Match Preview: Columbus Crew vs. D.C. United
The Columbus Crew and D.C. United resume their longstanding rivalry for the second time this season on Saturdayevening when the Eastern Conference originals meet at Crew Stadium. The Crew saw their four-game undefeated runcome to an end last time, dropping a 1-0 decision at the Chicago Fire. United are looking to put the brakes on a four gamelosing slide, coming off a 3-2 home loss to Philadelphia Union.
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REFEREE: Sorin Stoica. AR1 (bench): Kermit Quisenberry; AR2 (opposite): Matthew Kreitzer; 4th: Chris Penso
MLS Career: 11 games; FC/gm: 27.8; Y/gm: 4.5; R: 2; pens: 4
DISABLED LIST: none
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: CLB: Glauber; Federico Higuain
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: CLB: Wil Trapp (U.S. U-20)
ALL-TIME (55 meetings): Crew 22 wins (0 shootout), 78 goals ... United 25 wins (5 shootout), 81 goals ... Ties 8
AT COLUMBUS (27 meetings): Crew 15 wins (0 shootout), 40 goals ... United 7 wins (2 shootout), 24 goals ... Ties 5
The teams are meeting for the second time and final time this season. The Crew's Josh Williams and United'sRafael traded goals in the first half, before Ben Speas scored the game-winner for Columbus on March 23 atRFK Stadium. United haven't won in Columbus since 2007, a span of five matches (0-4-1). They saw a three-game winningstreak in Washington snapped in the first meeting this year. One of the league's longest-running rivalries, the clubs met three times in the first four seasons in the MLS CupPlayoffs (1997, '98, '99) - United advancing on each occasion - but haven't met since. Coaches record: Ben Olsen vs. CLB: P7 W3 L4 T0 ... Robert Warzycha vs. KC: P12 W7 L5 T0
LAST MEETING (MLS):
3/23: DC 1, CLB 2 (Teixeira 22 - Williams 15; Speas 58)
Columbus broke through in the 15th minute when an unmarked Josh Williams headed in Tyson Wahl's freekick from just beyond the edge of the six-yard box. But United leveled the score in the 22nd minute with a moment of brilliance from Rafael. He reached ChrisPontius' header, turned on a Crew defender and struck a low drive from beyond 35 yards that dipped awayfrom goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum and inside the right post. But the Crew scored the winner 13 minutes into the second half. Federico HiguaÃ¯Â¿Â½ - n sent in a curling free kickfrom the left that surprised United 'keeper Hamid and caused him to spill it. A half-clearance fell to Ben Speas,who hammered home an open shot from the edge of the 18-yard box for his first career MLS goal. D.C. UNITED (4-3-1-2): Bill Hamid - James Riley (Carlos Ruiz 81), Daniel Woolard, Brandon McDonald, ChrisKorb - Nick DeLeon (Kyle Porter 31), Perry Kitchen, Chris Pontius - Dwayne De Rosario - Lionard Pajoy,Rafael Teixeira (Lewis Neal 70). COLUMBUS CREW (4-2-3-1): Andy Gruenebaum - Josh Williams, Chad Marshall, Glauber, Tyson Wahl -Danny O'Rourke, Agustin Viana (Matias Sanchez 90) - Eddie Gaven, Federico Higuain (Tony Tchani 90), BenSpeas (Ethan Finlay 88) - Dominic Oduro.
The Columbus Crew saw their undefeated streak come to an end after four matches, dropping a 1-0 decision to theChicago Fire on Saturday evening at Toyota Park. The Crew are in sixth place in the Eastern Conference with 9 pointsfrom 7 matches.
A throw-in gave the Fire their breakthrough. Jalil Anibaba sent it long into the penalty area, and Austin Berry'sflicked header found Jeff Larentowicz charging on from five yards out and he headed it into the back of the net. Crew goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum was credited with six saves for the match, all coming in the second halfbefore the match-winner. Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson was not called upon to make a single save. Crew head coach Robert Warzycha made no changes to his team for a third consecutive week, maintaining theteam that came back for a 1-1 draw with the MontrÃ¯Â¿Â½al Impact at Stade Saputo. COLUMBUS CREW (4-4-1-1): Andy Gruenebaum - Josh Williams, Chad Marshall, Glauber, Tyson Wahl -Eddie Gaven, Danny O'Rourke (Kevan George 82), Agustin Viana, Ben Speas (Jairo Arrieta 65) - FedericoHiguain - Dominic Oduro (Ethan Finlay 76).
