Vancouver hit the road to face streaking Columbus

The Columbus Crew will be looking to extend their undefeated run when they meet Vancouver Whitecaps FC for the first time at Crew Stadium. The Crew haven’t lost since a season-opening reverse, coming off a 1-1 draw at Toronto FC last weekend. Whitecaps FC haven’t won in MLS play since the season opener, their last result a 2-1 home loss to FC Dallas, though they did defeat NASL side Montréal at midweek in the Canadian Championship.

REFEREE: Terry Vaughn. SAR (bench): Adam Wienckowski; JAR (opposite): Jason Cullum; 4th: Ismail Elfath MLS Career: 140 game; FC/gm: 28.6; Y/gm: 3.9; R: 46; pens: 44

INJURY REPORT: COLUMBUS CREW – OUT: MF Danny O'Rourke (L knee surgery); DF Shaun Francis (L hamstring strain); DF Josh Williams (R hip strain) ... VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC – OUT: FW Atiba Harris (R knee sprain); DF Jay DeMerit (groin strain); MF Michael Nanchoff (groin strain); MF John Thorrington (R quadriceps strain)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES:
none
SUSPENDED: VAN: Eric Hassli (yellow card accumulation; through May 1) WARNINGS: SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: None. SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: CLB: Kevin Burns; Julius James

HEAD-TO-HEAD

ALL-TIME: First meeting.
RETURN MATCH: 7/6: Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. Columbus Crew, 7 p.m. PT (TSN)

  • Coaches record: Teitur Thordarson v CLB: First game ... Robert Warzycha vs. VAN: First game

COLUMBUS CREW

The Columbus Crew maintained their hegemony over Toronto FC and ran their undefeated streak to five games, coming back for a 1-1 draw Saturday afternoon at BMO Field. The Crew have 9 points from 6 games on the season, in a three-way tie for third place in the Eastern Conference.

LAST MATCH

  • Winless all-time vs. their Trillium Cup foes, Toronto FC took the lead in the 41st minute. Tony Tchani latched on to a through ball from Julian de Guzman and coolly slotted his second career goal past Crew goalkeeper William Hesmer.
  • But before the match restarted he was sent off, having earned his second yellow card for leaping into the BMO Field crowd in celebration after he earned a first during a scrap with the Crew’s Kevin Burns in the 37th minute.
  • The Crew took advantage of the man-up situation just four minutes into the second half. Emilio Renteria scored his first goal of the season, sending a glancing header inside the far post from a Sebastian Miranda cross.
  • Crew head coach Robert Warzycha made no changes to the team that defeated Sporting Kansas City 1-0 at Crew Stadium.
  • COLUMBUS CREW (4-2-3-1): William Hesmer - Sebastian Miranda, Chad Marshall, Julius James, Rich Balchan - Kevin Burns (Dejan Rusmir 63), Emmanuel Ekpo (Tommy Heinemann 46) - Dilly Duka, Eddie Gaven, Robbie Rogers - Emilio Renteria (Andres Mendoza 74).

TEAM NEWS

  • The Crew saw their club-record shutout streak snapped at 414 minutes with Toronto FC’s goal on Saturday, but still extended their unbeaten run to five games.
  • "It's fun to pretend that you're not going to give up a goal the rest of the season," Chad Marshall said. "But this is soccer. It's a game of mistakes. You think about the two points (we did not gain) rather than the records. It has nothing to do with this season."
  • For the second consecutive – and third time in four games – the Crew were beneficiaries of a red card to their opponent. Emilio Renteria’s equalizer vs. Toronto was the third of five goals scored by Columbus this season while up a man, in 123 minutes of total play.
  • “The red card was huge,” Marshall said to the Columbus Dispatch. “Obviously, it was nice playing a man up the second half. The way we came out in the second half and tied the game up pretty quickly, I think we’re all disappointed that we didn’t carry that on and get another one and get the three points. But it’s a tough place to play so we’ll take the point.”
  • Said Warzycha: “I think as a team absolutely we have to be smarter. We have to figure out how to play with a man up.”
  • The Crew have still not lost since the 3-1 First Kick defeat by D.C. United, though their five goals on the season are just one off the league low, along with Chivas USA one more than Philadelphia Union.
  • "We should have come out of here with more points," Crew coach Robert Warzycha said. "We were rushing to score a goal. But that's not always the best thing to do. Sometimes you have to be patient."
  • The Crew announced the signing of 20-year-old midfielder Santiago Prim. He spent the last two seasons with San Lorenzo de Almagro in his native Argentina, making his professional debut on Sept. 26, 2009 in a 3-2 win over Tigre of Victoria.
  • “Prim is a talented young player,” said Crew head coach Robert Warzycha. “He has a lot of potential. He can shoot from distance and his work rate is very good. He is a good midfielder who can really change the game when he’s on the field.”
  • In addition, the Crew placed veteran Danny O’Rourke on the disabled list, as he continues to rehabilitate after undergoing surgery on his left knee last November.

