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Eastern Conference Championship

Columbus Crew vs. DC United | MLS Match Preview

COLUMBUS CREW vs D.C. UNITED
COLUMBUS CREW STADIUM, Columbus, Ohio
April 19, 2014 (WEEK 7, MLS Game #58)
7:30 p.m. ET (TWCSN-OH)

The Columbus Crew and D.C. United meet for a second time this season when the long-time Eastern Conference foes face off at Crew Stadium on Saturday evening. The Crew haven’t won in two games after three consecutive victories to open the campaign, coming off a 1-1 draw at San Jose last weekend. United have won back-to-back games to put an end to a record winless run, their last match a 1-0 home victory against the New York Red Bulls.

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REFEREE: Juan Guzman. SAR (bench): Peter Balciunas; JAR (opposite): Mark Cahen; 4th: Alan Kelly
MLS Career: 39 games; FC/gm: 25.5; Y/gm: 3.4; R: 12; pens: 10

SUSPENDED: none
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: none
DISABLED LIST: CLB: Matthew Wiet
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (57 meetings): Crew 24 wins (0 shootout), 84 goals … United 25 wins (5 shootout), 81 goals ... Ties 8
AT COLUMBUS (28 meetings): Crew 16 wins (0 shootout), 43 goals … United 7 wins (2 shootout), 24 goals … Ties 5
FUTURE MATCH: 6/7: D.C. United vs. Columbus Crew, 7 p.m.

  • This is the second meeting between the teams this season. Federico Higuain scored twice and Jairo Arrieta added another as the Crew eased to a 3-0 season-opening victory, March 8 at RFK Stadium.
  • The Crew have won the last three meetings between the clubs. United haven’t won in Columbus since 2007, a span of five matches (0-4-1).
  • One of the league’s longest-running rivalries, the clubs met three times in the first four seasons in the MLS Cup Playoffs (1997, ‘98, ‘99) – United advancing on each occasion – but haven’t met since.
  • Coaches record: Gregg Berhalter vs. DC: P1 W1 L0 T0 … Ben Olsen vs. CLB: P9 W3 L6 T0

LAST MEETING (MLS)
3/8: DC 0, CLB 3 (Arrieta 18; Higuain 27, 90)

  • The Crew hit for the opener 18 minutes in. Hector Jimenez found a streaking Josh Williams on the right flank, and he struck a curling, one-touch cross to Jairo Arrieta, whose sliding effort got past outstretched United goalkeeper Bill Hamid.
  • In the 27th minute, Columbus doubled its advantage. United midfielder Perry Kitchen and Crew defender Michael Parkhurst grappled while racing for a loose ball in the box, with referee Andres Pfefferokorn ruling that Kitchen committed a foul in the exchange. Higuain converted the ensuing penalty kick.
  • The Crew finished off the match in the 90th minute, as Federico Higuain tapped home the Crew's third goal from close range after Justin Meram found him wide open running into the box.
  • D.C. UNITED (4-3-1-2): Bill Hamid - Sean Franklin, Jeff Parke (Kyle Porter 82), Bobby Boswell, Christian Fernandez - Davy Arnaud (Conor Doyle 73), Perry Kitchen, Nick DeLeon (Lewis Neal 63) - Luis Silva - Fabian Espindola, Eddie Johnson.
  • COLUMBUS CREW (4-4-1-1): Steve Clark - Josh Williams, Michael Parkhurst, Giancarlo Gonzalez, Waylon Francis (Tyson Wahl 90) - Hector Jimenez, Wil Trapp, Tony Tchani, Bernardo Anor (Justin Meram 73) - Federico Higuain - Jairo Arrieta (Adam Bedell 87).

COLUMBUS CREW
The Columbus Crew rebounded from their first defeat of 2014, getting a point on the road with a 1-1 draw vs. the San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday afternoon at Buck Shaw Stadium. The Crew sit atop the Eastern Conference, with 10 points from five matches.

LAST MATCH

  • The teams traded goals on either side of halftime. In the 44th minute, Federico Higuain opened the scoring, turning home a neat grounded cross from Waylon Francis from the heart of the area.
  • But the Quakes hit for the equalizer six minutes after the restart. From a corner kick -- one of a series to start the second half -- Chris Wondolowski ghosted in behind Victor Bernardez’s near-post run and deposited an easy header in the back of the net.
  • Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter made no changes to his team for a second consecutive week, maintaining the group that fell 2-0 to Toronto FC at Crew Stadium.
  • COLUMBUS CREW (4-2-3-1): Steve Clark - Josh Williams (Tyson Wahl 76), Michael Parkhurst, Giancarlo Gonzalez, Waylon Francis - Wil Trapp, Tony Tchani - Hector Jimenez, Federico Higuain, Bernardo Anor (Justin Meram 83) - Dominic Oduro (Adam Bedell 87).

