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June 2018
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‘Crew SC’ Articles

Atlanta United tough on Crew SC again in 2-0 win

PORTIONS OF GAME RECAP WRITTEN BY COLUMBUS CREW SC COMMUNICATIONS (Megan Scribner)

 

Atlanta United FC goalkeeper Brad Guzan was tough to beat as he shut down the potent Crew SC offense (megasportsnews.com photo)

 

POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE WITH BRAD GUZAN

Brad Guzan Atlanta United FC goalkeeper shutout Columbus 2-0 6 13 2018

 

Columbus Crew SC concluded its fourth home match in 12 days falling into a 2-0 loss to Atlanta United FC. The Eastern Conference leaders snapped Crew SC’s nine-game unbeaten streak and, in turn, goalkeeper Zack Steffen’s club leading shutout streak.

The Crew SC defense continued its strong season-long performance, limiting Atlanta’s chances and creating many counters that led to its own. However, the final breakthrough went missing, along with the eventual points for the Black & Gold.

Atlanta United FC controlled most of the tempo during the game. It prompted Crew SC head coach Gregg Berhalter to say ” he was not pleased with the team’s effort; they got outplayed and played with no real urgency!”

Crew SC has typically had trouble with Atlanta United FC, a second-year team in MLS. Overall, they are 0-3-0 vs. the team from the Peach State. However, in the MLS Playoffs last season, they won a key game at Atlanta.

Atlanta was on the board first via a header goal from Golden Boot leader Josef Martinez off of a corner kick. Crew SC’s Artur attempted to mark him, but Martinez committed to the play, injuring himself in the process by colliding with Artur. Atlanta struck again in the 82nd minute, leaving little time for Columbus to find a goal.

With Atlanta’s 30th minute goal, Steffen’s individual goalkeeper shutout streak ended at 8th all-time in Major League Soccer. The 23-year-old racked up 525 consecutive minutes without conceding a goal this season. During the game, he passed Nick Rimando and Kevin Hartman.

Columbus finished the match with 13 shots, three on target. The Black & Gold were neck-and-neck with Atlanta in passing accuracy (82 percent) but out-passed in the final third by 68 percent.

Atlanta United FC lead the MLS’s Eastern Conference at 10-3-3 for 33 points. While Crew SC drops to 7-4-6 with 27 points.

The Black & Gold take a 10-day break before continuing the season on the road at Los Angeles FC on Saturday, June 23. The match kicks off at Banc of California Stadium at 10:30 p.m. ET.

POST-MATCH QUOTES

Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter

On if their performance was ‘flat’ tonight

I think so. I think it was. I think that’s a good way to categorize it. It was a flat performance by us. We got beat tonight by a better team on the night. It’s frustrating. I think they didn’t have much going either, but they get the goal, and then they continued to push and they get the late goal again. But I just think for us it was not a great performance.

 

On what didn’t go well tonight for Crew SC

I think we set up a little bit differently and I’ll take responsibility maybe for the guys being out of sorts. I think we had a plan and the plan was to move the ball quickly to a certain area, and I didn’t think we executed that well. I didn’t think we were clean enough on the ball. I didn’t think our passing decisions were good enough. When you look back on it, you think, ‘okay, there’s a number of things that could have been better for sure.’

 

On if Crew SC created enough scoring chances

Yeah, I don’t think we created enough to be honest. I know the shots say 13, but I wasn’t happy with it. I wasn’t happy with the ball circulation. It’s not what we had in mind. It’s not what we envisioned. There was some pockets of space that we wanted to attack, and I don’t think we did that well. You still have to give a team like Atlanta credit for not having much, but being able to capitalize on a corner kick to get the goal. We had a couple of chances that didn’t go in, but overall, we could have been much better tonight.

 

On the conclusion of a tough three-match stretch

Well I think the Eastern Conference is difficult. Games are going to be really tough, and I think that’s what this homestand showed. You look at Toronto who is a desperate team. I think Red Bulls is a very good team. Atlanta is a quality team… Probably one of the better teams in the League. So, you know games are going to be very tight. You know they are going to be decided by very little. You know you might not have a ton of opportunities and you have to capitalize when you do have them, and that wasn’t there. That wasn’t there in this game tonight.

