Match Preview: FCD at Columbus
All-time record: Tied 15-15-7.
3 p.m. CT; FSSW (Texas); TeleFutura (national).
The hottest team in MLS travels to Columbus on a 7-0-4 streak that includes a 1-0 win vs. Chivas USA last week.
In their last meeting vs. the Crew, FCD kept the series between Hunt Sports Group teams level when Eric Avila scored in stoppage time at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco on April 10 for a 2-2 draw.
The Crew bitterly complained about a quick and, they believed, illegal restart that led to the equalizer seconds before the final whistle.
Columbus are coming off a 3-1 home win vs. Colorado last weekend. After being tied at the break, Jason Garey and Steven Lenhart helped erase the memory of a stinging loss at Real Salt Lake the previous week. The Crew will be without captain Frankie Hejduk at right back (caution-point suspension).
Saturday is Lamar Hunt Legacy Day and a statue of the Crew founder will be dedicated prior to the game in the stadium he built.
The Crew must rebound from a heartbreaking 1-0 loss in added time at Mexico’s Santos Laguna on Tuesday in the CONCACAF Champions League. Fortunately, Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Chad Marshall and Danny O'Rourke did not travel and several other starters saw limited duty.
Looking to improve on a 9-2 home mark, the Crew will have five of the last eight on the road after Saturday.
After losing their first road game at New York on April 17, the Hoops are 3-0-6 and can break the league road unbeaten record that was set by Columbus in 2004.
Brek Shea has scored all five of his goals since May 15. Former Crew striker Jeff Cunningham leads the team with seven goals despite starting only 10 games. David Ferreira has six goals and eight assists.
“They interchange really well,” Crew goalkeeper William Hesmer said. “Guys are all over the place. Cunningham has speed. Ferreira is a great playmaker.”
Kevin Hartman leads MLS with a 0.69 GAA and has six shutouts in 16 games.
Heroes & Villains
Atiba Harris vs. the Crew medical staff -- The Crew view him as “Atiba the Hun” after several incidents. A Harris elbow forced Chad Marshall from the game with facial lacerations and a possible concussion a year ago, when Harris was with Chivas USA. Marshall missed a game because of that.
In March, Harris took out Shaun Francis in a preseason game and the rookie defender was out three weeks with a sprained ankle. In the first meeting in April, midfielder Eddie Gaven was victimized by an errant Harris elbow and had to leave the match with a blood-gushing split lip.
Stat that makes you go “Hmm...”
The Crew are 11-0-1 when scoring first and 6-0 when ahead at the half.