Columbus Crew vs. LA Galaxy | MLS Match Preview
COLUMBUS CREW vs LA GALAXY
COLUMBUS CREW STADIUM, Columbus, Ohio
Aug. 16, 2014 (WEEK 23, MLS Game #215)
7:30 p.m. ET (TWCS-OH; TWCS-LA; TWCD)
The Columbus Crew and LA Galaxy meet in a crucial interconference matchup on Saturday evening at Crew Stadium as each team aims to solidify its playoff standing. The Crew come into the game holding a tenuous tie for fifth place in the Eastern Conference and the final postseason position, following their 3-2 loss to Toronto FC at home last weekend. The Galaxy are in fourth place in the Western Conference, safe by four points, undefeated in their last three games following a 2-2 home draw with the San Jose Earthquakes last Friday.
REFEREE: Armando Villarreal. AR1 (bench): Corey Parker; AR2 (opposite): Adam Garner; 4th: Sorin Stoica
MLS Career: 39 games; FC/gm: 23.5; Y/gm: 3.0; R: 15; pens: 10
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: CLB: Tony Tchani, Wil Trapp
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: CLB: Bernardo Anor, Federico Higuain, Giancarlo Gonzalez ? LA: Landon Donovan, Dan Gargan, Alan Gordon
DISABLED LIST: CLB: Matthew Wiet; Josh Williams; Kingsley Baiden (season-ending injury)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
ALL-TIME (38 meetings): Crew 15 wins (3 shootout), 50 goals ? Galaxy 14 wins (0 shootout), 48 goals ? Ties 9
AT COLUMBUS (17 meetings): Crew 8 wins (1 shootout), 26 goals ? Galaxy 4 wins (0 shootout), 19 goals ? Ties 5
LAST YEAR (MLS):
7/4: LA 2, CLB 1 (Keane 85, 92+ -- Anor 78)
- The teams are meeting for the only time this season in league play.
- The Crew have not defeated the Galaxy since 2009. The Galaxy won 2-1 last July 4 at StubHub Center in their only meeting.
- The Galaxy have taken points on their last three trips to Columbus (two wins and a draw). The Galaxy have a four-game home undefeated streak alive vs. Columbus dating back to 2007, with two wins and two draws in that time.
- Coaches record: Bruce Arena v CLB: P26 W15 L8 D3 | Gregg Berhalter vs. LA: first game
The Columbus Crew had their undefeated run put to an end after three matches, falling 3-2 to Toronto FC on Saturday evening at Crew Stadium. The Crew are in a tie for fifth place in the Eastern Conference, with 27 points from 23 matches.
- Toronto opened scoring in the 43rd minute. Pushing forward out of the TFC end, Luke Moore found Gilberto in plenty of space just off the Crew back line. Gilberto was then able to turn and curl a low shot past goalkeeper Steve Clark inside the right post.
- But the Crew were able to pull even just before break. A Federico Higuain corner kick found the head of Tony Tchani, and his header seemed destined for goal, until making contact with Toronto defender Justin Morrow's flailing arm, and referee Marcos de Oliviera awarded the penalty kick. Higuain confidently slotted home the ensuing spot kick in stoppage time.
- The visitors again took the lead just before the hour mark. A trio of Toronto players broke toward goal, and Moore's lunging effort bounced off the Columbus goalkeeper. The rebound fell perfectly for Jonathan Osorio, who calmly put Toronto ahead in front of an open net.
- But the Crew again found a response in the 82nd minute when substitute Justin Meram hit a cross from the left flank that bounced past a fooled TFC goalkeeper Joe Bendik and snuck inside the far post.
- Yet there was still one more answer from Toronto just two minutes later. Moore found space in the box and finishing a Collen Warner corner kick with a diving header for the match-winner.
- Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter made one change to the team that reached a 1-1 draw with the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park. Eric Gehrig came into the back four in place of Tyson Wahl.
- COLUMBUS CREW (4-2-3-1): Steve Clark - Eric Gehrig (Aaron Schoenfeld 79), Giancarlo Gonzalez, Michael Parkhurst, Waylon Francis - Tony Tchani, Wil Trapp - Ben Speas (Justin Meram 64), Ethan Finlay, Federico Higuain - Adam Bedell (Jairo Arrieta 63).
- The Crew saw their three-game undefeated streak come to an end, their first loss since July 16. It also marked the first time the Crew have ever been swept by Toronto FC in the Trillium Cup season series.
- "To lose three games to any team out of three contests, it hurts," Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter said. "We had intentions to go out there and try to win the game. Credit Toronto for their play, but [ours] wasn't good enough. It's missing a little bit, and that's what bothers me. When you have guys in a game like this, with a chance to get back at them, a chance to climb the table and then to have four or five guys have bad performances, it's not good."
- The Crew have won just once in their last five matches at Crew Stadium. With a 3-4-4 home record, the Crew are one of just three teams below .500 on their own ground (along with Montr?al and Chivas USA).
- "We had a number of guys that had subpar performances, and you have to question why," Berhalter said. "You have to question why they're not able to perform up to their standard. - It's disappointing, it is. You get to a point where you can start attacking and you can start making some movement in the table. And to have four or five guys have subpar performances, it's not great."