 

On Crew SC’s mindset moving forward

We’ll give them a couple of days off after tomorrow. I think they’ve earned it – it’s been a busy stretch – and then prepare. I mean it’s not like there’s faith lost in this group. It’s a very good group. It’s a very good group. We lost a game tonight and we have to move on. It’s as simple as that. My philosophy is to make players better, and to keep improving, and that’s not going to change.

 

On Wil Trapp’s performance

I’m not going to comment about an individual in a critical way. I don’t think that’s fair. Wil [Trapp] was a guy that wanted to be on the field that was in Europe a couple of days ago. He had to come back and battle jet lag. I don’t think it’s appropriate to discuss his performance.

 

On if Mike Grella was off the Gameday 18 for rest

Yeah it was. When you look at – Ricardo [Clark] started the last game and he wasn’t in the 18. Josh Williams started the last game and he wasn’t in the 18… and Mike [Grella]. It was just a case of rotating guys out and getting some new guys in. To be honest, I don’t think I got the selection right tonight. If I’m completely honest, I think we came up short in a couple of areas, and I think it could have been maybe different with a couple of other selections.

 

On if he considers the defense successful in limiting Atlanta’s offense

No. No. Again, I’m not pleased with the performance. I think it’s a subpar performance. I think our standard is higher than that. I think maybe a couple of individuals performed well defensively, but overall it’s not what we drew up.

 

On what he wanted from the 64th minute substitutions

Well I think we wanted to bring the ball centrally to get the ball wide. That was the idea. So, then we pushed our full backs higher. We brought pocket players in, and we thought we’d be either combining through the midfield or opening up space wide. If you see the chance when Harry [Harrison Afful] switches all the way to Milton [Valenzuela], and he goes across the front of the goal, that was a good example of that. Just, there team trying to combat the numbers in the middle and opening space wide.

Defender Milton Valenzuela

 

On Crew SC’s first loss since April 14

It has been a while since we lost, like four or five games. We’ve been winning, we’ve been doing well. At the same time, even though we lost today we are a team that always likes to force the action, we’re not going to sit back. We’re going to keep our heads high and get back at it again.

 

On Crew SC’s rhythm

It was a very even game, it was very even. It was mostly battled out in the midfield. What you saw was two teams that were attacking and they [Atlanta United FC] made the most out of [their] chances, we were not able to make the most out of our chances because, even though there weren’t any clear-cut chances, we did get chances but couldn’t convert them.

 

On the importance of the upcoming break

Yeah, it will be nice to get a break this weekend and we will be able to rest our legs as well as our minds.

Midfielder Artur

On whether Crew SC met its own expectations

For sure, I think we didn’t play [like] what was expected for us. We are staying happy, this kind of game will happen, but the most important thing is we have to keep the mentality to get better and keep playing better, because of the championship is long.

 

On the upcoming 10-day break

We have to use this break. We need to rest and see what we have to do better.

 

On Atlanta United FC

They have a good team. Us, we have a good team too. We are both in the top of the League and it was a hard game.

 

 

 

 

 

Crew SC hosts Atlanta United FC tonight in key MLS Eastern Conference battle, 7:30 pm

GAME PREVIEW WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF COLUMBUS CREW SC COMMUNICATIONS (Megan Scribner)

 

COLUMBUS — Columbus Crew SC hosts Atlanta United FC tonight, Wednesday, June 13, in the first of two regular-season meetings between the clubs in 2018. The match kicks-off at 7:30 p.m. ET and is set to be televised regionally on CW Columbus, Spectrum Sports and BCSN2 featuring Neil Sika, Dwight Burgess and Alex Stec on the call. Coverage begins at 7:30 p.m. ET. Post-match coverage is set to follow exclusively on Spectrum Sports in Ohio. The club’s official website, ColumbusCrewSC.com, is set to stream the English-language radio broadcast online as well as host the Spanish-language audio broadcast with Juan Valladares behind the microphone.

