Tag Archive | "Columbus"

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PREVIEW: Revs @ Crew

Posted on 13 August 2011 by Matty Jollie

Revs Face Crew to Continue Playoff Push

The New England Revolution (4-10-9, 21pts) head back out on the road this weekend, this time to the Midwest to take on the streaking (and first place) Columbus Crew (9-7-7, 34pts).  New England is coming off a disappointing, albeit entertaining home loss to Chivas USA last Saturday, while Columbus was beaten by defending champion Colorado.  With the Revolution 8 points back from a playoff spot, every match provides an essential opportunity to climb back into race for the post-season, and it continues with Saturday’s match at Crew Stadium.

GOALKEEPER: It’s the veteran Matt Reis once again for New England, coming off a poor 3 goal performance on Saturday. Reis has been solid, but his season has been marred by a few mistakes in bad spots.  One of the goals for Chivas USA came about when Reis was too late off his line on a cross, leaving an empty net and providing an easy target.  If Reis can remain solid, and avoid the big mistake, New England are always competitive.  In Columbus, there’s no mistaking, the job belongs to Will Hesmer. Strong in the air, a physical presence, the Crew net-minder has been solid all season long and continues to b instrumental in the club’s climb to the top of the Eastern Conference table. ADVANTAGE: Columbus. Hesmer has quickly supplanted himself as one of the best in MLS.

DEFENDERS: New England will be bolstered by the return of AJ Soares on Saturday asfter missing the previous match due to a red card suspension.  Soares was sorely missed against Chivas USA, and will regain his spot in the center of the Revs defense, but who joins him remains to be seen. Kevin Alston continues to fight off a turf-toe injury, Ryan Cochrane has been shaky at best, and left-back has been a revolving door all season. If the Revs are going to have a chance, they need to shore up the holes at the back, and continue to push forward.  Columbus is anchored by one man: Chad Marshall. The tall, strong center back has found a niche in Columbus, and his solid play has also earned him a look with the USMNT.  Marshall has been joined by youngsters Julius James and Sebastian Miranda, who have given a youthful edge to the side throughout the season, fighting their way off the bench and into the starting 11.  ADVANTAGE: Columbus. The Revs continue to struggle to get healthy, although the addition of Soares will help.

MIDFIELDERS: Shalrie Joseph and Benny Feilhaber remain the foundation of the Revs midfield, however the season has yet to offer up consistent partners for them.  Sainey Nyassi has played well at times and at others his play is maddening, rookie Stephen McCarthy has played well in spots, showing his physicality, and there’s always the defensive-minded Pat Phelan to contend for a spot also.  Until New England can find the quality of play from the wings they are looking for, they’ll continue to have difficulty maintaining possession.   Columbus boasts a talented and speedy midfield, built around the incredibly quick (and recent USMNT goal-scorer) Robbie Rogers. Rogers’ pace always finds a way to open up the midfield of opposing teams, and when you add the talents of Emmanuel Ekpo and veteran Eddie Gaven, you’ve got quite a talented and dynamic attack-minded midfield. ADVANTAGE: Push. Columbus doesn’t have anyone with the quality of a Feilhaber or Joseph, and with Gaven on the injury report, the midfield is an even battle.

FORWARDS: After playing nearly 60 minutes in his debut, recently signed DP Milton Caraglio will once again be the focal point up top for New England.  The Revs were dealt a blow when it was reported that Rajko Lekic would miss up to a month with a toe fracture, leaving Caraglio as the first option.  The Argentine showed good physical strength and instincts, but it remains to be seen how good his match fitness will be.  Columbus will most likely be without Jeff Cunningham, which has placed a lot of the burden on relative unknowns like Tommy Heinemann and Andres Mendoza.  The two have turned in average performances, putting more pressure on Rogers’ to create. ADVANTAGE: Push. The loss of Cunningham is big for Columbus, and the matchup of a Heinemann/Mendoza pairing and Caraglio really has no clear cut winner.

PREDICTION: It’s tough to tell with so many injuries on both sides. Columbus boasts one of the largest injury reports in the league at the moment, and it will all come down to who actually takes the pitch for the Crew.  New England sees AJ Soares return, which bolsters the defense, and Milton Caraglio enters his second match with another week of training under his belt, which can only help. The difference in the match is going to be Robbie Rogers.  If the USMNT midfielder can overcome fatigue from the mid-week match with Mexico and put his stamp on the game, Columbus will escape with three points. That being said, New England will continue their decent run of form, and escape Columbus with a hard-fought point.  SCORE: New England 1 – Columbus 1.