TEAM NEWS

  • The Crew remained undefeated away from home this season with the draw in San Jose, which followed victories at D.C. United and Seattle.
  • “We treat home and away the same way,” Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter said. “We want to go out and play our game, we want to try to impose our game on the opponent, and it doesn't matter where we are.”
  • Federico Higuain netted his fourth goal of the season, tied for third in the MLS Golden Boot standings, in the draw at San Jose. Higuain has been involved in six of Columbus’ eight goals this season, with two assists.
  • With Berhalter keeping the same team for a third consecutive match, he has still used just 12 players as starters. Ten have remained the same; only Dominic Oduro and Jairo Arrieta have traded off as the lone striker, with Oduro starting the last three matches.
  • “We did what we had to do, and at this point we'll just take a point right now and move on to the next game,” said Oduro. “Confidence-wise, I don't think we lost it. It's just a matter of playing the next game and moving on. We wanted three points, and we didn't get it. So back to the drawing board until the next one.”
  • The Earthquakes goal was the first allowed from a set piece this season by the Crew. The first four goals had all come through open play.
  • “I’m disappointed that we let them come from behind and I’m disappointed that we gave up a set-piece goal. Moving forward, it’s a point on the road, but we look to continue to get better. We will continue to do the little things right,” said Crew goalkeeper Steve Clark. “We will work on just getting better as a team and we want to defend better on our set pieces and not give those up.”
  • The Crew have also allowed a goal in four consecutive games, with five goals in that time, since the season-opening clean sheet vs. D.C. United.
  • “We wanted to focus on our defensive shape and how we were defending against their center backs. I thought in the first half we were high with two and we wanted to be high with only one,” Berhalter said. “We adjusted a little bit in the second half and we wanted them to play balls into the midfield so we could potentially win them there.”
  • While there have been few changes in the Crew side from the start of the season, the back four saw a change in the San Jose game when Tyson Wahl came on as a substitute in central defense, and Michael Parkhurst shifted to right back.
  • “It's definitely a bit different,” Parkhurst said. “The starting point for our outside backs is much higher, they've got a lot more freedom to go forward. For the national team it's definitely much more of a defense-first mentality and staying compact.” Said Berhalter: “He's very comfortable there; we know he can play there. So I wasn't surprised. He gave a great ball across the middle that could have ended up as an own goal, he was dangerous in those positions, he's very comfortable on the ball, so we know exactly what he can do there.”

D.C. UNITED
D.C. United won their second game on the trot, making an early goal stand up for a 1-0 win against the New York Red Bulls on Saturday evening at RFK Stadium. United are in a tie for fourth place in the Eastern Conference with seven points from five games.

LAST MATCH

  • The game's lone goal came in just the fourth minute. A Fabian Espindola corner kick found center back Bobby Boswell at the near side of the box, and he played a glancing header to the far post where Davy Arnaud was there to finish, his diving header eluding the grasp of New York  'keeper Luis Robles.
  • United goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra made four saves in recording a second consecutive clean sheet, also saved when the woodwork kept out Peguy Luyindula's first-time blast in the 73rd minute.
  • United head coach Ben Olsen made one change to the team that claimed a 2-0 defeat of the New England Revolution at RFK Stadium. Chris Rolfe came into the team for the suspended Lewis Neal.
  • D.C. UNITED (4-1-3-2): Andrew Dykstra - Sean Franklin, Jeff Parke, Bobby Boswell, Cristian Fernandez - Perry Kitchen - Nick DeLeon, Davy Arnaud (Jared Jeffrey 66), Chris Rolfe (Alex Caskey 72) - Fabian Espindola, Eddie Johnson (Conor Doyle 84)

TEAM NEWS

  • D.C. United have recorded back-to-back shutout victories for the first time since Sept. 20-23, 2012 following the defeat of New York. United did have back-to-back clean sheets last March 9-16, one a scoreless draw.
  • “We talked about this,” United head coach Ben Olsen said. “We said that until we are clicking everywhere around the field and really have our identity of who we are, we've got to find a way to get points. And I think we did that.”
  • United hit the road for Columbus following an undefeated three-game homestand, taking seven of a possible nine points with a draw vs. Chicago and wins vs. New England and New York.
  • “That’s what our league is about,” said Davy Arnaud. “You’re not going to find any team that goes out week in and week out and puts on an unbelievable performance, just walks over teams. Itís not going to happen. It’s a cliche, but good teams do find ways to win games. This wasn’t our best performance. That won’t be our best performance at home all year for sure. But at the end of the day, we walk out of here with three points and that’s what it’s all about. We’re picking up wins while we’re growing.”
  • Making his fourth start of the season, Arnaud scored his first goal with D.C. United. Arnaud has 49 goals in his 13-year MLS career.
  • “I don't think anybody offensively really had a great day, but it was more collectively we didn't get enough of the ball. Davy's a grinder. Davy's still going to always be a positive for you out there,” said Olsen.
  • It was also a second consecutive clean sheet for Andrew Dykstra, his first two MLS starts since 2010. Dykstra, who made 17 starts, recording five shutouts, for the Chicago Fire in 2010, spent 2012 on loan with the Charleston Battery and then 2013 on loan to USL PRO side Richmond Kickers.
  • Fabian Espindola recorded his second assist in as many games, and has a goal and two assists over the last three contests. Eddie Johnson is still looking for his first goal or assist since coming to United.
  • “I like what Eddie's doing for us. I'm very pleased with how he's playing. Could he finish one or two? Yes of course, and he'll be tough on himself for those, but I'm happy with some parts of us, and I think there's a lot of room to grow with this team,” said Olsen.
  • The goal vs. New York was the second this season from a corner kick, already the third of the season from a set piece (from five total). A year ago, United had just two goals from dead-ball situations, second-fewest in MLS (behind Chivas USA, who had one).
  • “You can see it can get you points. It doesn’t matter what league you're in in the world, if you're good on set pieces you can steal points. Sometimes it’s the difference in getting to the playoffs,” said Olsen. “We had several focuses in the offseason, and one of them was to get better on set pieces. It's not just guys putting their heads in tough spots, it's also service, and I thought Fabian’s service was great.”