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Crew vs. Impact - Match Preview

June 14, 2013 - Major League Soccer (MLS) Columbus Crew

The Columbus Crew will be looking to turn around some recent results with a stiff test ahead as the Eastern Conference-leading Montréal Impact come to Crew Stadium for a Saturday night match. The Crew are coming off a 3-0 loss to Philadelphia Union in their last league match, and were knocked out of the Open Cup by Chicago at midweek. The Impact have won three in a row to take over the division lead, coming off a 2-1 win at Sporting Kansas City two weeks ago.

REFEREE: Matthew Foerster. AR1 (bench): Corey Parker; AR2 (opposite): Jonathan Johnson; 4th: Ted Unkel MLS Career: 12 games; FC/gm: 24.5; Y/gm: 3.9; R: 1; pens: 4

DISABLED LIST: none SUSPENDED: MTL: Alessandro Nesta (through June 15) WARNINGS: SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none

SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: CLB: Federico Higuain, Matias Sanchez ... MTL: Felipe Martins, Dennis Iapichino

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: CLB: Jairo Arrieta (Costa Rica); Wil Trapp (USA U-20) ... MTL: Sanna Nyassi (The Gambia)

HEAD-TO-HEAD

ALL-TIME (4 meetings): Crew 2 wins, 6 goals ... Impact 1 win, 4 goals ... Ties 1

AT COLUMBUS (1 meeting): Crew 2 wins, 4 goals ... Impact 0 wins, 1 goal ... Ties 0

FUTURE MATCH: 9/14: Montreal Impact vs. Columbus Crew, 2 p.m. ET

The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Montréal's Marco Di Vaio and Dominic Oduro of Columbus traded goals four minutes apart midway through the second half as the teams reached a 1-1 draw, April 14 at Stade Saputo in a game delayed a day because of a snowstorm.

The Crew won both meetings between the teams at Crew Stadium in the Impact's inaugural season a year ago.

Coaches record: Robert Warzycha vs. MTL: P4 W2 L1 T1 ... Marco Schallibaum vs. CLB: P1 W0 L0 T1

LAST MEETING (MLS): 4/14: MTL 1, CLB 1 (Di Vaio 68 - Oduro 72)

The game's two goals came four minutes apart, and both of the spectacular variety. The Impact pulled ahead in the 68th minute when Sanna Nyassi's failed volley attempt on the edge of the box turned into an assist for Marco Di Vaio, who ripped home a thunderous shot from some 22 yards out.

But the Crew were level in the 72nd minute. Dominic Oduro showed impeccable control in latching onto a deflected cross and looping it in front of Hassoun Camara, before sending a left-footed finish to the top right corner of Troy Perkins' goal from the left side of the box.

MONTREAL IMPACT (4-1-4-1): Troy Perkins - Hassoun Camara, Alessandro Nesta, Karl Ouimette, Jeb Brovsky - Patrice Bernier, Andres Romero (Sanna Nyassi 67), Davy Arnaud, Felipe Martins, Justin Mapp (Andrew Wenger 80) - Marco Di Vaio (Maxim Tissot 88).

COLUMBUS CREW (4-2-3-1): Andy Gruenebaum - Josh Williams, Chad Marshall, Glauber, Tyson Wahl - Danny O'Rourke (Kevan George 82), Agustin Viana - Eddie Gaven, Federico Higuain, Ben Speas (Jairo Arrieta 72) - Dominic Oduro (Ethan Finlay 77).

COLUMBUS CREW

The Columbus Crew had their three-game unbeaten run put to an end, dropping a 3-0 decision to Philadelphia Union on June 5 at PPL Park. The Crew are in seventh place in the Eastern Conference with 17 points from 14 matches.

LAST MATCH

The game's three goals came in a six-minute span in the first half. Union opened the scoring in the 25th minute when Brian Carroll jumped in front of a lazy Columbus pass, cut to the right and fired a shot from distance that deflected off Crew defender Eric Gehrig and into the net.

Four minutes later, Carroll helped set up the Union second when he flicked a Sebastien Le Toux corner to the back post, where right back Sheanon Williams was waiting unmarked to volley a shot past goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum.

It was 3-0 in the 31st minute when Sebastien Le Toux forced a turnover, raced untouched down the sideline and played a low cross to Conor Casey, whose diving header put the game beyond all doubt. Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath made four saves, including a couple late in the contest to preserve the shutout.

Crew head coach Robert Warzycha made one change to the team that settled for a 1-1 draw with the Houston Dynamo at Crew Stadium. Ben Speas came into the team in place of Jairo Arrieta.

COLUMBUS CREW (4-2-3-1): Andy Gruenebaum - Chad Barson, Eric Gehrig, Glauber, Tyson Wahl (Kevan George 46) - Matias Sanchez, Tony Tchani - Justin Meram (Bernardo Anor 76), Federico Higuain, Ben Speas (Aaron Schoenfeld 46) - Dominic Oduro.

TEAM NEWS

The Crew saw their winless streak extended to three games, matching their longest of the season, and have won just once in their last six matches (1-3-2).

"That was a really lethargic performance, especially in the first half," said Crew head coach Robert Warzycha. "I think the first goal was a joke and then we couldn't do anything more." The three goals conceded by the Crew were a season-high, and they were shut out at the attacking end for the fourth time this season. "We started off all right actually, but there was a span there after the first goal where we never really regained our composure and couldn't get back into it," Crew goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum said "We have to take a lesson from this game: someone has to put their stamp on the game to stop the bleeding and we weren't able to do that. We as a team didn't step up for each other. That was the biggest thing."