 

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Revs 1, Crew 3

Posted on 10 March 2011 by Hank Alexandre

The New England Revolution fell to the Columbus Crew last night by a score of 3-1 in the opening game of the Atlanta Pro Soccer Challenge.

Columbus came out of the gate looking to shake things up from their defeat against the Revs just days before in Chattanooga where they lost 2-1, starting only 2 of the 11 players from that line-up.

A series of defensive lapses gave the Crew an early lead as rookies Bernardo Anor and Tommy Heinemann got Columbus on the score sheet early.  Anor eluded defenders to head in a free kick from Robbie Rogers in the 16th minute, and Heinemann capitalized on a flubbed back pass from Revolution rookie A.J. Soares less than a minute later.

Heinemann, who joined the Crew in January after playing for a number of years in the USL, combined with Anor early in the second half to score his third goal in 2 games against the Revolution, giving the Crew a 3-0 lead. The Revolution would score in the 62nd minute, with Stolica, who had missed an earlier opportunity, driving home a well set up goal via the hard work of second year man, Zack Schilawski.

The Revolution, who started 8 of the same players who played on Sunday, made a number of substitutions midway through the second half, looking to add some fresh legs into the attack.  Sainey Nyassi, who scored in his previous two games, almost drove home his third just minutes after coming on for Ryan Kinne in the 64th minute, but his effort went to naught as he caught the wrong side of the side netting.

Coach Nicol shook things up further by opting for more speed and subbing out left back Didier Domi in favor of young Michael Augustine in the 77th minute.  The Revs however could not mount the attack needed to come back, and suffered their first loss of the preseason.

The Atlanta Pro Soccer Challenge continues on March 11th, with Columbus playing their third game in a week against new Eastern Conference hopefuls, the Houston Dynamo.  The Revs will round out their preseason on Sunday the 13th in the final game of the challenge, when they face the Dynamo at 3:00 ET (game will be aired live on CSN).  The Revs will then travel home to New England before heading out to Los Angeles, to face the LA Galaxy on Sunday the 20th.

 

New England Revolution vs. Columbus Crew

March 9, 2011 – Kennesaw State University Soccer Stadium (Kennesaw, Ga.)

Scoring Summary:

CLB – Bernardo Anor (Robbie Rogers) 16
CLB – Tom Heinemann (unassisted) 17
CLB – Tom Heinemann (Bernardo Anor) 53
NE – Ilija Stolica (Zack Schilawski) 62

New England Revolution: Matt Reis, Didier Domi (Michael Augustine 77), A.J. Soares, Franco Coria, Zak Boggs, Chris Tierney, Shalrie Joseph, Stephen McCarthy (Pat Phelan 64), Ryan Kinne (Sainey Nyassi 64), Zack Schilawski, Ilija Stolica (Kenny Mansally 64)

Substitutes Not Used: Bobby Shuttleworth, Darrius Barnes, Ryan Cochrane

STATS: Shots: 8; Shots on Goal: 4; Saves: 3; Corner Kicks: 7; Offside:  2; Fouls Committed: 6

 

Columbus Crew: William Hesmer (Alex Riggs 60), Korey Veeder, Julius James (Josh Gardner 46), Chad Marshall (Ben Sippola 46), Josh Williams, Robbie Rogers (Dilly Duka 46), Eric Gehrig, Leandre Griffit (Santiago Prim 60), Bernardo Anor (Justin Meram 60), Jeff Cunningham (Andy Adlard 46), Tom Heinemann (Bernardo Anor 89)

STATS: Shots: 11; Shots on Goal: 8; Saves: 5; Corner Kicks: 1; Offside: 2; Fouls Committed: 5

Misconduct Summary:

NE – Franco Coria (caution) 78

NE – A.J. Soares (caution) 90

Referee: Hilario Grajeda
Weather: Cloudy, 55 degrees

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Crew crumble 2-0 to rival RSL

Posted on 15 August 2010 by Patrick McShane

Real Salt Lake continued their scintillating play at home Saturday as the dispatched the Columbus Crew 2-0 to extend their home undefeated streak to 21 matches, just one away from the league record set by the Crew in the 2008-2009 season. With an upcoming CONCACAF Champions League match at home versus Arabe Unido of Panama, RSL were able to not only secure a vital victory, but also rest some of their key players in the process.

