Preview: Columbus host DC in vital East showdown
COLUMBUS CREW vs D.C. UNITED
COLUMBUS CREW STADIUM, Columbus, Ohio
October 2, 2011
4 p.m. ET (ONN; CSN-MA; watch LIVE online)
It’s yet another huge game in the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference when the Columbus Crew play host to D.C. United on Sunday afternoon. The Crew now find themselves in fourth place in the East, just two points ahead of the final playoff spot, after their winless streak was stretched to six games in a midweek 2-1 loss at Sporting Kansas City. United are a point out of the final wild card spot after a midweek loss of their own, 3-2 at Philadelphia Union.
REFEREE: Baldomero Toledo. SAR (bench): Fabio Tovar; JAR (opposite): Ian Anderson; 4th: Juan Guzman. MLS Career: 121 games; FC/gm: 24.9; Y/gm: 3.6; R: 47; pens: 47
- COLUMBUS CREW – OUT: MF Tony Tchani (R knee surgery); MF Robbie Rogers (R hamstring strain); QUESTIONABLE: DF Rich Balchan (L oblique strain); PROBABLE: MF Danny O'Rourke (L knee discomfort); MF Eddie Gaven (R lower leg contusion); DF Chad Marshall (L ankle sprain)
- D.C. UNITED – OUT: MF Branko Boskovic (L ACL tear); MF Chris Pontius (R tibia fracture); DF Jed Zayner (L knee sprain); QUESTIONABLE: DF Dejan Jakovic (R hamstring strain); DF Ethan White (L MCL sprain); PROBABLE: GK Steve Cronin (R shoulder strain); Dwayne De Rosario (R knee contusion)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED: DC: Brandon McDonald (caution accumulation; through Oct. 2)
- SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: CLB: Kevin Burns, Dejan Rusmir
- SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: CLB: Emmanuel Ekpo, Tommy Heinemann, William Hesmer, Julius James, Sebastian Miranda, Tony Tchani … DC: Austin da Luz, Charlie Davies, Dwayne De Rosario, Ethan White
- ALL-TIME (50 meetings): Crew 19 wins (0 shootout), 71 goals … United 23 wins (5 shootout), 75 goals … Ties 8
- AT COLUMBUS (24 meetings): Crew 13 wins (0 shootout), 37 goals … United 7 wins (2 shootout), 23 goals … Ties 5
- The teams opened the 2011 season against each other. Charlie Davies scored twice in a dramatic comeback and Josh Wolff added a third as United ran out 3-1 winners, March 19 at RFK Stadium.
- The Crew have won five of the last eight league meetings between the clubs, dating back to Oct. 20, 2007. United has won twice in that span.
- The teams met three times in the first four years of the league in the MLS Cup Playoffs – with United winning on each occasion – yet have not faced each other in the postseason since 1999.
- Coaches' records: Ben Olsen v CLB: P2 W1 L1 D0 … Robert Warzycha vs. DC: P6 W2 L2 D2
LAST MEETING (MLS)
- 3/19: DC 3, CLB 1 (Wolff 51; Davies 62, 77 – Rogers 84 pen)
- United took the lead six minutes into the second half. Jed Zayner’s pass found Josh Wolff toward the right side of the area and he hammered home a drive inside the near post.
- Then, some 10 minutes after coming onto the field for his MLS debut, Charlie Davies converted a penalty kick after Chris Pontius was tripped up in the penalty area. In the 77th minute, Davies hit for the second on his magical return to soccer, nicking a loose ball and skipping through the top of the box before rounding goalkeeper William Hesmer and slotting home
- The Crew pulled back a late goal when Robbie Rogers converted from the penalty spot.
- D.C. UNITED (4-1-3-2): Pat Onstad - Jed Zayner (Rodrigo Brasesco 70), Dejan Jakovic, Perry Kitchen, Marc Burch - Clyde Simms - Andy Najar, Dax McCarty, Chris Pontius - Josh Wolff (Santino Quaranta 83), Joseph Ngwenya (Charlie Davies 52).
- COLUMBUS CREW (4-1-3-2): William Hesmer - Sebastian Miranda, Chad Marshall, Julius James, Rich Balchan - Dejan Rusmir - Eddie Gaven, Emmanuel Ekpo, Dilly Duka (Robbie Rogers 66) - Jeff Cunningham (Tommy Heinemann 61), Andres Mendoza.
The Columbus Crew saw their winless run stretched to six games and suffered a third loss in a row, dropping a 2-1 decision to Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday evening at Livestrong Sporting Park. The Crew have 41 points from 31 games on the season, now in fourth place in the Eastern Conference.
- Sporting jumped into the lead in the 14th minute. Crew defender Chad Marshall took down C.J. Sapong in the box, and referee Hilario Grajeda pointed to the spot. Kei Kamara stepped up to send Columbus goalkeeper William Hesmer the wrong way for the conversion.
- But the Crew pulled level in the 34th minute when Robbie Rogers turned into space in the midfield and played a through ball to Emilio Rentería, who slammed his shot from outside the area low and hard across SKC goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen and inside the back post.
- The game-winner came with 16 minutes to play. Matt Besler sent in a long throw-in from the right flank into a dangerous area. Columbus center back Julius James was first to it, but instead sent a looping header over Hesmer into his own goal.
- Crew head coach Robert Warzycha made two changes to the team that suffered a 1-0 loss to the LA Galaxy at Crew Stadium. Kevin Burns and Emilio Renteria came back into the team, in place of Danny O'Rourke and Josh Gardner.
