DC United vs. Columbus Crew | MLS Match Preview

D.C. UNITED vs COLUMBUS CREW
FEDEX FIELD, Landover, Md.
June 7, 2014 (WEEK 14, MLS Game #130) 7 p.m. ET (CSN-MA; TWCSN-OH)

D.C. United and the Columbus Crew renew their rivalry for the second time this season when the Eastern Conference clubs face off at FedEx Field. United are coming off a 1-0 home win against Sporting Kansas City last weekend that moved them into second place in the East. The Crew hit the road off a 1-1 draw with Real Salt Lake at midweek; they claimed a 3-0 win against United in the season opener for both teams March 8 at RFK Stadium.

DOWNLOAD FULL GAME GUIDE (PDF)

REFEREE: Hilario Grajeda. SAR (bench): Bill Dittmar; JAR (opposite): James Conlee; 4th: Daniel Fitzgerald
MLS Career: 106 games; FC/gm: 24.2; Y/gm: 3.4; R: 18; pens: 17

SUSPENDED: DC: Perry Kitchen (caution accumulation; through June 8); Alex Caskey (through June 8)
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: DC: Davy Arnaud … CLB: Wil Trapp
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: DC: Fabian Espindola, Lewis Neal … CLB: Tony Tchani

DISABLED LIST: none
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: CLB: Waylon Francis, Giancarlo Gonzalez (CRC)

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (57 meetings): United 25 wins (5 shootout), 81 goals … Crew 24 wins (0 shootout), 84 goals … Ties 8
AT RFK STADIUM (29 meetings): United 18 wins (3 shootout), 57 goals … Crew 8 wins (0 shootout), 41 goals … Ties 3
FUTURE MATCH: 6/7: D.C. United vs. Columbus Crew, 7 p.m.

  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Federico Higuaín scored twice and Jairo Arrieta added a third as the Crew rolled to a 3-0 season-opening win, March 8 at RFK Stadium
  • The Crew have won on their last two trips to the nation’s capital. 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: Ben Olsen vs. CLB: P9 W3 L6 T0 … Gregg Berhalter vs. DC: P1 W1 L0 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 Wiliams 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).

D.C. UNITED
D.C. United extended their home undefeated streak to seven matches, getting the game’s only goal for a victory against Sporting Kansas City on Saturday evening at RFK Stadium. United are in second place in the Eastern Conference with 21 points from 13 games.

LAST MATCH

  • The game's lone goal came in the 28th minute. After a cross skipped through the box, Fabian Espindola collected the ball with his back to goal on the right and from 25 yards out and struck an apparent cross back toward the far post, which Sporting goalkeeper Eric Kronberg misjudged to allow the curling ball to find its way into the upper corner.
  • United goalkeeper Bill Hamid was credited with five saves in recording the clean sheet. United finished the game a man down after Alex Caskey was sent off in stoppage time.
  • United head coach Ben Olsen made two changes to the team that fell 2-1 to the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium. Chris Rolfe came into the midfield from Alex Caskey, and Fabian Espindola started up top in place of Collin Martin.
  • D.C. UNITED (4-4-2): Bill Hamid - Chris Korb (Sean Franklin 34), Jeff Parke, Bobby Boswell, Cristian Fernandez - Nick DeLeon (Alex Caskey 86; ejected 89), Perry Kitchen, Davy Arnaud, Chris Rolfe - Eddie Johnson (Lewis Neal 68), Fabian Espindola.

TEAM NEWS

  • United is now 5-0-2 over their last seven home matches, since opening the season with the 3-0 loss to Columbus at RFK Stadium.
  • The Crew game will be held as part of an international doubleheader at FedEx Field.
  • “It is kind of like a home-away game, you know, we will get a look at it Friday and make sure we get in there and see the specifics of the stadium,” United head coach Ben Olsen said. “We’ve played there before several times; it’s a little more narrow than RFK but that’s OK. I don’t see it too much of an issue.”
  • Fabián Espíndola scored a goal for a third consecutive game. Espíndola is tied for fifth in the MLS Golden Boot standings with seven goals; he has three goals and two assists over the last four games.
  • “He needs freedom and he needs to be able to offset defenses and not be constricted. I think we’ve given him that here. I certainly think he has been as good as anybody in this league up to this point,” Olsen said. “But no, it does not surprise me because he has been doing it for a long time in this league, and he is a guy you never wanted to play against as a coach or a player because how unpredictable he is, how ruthless he is and his mentality.”
  • Said Espindola: “I don’t know if it’s because [Kansas City] made me run so damn much or because I’ve been sick – I had a fever, was throwing up, had a lot of congestion. I’m definitely feeling that I didn’t train for two days, as well. This was the hardest game I’ve played in a D.C. uniform. I’m totally worn out.”
  • Chris Korb made his sixth consecutive start at right back and collected his first assist of the season, but an injury forced him from the field before the halftime break. Sean Franklin came on for his first league appearance since April 26, when he was forced off with an injury in the game vs. FC Dallas.
  • “It’s nice to look down the bench and have [Sean] Franklin coming in,” Olsen said. “It’s what we’ve tried to do in the offseason, build that depth if you get into trouble and you know tonight was good example of that. ... We are kind of banged up, so I think these guys have deserved a day or two to exhale.”
  • Goalkeeper Bill Hamid was credited with his third shutout in the last five matches, the fifth of the season for United. Andrew Dykstra was in the goal for back-to-back shutouts April 5-12.
  • “It shows a lot of character that we were able to stay strong and keep shutouts and get three points, or get points on the road,” Hamid said. “When we look back at this during the week we’re going to look in the mirror and say we could’ve been a little better with the ball, could’ve kept possession a little better and we could have been a bit more dangerous in attacking them.”