Fueled by media reports throughout the week noting the growing tension between the two squads, the 16,906 fans that came to see a physical grudge match between two top tier teams were not let down. Recently there have been stories citing a number of Crew players who made off-handed comments about the legitimacy of RSL’s championship run last season, after the unheralded Salt Lake squad took a losing record into the playoffs and dominated the favored Crew both home and away en route to a magical run to win the MLS Cup. With both teams currently having the second and third best records in MLS, it was not only a match filled with emotion but a vital contest as they are still in the running for the Supporters’ Shield.

From the opening minute both teams were trying to establish some dominance, with referee Jorge Gonzalez having to separate RSL’s Jamison Olave from Crew forward Steven Lenhart in the first five minutes of play. While the match had a surprisingly low number of cautions, with Frankie Hejduk earning the lone yellow card, this early battle set a theme for the entire match that was relentless for the entire 90 minutes.

Scoring a paltry single goal mid-week at Philadelphia, RSL were hoping to get on the score sheet early in order to set Columbus on their heals. Thankfully for the RSL coaching staff, midfielder Javier Morales answered that call as he blasted home RSL’s first goal less than 12 minutes into the match, putting RSL in the driver’s seat and on their way to a comfortable victory. Taking a short corner from Fabian Espíndola, Morales was able to run freely just outside of the Crew’s box as he lashed a rocket through traffic to the right post. Keeper Will Hesmer appeared lost on the play as Danny O’Rourke didn’t close down on the creative midfielder and he had far too much time to pick his placement for the shot.

While the Crew appeared to be more organized and poised in the second half, the match never really felt out of RSL’s control and it seemed like only a matter of time until the lead was extended. This potential was eventually fulfilled in the 60th minute after Ned Grabavoy was mugged from behind just outside of the box. It was again another perfect opportunity for Morales to excel, and he didn’t let fans down. As the positioning of the ball seemed a little too close for a shot over the Crew wall, Morales keenly powered the ball low and through the wall to the right, well beyond the reach of Hesmer.

Both teams now face a busy week as they play Wednesday night in the CONCACAF Champions League, with RSL playing their fourth match in 12 days. Thanks to the dominating performance, Morales only logged 63 minutes of play and standout newcomer Álvaro Saborío was able to rest the entire match. While it may be easy to assume that the players are tired and may not be able to get energized for Wednesday’s match, coach Jason Kreis feels that he won’t have a hard time finding players interested in competing. “Talking to quite a few of the guys last week, we made the decision to rest a bunch of them… I thought it was going to be a little bit of a sales job for me to tell them how important this tournament is for our club. As has happened many times before, my players made me very pleased because they were all saying how important it was to them.”

The match kicks off this Wednesday at 8:00 pm MST and can be seen on Fox Soccer Channel.

REAL SALT LAKE (11-4-6, 39 pts.) v. COLUMBUS CREW (11-5-4, 37 pts.)
SATURDAY, AUGUST 14, 2010 – RIO TINTO STADIUM

Scoring Summary:
RSL — Javier Morales 5 (Fabian Espíndola 2) 11?
RSL — Javier Morales 6 (unassisted) 60

Misconduct Summary:
CLB — Frankie Hejduk (caution; Reckless Tackle) 48

Lineups:
Columbus Crew — William Hesmer, Frankie Hejduk (Jason Garey 81), Eric Brunner, Chad Marshall, Shaun Francis, Emilio Renteria (Leandre Griffit 56), Adam Moffat, Danny O’Rourke, Emmanuel Ekpo, Steven Lenhart, Guillermo Barros Schelotto (Dilly Duka 75).

Real Salt Lake — Nick Rimando, Robbie Russell, Nat Borchers, Jamison Olave, Tony Beltran, Ned Grabavoy (Nelson Gonzalez 82), Kyle Beckerman, Javier Morales (Andy Williams 63), Will Johnson, Robbie Findley (Pablo Campos 72), Fabian Espindola.

Referee: Jorge Gonzalez?
Referee’s Assistants: Craig Lowry; Ian Anderson?
4th Official: Yader Reyes?
?Attendance: 16,906

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Podcast – Episode 19 – The Midnight Ride Homestand Fiasco

Posted on 11 May 2010 by Hank Alexandre

It’s all doom and gloom this week on TMR, as Hank, Sean and Brian are distraught and dismayed at the thought of the New England Revolutions performance over the last few weeks.  Routed at home by Chivas USA a week ago, the Revs seemed to be a bit more composed in Columbus, but to no avail, as the defense finally cracked under the pressure from the Crew.  Who do you blame? Players? Front Office? Head Coach? TMR talks at length about how things are shaping up for the Revs, and what to expect out of them going forward.

