Alejandro Moreno and the Crew hope to slow down the red hot Red Bulls on Thursday.
P. Giamou/Getty Images

Weekly Update: Primetime clash

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- After playing Toronto FC to a 1-1 draw at BMO Field last Saturday (Sept. 13) the Crew returns home this week, Trillium Cup in tow, to face the New York Red Bulls this Thursday, Sept. 18, in a Thursday Night Primetime match on ESPN2. The match features a Crew squad (13-6-5, 44 pts.) that is current riding a five-game unbeaten streak (4-0-1) and is looking to maintain its spot atop the Eastern Conference Standings, while New York (9-7-8, 35 pts.) visits Crew Stadium hoping to continue its recent rise up the conference standings. The Crew has already matched the club record for most wins in a season in the post-shootout era (since 2000), established by the 2001 squad that went 13-7-6.

Thursday's match kicks off at 7 p.m. and will be televised live nationally on ESPN2, with JP Dellacamera and John Harkes calling all the action. The game can also be heard in English on The Brew @ 105.7 (PLEASE NOTE CHANGE) with Neil Sika and John Bluem behind the microphone and on-line at theCrew.com and MLSNet.com.

Thursday's match will also be the third and final Bob Evans Buck-a-Brat Night of the 2008 season, when juicy, full-size Bob Evans bratwursts will be sold for just $1 throughout Crew Stadium.

New York enters the mid-week match after defeating Real Salt Lake, 2-1, last Saturday (Sept. 13), thanks to goals from Juan Pablo Angel and Dave van den Bergh. Real Salt Lake went in front, 1-0, in the 38th minute when Robbie Findley flicked in a service by Chris Wingert and freed Yura Movsisyan in on goal. The Red Bulls equalized four minutes into the second half when Angel received a long ball from Kevin Goldthwaite, then RSL defender Jamison Olave and slotted the ball inside the far post. Just after the hour mark, New York was rewarded for its offensive pressure when Dane Richards' shanked shot fell right to van den Bergh, who hugged the offside line and beat RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando inside the far post for his sixth goal of the year. Thanks to its win over Salt Lake, the Red Bulls are now 3-1-1 in their last five MLS games. They are led by Angel, a Colombian striker who has nine goals this season, including seven tallies in his last nine games.

The Crew enters Thursday's match after drawing with Toronto FC, 1-1, on the road, thanks to Pat Noonan's game-tying goal in the 40th minute. Toronto drew first blood in the match when Amado Guevara lined up for a direct free kick, but instead of shooting, passed to Carl Robinson standing just outside of the penalty line. The Welsh midfielder struck a swerving shot that slipped just past Crew goalkeeper William Hesmer, who was unable to get a full deflection on the shot. The Crew responded with an equalizer in the final moments before halftime when Noonan advanced the ball up the right channel, cut back to the middle to evade a Toronto defender and sent a well-struck shot past leaping Toronto goalkeeper Greg Sutton. Frankie Hejduk (U.S.A.), Alejandro Moreno (Venezuela), Duncan Oughton (New Zealand) and Ricardo Pierre-Louis all returned to the Crew after missing the Sept. 6 match vs. New England due to call-ups with their respective national teams, with Hejduk and Moreno once again in the starting line-up for the Black & Gold. MVP candidate Guillermo Barros Schelotto sat out with a mild hamstring strain.

The draw improved Columbus' record against Toronto to 1-0-2 on the season, thus clinching the first annual Trillium Cup competition, awarded to the winner of the season series between the two clubs. The Crew also improved its all-time record against Toronto to 3-0-3.

The teams will square off in a Reserve Division match on Friday morning (Sept. 19) at 10 a.m. at the Crew Training at Obetz. Admission is free and open to the public.

COLUMBUS CREW vs. New York Red Bulls


Thursday, Sept. 18 - 7 p.m. (ET) at Crew Stadium
National Television: ESPN2; Local Television: N/A
Crew Radio: The Brew @ 105.7 (English)
Crew Webcasts: TheCrew.com; MLSNet.com (English)

TORONTO MAYOR DAVID MILLER MAKES GOOD ON TRILLIUM CUP WAGER
The City of Toronto's Mayor, David Miller, "paid up" on his friendly wager with Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman Saturday at BMO Field. The elected officials had backed their respective hometown teams to win the inaugural Trillium Cup, with the agreement being that the losing mayor would don the jersey of the winning team for a photo op. Coleman's Crew came out on top, by a 5 points to 2 margin, winning once and tying twice. So following Saturday's game, Miller came into the Crew locker room to congratulate the team, pull on his personalized Crew jersey and pose for pictures with Crew head coach Sigi Schmid and captain Frankie Hejduk. Please visit blackandgoldstandard.com for photographic evidence.