 

On Saturday, Crew SC claimed a point in a draw with the New York Red Bulls. Forward Gyasi Zardes opened the scoring with a goal in the 26th minute — his 10th goal of the season. Defender Harrison Afful crossed the ball from the endline to Zardes, who headed it past Red Bull’s goalkeeper Luis Robles. The Red Bulls equalized early in the second half but neither side could find the winner in the 1-1 draw.

Atlanta United is coming off of a similar 1-1 draw, having tied with New York City FC on Saturday afternoon. Atlanta’s Josef Martinez extended his Golden Boot lead with a goal in the 48th minute, giving Atlanta the lead. NYCFC equalized late in the game to salvage a point at home.

The last time Crew SC met with Atlanta United, the Black & Gold eliminated Atlanta from the 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs in a Knockout Round at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The two clubs remained scoreless after 120 minutes of play, with goalkeeper Zack Steffen making eight saves to force the match to a penalty kick shootout. Steffen made another two saves during the shootout, sending the Black & Gold to the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

Wednesday’s match will be Crew SC’s fourth contest in just 12 days. Columbus is currently unbeaten in nine games, dating back to a draw with the New England Revolution on April 21.

 

 

 

Top 5 MLS Eastern Conference foes, Crew SC-NY Red Bulls play in key game

GAME PREVIEW WRITTEN By Dylan Butler & COURTESY OF COLUMBUS CREW SC COMMUNICATIONS

 

IN A NATIONALLY TELEVISED EASTERN CONFERENCE CLASH
Black & Gold square-off against the Red Bulls today at 5:00 p.m. ET

 

COLUMBUS — Columbus Crew SC hosts the New York Red Bulls tomorrow, Saturday, June 9, in the first of two regular-season meetings between the clubs in 2018. The match kicks-off at 5:00 p.m. ET and is set to be televised nationally on ESPN featuring Adrian Healey and Alejandro Moreno on the call. Saturday’s match also airs locally on the radio on CD102.5 FM in English, with Neil Sika and Dwight Burgess broadcasting the call in English. Pre-match coverage on CD102.5 FM begins at 4:30 p.m. ET with post-match coverage to follow. The club’s official website, ColumbusCrewSC.com, is set to stream the English-language radio broadcast online as well as host the Spanish-language audio broadcast with Juan Valladares behind the microphone.

Another battle of Eastern Conference elite squads looms Saturday afternoon as Columbus Crew SC host the New York Red Bulls.

Crew SC are unbeaten in their last eight league games, but have drawn their last two, while the Red Bulls had a five-match undefeated streak snapped last Saturday by the New England Revolution.

The Crew have lost just three of their last 16 home games against the Red Bulls (9W-4D), allowing New York to score multiple goals just three times, per Opta.

Columbus Crew SC

After falling behind 3-0, Crew SC (7-3-5) rallied furiously to score three goals in the final 23 minutes to tie Toronto FC3-3, last Saturday. Gyasi Zardes started the rally with his ninth goal of the season. Alex Crognale pulled Columbus within a goal in the 81st minute and Federico Higuain struck for the 90th-minute penalty kick to cap the stunning comeback.

There was even more drama on Wednesday night, when Crew SC and the Chicago Fire needed 11 rounds of a penalty-kick shootout before the Fire prevailed in the Fourth Round of the U.S. Open Cup.

“You can see we were fatigued, you could see they got tired, and it was a group that normally hasn’t played together,” Crew SC coach Gregg Berhalter said Wednesday night. “A lot of new faces, a lot of guys, you know, playing major minutes, basically in a competitive game for the first time this year, so I’m really proud of them.”

