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COLUMBUS CREW STADIUM
7:30 pm ET (no TV)
The Columbus Crew return home after seeing their seven-match unbeaten streak ended last weekend, falling to fourth place in the Eastern Conference. But they still have a run alive at Crew Stadium, where they haven't lost since the season opener. The Colorado Rapids come to town having ended a six-hour goalless drought last weekend, but without a victory in four consecutive matches and just three draws in five away matches this season, leaving them in last place in the Western Conference and with the second-worst record in the league this season.
REFEREE: Jair Marrufo. SAR (bench): Chip Reed; JAR (opposite): Ken Kaplan; 4th: Hilario Grajeda
MLS Career: 18 games; FC/gm: 31.4; Y/gm: 3.0; R: 4; pens: 7
Games involving Crew: P3 W0 L2 T1; FC/gm: 29.0; Y/gm: 3.0; R: 0; pens: 3
Games involving Rapids: P5 W1 L3 T1; FC/gm: 23.6; Y/gm: 1.8; R: 1; pens: 1
INJURY REPORT: COLUMBUS CREW - OUT: GK Matt Jordan (L ankle sprain); DOUBTFUL: F Edson Buddle (R quadriceps strain); PROBABLE: D Stephen Herdsman (R knee sprain) ... COLORADO RAPIDS - OUT: DF Jeff Stewart (R knee); FW Zizi Roberts (R knee swelling); QUESTIONABLE: DF Gary Sullivan (groin strain); MD Mark Chung (L quadriceps strain)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: None.
SUSPENDED: COL: Kyle Beckerman (through June 27); Darryl Powell (through June 27); John Spencer (through June 27)
YELLOW PERIL: none
This is the first of three meetings between the two clubs this season, the only one at Crew Stadium. They'll meet in the Mile High City on July 24 and in the season finale on Oct. 16.
A year ago, each team won once on home ground. The Crew recorded a 2-0 victory on May 10 in Columbus (Cunningham 25 pen, McBride 43), while the Rapids claimed a 2-1 golden goal triumph at Invesco Field on Aug. 16 (Spencer 57, Chung 91 - Buddle 72).
The visiting team hasn't won in the last six meetings in the series. The last road victory was a Colorado 3-2 victory at Crew Stadium on July 4, 1999.
Four of the last six matches between the clubs have gone to extra time, with three of those ending in draws. The only golden-goal victory between the teams was last season's Rapids win in Denver.
The Rapids won eight of the first nine meetings between the two teams - with the only Crew victory in that time coming by shootout after a regulation draw. Since, the Crew have won three times, the Rapids three and three matches have ended drawn.
Edson Buddle and Manny Lagos lead current Crew players with 2 goals each v Colorado. Lagos also 5 assists, but none of his points have come while with Columbus; Buddle has 1 assist. Just three other current Crew players have points against the Rapids - Jeff Cunningham (1 goal, 2 assists), Simon Elliott and Brian Maisonneuve (each 1 goal, 1 assist).
Chris Henderson and Mark Chung lead current Rapids players with 3 goals each against Columbus. Henderson also has 8 assists, but just 1 goal, 7 assists have come while with Colorado. Chung also has 3 assists; just 1 goal has come with the Rapids. Just three other current Rapids - Ritchie Kotschau, Joey DiGiamarino and John Spencer - have scored against Columbus, and they all have 2 goals v the Crew.
Coaches record: Greg Andrulis v COL: P5 W1 L2 T2 ... Tim Hankinson vs. CLB: P15 W10 L5 T2
ALL-TIME (18 meetings): Crew 4 wins (1 shootout), 25 goals ... Rapids 11 wins (2 shootout), 32 goals ... 3 draws
AT COLUMBUS: (10 meetings): Crew 3 wins (1 shootout), 17 goals ... Rapids 5 wins (1 shootout), 21 goals ... 2 draws
D.C. United ended the Crew's long unbeaten run and kept things tight in the Eastern Conference, Alecko Eskandarian scoring twice (his first since the season opener) as the home side rolled to victory.
Jaime Moreno tapped in a low cross from Ronald Cerritos after just six minutes, then Eskandarian hit twice in 10 minutes with a pair of marvelous goals. He finished a nifty tic-tac-toe passing sequence in the left side of the area when he hammered home a looping volley from a cheeky lifted ball from Moreno (35), then just before the halftime whistle, hit a world-class freekick from some 19 yards over the wall and inside Jon Busch's left-hand post.
Manny Lagos pulled a goal back just before the final whistle for the visitors, but the Crew still went down to defeat for the first time since April 24, having won four games and drawn three in the seven matches in between.
"We got outplayed. We got outclassed. We got out-everythinged," Jeff Cunningham said. "We looked bad. We got spanked. We've been playing poorly and getting results. I'm happy we got spanked. Now we know we need to improve."
