FIRST OF THREE MATCHES
Columbus Crew SC plays its 11th Major League Soccer regular-season match in 2015 and its sixth at MAPFRE Stadium as the Black & Gold return home to square off with the Chicago Fire on Friday, May 22. This is the first of three matches between Columbus and Chicago this year, with a home-and-home series set for July 15th and 19th. The Black & Gold are 14-24-14 against the Fire all-time, and are looking for their 10th win over Chicago at home. The two sides have met once in postseason play, in the 2008 Eastern Conference Championship, where a 2-1 Black & Gold win helped fuel the club’s first ever MLS Cup title.
LAST REGULAR SEASON MEETING
On August 2, 2014, Crew SC and the Chicago Fire played to a 1-1 draw at Toyota Park. Chicago’s Mike Magee opened the scoring in the 37th minute with a penalty kick goal. Crew SC’s Federico Higuain leveled the score in the 46th minute. The draw was Crew SC’s ninth of the 2014 season.
WHERE TO WATCH/LISTEN
Friday’s 8 p.m. ET start is available nationally on Univision Deportes Network as well as locally on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel. Jose Luis Lopez Salido, Raul Guzman and Marcelo Balboa have the Spanish call on Univision Deportes Network, which is also set to be simulcast locally on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel. Ramses Sandoval and Paul Caligiuri are slated to call the match in English on Univision Deportes Network via the SAP function. Dwight Burgess and Neil Sika will be on the microphone for CD102.5 FM, with Juan Valladares calling the action for La Mega 103.1 FM in Spanish. A complete list of places to catch the Black & Gold on TV is available here.
The match against the Fire is slated to be Crew SC’s first of three nationally televised matches in 2015. ESPN2 is set to televise the club’s match versus Chicago on Sunday, July 19, while Fox Sports 1 has the broadcast on Sunday, September 6, against FC Dallas. All three of the club’s nationally televised matches in 2015 are at MAPFRE Stadium.
500 COLUMBUS TALLIES
Crew SC’s next goal at home will be the 500th home regular-season goal scored in team history. Dating back to 1996, the Black & Gold have registered 499 home goals in 302 regular-season contests.
Crew SC has scored 13 goals in five matches at MAPFRE Stadium this campaign (2.60 goals-per-game), which is on-pace to be the highest ever goals-per-game ratio in the history of the stadium by the Black & Gold. Overall, the club’s 49 goals in 16 home matches in 1998 (3.06 goals-per-game) is the highest recorded by Columbus.
COMFORTS OF HOME
With a victory over Chicago, the Black & Gold would tie the all-time club record for most points in club history through six home matches. Crew SC began the 1997, 1998, 2008 and 2010 seasons 4-1-0, but only in 2010 did the club extend that stretch to 5-1-0. Crew SC began the 2011 season unbeaten through five matches at home (3-0-2), the only time in team history that feat was achieved.
FOUR OF TOP FIVE PASSING PERFORMANCES
In its last match at MAPFRE Stadium, against Seattle Sounders FC, Crew SC’s passing accuracy as a team was 86.8%. Of the five best single-match passing accuracy performances League-wide this season, the Black & Gold have now recorded four of them. Previously, they registered matches of 88.1% (vs. Orlando City SC, April 18), 87.9% (vs. Philadelphia Union, April 25) and 87.1% (vs. Toronto FC, March 14).
KAMARA LEADING THE LEAGUE IN GOALS
Crew SC forward Kei Kamara’s brace against Seattle Sounders FC on May 9 propelled him atop the MLS goal-scoring leaderboard, where he is tied with Clint Dempsey at seven tallies. The Sierra Leone native is also tied with Vancouver Whitecaps FC’s Octavio Rivero as League leader in total shots (43), and he ranks second in shots on goal (19), trailing only Rivero. Among all players with at least 120 minutes played, Kamara’s goals-per-90-minute rate of 0.80 ranks fifth in MLS. His two-goal performance against Seattle was his second such effort of the campaign. He paced Crew SC in shots on goal vs. Seattle (three), surpassing the 200-shot-on-goal total for his MLS career (201).
POSSESSION, PASSING, CHANCES
Crew SC has continued its strong passing and possession play in 2015. According to the League’s official statistician, Opta, Crew SC leads the League in chances created per match (11.6) and ranks second in big chances created per match (1.2). The Black & Gold also rank first overall in MLS in passing accuracy (82.4%) and fifth overall in possession (53.0%).
PASSING MACHINE AS A TEAM
As a team, Crew SC leads Major League Soccer in passing accuracy. The Black & Gold also rank in the top five in passing accuracy in its own half (third), the opponent’s half (second) and in the final third (first).