- COLUMBUS CREW (4-4-2): William Hesmer - Sebastian Miranda, Chad Marshall, Julius James, Shaun Francis - Dilly Duka (Jeff Cunningham 84), Emmanuel Ekpo, Kevin Burns, Robbie Rogers (Tommy Heinemann 82) - Andres Mendoza, Emilio Renteria (Justin Meram 71).
- The Crew have lost three games in a row for the first time since May 24-June 8, 2008. They suffered through a similar six-game winless streak late last season, from Sept. 11-Oct. 16.
- “I think it was an even game, to get a point I would have been happy,” said Crew head coach Robert Warzycha. “We gave up two bad goals, one on a penalty and one own goal. Very unlucky so we have to keep going, we have three games left and we’ll try to win them all.”
- The Crew now come into the weekend in fourth place in the Eastern Conference, three points behind leader Sporting Kansas City, and just two points ahead of New York in 10th place overall and the final wild card spot.
- “I liked our position six games ago when we had 41 points and everyone else had 30. But in the possible 18 points, we got only one,” Warzycha said. “So obviously, I don’t. Obviously games like this, against Kansas City, you have to get the point and we didn’t.”
- Of the 14 goals the Crew have conceded in the six-game winless run, two have been penalty kicks and two have been own goals. “We are giving away goals,” Warzycha said.
- Robbie Rogers was forced from the game late with a slight injury. Earlier in the game he recorded his team-leading seventh assist; he had nine in his first four seasons with the club.
- “I tweaked my hamstring. I’ll probably get an MRI tomorrow or the next day,” Rogers said. “Iit feels like I can play this weekend right now, but we’ll see.”
- Forward Emilio Rentería scored in his return to the lineup after missing two games with a concussion. “Because of his injury, he’s not totally fit,” Warzycha said. “He was gassed.”
- The game against United is the last of the regular season at Crew Stadium. Columbus finishes the season with games at New England and Chicago – both currently outside the top 10 overall. The Crew are 8-3-5 at home this season; 3-9-3 on the road.
- “It’s time to separate the teams that are going to the playoffs and the teams that aren’t going to the playoffs,” Crew defender Julius James said. “I think we are one of the teams that are going to go to the playoffs.”
D.C. United couldn’t build on their big weekend home win, falling 3-2 to Philadelphia Union on Thursday evening at PPL Park. United have 38 points from 29 games on the year, sitting in sixth place in the Eastern Conference.
- Union were two goals in front -- both from Sebastien Le Toux -- before the game was 15 minutes old. First, in the fourth minute, a long ball from Carlos Valdés bounced off a United defender right into the path of Le Toux, who slotted home from inside the area.
- Then Michael Farfan floated in a high, arching cross from the left flank and Le Toux settled it well before beating D.C. goalkeeper Bill Hamid.
- But United were level by the half-hour. Dwayne De Rosario sent a glancing near-post header from an Andy Najar corner into the net in the 22nd minute, then Najar netted following a fantastic individual effort. In the 30th minute, the Honduran international ran the entire length of the field, capped by a dribbling clinic to round Farfan then a powerful drive that beat goalkeeper Zac MacMath at the near post.
- But Farfan broke the deadlock in the 57th minute when he skipped past D.C. defender Brandon McDonald, dribbled into space and unleashed a left-footed rocket from just outside the box that found the upper corner of the net.
- United coach Ben Olsen made no changes to the team that exploded for a 4-1 win against Real Salt Lake at RFK Stadium.
- D.C. UNITED (4-4-2): Bill Hamid - Perry Kitchen, Brandon McDonald, Ethan White, Marc Burch - Andy Najar, Clyde Simms, Stephen King, Austin da Luz (Blake Brettschneider 74) - Dwayne De Rosario (Santino Quaranta 62), Josh Wolff.
- United come into the weekend still a point behind New York for 10th place overall and the final wild card spot. They still have games in hand over every other club in the Eastern Conference.
- “It’s definitely a positive especially looking at when we give up games like this. We can say OK, look, we still have two or three games in hand on some other teams,” said Dwayne De Rosario. “We definitely can’t take that for granted, it will probably come down to the last three home games against a bunch of teams who are all fighting for playoff spots. But we have to focus on the task at hand and that is this Sunday against Columbus first.”
- United still have not been able win back-to-back games. They remain, along with New England and Vancouver, the only teams in MLS without a winning streak this season.
- “We can’t do that to ourselves. Especially not after a performance like the one we put in during the past week. We can’t go from playing like that to letting up goals like that. It’s unacceptable,” said De Rosario. “But with that said, we have to put it behind us as quickly as possible because we have another game on Sunday.”
- United have allowed three goals in a game three times in the last nine, since the start of August. While D.C. is second in MLS in goals per game (1.55), the Black-and-Red are 15th in the league in goals allowed per game (1.52).
- “We were naive in a lot of our defending. All three goals were just very, very schoolboy mistakes balls over the top, and then diving in on the third one, just bad mistakes, and they’re pretty tough to capitalize on,” United head coach Ben Olsen said.
- De Rosario extended his lead in the MLS Golden Boot standings with his 14th goal of the season, now two ahead of Landon Donovan (LA) and Thierry Henry (NY). De Rosario has scored five goals in the last three games.
- But De Rosario was forced from the field shortly after the Union go-ahead goal, in the 62nd minute.
- “He took a knock to the knee. It was one of those where he wasn’t 100 percent,” Olsen said. “I think he’ll be OK. It’s just a knock not a sprain or torn ligaments. We’ll put some ice on it. Get him ready for Sunday.”