CREW SC ADVANCES TO MLS CUP PLAYOFFS FOR 15TH TIME IN CLUB HISTORY
Following Black & Gold clinched a spot in the Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs, returning to the postseason for the 15th time in club history and for the fourth time in five seasons under Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter. Crew SC finished the regular season in fifth place in the Eastern Conference and travels to take on D.C. United at Audi Field on Thursday, November 1 in an Eastern Conference Knockout Round. Should Crew SC defeat D.C. United, the club would move on to the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The Black & Gold have an overall MLS Cup Playoffs all-time record of 18-23-6. Additionally, Crew SC has won one MLS Cup (2008) and two Eastern Conference Championships (2008, 2015).
CREW SC NOTCHES 300TH ALL-TIME REGULAR-SEASON WIN
Crew SC notched its 300th win in all-time regular-season action in Sunday’s 3-2 victory over Minnesota United FC. The Black & Gold join the LA Galaxy (328 wins), FC Dallas (305 wins), the New York Red Bulls (302 wins) and Sporting Kansas City (300) as the only teams in MLS to reach the milestone. Additionally, the victory extended Crew SC’s home unbeaten streak to seven consecutive matches, posting a record of 6-0-1 over that span. Dating back to a win against Real Salt Lake (June 30), Crew SC also tallied victories against Orlando City SC (July 21), the Houston Dynamo (August 11), New York City FC (September 1) and the Colorado Rapids (September 22) as well as drawing with the Philadelphia Union (September 29).
GYASI ZARDES REGISTERS FIRST CAREER HAT TRICK
Gyasi Zardes recorded his first professional hat trick in Sunday’s match against Minnesota United FC. Zardes’ first goal came in the 11th minute when he received a cross from Milton Valenzuela, which he headed past the Loons’ goalkeeper Matthew Lampson. His second strike came in the 49th minute, when he tapped-in a ball that bounced off Lamp- son. Zardes’ third goal came in the 83rd minute, when he volleyed a cross from Niko Hansen into the back of the net for the game-winning goal. Additionally, this was Zardes’ fourth multi-goal game of the 2018 MLS regular season, as he had previously registered braces against the Montreal Impact on March 10, against the Chicago Fire on May 12, and against Orlando City SC on July 21. Since making his MLS debut in 2013, Zardes has made 164 regular-season appearances (149 starts) while tallying 53 goals and 17 assists.
GYASI ZARDES NAMED ALCATEL MLS PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Gyasi Zardes was recently voted the Alcatel Major League Soccer Player of the Week by the North American Soccer Reporters (NASR) for Week 35. Zardes earned the award following his three-goal performance against Minnesota United FC (October 28), which included netting the game-winning goal in Crew SC’s 3-2 home victory over the Loons, clinching the fifth seed for the Black & Gold heading into the Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs. It is the second Player of the Week honor for Zardes, who previously earned the award earlier this season following Week 11.
ZARDES SETS NEW SINGLE-SEASON CAREER-HIGH IN GOALS
With his three goals in Sunday’s 3-2 win over Minnesota United FC, Gyasi Zardes reached 19 goals during the 2018 MLS regular season, setting a new personal single-season high in regular-season goals. Zardes’ previous single-season career-high in goals was 16, which he achieved in 2014 while playing for the LA Galaxy. Additionally, the forward moved into third place on Crew SC’s list of most goals scored in a single MLS regular season, behind only Stern John (26 goals in 1998) and Kei Kamara (22 goals in 2015). After joining the Black & Gold ahead of the 2018 MLS season, Gyasi Zardes made 33 regular-season appearances (all starts) to go with his 19 goals.
WILLIAMS MAKES 100TH REGULAR-SEASON START FOR CREW SC
Josh Williams made his 100th regular-season start (114th appearance) for Crew SC in Sunday’s match against Minnesota United FC. During the match, the defender registered 50 touches and attempted 44 passes with 93.2 percent accuracy. With his start, Williams is now one of only four players on Crew SC’s current roster to have made 100 or more regular-season starts for the club, joining Federico Higuain (170), Wil Trapp (152) and Justin Meram (140). During the 2018 MLS regular season, Williams made 21 regular- season appearances (16 starts).
ATTACKING FULLBACKS: AFFUL AND VALENZUELA FINISH 2018 REGULAR SEASON WITH SIX ASSISTS EACH
Defenders Harrison Afful and Milton Valenzuela both registered assists in Sunday’s 3-2 win over Minnesota United FC. Afful recorded the game-winning assist in the 83rd minute, when he sent a through ball to Niko Hansen, who passed the ball across the box for Gyasi Zardes to score. The assist was Afful’s sixth assist of the season – a new MLS regular-season career-high for the Ghanaian – as well as his third game-winning assist of the year, tying Pedro Santos for the most regular-season game-winning assists this season. In 2018, Afful made 32 regular-season appearances (all starts), scoring two goals to go with his six assists. Milton Valenzuela set up the first goal in Sun- day’s match, as he received a short corner kick pass from Federico Higuain before sending a cross to Gyasi Zardes, who headed the ball past Minnesota United’s goalkeeper in the 11th minute. In 2018, Valenzuela made 30 regular-season appearances (29 starts), recording one goal to go with his six assists.