Crew not intimidated by reigning MLS Cup champions
After postponing last week's match against Toronto FC to attend Kirk Urso's funeral in Illinois, the Crew is eager to take the field in the fallen midfielder's honor Wednesday night against reigning MLS Cup champions LA Galaxy (7:00PM EST/ NBC Sports Network).
"We're looking to get back on the field and honor Kirk," defender Josh Williams said after Tuesday's training session in Obetz. "This is definitely a game we've been looking forward to for a long time and with the circumstances, it will be good to get out there to honor [Urso]."
In addition to playing in Urso's memory, midfielder Chris Birchall is looking forward to facing his former team with whom he won the 2011 MLS Cup and the 2010 and 2011 Supporters Shields.
"It's [a match] I've been looking forward to since I've arrived [in Columbus]," Birchall elaborated.
"We're not doing bad. We've got a lot of games in hand and this is one of them.We really need to do well at home," the midfielder added.
The Galaxy will be without superstars Landon Donovan (international duty) and David Beckham (travel), but Bruce Arena will still have plenty of weapons in the attack at his disposal that the Crew will be wary of.
"Maybe the pace throughout is gone a little bit with Landon [Donovan out]," Birchall explained. "[LA has] so many people who can come in and play different positions. It's just up to us to try to be strong defensively and try to keep them out because they probably think they're going to score at least one against us. So I think our attacking threat has to come and we've got to score some goals because they're always a threat on the counter."
"We have to defend as a team and not give them time," Williams added. "We can't respect them too much. We have to respect them because they're the champs, but we can't look up to them. We can't think of them in that way. It's just another team. We have to go out there and get points."
The Galaxy come to Columbus on the heels of a 4-0 victory against city rivals Chivas USA in which LA's first-choice back line played together for the first time in 2012.
"We've got to move the ball. We're not a big team up front. We've got to get wide, get the ball out wide to Dilly [Duka], Eddie [Gaven], and Justin [Meram] to let them create a little bit," Williams explained. "We've got to get in behind the defense. With [Jairo] Arrieta up there, he's a workhorse. He's going to battle and hopefully we can get some creativity up front and fight for some goals."
The Crew currently stands in seventh place on the MLS Eastern Conference table with 28 points, but has four games in hand on leaders Sporting Kansas City. The Galaxy sits in fifth place in the west with 36 points, just a single point behind Seattle and Vancouver who are tied for third in the conference.