Preview: Montreal Impact
A lot has changed since the Andy Gruenebaum and the Crew shutout the Montreal Impact in Columbus back on March 24, but the team will carry the confidence from that victory into this weekend's match in Montreal.
"We can't really take much (from March 24) It's a totally different team," the Crew 'keeper explained. "We have a little confidence. They're struggling, they're going to come out flying at home. They're a dangerous team. Our back is going to be against the wall a little bit."
"We've got to do the things we did well during that match," midfielder Eddie Gaven added. "We came out strong and had a very good start to that game. We played really good defense and didn't give up any goals, which is always big. It's going to be very important on the road to keep things tight in the back. Hopefully we can build off some of the things we did well (on March 24) and do the same thing (in Montreal)."
The Impact is coming off three straight losses. In that span, Jesse Marsch's side has been outscored 9-1. Montreal's lone goal of that tough stretch came in Wednesday night's 3-1 loss at Stade Saputo to Sporting KC.
"Hopefully we come out strong. It's something we did well (against RSL on 6/30)," Gaven said. "We'll try to get all over them early and hopefully if we do that, it will kind of kill their spirit a little bit and we'll score a few goals. We're just going to try to build off what we did last game and hopefully do the same thing up there."
"We can get an idea of how they want to play us and how they play at home from video of the game they played last night," echoed Gruenebaum.
The Crew could have up to 26 players available for selection on Sunday as Chad Marshall, Dilly Duka, and Carlos Mendes have all participated in training this week as they hope to return from injuries. In addition, new signing Jairo Arrieta will be ready to make his debut in Black & Gold against the Impact.
The added bodies in training have sparked competition amonst the team as players fight for spots in the starting XI.
"(Competition) is always going to make us better. Everybody is fighting for spots, Gaven explained. "We've got some guys coming back from injury. It's going to push everybody harder, which is going to make our team better as a whole."
Added Gruenebaum, "When you breed competition in training, it makes everything better. It makes everybody's decision harder as a coaching staff to pick the starting XI."
The man in charge of choosing that starting XI, head coach Robert Warzycha, says his lineup will depend on what combination he feels will be most effective against this week's opponent, the Montreal Impact.
"We're going to play a little bit (in training) and figure out what's best against Montreal," Warzycha said. "Sometimes, the team that you play against determines who you're going to put on the field. The best matchup is going to be key to the match."