Click here to listen

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Gerba scores on debut, but TFC fall to Columbus

Posted on 26 July 2009 by Mahmoud Shoblaq

Gerba scored but it wasn't enough

After Chicago’s earlier result Toronto FC came into the match knowing a win will move them up the table tied in points with Chicago and a draw or a loss can see them stay at the bottom of the table. In addition, the Trillium Cup was on the line and Toronto FC had plenty to play for.

The Toronto FC starting lineup saw a few changes due to injury and the addition of players to the roster.
Keeper: Stefan Frei
Defenders: Marvel Wynne, Adrian Serioux, Jim Brennan, Nick Garcia
Midfielders: Pablo Vitti, Amado Guevara, Carl Robinson, Dwayne De Rosario, Chad Barrett
Forward: Ali Gerba,

An entertaining half to start the game off with chances coming from both sides, Columbus had the greater number of chances but did not capitalize till the opening goal. Toronto FC responded within minutes to keep the game in play. Both teams suffered yellow cards in the first half which will keep these players on their toes in the second half in order not to obtain another.

The second half saw Toronto go ahead with a goal from Gerba who scored his first MLS goal in his debut. The Crew was able to answer back later on with two goals to win the match. The chances were there from both teams but at the end Columbus was able to capitalize in the vital moments of the game.

Toronto came short and went on to lose the game late on. It will be an unfortunate blow as they had all 3 points secured up to midway through the second half. TFC will not want to look back at this performance as it will remind them of their last two seasons in MLS when they saw plenty of their games lost or tied in the dying minutes of the game.

Final Score: Toronto FC 2, Columbus Crew 3

The Reds will now head home to face the Puerto Rico Islanders on Wednesday in their first match-up for the Preliminary round of the CONCACAF Champions League. In order for TFC to keep their chances of advancing to the next round alive, they must get the win; keep their goals-for at a maximum, and their goals-against at a minimum. After that, Toronto will head to New England to face the Revs on Saturday for their next MLS game.

Toronto FC Ratings for players from 1 (low) to 10 (high), ranked by position:

Stefan Frei: 6.5
He had plenty to do with many easy saves throughout the game, but was unable to keep Toronto in the game when it mattered.

Marvell Wynne: 6.5
He did well to start the game and create chances for Toronto but was not able to continue the form in the second half and possibly cost Toronto the Trillium cup with the third goal.

Adrian Serioux: 7
Good form back from injury, not many mistakes. Took a knock in the second half but stuck through to the end.

Nick Garcia: 7
Did well over all, but did not seem to control his defense like he usually does.

Jim Brennan:  7.5
Did well, and moved up to midfield after the injury of Guevara and the entry of Velez. A few great passes which created some chances.

Dwayne De Rosario:  8
A well taken goal, and he created plenty of danger.

Amado Guevara: N/A
Did not see much action after getting a knock early in the first half, he had minimum impact.

Carl Robinson:  6.5
Late tackle to earn himself a yellow card, some mistakes with his passes today. But went on to improve his performance.

Chad Barrett: 7
Showed his presence did his best with the chances given to him. Great play with Gerba to give Gerba his first MLS goal.

Pablo Vitti: 8
Continued his improved form and played well over all. Created some plays and chances for Toronto.

Ali Gerba: 7.5
My expectations are still higher for him, seems like he lacks a little fitness. But nothing will take away from his solid play to hold the ball and his well taken goal.

Subs Used:
Marco Velez: 7.5
Another one of his better games, it will give the coaches more confidence in him. He couldn’t do much about the second goal as it caught everyone off guard.

O’Brian White: N/A
Came on for Barrett to make his MLS debut; he had a few touches with the ball but still seems uncomfortable.  

Danny Dichio: N/A
Came on for Gerba and was on for a few minutes, had a few touches with the ball but not enough to make an impact this late in the game.

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TFC head to Columbus for Trillium Cup

Posted on 23 July 2009 by Mahmoud Shoblaq

Having played Columbus home and away already this season the two teams are tied 2-2 on aggregate total in their Trillium Cup match-up. Toronto FC will now head to Columbus for the rubber game, with a win or a scoring draw securing the team silverware. But TFC has plenty of reasons to regret the other results this season against Columbus.