  • Suspended: M – Cristian Martinez
  • Suspended after next caution: D – Milton Valenzuela
  • International duty: GK – Zack Steffen, M – Wil Trapp
  • Injury Report: QUESTIONABLE: M – Pedro Santos (right thigh injury), D – Jonathan Mensah (left thigh injury)

Projected Starting XI
(4-2-3-1, right to left)
GK: Jon Kempin — Harrison Afful, Josh Williams, Lalas Abubakar, Milton Valenzuela — Ricardo Clark, Artur — Niko Hansen, Federico Higuain, Mike Grella — Gyasi Zardes

  • Notes: Higuain has created 10 chances from set pieces since May 1. Only three other players had more than seven, and only one had more than Higuaín. … When Columbus overcame a 3-0 deficit to earn a 3-3 draw vs. TFC, it marked only the 13th time in MLS history team got a result when trailing by at least three goals in a match. They extended their unbeaten run in league play to eight games (4W-4D).

New York Red Bulls

Bradley Wright-Phillips scored his ninth goal of the year early, but the Red Bulls (7-4-1) conceded late in each half to fall to the Revolution, 2-1. It was their first defeat since a 2-1 home loss to the Fire on April 21.

The Red Bulls, though, bounced back in a big way on Wednesday, blasting NYCFC4-0, in the USOC. Eight players in their starting XI have played for Red Bulls II — and six were featured on the USL side this year. That includes Vincent Bezecourt, who put the Red Bulls in front after just two minutes.

Aaron Long scored early in the second half and Danny Royer tacked on two goals late as the Red Bulls knocked off NYCFC in the USOC for a second straight year.

“Playing NYCFC is always something special. We’re glad we got the win today,” Bezecourt said after the match. “Most importantly, it’s a cup tournament so we have to win every single game. We have four games to go and we have to be ready for it.”

  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: None
  • International duty: D – Fidel Escobar, D – Michael Murillo, D – Tim Parker, M – Tyler Adams, M – Kaku
  • Injury Report: OUT: D – Kyle Duncan (torn right ACL); QUESTIONABLE: GK – Luis Robles (knee injury)

Projected Starting XI
(4-2-3-1, right to left)
GK: Luis Robles — Connor Lade, Aaron Long, Aurelien Collin, Kemar Lawrence — Sean Davis, Marc Rzatkowski — Florian Valot, Vincent Bezecourt, Danny Royer — Bradley Wright-Phillips

  • Notes: Kaku was held without a chance created in their 2-1 loss to New England last weekend, the second time that has happened this year (2L). They are 6W-2L-1D when Kaku records at least one chance created. … New York saw their five-game unbeaten run in league play snapped in last weekend’s 2-1 loss in New England. They have not lost back-to-back league games since May 2017 (37 games since, inc. playoffs).

All-Time Series

  • Overall: Columbus Crew SC 27 wins, 83 goals … New York Red Bulls 30 wins, 97 goals … 10 draws
  • At Columbus: Crew SC 17 wins, 47 goals … Red Bulls 12 wins, 45 goals … 5 draws
  • Last meeting at Columbus: Columbus Crew SC 3, New York Red Bulls 2 (Sept. 23, 2017)

Officials

Referee: Alan Kelly
Assistant Referees: Matthew Nelson, Logan Brown
4th Official: Rubiel Vazquez
VAR: Jon Freemon

 


Crew SC goalkeeper Zack Steffen named MLS Player of the Month for May

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF COLUMBUS CREW SC COMMUNICATIONS

 

Steffen named MLS Player of the Month presented by EA Sports for the month of May after registering five consecutive shutouts

 

COLUMBUS – Columbus Crew SC today announced that goalkeeper Zack Steffen was voted MLS Player of the Month presented by EA SPORTS™ by members of the media for the month of May. It is the first MLS Player of the Month honor for Steffen in his MLS and Crew SC career.

 

During the month of May, Steffen did not allow a single goal, recording five consecutive shutouts as part of his ongoing 495-minute shutout streak. In May, Steffen registered 17 total saves against Seattle Sounders FC, the Philadelphia Union, the Chicago Fire, the New England Revolution, and Sporting Kansas City combined en route to earning five clean sheets. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Steffen’s current 495-minute scoreless streak – which began in the second half of the April 28th match against San Jose – is the longest regular-season shutout record in club history as well as the 10th-longest regular-season shutout streak in MLS history.

