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COLUMBUS CREW STADIUM
8 pm ET (ESPN2)
MLS Primetime on ESPN makes the first of a couple of appearances on Friday night as the long-time Eastern Conference rivals do battle at Crew Stadium. The Columbus Crew saw their 19-game league unbeaten streak ended last weekend in a 3-0 loss away to the New England Revolution, after winning their opener by the same scoreline at home. D.C. United return to league wars after they were knocked out of the CONCACAF Champions Cup with a 5-0 loss to Pumas UNAM in Mexico City on Wednesday, and now face a second game in three days, third in a week and fifth in a 13-day span.
REFEREE: Ricardo Salazar. SAR (bench): Tom Supple; JAR (opposite): Adam Wienckowski; 4th: Hilario Grajeda
MLS Career: 32 games; FC/gm: 33.1; Y/gm: 3.7; R: 8; pens: 12
Games involving Crew: P10 W5 L2 T3; FC/gm: 32.7; Y/gm: 3.2; R: 2; pens: 5
Games involving United: P6 W2 L3 T1; FC/gm: 34.3; Y/gm: 5.0; R: 3; pens: 2
INJURY REPORT: COLUMBUS CREW - OUT: DF Stephen Herdsman (groin strain); MF Duncan Oughton (R knee); MD Ross Paule (post-concussion syndrome); QUESTIONABLE: DF Chris Wingert (groin/abdomen strain) ... D.C. UNITED - OUT: MF Dema Kovalenko (Jones fracture); QUESTIONABLE: DF Bryan Namoff (intercostal strain); DF Brandon Prideaux (L hamstring strain)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
YELLOW PERIL: none
ALL-TIME (32 meetings): Crew 12 wins (0 shootout), 51 goals ... United 15 wins (5 shootout), 49 goals ... 5 draws
IN COLUMBUS: (16 meetings): Crew 9 wins (0 shootout), 30 goals ... United 4 wins (2 shootout), 17 goals ... 3 draws
The bitter Eastern Conference rivals meet for the first time in four encounters this season. They'll meet again in three weeks in Washington, then face off for the second and final time at the Ohio State Fairgrounds on July 2. They'll then meet in the season finale for both teams, Oct. 15 on East Capitol Street.
A year ago, the teams split their four-game season series. They played to a 1-1 draw on May 8 at RFK Stadium (Kovalenko 4 - Paule 90 pen), then United claimed a 3-1 home victory on June 19 (Moreno 6, Eskandarian 33, 45 - Lagos 90+)
The teams then played to a 2-2 in the first of their Columbus matches on Aug. 21 (Oughton 42, Paule 54 - Eskandarian 35, Moreno 76 pen), before the Crew took a 1-0 victory on Sept. 25 at Crew Stadium (Sanneh 10).
After losing seven consecutive league meetings through the 1999 season, the Crew have had the upper hand lately, winning eight of the last 16 regular season encounters (with five draws). The Crew had won the previous two season series before last year.
Coaches record: Peter Nowak v CLB: P4 W1 L1 T2 ... Greg Andrulis vs. DC: P14 W7 L3 D4
The Columbus Crew saw their MLS-record 19-game league unbeaten streak ended in a 3-0 loss to the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium on Saturday evening. The Crew are left tied for third place in the Eastern Conference with three points from their first two matches, level with the Kansas City Wizards, one point behind the Revolution and D.C. United.
The match burst into life in the second half when the Revolution finally took advantage of their dominance throughout the match.
Clint Dempsey gave the Revolution a 64th-minute lead when he powered home a diving header, Jay Heaps whipping in a driven cross from the left after Pat Noonan completely changed the field with a long ball over the entire penalty area.
Noonan then doubled New England's lead on 82 minutes when the Crew failed to clear from their own area, Columbus 'keeper Jon Busch parrying Taylor Twellman's shot but only into the path of Noonan who slammed the ball into the back of the net.
Twellman then played provider for New England's third, breaking down the right on a counter before rolling a centering pass that substitute Andy Dorman flicked underneath Busch with a last gasp touch with the outside of his right boot, the ball just crossing the line ahead of Robin Fraser's desperate clearance attempt.
"We were off in a lot of different areas tonight," Crew coach Greg Andrulis said. "It was our inability to pass the ball and to consistently establish any rhythm. We had too many easy turnovers. The effort is not something we should have to worry about."
