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Alena Schuckmann / ColumbusCrewSC.com

MATCH NOTES | #CLBvSKC

The Black & Gold host Sporting Kansas City for the only meeting of the 2017 Major League Soccer regular-season and their 54th meeting all time on Sunday with a special 1 p.m. ET at MAPFRE Stadium.

Crew SC is hosting the second edition of Pups at the Pitch. For only $35 you and your 4-legged friend can get a General Admission ticket in the lower sideline to watch Crew SC take on Sporting Kansas City on Sunday, September 10, at 1 p.m.

Prior to Kick Off you and your dog will have access to a designated dog park at MAPFRE Stadium. 

MENSAH SCORES 1ST MLS CAREER GOAL

Defender Jonathan Mensah scored the game-winning strike in Crew SC’s home match against FC Dallas (August 26), registering his first MLS career goal. Mensah’s goal came in the 71st minute, as he headed in a free kick taken by Federico Higuain. Additionally, Mensah played the entire 90 minutes, registering 69 touches on the ball, recording 57 passes and making one tackle. In 2017, Mensah has made 21 regular-season appearances (20 starts), recording one goal and one assist.

KAMARA REACHES 30 GOALS

Ola Kamara scored Crew SC’s first goal in the club’s home match victory against FC Dallas (August 26). Kamara’s goal came in the 50th minute, assisted by Hector Jimenez and Federico Higuain. This was Kamara’s 30th regular-season goal for Crew SC since joining the club in February of 2016, which ties him with Ethan Finlay for 10th place on Columbus’ list of all-time leading goal scorers in regular-season action. Since joining the Black & Gold, Kamara has scored 30 regular-season goals for Crew SC in 53 regular-season appearances (47 starts) and is one of only 11 players in Black & Gold history to have scored 30 or more goals in regular-season action. Kamara’s goal per 90 minutes rate since the beginning of the 2016 MLS season is 0.64.

KAMARA LEADS CREW SC IN  GOALS

Through 28 appearances (27 starts) in the 2017 MLS regular season, forward Ola Kamara has scored 14 goals, more than any other Black & Gold player this season, ahead of Justin Meram (11 goals) and Federico Higuain (nine goals). Last season, Kamara scored 16 goals in 25 regular-season appearances (20 starts), tying him with Jeff Cunningham for fifth place on Crew SC’s list of most goals in a single regular season. Should Kamara score one more regular-season goal in 2017 he would tie with Brian McBride for fourth place on the list.

KAMARA AMONG TOP 5 SCORERS IN MLS SINCE 2016

Since the beginning of the 2016 MLS season, Ola Kamara has recorded 30 goals in regular-season action, with only four other players scoring more than the Norwegian forward in that time span: David Villa (42), Bradley Wright-Phillips (38), Ignacio Piatti (32) and Sebastian Giovinco (32). Additionally, out of active MLS players who have played a minimum of 900 minutes since the beginning of the 2016 season, Ola Kamara has the fifth highest goals per 90 minutes average with 0.64, behind only David Villa (0.75), Bradley Wright-Phillips (0.72), Roland Alberg (0.70) and Sebastian Giovinco (0.68).

TOP SCORERS IN MLS SINCE 2016

Player                                        Team  Min.     Goals

1. David Villa                             NYC     5,024     42
2. Bradley Wright-Phillips         NY       4,846     38          
T3. Ignacio Piatti                       MTL     4,556     32
T3. Sebastian Giovinco              TOR     4,251     32          
T5. Ola Kamara                        CLB     4,212   30         
T5. Diego Valeri                        POR     4,923     30          
7. Fanendo Adi                          POR     4,534     26          
8. Cyle Larin                               ORL      4,342     24
T9. Chris Wondolowski              SJ        5,108     23
T9. David Accam                        CHI      3,702     23

SCORERS ON VERGE OF CLUB MILESTONE

Heading into their match against Sporting Kansas City this Saturday, the Black & Gold are on the verge of achieving a club first: having three players  score 10 or more goals each in a single regular-season. As it stands, Ola Kamara has tallied 14 strikes, Justin Meram has scored 11 goals and Federico Higuain has found the back of the net on nine occasions in the 2017 MLS regular season. Should Higuain score another regular-season goal in 2017, it would mark the first time in club history that three Crew SC players have scored 10 or more regular-season goals in one year.

HIGUAIN RISING ON ALL-TIME ASSIST LIST

Midfielder Federico Higuain assisted on Ola Kamara’s 50th-minute goal and Jonathan Mensah’s 71st-minute goal in Crew SC’s home contest against FC Dallas (August 26). With his two helpers against Dallas, Higuain has now notched 42 assists in 143 regular-season appearances (138 starts) for the Black & Gold, overtaking Guillermo Barros-Schelotto for fourth place on Crew SC’s list of all-time assist leaders in regular-season action. Higuain is behind only Robert Warzycha (61 assists), Brian McBride (45 assists) and Jeff Cunningham (44 assists). Through 20 appearances (all starts) in the 2017 MLS regular season, Federico Higuain has scored nine goals and notched seven assists for the Black & Gold.