The Crew have also won just once at Crew Stadium - three of their four victories have come on the road. The one road win is matched by Toronto FC and D.C. United for fewest in MLS.

"I thought we played well in the second half; we kept the ball a little bit," said Dominic Oduro. "I think this is a game where we want to get it over with right now and just forget about it and look forward to our next home game and hope we can make it right." Said Gruenebaum "We're not creating dangerous situations. The shots were a little bit deceptive. I don't think [Union goalkeeper Zac] MacMath was too worried. He was never really bothered." With the view toward the weekend league match, defenders Chad Marshall (hamstring) and right back Josh Williams (calf) were held out of the Open Cup tie vs. Chicago. Marshall has missed the past five games in all competitions; Williams has missed three.

"Obviously there are going to be some guys who are in there against Chicago who aren't playing much," Warzycha said. "With the injuries we have we don't have a choice."

On Thursday, the Crew were knocked out of the U.S. Open Cup in a 2-1 loss to the Chicago Fire in a match delayed a day by heavy weather. Konrad Warzycha gave the Crew a 22nd-minute lead, but goals from Mike Magee (29) and Patrick Nyarko (77) brought the Fire back for the win.

Here's the Crew team: Andy Gruenebaum; Kevan George, Glauber (Dominic Oduro 9'), Eric Gehrig, Tyson Wahl; Konrad Warzycha, Bernardo Anor, Tony Tchani (Aaron Schoenfeld 82'), Ben Speas (Federico Higuain 70'); Justin Meram, Ethan Finlay

MONTREAL IMPACT

The Montréal Impact return to action after a week away, winning for the third game in a row last time out, an impressive 2-1 win at Sporting Kansas City at Sporting Park. The Impact now lead the Eastern Conference with 26 points from 12 matches.

LAST MATCH

Sporting went in front in first-half stoppage time. Impact center back Alessandro Nesta pulled down Claudio Bieler from behind at the edge of the penalty area, and referee Armando Villareal eventually pointed to the spot. Bieler took his own penalty and buried his kick into the lower left corner of the goal. As the teams went into the locker rooms, Impact head coach Marco Schallibaum was ejected from the game. But his team took the lead two minutes after the restart. A free kick could not be cleared by the Sporting defense, and Sanna Nyassi sent a low shot through traffic from the edge of the area to beat SKC 'keeper Jimmy Nielsen. The Impact took the lead just six minutes later. After a scramble in the penalty area, Peterson Joseph's mishit clearance attempt instead fell to Collen Warner in front of the goal, and he finished easily. Nesta was sent off in the 74th minute after another confrontation with Bieler, but the Impact held out for the road victory.

Impact head coach Marco Schällibaum made three changes to the team that rolled to a 5-3 win against Philadelphia Union at Stade Saputo. Hassoun Camara came into the back four for Jeb Brovsky, and Collen Warner and Sanna Nyassi came into the side in place of Andres Romero and Andrew Wenger.

MONTREAL IMPACT (4-2-3-1): Troy Perkins - Hassoun Camara, Alessandro Nesta (sent off 74), Matteo Ferrari, Dennis Iapichino - Patrice Bernier, Collen Warner - Justin Mapp (Andres Romero 73), Felipe Martins (Jeb Brovsky 77), Sanna Nyassi - Marco Di Vaio (Andrew Wenger 89).

TEAM NEWS

The Impact have reeled off three consecutive victories, their longest winning run since opening the season with four consecutive wins.

"We were able to get the tying goal and then the second came along. We showed a lot of character, it was a difficult week for us with the championship in Vancouver and three games total this week," said Impact assistant coach Mauro Biello. While Schällibaum has opted for one midfielder in a deep holding role for much of the season, against Sporting he went to the 4-2-3-1 scheme the Impact used for much of 2012, with Patrice Bernier and Collen Warner in the deep-lying spots.

"In the first half, we executed plays quickly," Bernier said. "It looked a bit like highlights from last year: quick combinations with Felipe, through to Marco [Di Vaio], finding Sanna [Nyassi] in behind. We created maybe three chances in the first half and found some of what we did last year. We connect great."

For Warner, it was just his second start of the season (his only other coming May 4 vs. San Jose), and he capped the performance with his first goal of the campaign.

"You could see that everybody was very comfortable," said Warner. "We started the game really well. I thought that, except for the penalty, we played that first half almost perfectly. It was a little bit of our habits from last year and a little bit more confidence with the way things have been going."

Sanna Nyassi also scored his first goal of the season, returning to the first team after a two-match absence."I'm happy for Collen and for Sanna, who haven't played a lot of late, but they brought freshness and a win," Bernier said. "It shows how deep our group is."

Making his second consecutive start in central defense following a three-match absence in league play, Alessandro Nesta was sent off with a quarter-hour remaining and will miss the Columbus match through suspension.

"We have some experienced players in moments like this before and managing these situations is important. That's when you see experience come through," said Biello. "Even a man down, we were able to control the game and stay composed during the difficult moment and I applaud my players for that."

Schällibaum was sent off for a second time this season, after a discussion with the referee over the penalty kick awarded to Sporting in first-half stoppage time. He was also sent off in the Impact's first visit to Sporting Park this season, on March 30. "I'm disappointed because I didn't do anything," Schällibaum said. "In Europe, you can walk onto the field and talk with the referee. I calmly told him that [the foul] was outside the penalty box, that's it. And it seems you can't do that. It's a pity that the people they punish can't say anything. They decide in New York, I have to accept that and I don't think it's fair."

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