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC

Vancouver Whitecaps FC saw their winless stretch extended to six games, falling 2-1 to FC Dallas on Saturday afternoon at Empire Field. Whitecaps FC have 6 points from 7 matches, sitting in a tie for seventh place in the Western Conference.

LAST MATCH

  • Whitecaps FC took the lead in the 25th minute. From a cleared free kick, Davide Chiumiento curled a cross back toward the far post, where Alain Rochat placed his header beyond 'keeper Kevin Hartman's reach.
  • The visitors had a glorious opportunity to level terms two minutes later. FCD's Andrew Jacobson fired a shot that hit Rochat in the arm, and referee Juan Guzman awarded a penalty kick. David Ferreira stepped up to the spot, but shanked the kick wide left.
  • FC Dallas were dealt a blow five minutes into the second half when Ferreira went down injured with what was later described as a broken leg and had to be removed. But the visitors equalized moments after their star went down. Marvin Chavez whipped in a corner that Jackson Goncalves flicked to the back post, where George John was waiting to nod home past Vancouver 'keeper Jay Nolly.
  • FC Dallas found a late winner in the 83rd minute. Left back Jair Benitez whipped in a cross from to forward Milton Rodriguez, who failed to control the pass. The ball then dribbled to Avila, who drilled a low shot from just outside the area.
  • Whitecaps FC head coach Teitur Thordarson made one change to the team that played to a scoreless draw with Chivas USA at Empire Field. Terry Dunfield returned from injury, coming in for Kevin Harmse.
  • VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC (4-4-2): Jay Nolly - Jonathan Leathers, Michael Boxall, Alain Rochat, Blake Wagner - Wes Knight (Nizar Khalfan 61), Terry Dunfield, Jeb Brovsky (Kevin Harmse 77), Davide Chiumiento (Omar Salgado 84) - Camilo, Eric Hassli.

TEAM NEWS

  • Vancouver was one of two teams in Week 6 to lose their games after scoring the first goal – the first two times that had happened in 2011. San Jose fell to Chivas USA after scoring the opener.
  • "We are very disappointed with the result," Thordarson said. "I was quite happy with the first half. We were maybe a bit lucky to go into halftime with a 1-0 lead, but I definitely felt in the second half we lost the focus a bit. I thought we would manage to keep up the pace. We let maybe some decisions irritate us a little bit and lost focus. I don't feel they changed that much tactically."
  • Vancouver also became the first team in MLS this season to blow a first-half lead. A year ago, a first-half deficit was overturned for a victory just 10 times.
  • "We looked lively, we looked sharp, we played how we want to play," midfielder Terry Dunfield said of the first half. "We didn't carry that over. I think we were caught in two minds. Some were still pressing. Some were laying off, maybe trying to protect the lead, but that's not how we play.
  • Whitecaps FC have allowed 12 goals on the season, one less than the league-high conceded by fellow expansion outfit Portland. The ‘Caps have allowed goals from corner kicks in two of the last three weeks.
  • "I'm very frustrated with it. We've let in a few off them and we've been training on them. It's not a team problem really, it's more of an individual responsibility,” Thordarson said to The Province. “Every player has a job to do on set pieces and unfortunately we haven't been good enough off it. Players have missed out on their marking and they've been ball watching where they should be taking care of a player. The players just have to step it up and be more focused in these situations. There's nothing else to do.”
  • Whitecaps FC will be without Swiss forward and leading scorer Eric Hassli for a third time this season because of suspension. He had been sent off twice previously; he received his fifth yellow card against FC Dallas, an automatic one-game ban.
  • Davide Chiumiento’s cross led to the Whitecaps FC goal against Dallas, his league-leading fifth of the season (on 10 Vancouver goals in all), one ahead of David Beckham of the LA Galaxy and Houston’s Brad Davis.
  • Alain Rochat scored his first MLS goal, playing in central defense for a second consecutive week. He has also figured at left back and in the center of midfield. “My goal was for nothing,” he said. “I'd prefer to let others score and win the game.”
  • On Wednesday, Terry Dunfield's second-half goal proved the difference as Vancouver Whitecaps FC defeated the Montréal Impact in the first leg of the Nutrilite Canadian Championship semifinals on Wednesday at Stade Saputo in Montréal.
  • Dunfield’s 67th-minute goal give Whitecaps FC the lead on aggregate in the two-leg series ahead of the May 4 second leg at Empire Field.
  • Here’s the Whitecaps FC team: Jay Nolly; Jonathan Leathers, Michael Boxall, Alain Rochat, Blake Wagner; Davide Chiumiento (Shea Salinas ‘78), Terry Dunfield, Mouloud Akloul, Russell Teibert; Camilo (Nizar Khlafan ‘68), Eric Hassli