Toronto has struggled against teams sitting at the top three spots of either conference table; with the only win coming against Chivas USA back on April 22. They will be disappointed from last week’s draw at home against Houston, knowing that they need better results to keep their playoff hopes alive.

With a heavy schedule in the next few weeks Toronto has much to aim for.

At Crew Stadium, Toronto will be without Sam Cronin and Nana Attakora. Cronin is still away on international duty with the U.S. National Team in the Gold Cup, while Nana Attakora suffered an injury Wednesday during the friendly against River Plate. Adrian Serioux remains questionable after his injury from Saturday against Houston.

This match is critical for Toronto FC as they are one point behind third place team Columbus Crew and second-placed D.C. United. A win will not only give TFC the cup, but put the team in a good position in the standings going into their next game.

Previous three MLS results for each team:

Columbus Crew (6-3-9):
vs. Real Salt Lake (Home)= 3-1 Win
vs. Chicago Fire (Away)= 0-0 Draw
vs. D.C. United (Home)= 1-1 Draw

Toronto FC (7-6-5):
vs. Houston Dynamo (Home)= 1-1 Draw
vs. San Jose Earthquakes (Away)= 3-1 Win
vs. Real Salt Lake (Away)= 3-0 Loss

Predictions for the upcoming game:

  • The line up could be anyone’s guess after the performance Wednesday against River Plate.  There will be plenty of changes guaranteed.
  • With the injuries of both Adrian Serioux and Nana Attakora, either Marco Velez or Emmanuel Gomez could see a start.
  • TFC will come strong and will want everything from the game.
  • An 80% chance of TFC taking all 3 points from this game or a 60% chance of at least 1 point.
  • A score of 1-0 for TFC.

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RSL kick the Crew

Posted on 03 April 2009 by Patrick McShane

RSL rolled to an impressive victory in their home opener Thursday night, easily dispatching of the Columbus Crew. Robbie Findley didn’t let the cold weather and rain ruin his best performance for the club as he put home two goals in the first half as well as a third early in the second to earn the first hat-trick in RSL club history.

Skip right to the player ratings or the photo gallery.

It took less than two minutes for RSL to get on the board as Findley casually scored on a rebound shot from a Will Johnson free kick. It appeared the Columbus keeper Will Hesmer was caught by surprise when Johnson slammed the ball at goal from over 35 yards out, barely knocking the ball down to a wide-open Findley to roll home. The 11,806 brave enough to come out in the storm erupted with joy, as it seemed like all of the concerns from the previous week had been remedied.

However, all of that jubilation turned to doubt just 20 minutes later when Columbus took advantage of sloppy defending on a short corner to free Columbus striker Jason Garey for an easy tap-in. Fortunately for RSL, Hesmer made another shocking error to gift RSL the lead at half. Having just collected a back pass under no pressure from Brian Carroll, Hesmer curelessly kicked the ball into an unknowing Findley, who quickly came to life and drove the ball around Hesmer for the easiest goal of the night.

Any question as to if Columbus would come out with fire in the second half was quickly answered as RSL continued to maintain sustained attacks against a confused Crew defense. Findley finished off his hat-trick in the 62nd minute after Yura Movsisyan collected a long pass from keeper Nick Rimando and lifted a beautiful cross back in front of goal for a leaping Findley to put home.

It was all she wrote just five minutes later, when captain Kyle Beckerman slammed the final nail from a Clint Mathis corner kick. It was Beckerman’s first goal in the last 25 matches and a well-deserved reward for hustling and organizing RSL’s midfield all night.

Columbus will have little time to recover as they fly to Los Angeles to take on an undefeated Chivas USA squad this coming Sunday. In the meantime, RSL will take pride in coming back from a dreadful opening-week performance and hope to gain momentum for their next match at home against DC United next week

RSL PLAYER RATINGS
On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being best.

MAN OF THE MATCH: Robbie Findley – 10
Is there any question? Findley played his best all-around match as an RSL player, earning the first hat-trick in club history as well as his first multiple-goal match since his debut for the club. He ran all over the crew defense while showing a surprising soft touch and offensive guile.

Rimando: 7– The goal against wasn’t really his fault and the majority of the late saves were made by his teammates, but Rimando continued to show his value to this team without having to be the savior.

Beltran: 3.5 4.5– While Beltran gave some flashes of offensive brilliance early on, he was burned on the left wing all night long by an injured Robbie Rogers and Schelotto. It’s fortunate the he didn’t cost the team more goals like he did in Seattle.

