COLUMBUS, Ohio - Although the Columbus Crew have not met FC Dallas this season in MLS play, the two squads are quite familiar with each other following a heated U.S. Open Cup match earlier this month. In the fourth-round match on Aug. 3, FC Dallas defeated the Crew 3-1 in extra time.
After being tied at one following regulation time, Danny Szetela and Frankie Hejduk were ejected for fouls on Arturo Alvarez before two late FC Dallas goals allowed the visitors to avoid penalty kicks against the 9-man hosts. In addition to the two red cards, the match featured six cautions and some highly upset and vocal fans by the end of the night in the intimate confines of Jesse Owens Stadium at Ohio State University.
As a result to the recent encounter, the Crew believe that the upcoming match will also be played at a high intensity level.
"It is not only an interesting game for us, but also for the fans, that game on Saturday," said Warzycha. "I hope we are going to make the game very interesting so everyone remembers."
The intense match was the first loss under interim coach Warzycha and began a losing streak that the Crew are still attempting to end. During the streak, Columbus has fallen 17 points out of the final playoff spot. Crew captain Robin Fraser thinks the standings dictate the importance of the match, not the intensity of the Open Cup match.
"It is going to be intense because we need points and they are not particularly playing well," said Fraser. "Obviously, they have something to prove to themselves in getting back on track. We are still trying to find our way so it is big for us for different reasons."
FC Dallas have not won a league match since June.
The home points are vital to any lingering playoff aspirations for the Crew as seven of their final 10 matches are on the road, where the Crew are winless this season.
The Crew hope the home game can right the ship before they depart for three away matches.
"As a team, we need to play better and continue to play better," said Fraser. "Good team play is going to create opportunities for a lot of people."
John Kuhn is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its club.