Five points separate first and fifth in the Eastern Conference standings with Philadelphia and Sporting KC leading the way at 48, the Crew in third at 47 and Houston and New York rounding out the group with 46 and 43, respectively.
Saturday’s match will be the 44th in regular-season play between the Fire and the Crew. Chicago leads the all-time series with a record of 19-11-13.
Andres Mendoza’s selection to the MLSSoccer.com Team of the Week marked the 18th time this season a Crew player has been named to the league website’s weekly Best XI. The others were Rich Balchan (week 15), William Hesmer (week 14), Julius James (three times: weeks 13, 22 and 23), Chad Marshall (four times: weeks 2, 3, 4 and 19), Bernardo Anor (week 14), Dilly Duka (week 5), Tom Heinemann (week 10), Andres Mendoza ( three times: weeks 11, 15 and 31), Robbie Rogers (week 20), Emilio Renteria (week 7) and Eddie Gaven (week 29).
The Crew tied a league record for the most offside calls against in a game. The previous occurrence was on July 21, 1996, when Tampa was called offside 15 times against Colorado. The Crew’s previous record was 13 on July 7, 1996, against Colorado.
Defender Sebastian Miranda is fifth in the league in minutes played among field players, with 2,954. The Crew’s 2011 Newcomer of the Year trails Philadelphia’s Sebastien Le Toux (2,970), Chivas’ Nick LaBrocca (2,968), Colorado’s Jeff Larentowicz (2,968) and New York’s Joel Lindepere (2,958).
Andres Mendoza leads the league in three categories so far this season. The 2011 Crew Golden Boot winner leads MLS in penalty kick conversions (5), game-winning goals (5) and is co-leader with Vancouver’s Eric Hassli in multi-goal games (4).
Dilly Duka was the eighth Crew player to record either their first MLS goal or assist this season. The other seven are Tommy Heinemann (three goals, one assist), Sebastian Miranda (three assists), Dejan Rusmir (two assists), Kevin Burns (one assist) and rookies Bernardo Anor (one goal, one assist), Rich Balchan (one goal) and Justin Meram (two assists).