Olave: 8.5 – So cool and calm sometimes that it makes me anxious (Schelotto nearly robbing him for an open goal, anyone?) Despite that, there’s no doubt that he is crucial for this team if they want to contain star opposing players.

Borchers: 7.5 – Unheralded at times, Borchers had a number of crucial clearances in the first half and then finished up the match with all-around composure as Columbus pushed forward. It was his missed header that gifted Columbus their only goal.

Wingert: 6 – ”WINGS!” – as my co-writer likes to call him – has been uncharacteristically shaky in the first two matches this season. After an off-season featuring a contract extension and a USMNT call-up, much more is expected of him.

Johnson: 8 – A much better week for Johnson after he shook off his scattered play from the Seattle match and coolly organized a number of decent attacks. He spent a lot of time on the right side (his preferred position) this week, which may be a positive sign of things to come.

Mathis: 8 – Despite some sloppy passes and plays early on, Mathis never stopped hustling and working defensively. He deservedly earned two assists on the final two goals and continues his surprise return to form.

Beckerman: 9 – Beckerman would have been the MOTM if Findley hadn’t been on the top of his game. After seeming confused and overwhelmed in Seattle, Beckerman came out with fire on Thursday and never stopped working. Can he produce like this every week?

Morales: 7 – Continued his recent trend of drifting in and out of matches. Could the pressure of last season’s success be affecting him?

Movsisyan: 8 – Deserved a goal for all of his hard work and combination play without Findley throughout the night. Still needs to finish better, though one can’t argue with the beautiful pass to Findley for the hat-trick – only his 2nd assist in his entire MLS career.

SUBS:
Williams: 5 – Came in after the match was already well in control.
Grabavoy: 7 – Great energy and never stopping fighting, nearly earning an assist with a beautiful pass to Movsisyan.
Alexandre: N/A – Not much you can say in limited minutes.

[polldaddy poll=”1515906″]

MATCH FACTS

Scoring Summary:
RSL — Robbie Findley 1 (unassisted) 2
CLB — Jason Garey 1 (unassisted) 22
RSL — Robbie Findley 2 (unassisted) 29
RSL — Robbie Findley 3 (Yura Movsisyan 1, Clint Mathis 1) 62
RSL — Kyle Beckerman 1 (Clint Mathis 2) 67

Liineups:

Columbus Crew — William Hesmer, Jed Zayner (Andy Iro 85), Chad Marshall, Danny O’Rourke, Gino Padula (Steven Lenhart 63), Eddie Gaven, Brian Carroll, Emmanuel Ekpo, Robbie Rogers (Alejandro Moreno 63), Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Jason Garey.

Real Salt Lake — Nick Rimando, Tony Beltran, Nat Borchers, Jamison Olave, Chris Wingert, Clint Mathis (Ned Grabavoy 75), Kyle Beckerman, Javier Morales (Jean Alexandre 85), Will Johnson, Robbie Findley (Andy Williams 70), Yura Movsisyan.

Misconduct Summary: ?
RSL — Nat Borchers (caution; Reckless Foul) 40?
RSL — Kyle Beckerman (caution; Reckless Foul) 45
CLB — Emmanuel Ekpo (caution; Delaying a Restart) 48+?
CLB — Robbie Rogers (caution; Reckless Tackle) 58

Referee: Alex Prus
Referee’s Assistants: Corey Rockwell; Fabio Tovar?
4th official: Tyler Ploeger?
Weather: Partly Cloudy -and- 48 degrees

Photo Gallery


All photos © Julia Fizer/AmericanSoccerNews.net

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TFC and Crew in stalemate

Posted on 18 May 2008 by Scott Ferguson

MLS leaders Columbus Crew stole a 0-0 draw from BMO Field on Saturday afternoon, preserving both their spot at the top of the standings and Toronto FC’s unbeaten home record in 2008.

TFC head coach John Carver named an unchanged squad from Red Bull New York’s visit a fortnight ago, with Danny Dichio supported in the attack by the attacking midfield trident of Amado Guevara, Laurent Robert and Rohan Ricketts.

The only obvious change was the switch of Robert and Ricketts, with each attacking from their opposite wing: Ricketts found himself marauding down the left flank while Robert played deeper on the right.

American internationals Maurice Edu and Marvell Wynne continued their own runs in the TFC first team ahead of a trip to Beijing with the U.S. Olympic team.

The sun was shining on Lake Ontario as Toronto started the stronger of the two sides. Danny Dichio found Amado Guevara with a lay-off in the fifth minute with the Honduran lashing an acrobatic volley at Will Hesmer’s goal, but the shot was straight at the Columbus ‘keeper.