Zack Steffen Crew SC 2017 photo By Jay eyem - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https commons.wikimedia.org

 

Steffen is currently on international duty with the United States Men’s National Team. Now in his third season with Crew SC, he has made 13 regular-season appearances (all starts), while making 29 saves and registering seven shutouts in 2018. Additionally, Steffen currently leads MLS in regular-season shutouts in 2018, with seven clean sheets. Since joining the Black & Gold, Steffen has made 47 regular-season appearances (all starts), making 127 saves and recording 16 shutouts.

 

This is the 15th time in MLS history that a Crew SC player has been named Player of the Month. Steffen is the first Crew SC player to earn the honor since Justin Meram won the award in October 2016.

Following a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Fourth Round match at MAPFRE Stadium tonight at 7:00 p.m. ET, the Black & Gold return to regular-season action when they host the New York Red Bulls at MAPFRE Stadium in a nationally televised match on Saturday, June 9 (5:00 p.m. ET / ESPN, CD102.5 FM, English and Spanish audio broadcasts available on ColumbusCrewSC.com).

MLS Player of the Month presented by EA SPORTS™ is voted upon by a panel of select national media members in a process conducted by MLS Communications.

 

Website: ColumbusCrewSC.com | Twitter: @ColumbusCrewSC | Instagram: @ColumbusCrewSC | Hashtag: #CrewSC | Facebook.com/columbuscrewsc | Snapchat: ColumbusCrewSC | Google+: +columbuscrewsc | Stadium: MAPFRE Stadium | Training Facility: Crew SC Training Center at Obetz

 

Lamar Hunt U.S. Open, Fourth Round action tonight at Mapfre Stadium as Crew SC hosts Chicago Fire, 7:00 pm

GAME PREVIEW WRITTEN BY Megan Scribner; COURTESY CREW SC COMMUNICATIONS

 

Black & Gold host the Fire tonight at 7:00 p.m. ET as Crew SC enters the annual tournament with a midweek contest

 

COLUMBUS — Columbus Crew SC hosts the Chicago Fire at MAPFRE Stadium today, Wednesday, June 6, in a 2018 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Fourth Round Match. The match will be live streamed on Crew SC’s official website, ColumbusCrewSC.com, with Neil Sika (play-by-play) and Dwight Burgess (analyst) on the call. Tonight’s match will be the ninth all-time U.S. Open Cup meeting between Crew SC and Chicago, as well as the third encounter between the two clubs across all competitions in 2018.

Crew SC is fresh off of a 3-3 draw against Toronto FC on Saturday, bringing the Trillium Cup to Columbus for the first time since 2015. The Black & Gold trailed by three goals but came back in the second half with two goals — one each from Gyasi Zardes and Alex Crognale — and a penalty kick goal from Federico Higuain to earn the draw. The club’s Open Cup appearance on Wednesday will be the second of four matches in 12 days for Crew SC.

In 2016, Crew SC traveled to Chicago for the two clubs’ last tournament meeting. Crew SC was eliminated from Open Cup play by Chicago in the Round of 16. In the 2018 regular season, Columbus currently sits at third in the Eastern conference with Chicago five spots behind in eighth.

The winner of Wednesday’s match will advance to the Round of 16. The winner of the 2018 Open Cup will receive an automatic bid to the CONCACAF Campions League and a large winner’s purse.

Dating back to 1913, the oldest cup competition in U.S. Soccer brings amateur and professional clubs from each tier of U.S. Soccer’s divisional pyramid together in competition. Crew SC holds a 23-17-2 record in the tournament. The Black & Gold were crowned U.S. Open Cup champions on October 24, 2002, when they topped the LA Galaxy 1-0 at MAPFRE Stadium.

Next up, Crew SC faces the New York Red Bulls in a regular-season match on Saturday, June 9 at 5 p.m. ET at MAPFRE Stadium.

 

2018: Crew SC’s U.S. Open Cup History

 

 

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