COLUMBUS CREW
The Columbus Crew rebounded from a late loss, coming back for a late 1-1 draw with Real Salt Lake on Wednesday evening at Crew Stadium. The Crew are in a tie for fourth place in the Eastern Conference, with 17 points from 14 matches.

LAST MATCH

  • Real scored the opening goal in the 56th minute. From a partially cleared corner, defender Abdoulie Mansally launched a screamer from outside of the box which Crew ‘keeper Steve Clark stopped at full stretch. But the rebound was first reached by Luis Gil, who slotted a shot across clark and into the back of the net off the post.
  • The Crew hit for the leveler in the 88th minute. Ben Speas found substitute Ethan Finlay on the right wing with a gorgeous through ball, and he sent a looping chip over RSL goalkeeper Jeff Attinella to the back of the net to draw the Crew level.
  • Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter made five changes to the team that suffered a 3-2 loss to Toronto FC at BMO Field. Eric Gehrig and Bernardo Anor came into the back four for Tyson Wahl and Chad Barson, Hector Jimenez and Federico Higuain started in midfield in place of Ethan Finlay and Daniel Paladini, and Dominic Oduro came in up top in favor of Jairo Arrieta.
  • COLUMBUS CREW (4-2-3-1): Steve Clark - Josh Williams, Michael Parkhurst, Eric Gehrig, Bernardo Anor - Tony Tchani, Agustin Viana (Adam Bedell 72) - Hector Jimenez (Ethan Finlay 77), Federico Higuain (Ben Speas 44), Justin Meram - Dominic Oduro.

TEAM NEWS

  • It was a 10th game out of the last 11 without a victory for the Crew, after winning the opening three games of the season. Three of their next four games are on the road, starting with the trip to D.C. United; the Crew are winless in their last five away matches.
  • “The team doesn't have full confidence right now," Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter said. “We're lacking a little bit of confidence. And you see when they throw all that out the window and they play, you see how good that group is. And that's what we're expecting out of them.”
  • Said goalkeeper Steve Clark: “We are still a young team. We have been together for about six months, so right now it is about building that team chemistry and confidence that you are speaking about and we can take a lot of confidence out of digging for another point late. We have done that a bunch of times so we are going to turn the corner soon.”
  • Ethan Finlay scored his third goal in the last four matches, coming off the substitutes’ bench after starting the previous two games. He has a goal or an assist in four consecutive games.
  • “I was looking for a tying goal. We have been communicating all weekend about the plan to rotate guys through so it wasn’t a surprise that we had a different look today and we had different guys in,” Berhalter said. “The idea was to rest Ethan and get him ready for Saturday. We needed him though. He is making plays right now and he is vital to this group. We needed him: he came in and made a play.”
  • Bernardo Anor returned to the starting lineup for the first time since May 10, but slotted into the left back role for the first time this season. His first nine starts had all been as a wide midfielder.
  • “Bernie was close to my Man of the Match in terms of what he did at left back having never played there before,” said Berhalter. “He just kept going and he made a couple great moves and had a couple of great crosses. He really put a lot of pressure on them in the second half.”
  • Making just his second league appearance of the season, Ben Speas recorded his second assist in those games, the second and third of his MLS career.
  • “Maybe tonight we didn’t play free enough. Obviously with losing in that first half, you lose a lot of creativity,” said Finlay. “Then Ben came in and did a great job. Attinella made some great saves so you got to give him some credit.”
  • There was a real injury scare as playmaker Federico Higuain – returning after serving a one-match suspension – was forced off before halftime with a hamstring injury.
  • “He made a through run and came up holding his hamstring and had to take him out,” Berhalter said. “I would expect him to be out on Saturday. If it wasn’t serious there’s no way we would get him off that field. This guy loves to be on the field. My guess is Saturday there’s no chance of him playing.”