, the Crew has secured points in 11 of the 15 previous meetings up North and is 5-4-6 in those Canadian-hosted matches ... Columbus is 3-2-5 in 10 matches at Toronto FC, has a 1-1-0 record at Vancouver and is 1-1-1 in Montreal ... additional Ohio ties to Canada include Assistant Coach Pat Onstad ... Onstad’s extensive Canadian ties are available on his bio at TheCrew.com.
Entering the week, 23 players in MLS have recorded four goals and four assists for their clubs in 2014 ... thanks to the recent offensive outburst from Ethan Finlay and Justin Meram, Finlay (6 goals, 4 assists) and Meram (5 goals, 4 assists) join Federico Higuain (9 goals, 6 assists) on the Crew as the only club within this group to have three players with at least four tallies and four helpers ... LA, Philadelphia, Seattle, Chicago, Real Salt Lake and Houston each have two players within that group while New York, Vancouver, Portland, FC Dallas, Toronto FC and Colorado have just one player with at least four strikes and four assists.
Crew play-by-play man Neil Sika joins Matt Finkes on 95.5 The Game for "Sika the Truth" every Wednesday.
After reviewing the tape from Saturday's 3-0 victory over the Houston Dynamo, MLS confirmed that winger Ethan Finlay earned a secondary assist on Aaron Schoenfeld's goal. Finlay, quick in transition, played a pass to Waylon Francis, whose cross found Schoenfeld for a tally in the 64th minute.
The added assist gives Finlay six goals and five assists on the season, with each tally or helper coming during the winger's last 14 matches. Finlay has notched at least a goal or an assist in 10 of those 14 contests. The torrid stretch began on May 17 in Portland with the former Creighton Bluejay's first MLS goal. Against the LA Galaxy on August 16, Finlay registered his first career "multi-point" match, with one goal and one assist.
The 2012 MLS SuperDraft first-round selection ranks second on the Black & Gold in both goals and assists, trailing Federico Higuain in both categories.
The Dutch Lions' backline had a decidedly Columbus feel to it last Saturday against the Colorado Rapids Reserves, as both Ben Sweat and Matt Wiet started and played the full 90 minutes in a 2-1 Dayton loss. It was Sweat's second consecutive match for the Dutch Lions. The Black & Gold's 2014 first-round MLS SuperDraft pick recorded one shot in the contest.
Elsewhere in USL-PRO, goalkeeper Brad Stuver played three matches over a five-day span for Wilmington Hammerheads FC. The Crew loanee started in goal against Sacramento Republic FC on Wednesday, August 20 and followed that up with starts at Orange County Blues FC on Saturday, August 23 and at LA Galaxy II on Sunday, August 24. Stuver played every minute of the busy slate for the Hammerheads, earning a victory against Orange County and a draw vs. LA Galaxy II.
Photo Credit: Jeremi Blurton
The Crew's second-straight three-goal victory led to another strong showing in the weekly Power Rankings. The Black & Gold rose two additional spots in each of the three major national polls.
See below for this week's ranks with last week's position indicated afterward:
MLSsoccer.com: 8 (10)
ESPNFC: 10 (12)
SI.com: 9 (11)
Photo Credit: USA Today Sports Images
TheCrew.com's Ashleigh Ignelzi joins Matt Finkes on 95.5 The Game's The BIG Show every Monday to talk all things Black & Gold.
Notching a goal and an assist for the second week in a row, Crew winger Justin Meram was named to MLSsoccer.com's Team of the Week following the club's 3-0 victory over the Houston Dynamo. Despite the convincing win in Week 24, Meram is the Black & Gold's lone representative on the Team of the Week. Goalkeeper Steve Clark was named Honorable Mention.