NOONAN TALLIES FIRST GOAL IN BLACK & GOLD
Pat Noonan notched his first goal since becoming a member of the Crew in its 1-1 tie with Toronto FC last Saturday (Sept. 13). Noonan equalized the match in the 40th minute, when he advanced the ball up the right channel, cut back to the middle to evade a Toronto defender and sent a well-struck shot past leaping Toronto goalkeeper Greg Sutton. Noonan's first goal with the Crew comes just one week after the St. Louis native tallied his first assist in the Black & Gold, in its 4-0 victory over his former club, New England on Sept. 6. Noonan joined the Crew after most recently playing for Aalesunds FK of the Norwegian Premier League. Prior to his brief stint with Aalesunds, Noonan played five standout seasons for the Revs, which originally selected him in the first round (No. 9 overall) of the 2003 MLS SuperDraft out of perennial-power Indiana, where he was Hermann Trophy runner-up in 2002.

CREW INTERNATIONAL UPDATE
The Black & Gold has had four players participating in World Cup Qualifying for their respective national teams over the last several weeks. Frankie Hejduk started, went the full 90 minutes and picked up a yellow card for the U.S. in its 1-0 victory over Cuba on Sept. 6, but did not play in the U.S.' 3-0 victory over Trinidad & Tobago on Sept. 10. Alejandro Moreno subbed on in the 55th minute in Venezuela's 1-0 loss to Peru on Sept. 6 and followed that by starting and going the full 90 minutes in Venezuela's 2-0 setback to Paraguay on Sept. 9. Duncan Oughton started and played the full 90 minutes in New Zealand's 3-1 win over New Caledonia on Sept. 6, and then started, and played 66 minutes in the All-Whites' 3-0 win over New Caledonia on Sept. 10. Crew rookie forward Ricardo Pierre-Louis was also called in to represent the Haitian National Team in WC Qualifying, but did not dress in either of Haiti's losses; a 5-0 loss to El Salvador on Sept. 6 and a 3-1 defeat by Costa Rica on Sept. 10.

CREW PLAYERS AMONG LEAGUE STATISTICAL LEADERS
Several Crew players find themselves among MLS' statistical leaders as the 2008 regular season schedule comes down the home stretch. Midfielder Guillermo Barros Schelotto is enjoying an MVP-type season, as he currently leads the league in both assists and corner kicks by a wide margin. Schelotto currently has 18 assists on the season, distancing himself from his closest competitor (Javier Morales, RSL - 10), while also totaling 113 corner kicks in 2008. Schelotto is also for first in MLS in game-winning assists with five this season. Forward Alejandro Moreno finds himself ranked eighth in MLS in goals scored, with eight, and despite being away on U.S. Olympic duty for several weeks, midfielder Robbie Rogers still ranks among the league's best in several categories, as he is currently ranks fifth in shots (58) and is seventh in shots on goal (28). Rogers is also tied for third in MLS in multi-goal games, with two on the season.

CREW FEATURES THREE OF THE LEAGUE'S FOUR MOST-FOULED PLAYERS
The Crew's roster features three of the four most-fouled players in Major League Soccer - Alejandro Moreno currently sits second with 59, while Guillermo Barros Schelotto and Robbie Rogers are currently tied for third with 55 apiece.

SOCCER AID VI SCRIMMAGE, GAME-DAY EXPERIENCE IS THURSDAY PRIOR TO CREW GAME
The Crew Soccer Foundation's Soccer Aid VI concludes on Thursday, when the winning bidders in the on-line auctions will experience the thrill of match day at one-of-a-kind Columbus Crew Stadium, playing a 30-minute scrimmage prior to the Crew's game vs. New York and being recognized in an on-field pre-game ceremony, before enjoying the game. A unique annual fund-raiser, Soccer Aid capitalizes on soccer fans' passion for the sport to raise money for charity through the non-profit arm of the Crew, including its primary beneficiary, the Mid-Ohio Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).


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