April 4, 2013 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - Columbus Crew SC
After a week off to relish snapping D.C. United's 18-match home-unbeaten streak on March 23, the Crew returns to action Saturday looking to extend a run of its own at Crew Stadium. The Black & Gold's last defeat at Crew Stadium came on July 14, 2012 in a 2-0 loss to Sporting Kansas City.
The Crew will put its home streak on the line against the Philadelphia Union on Saturday (5:00 p.m. ET/ TICKETS) in just its second home match of 2013.
"I feel like we've been on the road a lot since the start of the year, we've only had one game at home," midfielder Eddie Gaven said. "Hopefully we can play well and get our first win at home."
The Black & Gold opened its 2013 home schedule on March 16 with a 1-1 draw against the San Jose Earthquakes to extend it's unbeaten streak at Crew Stadium to 10 matches. The team is eager to earn its first three points at home this weekend.
Said defender Chad Marshall: "We always pride ourselves on playing well here, so we'll be looking to pick up three points."
SPEAS COMFORTABLE ON THE LEFT
Second-year winger Ben Speas made the most of replacing an injured Eddie Gaven on the left side of the Crew midfield against Vancouver Whitecaps FC on March 9. The Homegrown has started every match since, recording an assist in his season debut and scoring his first career goal on March 23 at D.C. United.
Despite the success he has seen on the field so far this season, Speas is not taking his new role for granted.
"I just try to go out there and be effective," Speas said following the team's training session at Crew Stadium on Thursday.
"I try to focus on myself and trying to be consistent, be dangerous when I get the ball. I'm not really thinking about starting spots or who's healthy or who's injured, I just go out and do my thing. If I get chosen, great."
While Speas has seen time in college and Reserve League matches as a second forward, he says he is most comfortable on the left wing. Combining with playmaker Federico HiguaÃ¯Â¿Â½ - n in the final third, the two attackers have complimented each others' skill set early on this season.
"At North Carolina when I had my most success, I was on the left," Speas explained. "I feel the most comfortable there. Sometimes I like to get isolated and sometimes I like to get in the middle and create. It's great with Pipa when he comes out [to the wing] and I go inside. It's awesome and I feel really comfortable. I think that's a big reason why things are going so well [at left midfield]."
KEEPING THE MOMENTUM GOING
The Crew hopes momentum from its win over D.C. United rolls into Saturday's match against the Union following a week-long break from MLS action. While there is a chance the off week may have disrupted the Black & Gold's current form, the players welcomed the break to rest and recuperate following the first month of the MLS season.
"We were kind of going non-stop since late January," Gaven said. "It was nice to have that week off and hopefully we can pick up right where we left off."
"Sometimes when you get a good win, you want to keep it going," Marshall added. "But it was nice to have a break. After a month and four games, you start to feel some little nicks here and there. It was nice to get a little rest."
The Crew went 1-0-1 in games following breaks of 10 days or more in 2012. Speas hopes the team's success in March carries over to April.
"We're playing well, hopefully we continue that," the winger said.
"If we can keep being dangerous in the attack and playing good defense, we'll set ourselves up for success."