After a win and three draws, the Crew saw their undefeated run come to an end in their first loss since March 9. "We had a stretch of seven games, five away from home. Being on the road all the time is difficult," said Crewhead coach Robert Warzycha. "We have three games at home, hopefully we can pick up some points. Theschedule is very tough for us we lost two games away from home. We had a good result in three of them, wehave to take some positives from that." The Fire unleashed a total of 21 attempts at goal for the match. Crew goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum hadsingle-game highs this season with six saves on seven shots on target. "Andy stood on his head for us the whole half," Columbus defender Josh Williams said. "Even from last year, Ihave 100 percent confidence in him and our backline. Even though they were getting chances I didn't feel likethey were going to score. I thought we were going to be able to hold them off but if you keep giving themchances in the box, he can't save everything. We need to find a way to control the ball and take pressure offus." The Crew were shut out at the attacking end for the first time this season. Only FC Dallas, Philadelphia andPortland have yet to be blanked this year in MLS. "The second half we got dominated," Williams said. "We couldn't get anything going. It is tough to stomach. Idon't think we played well at all. There is no excuse for coming out the way we did. I think everyone isfrustrated now." Added Dominic Oduro: "We still lost the game because of how we played. We just have to goback and get to our winning ways. It's been a couple of games on the road that have been tough but we havedone really well. We have a couple home games and we have to get ourselves motivated." Only Dominic Oduro has scored over the past three games for the Crew. Federico HiguaÃ¯Â¿Â½ - n, last year's MLSNewcomer of the Year, scored the opening goal of the season for Columbus and has added just one assistsince. "He has to work harder, obviously, and we have to work harder to find him," Warzycha said. "We have to findhim in the right spaces so he can be effective. He's giving us opportunities to give him the ball. That's why weare successful offensively. We go from defending to attacking very quickly." Said Higuain: "Teams are marking me the same way as last year. It's teamwork. We need everybody on theteam to have a good game, not one or two guys. If we do that we will be very successful. We need ourperformance to be better from everybody on the team, not just one person." The Crew kick off a three-game homestand with the visit by D.C. United, with home matches following againstthe New York Red Bulls and Colorado Rapids. The Crew have posted two draws in their two home games thisyear, though they have an 11-game undefeated streak in home games alive (7-0-4),dating back to last July 21. "We have a solid defensive group. We have to start getting shutouts. That's the key. That starts with me,"Gruenebaum said. "We have to go back to the drawing board and get control of the game, especially at home."
D.C. United fell to their fourth consecutive loss, a 3-2 defeat by Philadelphia Union on Sunday afternoon at RFKStadium. United are in 10th place in the Eastern Conference with 4 points from 7 matches.
Union opened the scoring in the seventh minute. Brian Carroll slid and intercepted a pass, knocking it toforward Conor Casey, who then played a through ball to Jack McInerney. He split United's center backs andblasted a left-footed shot past D.C. goalkeeper Bill Hamid. Four minutes later, Philadelphia made it 2-0 when former United midfielder Danny Cruz found Casey open atthe top of the 18-yard box with a pass from the right flank for a shot that beat Hamid low and to his left. United cut the lead in the 17th minute. After a partially cleared freekick was recirculated around the area,Brandon McDonald put in an angled ball for Dwayne De Rosario, who cut it back for Perry Kitchen to pound ithome from the heart of the area. But Union restored their two-goal advantage in the 26th minute. Defender Sheanon Williams delivered a longthrow-in toward the middle of the area where Amobi Okugo's flick header put the ball at the feet of JackMcInerney, and he didn't miss at the far post. United were able to pull a goal again in the 48th minute, when Lionard Pajoy headed a Daniel Woolard crosspast Philadelphia goalkeeper Zac MacMath, but they could get no closer. United head coach Ben Olsen made three changes to the team that suffered a 2-0 loss to the New York RedBulls at RFK Stadium. Marcelo Saragosa, Kyle Porter and Dwayne De Rosario all came into the team, in placeof Marcos Sanchez, Raphael Augusto and Rafael. D.C. UNITED (4-2-3-1): Bill Hamid - Chris Korb, Brandon McDonald, Dejan Jakovic, Daniel Woolard (CarlosRuiz 70), Marcelo Saragosa (Raphael Augusto 46 / Robbie Russell 84), Perry Kitchen - Kyle Porter, DwayneDe Rosario, Chris Pontius - Lionard Pajoy.
United suffered their fourth consecutive defeat - and their third in a row at RFK Stadium. It's the longest losingstreak for D.C. in two seasons; the club record is six games, set over the end of the 2006 season and the startof 2007. "We're having trouble putting together full games, where the offense is doing their part and the defense is doingwhat they do, and that's kind of been the theme," said United head coach Ben Olsen. "Offensively, I thought wecreated a lot of chances and we were dynamic at times and that's a positive. But the way we started a game,that's just unacceptable. It's very alarming that we started the way we started." With just one win in the opening seven matches (1-5-1), it's not the worst start in United club history - the clubhas won just once in its opening seven games on five occasions. In 2003, United opened 0-3-4; the longestextended stretch from the start of the season came in 2010, when they opened 1-8-0. "I trust in our team," Olsen said. "I think we have enough talent, even with six or seven guys out. Four or fiveguys out, good players that might start for us, and we still overall put together a good performance. But in thethree big moments in the game, we fouled up." The three goals allowed by United were their most in a game this season, the fourth time in seven matchesthey've conceded multiple goals in a match. After scoring two goals total in their first six games of the season, United matched that output againstPhiladelphia. "We scored two goals from crosses, and then we stopped passing the ball. For whatever reason, I have noidea," said Dwayne De Rosario. "We had a couple good chances to cross the ball, and we stopped crossingand getting in the good areas. We're playing safe, safe pass instead of being a little more aggressive goingforward and taking a chance of whipping the ball in or playing it to the forward. It's been a long first sevengames." After not being a part of the first XI in back-to-back matches, De Rosario returned to the starting lineup andplayed the full 90 minutes. He contributed his first assist of the campaign on the United opener. "I thought [Lionard] Pajoy had a good game ... I thought it was nice to have Dwayne [De Rosario] back there. Ithought Kyle Porter, for his first start, helped us out offensively, but in the end, all that stuff is for naught if youcan't make the simple plays and your concentration lets up a couple of times," said Olsen. Following back-to-back starts, Marcos SÃ¯Â¿Â½=A1nchez missed the Union match with an ankle injury. He could be inline for a return against Columbus. "They gave me hope that he will be OK for the weekend, but we still don'tknow until he gets to fully train," said Olsen. Raphael Augusto returned to the substitute's bench following consecutive starts after falling ill during the week,before coming on as a halftime replacement. But he had to come off with six minutes remaining vs.Philadelphia.
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