A CHANCE FOR ROAD TRIP HISTORY
The Crew heads back on the road looking to improve upon its hot start away from Crew Stadium in 2014 (2-0-0) ... the Black & Gold are looking to accomplish something not done in club history before -- win the first three road matches of the year ... the team has gone unbeaten on the first trio of road trips to open a campaign before -- going 2-0-1 in 2003 and 2-0-3 through the first five away contests in 2010 -- but a win in San Jose Sunday would make club history for a perfect three road matches.
WHAT A ROAD WIN COULD ALSO MEAN
While the Crew could make early-season history Sunday should it win on the road, a win also gives three consecutive road victories for the first time since 2007 ... during that season, the Black & Gold defeated Toronto FC 2-1 (September 22), New England 3-2 (October 13) and DC United 3-2 (October 20) ... the 2007 Columbus Crew finished 9-11-10 (37 points) and sixth place in the Eastern Conference.
LEARNING FROM A LOSS
The Black & Gold look to rebound from a 2-0 loss last Saturday against Toronto FC ... Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter addressed the best way a team can learn, telling local reporters, “No, you never need a loss [to learn] ... we always want to win. I honestly believe it’s better to learn from wins. I’m disappointed that we lost. Toronto played a great game and executed their game plan perfectly, but I’m still disappointed that we lost, no question.”
HIGUAIN CREEPING UP THE CHARTS
Federico Higuain is one goal away from moving up the Crew’s all-time top 10 goal- scoring list ... in just 46 career regular-season matches, he currently has 19 goals as a member of the Crew and sits in a three-way tie for 10th place alongside Robert Warzycha and Pete Marino (19 goals) ... his next goal moves him move him into a tie for ninth place with Alejandro Moreno (20 goals) ... Higuain will have to score five more goals this season to take over eighth place, which is held by Brian Maisonneuve (23 goals).
For the first time in his life, Crew midfielder Hector Jimenez is adjusting to life outside of California. Born in Huntington Park outside of Los Angeles, raised in Bell Gardens, schooled at Cal-Berkeley and spending the first three years of his career with the LA Galaxy, Jimenez is anxious to return to the Golden State this weekend when the Crew faces the San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday (3:00 p.m. ET / UniMas, Time Warner Cable SportsChannel).
Jimenez is anticipating many of his friends and family in attendance at Buck Shaw Stadium, making the five-hour drive from Southern California.
"This is a game that when I was in LA, I looked forward to the most," Jimenez said after the Crew's Wednesday training session. "I trained with [the Earthquakes] during the summer and stuff like that. It'll be a good game for me, my family is coming up. The team is excited. Hopefully we can get on a winning streak again."
Winning two MLS Supporters' Shields in three seasons with the Galaxy, Jimenez can't help but view the 'Quakes as a rival.
I think [Galaxy vs. Earthquakes] is one of the biggest rivalries in the League, to be honest, during those years I was in LA. It's a team that you go and play at their field, they don't want to lose points."
This weekend marks the only trip the Crew will make to California this season as it hosts the Galaxy and Chivas USA in Columbus later in 2014. Jimenez will surely make the most of his limited return home.
"Just California, the sunshine," answered when asked what he missed most about the Golden State.
"I went to school in the Bay Area. I have a lot of friends still there, so it will be good to see them and play well in front of them."
Crew play-by-play man Neil Sika joins Matt Finkes on 95.5 The Game's BIG Show to talk about the Black & Gold's Sunday tilt in San Jose.
Matt Lampson welcomed LLS Hero and Central Ohio’s 2014 Girl of the Year to Crew Stadium last Saturday for the Crew's match against Toronto FC. Lina Harris, 4 years old, is currently undergoing treatment for Philadelphia Positive Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. You can read more about Lina and her story on the LLS Website.
Looking to continue the Hero program that Lampson started during the 2013 season, the goalkeeper will be working with LLS to invite a child and their family to every home and away match during the 2014 season.
The U.S. Men's National Team's 2-0 win over Mexico at Crew Stadium last September is featured prominently in ESPN's most recent promo for the network's 2014 FIFA World Cup coverage. "I Believe" focuses on the American Outlaws supporters group and the atmosphere created by more than 9,000 organized supporters groups across 27 sections of Crew Stadium.
The only downside of versatility is never knowing where a player might line-up on the field.
Though he's featured solely at centerback in his first season with the Black & Gold, Michael Parkhurst has featured at both left and rightback for the U.S. Men's National Team. Most recently, the Crew Captain put in a solid 90-minute performance in a 2-2 draw with Mexico last week.
Following Wednesday's training session in Obetz, Parkhurst could be seen working on his crosses from the left side. With the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil steadily approaching, Parkhurst is working to stay sharp should he get the call from National Team Head Coach Jürgen Klinsmann.
"I just want to make sure every now and then I'm hitting some crosses from the left and the right because you never know when I'll play there for the Crew or for the National Team," he said. "I just want to be able to have a good performance whenever I'm called upon to be an outside back."
In his tenth season as a pro, Parkhurst has earned 25 caps for the Stars and Stripes and is in competition for the United States' final 23-man roster for this summer's World Cup.
Lions, tigers and… dolphins? Crew players discuss what animal they'd be if given the choice.