- Said defender Eric Gehrig: "I think that's fairly spot on from the boss. I think some of the guys would be the first ones to tell you we weren't good enough tonight. ... The first 20 minutes of the second half wasn't like us. We weren't doing any of the things that make us successful."
- Crew midfielder Federico Higua?n has scored in three consecutive games, after converting a penalty kick against Toronto FC, his first goals since May 17.
- "I don't care how goals come. A goal is a goal. At the end of the day, 10 years from now you're not going to say a penalty kick and a cross shot," Berhalter said. "I thought that we created other good opportunities especially in the first half. We had some good moves that we were in front of goal that we could make something happen and this is a very good defensive team, Toronto."
- With Michael Parkhurst again shifting inside to play central defense alongside Giancarlo Gonzalez, Gehrig moved out to right back for the first time this season, his first start since July 12.
- "I don't think that it is much of a transition. Obviously, the fitness is different but I like to be on the ball and cross it," Gehrig said. "I thought overall it was a pretty good effort. I think the more I play the more comfortable I will get and if that is the position Coach wants to play me, I?ll gladly play."
The LA Galaxy pushed their undefeated run to three matches, coming back for a 2-2 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes on Friday evening at StubHub Center. The Galaxy sit in fourth place in the Western Conference with 34 points from 20 games.
- The Quakes took the lead after 18 minutes. On the counter, Sam Cronin picked up a turnover and found Shea Salinas in Galaxy territory. Chris Wondolowski made a run behind the defense and received a pass from Salinas on the left, rounding a defender before ripping a low shot inside the far post.
- But the Galaxy were level just 11 minutes later. Robbie Keane's shot from the left side of the area bounded off Quakes midfielder Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi and dropped right to Gyasi Zardes, who slotted it between two defenders and past goalkeeper Jon Busch.
- San Jose went ahead again within two minutes. Atiba Harris sent a ball toward the top of the Galaxy box that Wondolowski redirected it with the back of his heel, and Matias Perez Garcia cracked it first-time with his left foot, a rocket that went off LA goalkeeper Jaime Penedo and into the ceiling of the net.
- But the Galaxy again found the equalizer, this time four minutes into the second half. Center back Omar Gonzalez lost his marker on a run above the 6-yard box and headed down Stefan Ishizaki?s corner kick, bouncing it off the line and to the back of the net.
- Galaxy coach Bruce Arena made no changes to his team for a second consecutive week, keeping the group that came back for a 3-1 victory against the Portland Timbers at StubHub Center.
- LA GALAXY (4-4-2): Jaime Penedo - Dan Gargan (Chandler Hoffman 89), Omar Gonzalez, A.J. DeLaGarza, Robbie Rogers - Stefan Ishizaki (Bradford Jamieson 82), Marcelo Sarvas (Baggio Husidic 80), Juninho, Landon Donovan - Gyasi Zardes, Robbie Keane.
- The Galaxy did see their two-game winning run come to an end, but extended their undefeated streak at StubHub Center to nine games, since losing their season opener to Real Salt Lake. The Galaxy have yet to win three games in a row this season.
- "I think the difference in the game was probably our inability to do better in the last third of the field and attacking with our passing and just taking advantage of the opportunities that we created," said Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena. "Certainly I would say the first half our defending in those two goals could certainly be better, but again every goal is a mistake on both sides.."
- Said Landon Donovan: "It's a tie that feels like a loss, but I think when we wake up in the morning, we'll realize one point is better than none and to come back twice from a goal down is still good. We played well, we controlled the game, but we made a couple mistakes. And generally when a team has three shots, they're not going to score twice, but that's the way it went."
- Galaxy striker Gyasi Zardes scored for a third consecutive game. He has scored eight of his nine goals on the season over the last nine matches, since June 8, when he was installed into a starting spot in the Galaxy attack.
- "Gyasi [Zardes] played well. He didn't get a whole lot of chances, but certainly he held the ball up well, scored an important goal for us; he continues to play well," Arena said.
- Omar Gonzalez scored his first goal of the season, his first since last Aug. 17, when he scored against Real Salt Lake. Gonzalez has scored at least one goal in each of his six MLS seasons.
- "I think he could've defended a little bit better on the two goals, but they obviously weren't too dangerous going forward and somehow we managed to concede two goals," Arena said. "That's the story line. Pretty sloppy defending on a couple of plays, and I give San Jose credit, good finishing on their part. In general, I think we played a fairly inefficient game."
- Before the game, the major talking point was the announcement by Landon Donovan that he will retire from professional soccer following the 2014 season.
- "I don't think it bled into this performance. Obviously, this is Landon's last year, and we are all trying to make it a special one for him," said Gonzalez. "There was a lot of fire in us. We just want to send him off the right way, and starting from tonight, continuing to move up the ladder."
- Said Donovan: "I felt energized but I wasn't sharp. I gave away a lot of passes that I'm not accustomed to giving away. So I hope that I can just have some now time to chill out a little bit and get away. This will be the last I talk about any of this stuff so I can just focus on soccer."
- In the week leading up to the Columbus match, the Galaxy re-acquired striker Alan Gordon from the Earthquakes. Gordon, who was originally drafted by the Galaxy in the 2004 MLS SuperDraft and played with the club into the 2010 season, has scored 39 goals and added 26 assists over his 11-year MLS career.