After willing his team to a 2-0 victory over the first-place New York Red Bulls with two goals to his name on Saturday, Crew Captain Federico Higuaín has been nominated for MLSSoccer.com's Top 3 Performers for Week 24. Higuaín also completed nearly 72-percent of his passes, including seven key passes in the attacking third against the Red Bulls.
Higuaín is up against the Philadelphia Union's Conor Casey, FC Dallas' Blas Perez, Sporting Kansas City's Kei Kamara and the LA Galaxy's Landon Donovan -- all of whom scored multiple goals over the weekend -- among others.
Crew Chairman Anthony Precourt was properly introduced to the Black & Gold's faithful supporters Friday night, making stops to see the Crew Union at Fourth Street Bar and the Hudson Street Hooligans at Hendoc's Pub. Precourt and Crew President and General Manager Mark McCullers mingled with supporters, taking in the fans' thoughts on the club.
As a token of his appreciation, Precourt bought everybody at both bars a round of drinks.
LAMPSON STEPS IN AND LENDS A HAND
With Andy Gruenebaum sidelined with a shoulder injury, Matt Lampson made his second start of the season last Saturday at Houston ... although the 23-year-old suffered the loss, his one save earned him a “Save of the Week” nomination ... Lampson is now 1-1-0 on the year with a 1.50 goals against average and one shutout -- a cleansheet that he earned in his last Crew Stadium start on July 7 (a 1-0 victory against Portland).
VIANA WITH A SECOND START
Agustin Viana made his second consecutive start at leftback last Saturday at Houston, a promising sign for the Crew newcomer ... the start was Viana’s 10th of the current campaign. ... Viana returned to the starting lineup at Toronto on July 27 for the first time in exactly three months after battling a hamstring injury suffered against D.C. United on April 27.
CREW REMAINS POSITIVE THAT RESULTS WILL COME
Following a tough 3-1 loss at Houston on August 3, Crew players remained optimistic about turning it around this weekend against New York ... Ryan Finley, playing an energetic 45 minutes off the bench, provided a spark for the Crew and led to an own goal received ... said Finley of the loss, “I think we’ve just got to get our heads up. I mean it’s definitely not a work ethic thing at practice or anything like that. I think you just get unlucky sometimes in this sport. The most important thing is we have to stay positive, we have to stay strong in the locker room” ... Dominic Oduro stressed the continued importance of teamwork to battle adversity in pursuit of three points, saying, “We just have to come out as a team right now. We have to stick together. We really have to work as a team. That’s the only way that’s going to work. We got to go back again and regroup. We can’t do it as individuals. But everybody out there, we just have to work as a team and hopefully it will work.”
After a training session to prepare for Saturday's match against the New York Red Bulls, the Crew hit the links at Pinnacle Golf Club in Grove City for the Crew Soccer Foundation Golf Classic. LPGA pro and fellow Barbasol/Pure Silk team member Natalie Gulbis was the guest of honor, answering fan inquiries in a question-and-answer session and teaching the trade secrets in a short game clinic. Over 120 golfers participated in the event, with proceeds benefitting the Crew Soccer Foundation's Kirk Urso Memorial Fund.
The Urso Fund provides a platform to develop and support youth heart health research and programming to honor Urso's memory. The Crew midfielder passed away suddenly at the age of 22 of an Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy on August 5, 2012.
During Tuesday night's Killers' concert at the LC Pavilion, lead singer Brandon Flowers gave the local soccer club a shoutout in the band's song "Prize Fighter." Check it out around the 45-second mark.
Frankie Hejduk made a surprise visit to the Tray Lee Center for their end of the summer BBQ on Friday. The children performed a few dances for Frankie before a boys vs. girls pick-up game broke out with the former Columbus Crew captain. The game, after a late goal from the boys in added time, ended in a 3-3 draw.
Crew Players Kyle Hyland, Shawn Sloan and Eric Gehrig spent Monday afternoon with the patients of Nationwide Children’s Hospital. The children were able to play games and create arts and crafts projects with the players during the visit.
The Crew will square-off against the New York Red Bulls for the third and final time this season when Thierry Henry and company visit Crew Stadium on Saturday (7:30 p.m. ET / TICKETS). The Black & Gold will look to even up the season series at 1-1-1 after losing and drawing in the first two meetings.
Here is a look back at the last match between the two clubs on May 26 at Red Bull Arena.
Dominic Oduro scored in the second minute of the match to give the Black & Gold an early lead, but had to leave the game after colliding with Red Bulls' goalkeeper Luis Robles. The home team evened things up just past the half-hour mark when Tim Cahill played a long ball over the top to Thierry Henry, who then chipped an oncoming Andy Gruenebaum. The Crew regained the lead in the 71st minute when Justin Meram drew a foul in the box, setting up Federico Higuaín's converted penalty to put the Black & Gold ahead 2-1. The Crew defense staved off several late New York surges, but the Red Bulls' pressure finally paid off in the 91st minute as Jámison Olavé provided a stunning left-footed volley past Gruenebaum to end the match at 2-2 and leave the Crew with one point from the trip to the Big Apple.
MLSSoccer.com's Dan Haiek and Matt Doyle preview this week's matchup between the Crew and the Houston Dynamo.