Robbie Rogers had a chance for Columbus in the 19th minute, wrong-footing Marvell Wynne and sending a weak shot past Greg Sutton. Tyrone Marshall was on hand on the line, however, to clear the ball emphatically.

Robert and Guevara each had more than one chance to send an inswinging corner into Hesmer’s penalty area, but the fierce wind at Exhibition Place made it difficult for Toronto to find the head of Dichio or centerbacks Tyrone Marshall and Marco Vélez.

With the teams swapping sides in the second half, TFC finally had the chance to attack the south end, Toronto’s own curva sud with the highest concentration of support. Tyrone Marshall found himself clear on the left side of the penalty area after a scramble following Robert’s 52nd minute free kick, but the defender’s cross-shot flew harmlessly across Hesmer’s goal and out of danger.

The best chance of the game arrived just ahead of the hour-mark, however, when Robert cut in from the right side and found some space outside the Crew penalty area. The Frenchman lined up a low shot that looked to have beaten Hesmer, but the powerful strike cannoned off the base of the far post and back into play.

With Dichio unable to make a difference and struggling to hold the ball up in the windy conditions, Carver replaced his fellow Englishman with veteran MLS striker Jeff Cunningham in the 63rd minute. The former Columbus hitman was prolific in his seven seasons with the Crew but has been restricted to late cameo appearances so far in 2008 with Toronto.

Cunningham’s pace quickly threatened to make the difference, with the American leading a late charge with Guevara and Ricketts just minutes after his introduction. Guevara collected Cunningham’s low pass and laid it off to Ricketts, but the English winger’s left-footed strike was straight at Hesmer.

For his part, Crew midfielder-forward Guillermo Barros-Schelotto was growing increasingly frustated with perceived injustices by the officials and the Toronto FC crowd. The Argentine was pelted with streamers on all four corners of the pitch throughout the match as he lined up to take set pieces for the Crew.

The tension showed as Barros-Schelotto grew increasingly theatric, finally receiving a booking late in the second half for simulation. Crew boss Sigi Schmid was quick to replace the former Boca Juniors star with Nicolas Hernandez in stoppage time.

The 0-0 marks the end of a five-game winning streak for Columbus but preserves an unbeaten run for both sides, the longest and second-longest in the league so far this season.t

“You got to give them credit,” Toronto midfielder Carl Robinson told the club’s website after the game. “They… got what I think they wanted to get; we couldn’t get what we wanted to get… but, you know, it’s important we took something out of the game, we took a point out of the game.”

Schmid maintained that his team were up for all three points, however:

“It’s just one of those games,” he told Toronto’s media relations department. “Toronto’s playing well, and they’re playing well at home. You know, for us, it’s been a while since we’ve played on turf, and that always changes the game a little bit. It was a little windy… was important for us to play to zero in the back and see if we could maybe grab a goal on the road, and I thought we came close a couple of times.”

D.C. United’s visit on Wednesday night will test Toronto’s home record further, with a return tie against United scheduled for next Saturday.

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Soaring Crew visit BMO

Posted on 15 May 2008 by Scott Ferguson

Toronto FC and Columbus Crew will renew hostilities in the Trillium Cup on Saturday, with Toronto getting their chance to host their newfound rivals after a 2-0 loss in Columbus to begin the season on March 29th.

Since then, both sides have been in top form early this season after a momentary hiccup. Both sides lost their next match but Columbus have since recorded five straight wins while Toronto have gone on to a 3-1-0 record.

They’re not alone, however, with six of the seven Eastern Conference sides sitting at .500 or above. A win for Toronto on Saturday would put them five points back of Columbus at the league summit but with a game in hand and restore hope of winning the inaugural Trillium Cup.

The competition, which will be decided on the teams’ three regular-season encounters this season, will conclude later this season at BMO Field. If Columbus win the upcoming clash they’ll have an unassailable lead in the Trillium Cup standings despite facing another trip to Toronto on September 13th.

A win for the Crew would also represent Toronto’s first home defeat of the season. The draw with New York two weeks ago ruined an 100% record at BMO Field but John Carver’s men have yet to taste defeat since their home opener in April.

If the wheels are going to come off Columbus’ excellent league run, BMO Field may be the place for it. The typically buoyant home crowd will be in full voice on Saturday, with the burgeoning rivalry between both sets of fans exacerbated by the large amounts of Toronto fans who made the trip to Columbus earlier this year.