CREW SC’S ALL-TIME ASSIST LEADERS

Player                                        Assists

1. Robert Warzycha                   61
2. Brian McBride                        45      
3. Jeff Cunningham                    44
4. Federico Higuain               ... 42 
5. Guilermo Barros Schelotto        41
6. Brian Maisonneuve               37
7. Justin Meram                    33
8. Ethan Finlay                            . 30
9. Brian West                               . 29
10. Eddie Gaven                         .. 25

HIGUAIN & MERAM LEAD ASSISTS IN 2017

In 2017, no other Crew SC players have recorded more regular-season assists than Federico Higuain and Justin Meram. Both midfielders have registered seven assists this season, three more than Wil Trapp (four assists). Currently, Higuain is two assists away from tying his career-high number of assists (nine) in a year for the club in regular-season action, which he achieved in 2013 and 2015. In addition to helping set up nearly a third of the Black & Gold’s 42 goals this season, both Higuain and Meram have also contributed by scoring a large portion of Crew SC’s goals, with Higuain recording nine goals while Meram has tallied 11 strikes.

JIMENEZ NOTCHES 2ND ASSIST

Midfielder Hector Jimenez registered his second assist of the 2017 MLS regular season by providing the helper on Ola Kamara’s 50th-minute goal in a home contest against FC Dallas (August 26). Jimenez played 77 minutes, making 45 passes, one tackle and getting 64 touches on the ball. In 2017, Jimenez has made 14 regular-season appearances (10 starts), providing two assists.

TRIO NAMED TO TEAM OF THE WEEK

Crew SC players Jonathan Mensah, Mohammed Abu and Ola Kamara were all named to MLSSoccer.com’s Team of the Week following their performances against the LA Galaxy (August 23) and FC Dallas (August 26). This was the first time this season that Mensah and Abu earned the nod and the third time that Ola Kamara was named to the team. He was previously named to MLSSoccer.com’s Team of the Week in Week 17 and Week 21. In 2017, 11 Black & Gold players have been featured on MLSSoccer.com’s Team of the Week.

BERHALTER REACHES 50TH REGULAR-SEASON WIN

With Crew SC’s recent 2-1 home victory over FC Dallas (August 26), Gregg Berhalter now has 50 regular-season wins in MLS, all coming as Crew SC’s Sporting Director and Head Coach. Berhalter first took over the helm of the Black & Gold ahead of the 2014 MLS regular season and has compiled a record of 50-47-33 over that span. His first MLS win as the boss of the Black & Gold came in Crew SC’s 2014 season-opening match against D.C. United at RFK Stadium, with Crew SC winning 3-0 thanks to a brace by Federico Higuain and a goal by Jairo Arrieta.

BLACK & GOLD’S FINAL 10 REGULAR-SEASON MATCHES UNDER GREGG BERHALTER BY YEAR

Year                                         W.                   L                D               GF             GA

2014                                                   7                             2                1                20              10
2015                                                   6                             3                1                20              14
2016                                                   4                             5                1                17              18
2017                                                   3           0                1                8                3   
TOTAL                                             20                    10                  4                  65  45

Under Gregg Berhalter, the Black & Gold have finished out the regular-season in strong fashion. In the previous three seasons, Crew SC has a combined record of 17-10-3 during the final 10 regular-season matches. This year, the Black & Gold have a record of 3-0-1 with only six matches remaining in the regular season.

CREW SC REACHES MOST HOME WINS SINCE 2012

Year                                         W.                   L                D

2012                                                       11                       3                3
2013                                                         7                       7                3
2014                                                         9                       4                4
2015                                                         9                       4                4
2016                                                         6                       3                8
2017                                                       10                       3                1

In 2017, Crew SC has won 10 times when playing at MAPFRE Stadium during the regular-season, the highest number of home victories for the Black & Gold since the 2012 MLS season. Additionally, this number also marks the highest number of regular-season victories at home in a single season under Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter since he took over the team in 2014. Should Crew SC earn one more point at home, the club will have its best regular-season home record since 2012.

PLAYERS SHINE ON INTERNATIONAL STAGE

Three Crew SC players made appearances for their respective national teams this past week: Harrison Afful (Ghana), Jonathan Mensah (Ghana) and Justin Meram (Iraq). Afful and Mensah appeared in both of Ghana’s 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers against Congo: Afful played 45 minutes in a substitute appearance in Ghana’s 1-1 home draw against Congo (September 1) and 90 minutes in a starting appearance in the Black Stars 5-1 road victory against Congo (September 5), while Mensah started in both matches for Ghana, playing 180 minutes. Meanwhile, Meram started in consecutive 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers: He played 90 minutes and scored the opening goal for Iraq in their 2-1 win over Thailand (August 31) and played 71 minutes in Iraq’s 1-0 victory over the United Arab Emirates (September 5).

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