MLSsoccer.com's Dan Haiek and Armchair Analyst Matt Doyle preview the Eastern Conference clash between the Columbus Crew and Chicago Fire. Will Federico Higuain lead the Crew to another multi-goal game? Is Mike Magee on the verge of returning to MVP form?
EA Sports has selected Crew forward Federico Higuain to the FIFA Ultimate Team - Team of the Week for May 21.
The Argentine notched two goals and one assist in a 3-3 draw at Portland last Saturday.
Higuain, who was the only MLS player to make the worldwide list of the players judged to have the best performances for the week, is joined by players such as Antonio Di Natale and Dries Mertens on the squad.
You can view the entire Team of the Week selection here.
Since 1998, 17 players have suited-up for both the Crew and the Fire in their careers. The list includes current Crew players Dominic Oduro and Daniel Paladini as well as: Brian McBride, Ante Razov, Jon Busch, Dilly Duka, Matt Chulis, Leonard Griffin, Andy Herron, Richie Kotschau, Manny Lagos, Brian Plotkin (never played for Crew but was rostered), Tony Sanneh, Tim Ward, Andy Williams and John Wolyniec.
Ethan Finlay recorded his first career tally last weekend at Portland in his 41st career match. The midfielder became the sixth player to record a tally for the Black & Gold in 2014. Finlay, Hector Jimenez and Justin Meram each have a goal while Bernardo Anor and Jairo Arrieta (two goals each) trail team-leader Federico Higuain, who has six tallies to his name.
Veteran Tyson Wahl’s next start is a historic one for the ninth-year defender. After starting last weekend in Portland, Wahl is one start shy from his 100th career start since joining MLS with Kansas City in 2006. He has logged more than 9,000 minutes during his career.
HOME SWEET HOME
Saturday’s match marks the Crew’s fifth contest of May and just the second this month at Crew Stadium ... the team snapped a three-match losing streak last Saturday at Portland with a 3-3 draw ... the Black & Gold have a final road match of May at Toronto FC on May 31.
FINDING THE BACK OF THE NET
After being held scoreless for three matches to open the month, the Crew responded with a trio of tallies last Saturday in Portland ... it was the club’s second three-goal performance of the season ... the Black & Gold have secured points in both three-goal matches thus far in 2014 after a 3-0 win to open the year at D.C. United.
STARTING A NEW STREAK AGAINST THE FIRE
The Crew’s 3-0 win against Chicago when the two teams last met on September 2013 snapped a four-match losing streak against the Fire ... although Chicago has had the Crew’s number in six of the last eight overall regular-season meetings (6-2-0), the Black & Gold have been solid at home against their rivals, securing points in five of the last seven meetings at Crew Stadium (3-2-2) dating back to 2008 ... Chicago has been held to one goal or fewer in four of the last five meetings at Crew Stadium dating back to 2010.
LOTS OF ONE-GOAL GAMES CREW-FIRE TILTS OF LATE
Seven of the last eight regular-season meetings between the longtime rivals have resulted in one-goal matches, providing plenty of drama in regular-season play ... Chicago is 6-2-0 in the current span, with the Black & Gold securting a 2-1 win on May 26, 2012 at Crew Stadium and the lone multiple-goal margin, a 3-0 win when the teams last met on September 21, 2013 in Columbus.
Crew play-by-play man Neil Sika joins 95.5 The Game's Matt Finkes every Wednesday morning for "Sika the Truth" on The BIG Show.
The results are in: following the Crew's 3-3 draw away to Portland, national soccer writers have held the Black & Gold relatively steady in this week's Power Rankings. MLSSoccer.com is the most bullish on the Crew, ranking it 11th.
See the full rankings below, followed by last week's position on the charts:
MLSSoccer.com: 11 (12)
ESPNFC: 15 (14)
SI.com: 14 (13)