Columbus Crew vs. Real Salt Lake | MLS Match Preview

COLUMBUS CREW vs REAL SALT LAKE
COLUMBUS CREW STADIUM, Columbus, Ohio
June 4, 2014 (WEEK 14, MLS Game #125)
7:30 p.m. ET (TWCSN-OH; KUCW-30)

A pair of clubs looking to put tough weekend losses behind them meet when the Columbus Crew take on Real Salt Lake on Wednesday evening at Crew Stadium. The Crew suffered a 3-2 loss at Toronto FC on Saturday afternoon, conceding the final two goals in the last 10 minutes. Real saw their 12-game undefeated run to start the season put to an end in a 4-0 defeat by Seattle Sounders FC.

REFEREE: Baldomero Toledo. AR1 (bench): Ian Anderson; AR2 (opposite): Scott Kachmarik; 4th: Chris Penso
MLS Career: 172 games; FC/gm: 25.3; Y/gm: 3.4; R: 61; pens: 64

SUSPENDED: none
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: CLB: Wil Trapp … RSL: Javier Morales
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: CLB: Tony Tchani … RSL: Nat Borchers, Alvaro Saborio, Chris Schuler
DISABLED LIST: none
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: CLB: Waylon Francis, Giancarlo Gonzalez (CRC) … RSL: Kyle Beckerman, Nick Rimando (USA); Alvaro Saborio (CRC)

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (16 meetings): Crew 10 wins, 22 goals … Real 5 wins, 17 goals … Ties 1
AT COLUMBUS (8 meetings): Crew 7 wins, 16 goals … Real 1 win, 4 goals … Ties 0

LAST YEAR (MLS):
8/24: RSL 4, CLB 0 (Beckerman 46+, 89; Sandoval 51; Gil 83)

  • This is the only league meeting between the teams this season.
  • RSL’s 4-0 win vs. the Crew last Aug. 24 at Rio Tinto Stadium put an end to a three-game Columbus winning streak in the all-time series, Real’s first victory since 2010.
  • RSL have not won at Crew Stadium in league play since 2006, the Crew having won six consecutive home regular-season games in the series. But Real did win the second leg of the Eastern Conference Semifinal Series between the teams in 2009 in Columbus, on their way to an MLS Cup title.
  • Coaches record: Gregg Berhalter vs. RSL: first game … Jeff Cassar vs. CLB: first game

COLUMBUS CREW

The Columbus Crew weren’t able to build upon their first win in nine matches, Toronto FC scoring a pair of late goals to snatch a 3-2 win Saturday afternoon at BMO Field. The Crew are in a tie for fifth place in the Eastern Conference, with 16 points from 13 matches.

LAST MATCH

  • The Crew took the lead in the 18th minute. Justin Meram picked up a pass at the edge of the box on a quick Crew counterattack and curled a shot past TFC goalkeeper Joe Bendik into the top corner for a 1-0 lead.
  • But just a couple of minutes later, Jackson found Jermain Defoe in the box, and after he was pulled down by defender Tyson Wahl, referee Sorin Stoica awarded a penalty kick. Defoe stepped up to the spot and struck his finish into the bottom left corner past Crew 'keeper Steve Clark, who got a touch on the ball but couldn’t make the save.
  • The Crew regained the lead again in the 65th minute when a corner kick which was swung in and met by Agustin Viana, who outjumped a defender and headed home.
  • But TFC had another comeback in them. First, in the 81st minute, when substitute Gilberto slipped a through ball in for Defoe, and he hammered a first-time with his left foot from just outside the box into the top corner for the leveler.
  • Then in stoppage time, Dan Lovitz swung in a free kick from the right flank and Doneil Henry sent a glancing header inside the far post for the winner.
  • Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter made four changes to the team that defeated the Chicago Fire 2-0 at Crew Stadium. Josh Williams and Michael Parkhurst came into the back four and Agustin Viana and Daniel Paladini came into the midfield, in place of Hector Jimenez, Eric Gehrig, Wil Trapp and the suspended Federico Higuain.
  • COLUMBUS CREW (4-2-3-1): Steve Clark - Josh Williams, Tyson Wahl, Michael Parkhurst, Chad Barson - Agustin Viana (Fifi Baiden 73), Tony Tchani - Ethan Finlay (Bernardo Anor 90), Daniel Paladini (Ben Speas 61), Justin Meram - Jairo Arrieta.