Crew coach Greg Andrulis made two changes to the team that claimed a late 2-2 draw with the Kansas City Wizards at home the previous Saturday. Kyle Martino was out with a thigh injury, meaning there was again a place for Simon Elliott, while David Testo replaced Michael Ritch in attack.
Here's Andrulis's team (3-5-2): Jon Busch - Nelson Akwari, Robin Fraser, Chad Marshall - Duncan Oughton, Simon Elliott, Manny Lagos, Ross Paule (Kyle Martino 65), Eric Denton (Chris Wingert 67) - Jeff Cunningham (Michael Ritch 77), David Testo
"We had our chances," Andrulis said. "On the defensive side, giving up three goals is not the best recipe for success. ... It was a funny game. Giving up the early goal put us on our heels. The goals we gave up weren't the best."
On Tuesday, the club announced president and general manager Jim Smith will be leaving the organization to accept a front office position with the Atlanta Falcons of the NFL.
The Columbus Crew saw their unbeaten streak ended at seven games, done in by three first-half goals as D.C. United rolled to a 3-1 victory Saturday night at RFK Stadium. The result lifted United ahead of the Crew into a tie for second place in Eastern Conference, Columbus now in fourth with 15 points from 11 matches, just two behind the East-leading Chicago Fire.
Jason Kreis scored for the second consecutive week as he continues to round into fitness following a serious knee injury last year. The Burn original put his team ahead just after the halftime break, when he sent a sublime chip over Rapids goalkeeper Joe Cannon from just inside the penalty area. The strike put him into a tie with Roy Lassiter, who played with four different clubs from 1996-2002, with 88 goals.
But just two minutes later, Colorado pulled level with a quality goal from Chris Henderson, after Rey Angel Martinez controlled a long pass from Antonio de la Torre and found Henderson with a cross that Dallas 'keeper Jeff Cassar couldn't deal with. It ended a 360-minute goalless streak for the Rapids.
The Rapids were left with 10 men when Darryl Powell was sent off with three minutes remaining for a second bookable offense, then captain John Spencer was shown a red card for a post-match altercation with an assistant referee.
"We haven't ended the drought because we haven't won," Rapids coach Tim Hankinson said. "There's no comparison, because we have not scored enough to win."
Hankinson made two changes to the team that played to a scoreless draw with D.C. United. Nat Borchers returned from suspension in place of Gary Sullivan in central defense, while Rey Angel Martinez made his first MLS start with Zizi Roberts away.
Here's Hankinson's team (4-4-2): Joe Cannon - Antonio de la Torre, Nat Borchers, Ritchie Kotschau, Matt Crawford - Chris Henderson, Kyle Beckerman (Jordan Cila 83), Darryl Powell, Seth Trembly (Joey DiGiamarino 59) - Rey Angel Martinez (Adrian Cann 89), John Spencer
Hankinson will again have some serious selection issues this weekend. Both central midfielders - Powell and Kyle Beckerman - will be suspended, as will captain John Spencer. However, central defender Pablo Mastroeni and striker Jean-Philippe Peguero will return from international duty with the USA and Haiti respectively.
"Chung will start training, but he probably won't be back for next week. We will take that week-by-week," Hankinson said. "Hopefully, Pablo can get through (the Grenada match) healthy and hopefully Pedro will get through Jamaica healthy."
But Martinez was influential in his first full MLS appearance. "I tried to fit into the team structure and play within that, and I didn't want to get above or below or try to get into the groove of things," Martinez said. Said Hankinson: "He's doing good things for us. He can break down a defense, something we have been lacking, and he will continue to see minutes."
Henderson joined Marcelo Balboa atop the Rapids all-time chart for games played for the club. Henderson made his 151st Colorado league appearance last weekend.
The Burn game also marked a Colorado return for midfielder Joey DiGiamarino, claimed off waivers by the club after his release by the MetroStars to make room for Pablo Brenes. DiGiamarino made 67 appearances, scoring seven goals and seven assists, playing for the Rapids from 1998-2000.
On Tuesday, the Rapids defeated their reserve team, Boulder Rapids Reserve, 4-0 in an exhibition match. John Spencer, Joey DiGiamarino, Seth Trembly (penalty) and Kyle Beckerman scored. Here's the team Hankinson put out: Scott Vallow, Darryl Powell, Ritchie Kotschau (Kenny Cutler), Adrian Cann, Nat Borchers (Michael Erush), Joey DiGiamarino (John Pulido), Matt Crawford (Kyle Beckerman), Antonio de la Torre (Alberto Delgado), Seth Trembly, John Spencer, Rey @ngel Martinez (Jordan Cila).
The Colorado Rapids failed to win for the fourth consecutive match, scoring for the first time in six hours before settling for a 1-1 home draw with the Dallas Burn. The result left the Rapids firmly at the foot of the Western Conference with 12 points from 11 matches, three behind the Burn and nine out of first place.