Andrulis didn't make any changes to the team that defeated the Los Angeles Galaxy 3-0 at home to kick off the 2005 season.
Here's Andrulis's team (3-4-1-2): Jon Busch - Mark Schulte (Ryan Kelly 89), Robin Fraser, Chad Marshall - Danny Szetela, Simon Elliott, Manny Lagos (Frankie Hejduk 62), David Testo (Domenic Mediate 62) - Kyle Martino - Edson Buddle, Ante Razov
It was the first league loss for the Crew since last June 26. Columbus hadn't lost on the road in their last nine matches in all competitions (two wins, seven draws). "We were on a one-game unbeaten streak this year," goalkeeper Jon Busch said to the Columbus Dispatch. "We have 30 more games to play. We have to learn from this. We can't hold on for 90 minutes and hope to get something."
The Crew are awaiting the international transfer clearance to sign Panama under-20 international midfielder Luis Gallardo, who last was with Perez Zeledon in Costa Rica. In addition, the Crew are hoping the visa paperwork for Guatemalan international midfielder Mario Rodriguez will be completed this week meaning he would be available.
Midfielder Ross Paule has not played this season after being hit in the head in Charleston, S.C. during a preseason match, and following three concussions last year, suffering from post-concussion syndrome. Paule will undergo another battery of tests which could go a long way in determining his future. "There's no reason to speculate. I just don't know. My main focus is to get healthy and do what it takes to stay healthy," Paule told the Columbus Dispatch. "It's going to be a benchmark," Crew coach Greg Andrulis said. "...Obviously, we're concerned about his health not just immediately but long term."
D.C. United remained unbeaten on the young season despite settling for a frustrating 1-1 draw with the Chicago Fire in their league home opener on Saturday night. United are tied with the New England Revolution atop the Eastern Conference with four points from their first two matches, one ahead of the Kansas City Wizards and Columbus Crew.
D.C. United returned to league wars as they and the Chicago Fire settled for a draw with goals on either side of halftime.
Mike Petke put United ahead just before the break when he raced onto the end of a Christian Gomez freekick from the left flank and touched it home from close range (40).
But just after the break the Fire pulled level when Mario Ivan Guerrero cleared the ball from right on the touchline and set rookie Chris Rolfe free in alone on United 'keeper Nick Rimando. He made no mistake for his first professional goal, driving a low shot home from just inside the penalty area.
United coach Peter Nowak made one change to the team that defeated Chivas USA 2-0 in the season opener the week prior. Defender Brandon Prideaux was out with 'flu, meaning David Stokes took his place in the back three.
Here's Nowak's team (3-4-1-2): Nick Rimando - David Stokes, Bobby Boswell, Mike Petke - Joshua Gros, Brian Carroll, Ben Olsen, Steve Guppy (Jamil Walker 87) - Christian Gomez (Freddy Adu 62) - Alecko Eskandarian (Santino Quaranta 69), Jaime Moreno
"This game was about setting the tone early, and we didn't do a good job. We need to be alert. We have to recognize, read the game faster," said United coach Peter Nowak. "I'm not really happy with the result. I know the players are not happy."
On Wednesday, United had their dream of a second CONCACAF Champions Cup title and a trip to the Club World Championship ended when they were defeated 5-0 by Pumas UNAM in the second leg of their semifinal tie. Pumas won the home-and-home series 6-1 on aggregate.
Bruno Marioni's clear header in the 11th minute sent Pumas into the break a goal ahead, although Alecko Eskandarian saw a shot come off the post in the 16th minute with Sergio Bernal clearly beaten. Then two minutes into the second half Joaquin Botero doubled the lead, then just after Mike Petke was sent off for a second yellow card, he completed his double (73) with both goals set up by Marioni.
Substitute David Toledo made it 4-0 in the 85th minute, then Botero laid on a fifth goal from Jaime Lozano just a minute before the final whistle.
Here's Nowak's team in the second leg (3-4-1-2): Nick Rimando - David Stokes, Bobby Boswell, Mike Petke - Nick Van Sicklen (Freddy Adu 58), Ben Olsen (Jamil Walker 82), Brian Carroll, Josh Gros - Christian Gomez (Clyde Simms 72) - Jaime Moreno, Alecko Eskandarian