TEAM NEWS

  • For the second time in three matches, the Crew saw a late lead evaporate into lost points, after finishing in a 3-3 draw vs. Portland the week before.
  • “In games like this we need to come out with a result. I think that it’s a learning process for the group and it was a really great opportunity in my eyes to really seal a result under pressure,” said Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter. “I think it was a good opportunity for us to learn how to win, learn how to fight for each other, to battle, and I’m disappointed that we didn’t do it.”
  • Ethan Finlay has two goals and an assist over his last three games, but the Crew have now gone their last five road games without a win following the loss to Toronto FC.
  • Daniel Paladini made his first start of the season, filling the central midfield role with Federico Higuaín suspended. Paladini had made one substitute appearance, totaling 25 minutes, before the TFC match.
  • “We are very disappointed to not come out with any points. … The good thing is that we have the opportunity at home to play against Salt Lake, get three points there and then close out the week before the World Cup with six of nine points,” Paladini said.
  • Michael Parkhurst made his first start since May 10, following his release from the U.S. national team, while Josh Williams returned to the starting lineup after a one-match absence.
  • “I'm not going to single anyone out because we're a team and we win as a team and we lose as a team,” Berhalter said. “There are some certain situations we could have done better on, but it's a team effort. When you get to the late stages of the team, you need the whole team to be on the same page and pull in the same direction, and I think from that standpoint we could have been a little bit better.”
  • Said Williams: “I’ll take a 2-1 lead into the 81st minute any day.  …  Everybody needs to look in the mirror and we need to have a little gut check here. We can’t have any more games and disappointments like this. This is strictly between the players. This is something that we’ve got to look at each other and we’ve got to rally around. There is no way this can happen again.”
  • Agustín Viana scored his first career MLS goal, making his second start of the season, his first since May 7.
  • Fifi Baiden made his MLS debut, coming on for the final 17 minutes, while Ben Speas made his first appearance of the season for the Crew, playing the final 29 minutes.

REAL SALT LAKE

Real Salt Lake saw their season-opening undefeated streak come to an end after 12 matches, falling 4-0 to Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday afternoon at CenturyLink Field. RSL are in second place in the Western Conference with 24 points from 13 matches.

LAST MATCH

  • Sounders FC took the lead in the 42nd minute. After Lamar Neagle was bundled over in the box while chasing down a loose ball, referee Ricardo Salazar awarded a penalty kick. For the second straight game, Gonzalo Pineda took the kick, blasting his shot into the side netting despite RSL goalkeeper Jeff Attinella guessing the right way.
  • Just seven minutes after halftime, the lead was doubled when Marco Pappa curled in a beautiful free kick from about 25 yards out, bending his shot over the wall and just inside the near post.
  • The Sounders put the match away in the 62nd minute when Chad Barrett finished off a quick counterattack by sweeping home a shot in side the area, and they put the game away during stoppage time when Obafemi Martins tapped in a Kenny Cooper cross at the left post.
  • RSL head coach Jeff Cassar made two changes to the team that reached a scoreless draw with FC Dallas on Saturday evening at Rio Tinto Stadium. Aaron Maund came into the back four for Chris Schuler, and Olmes Garcia started up top in place of Joao Plata.
  • REAL SALT LAKE (4-3-1-2): Jeff Attinella - Tony Beltran, Aaron Maund, Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert (Abdoulie Mansally 59) - Luke Mulholland (John Stertzer 74), Cole Grossman (Luis Gil 59), Ned Grabavoy - Javier Morales - Olmes Garcia, Devon Sandoval.

TEAM NEWS

  • Real Salt Lake saw their undefeated start to the season come to an end after 12 games. The streak equaled the all-time MLS record. The Los Angeles Galaxy opened their inaugural season – and the first MLS season – with a 12-0 record (2 by shootout); the Galaxy also started 2010 and the Kansas City Wizards began 2000 with 12 games without defeat (both 10-0-2).
  • “I don’t enjoy it,” RSL head coach Jeff Cassar said. “I don’t want it to happen often. But we knew it was going to happen [eventually]. It was a fantastic run that we went on, but I’m trying to make sure the team will react the same way I do – we have work to do and it’s on to the next game.”
  • Aaron Maund made his fourth start of the season, his second in the last four matches, in replacing Chris Schuler in central defense.
  • “I thought his individual battles were good, but maybe the decision making on a few plays was tough. ... But I thought he battled through it and it's about moving on and showing your character,” Cassar said. “And Aaron has really strong character. It's about focusing on Columbus now.”
  • Jeff Attinella was beaten for four goals for the second time in 10 career starts, also conceding four in a 4-3 loss to New York last July 27.
  • “I just told the guys to discount the third and fourth goals because we were pushing and we knew we were going to be exposed at the back. But I thought the commitment level was there. It was a very even match in the first half for sure,” Cassar said. “Two dead ball situations - the PK and the free kick - then the rest was just breaks on counters. It's a tough place to play and we don't have a full arsenal, but I thought the guys out there did a very good job.”
  • Said Attinella: “Quick turnaround, which is great, not a lot of time to think about it. We … knew this was going to be a tough stretch. Whether we lost 1-0 or 4-0 it really didn't matter we knew we were going to have to get a result in one of these games.”
  • With Joao Plata out through a hamstring injury suffered in the FC Dallas match, Olmes Garcia made his first start since April 19.
  • “I thought [Olmes] Garcia had a fantastic match - probably his best one of the year, which is really promising,” Cassar said. “But I thought Chad Marshall was really fantastic for them. He really was working Devon [Sandoval] and making every touch Devon had on the ball extremely hard. He won a lot of aerial battles.”