Injuries certainly haven’t helped Crew manager Sigi Schmid, with Duncan Oughton, Adam Moffat and Stefan Miglioranzi all sidelined for Saturday’s encounter.

Once again, Toronto aren’t reporting any injuries, a remarkable turnaround from last season and a testament to the physical training methods of the club’s new fitness coach John Winsper.

Joining the former Newcastle physio last week were staff members Nick Dasovic and Chris Cummins, reported on ASN last month and just recently made official by TFC.

One player that will hope to make a difference on the turf at BMO is Robbie Rogers, the most recent MLS Player of the Week based on his two goals in Columbus’ 3-2 win in San Jose last weekend. Argentine midfielder-forward Guillermo Barros-Schelotto was also on target for Schmid’s men, who will travel to Toronto as the team to beat in MLS.

With a clean injury list, Toronto’s selection dilemma lies in who to start up front. Danny Dichio has a goal to his credit this season but has been lonely up front in a 4-5-1 formation, and with four more games in two weeks following Saturday’s clash, Carver may be looking to reap the benefits of squad rotation.

Jeff Cunningham and Andrea Lombardo have been restricted to substitute appearances this season but could see starting time sooner rather than later, with Toronto balancing MLS play with their first Canada Cup appearance in Montreal on the 27th.

Amado Guevara, Rohan Ricketts and Laurent Robert are likely to reprise their roles as an attacking midfield trident for Toronto. None of the trio were TFC players yet during the club’s trip to Columbus in March.

Another new arrival has been defender Olivier Tébily, but the Ivorian has seen his playing time blocked by the stunning turnaround in Marco Vélez’s performances at the heart of Toronto’s back line. The Puerto Rican scored a free header against New York, with his own upturn in fortunes helping the club to a goals-against record of just 1 in their three home matches so far in 2008.

Between the sticks

Greg Sutton is set to start his fifth straight match for the club, having recovered from the trauma of being passed over in the early-season trip to Columbus in favour of draft pick Brian Edwards. The two straight clean sheets he recorded in the run-up to New York’s vist early this month pushed him past Kenny Stamatopoulos as the all-time shutout leader in Toronto’s short existence.

Crew stopper Will Hesmer

Will Hesmer has started every match for the Crew this season, conceding nine goals but making the difference on numerous occasions for his side. The 26-year-old made several important stops, including a penalty save, against Toronto in March.

A win against Columbus would improve Toronto’s home record to 3-1-0 ahead of another revenge mission next week, the visit of D.C. United to BMO Field in the last of a five-game home stand for Toronto. United were 4-1 winners at RFK Stadium in the second game of Toronto’s season, a match that marked not only Laurent Robert’s debut but Maurice Edu’s late consolation goal, a strike that seems to have marked a turning point for TFC this season.

Toronto FC vs. Columbus will kick off at 4 PM EST on CBC in Canada. Visit here for the Crew’s perspective.

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Tough Toronto Awaits League Leaders

Posted on 15 May 2008 by Jim Baird

Two of the hottest teams in the MLS will square off at a rowdy BMO Field this Saturday as the league leading Columbus Crew (6-1-0) take to the pitch against Toronto F.C. (3-2-1).

Both clubs hope to continue their impressive form.

Columbus is off to the best start in club history, winning their past five games and currently sitting atop the East. Toronto has not lost since April 5, winning three out of their last four games, a far cry from their expansion woes only a year ago.

This game is the second of three match-ups between the clubs this season, and if the Crew win they will claim the first ever Trillium Cup. The Trillium Cup is the first annual trophy awarded to the winner of the Toronto-Columbus series during the regular season. The Crew won the first meeting of the year 2-0.

But a win at BMO won’t be easy. Toronto is undefeated at home this year (2-0-1) and their boisterous fans at BMO create one of the toughest and loudest environments to play in. The Crew have yet to beat a .500 team on the road this season, their last effort was a lethargic 2-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls, the team’s only defeat of the season.

No matter what the crowd decibel level is, Toronto’s defense will face a tough challenge trying to stop the Crew’s league leading offense, driven by Robbie Rogers. Rogers notched MLS Player of The Week honors after his two goal performance in the Crew’s 3-2 come-from-behind victory against San Jose on Saturday. It was also his 21st birthday.

Game Info

Time: 4:00 p.m. Saturday, May 17

TV: CSN (local), DK, MLSLive.tv

Radio: 610 AM WTVN (Local)

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