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September 2018
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Crew SC set to open home season against Montreal Impact today at 1 pm

Columbus Crew SC hosts Montreal Impact for the 2018 home opener on Saturday at MAPFRE Stadium. The Eastern Conference matchup is set for 1 p.m. ET.

Montreal opened the 2018 regular season last Sunday with a 2-1 loss to fellow Canadians, Vancouver Whitecaps FC, in Vancouver. The Impact’s lone goal of the match came late in the second half when striker Matteo Mancosu headed one home in the 81st minute.

The Black & Gold will come into Saturday’s match fresh off a 2-0 victory over MLS Cup defenders, Toronto FC, that opened the 2018 regular season last Saturday in Toronto.

Saturday’s shutout also marked goalkeeper Zack Steffen’s 10th regular-season shutout in MLS action. Steffen also made two saves against Toronto which now puts him at 100 regular-season saves for the Black & Gold.

The Black & Gold met with their Canadian counterparts twice in regular-season action last season with both matches ending in favor of Crew SC. On May 13, the Black & Gold topped Montreal 3-2 for a Mother’s Day special before sending Montreal off with a 4-1 whooping on June 24. This season the Impact will be coached by former Lyon manager, Remi Garde. Montreal will also rely heavily on Ignacio Patti, as well as their new Designated Player, Saphir Taider.

 

MATCH NOTES

CREW SC & MONTREAL IMPACT AT A GLANCE

All-time regular season record: 8-5-3 (26 GF, 22 GA)
Home games: 6-1-2 (19 GF, 9 GA)
Road games: 2-4-1 (7 GF, 13 GA)

LAST 3 REGULAR-SEASON MEETINGS

06/18/2016 CLB 0 vs MTL 0 MAPFRE Stadium T
05/13/2017 CLB 3 vs MTL 2 Saputo Stadium W
06/24/2017 CLB 4 vs MTL 1 MAPFRE Stadium W

COACHES

Gregg Berhalter (54-47-36, Columbus Crew SC: ‘14 – Present)
vs.
Remi Garde (0-1-0, Montreal Impact: ‘18 – Present)

ZARDES, VALENZUELA & ARGUDO MAKE DEBUTS

Saturday’s match between Crew SC and Toronto FC saw three players make their debut for the Black & Gold: Gyasi Zardes, Milton Valenzuela and Luis Argudo. Zardes and Valenzuela started for Crew SC and played the entire 90 minutes, with Zardes scoring a goal in the 46th minute, while Valenzuela provided an assist on Federico Higuain’s 44th-minute goal. Meanwhile, Luis Argudo came into the match as a substitute for midfielder Pedro Santos in the 77th minute.

ZARDES SCORES IN DEBUT

Forward Gyasi Zardes scored in his regular-season debut for Crew SC during Saturday’s match against Toronto FC. The forward the Black & Gold’s second goal of the day after receiving a pass from midfielder Pedro Santos in the 46th minute. Zardes played the entire 90 minutes, registering three shots (one on target) and scoring one goal. The strike marked Zardes’ 35th goal in MLS regular-season action since he joined the League in 2013. Since 2013, he has made 132 regular-season appearances (117 starts).

VALENZUELA MARKS DEBUT WITH ASSIST

Defender Milton Valenzuela made his regular-season debut for Crew SC in Saturday’s match against Toronto FC. The Argentinean started for the Black & Gold and provided the game-winning assist on Federico Higuain’s 44th- minute goal, as he crossed the ball to Higuain after receiving a long ball from Artur. Valenzuela played the entire 90 minutes, making 45 passes, registering two tackles and tallying one shot (one on target). The 19-year-old joined Crew SC in January of this year as the first Young Designated Player in club history.

HIGUAIN CLOSE TO ENTERING 50/50 CLUB

Federico Higuain’s goal over Toronto FC this past Saturday was his 49th regular-season goal. Since joining the club in 2012. In that time, he has also registered 49 assists in regular-season action. Should Higuain score one more goal and provide one more assist in regular-season action, he would become the first player in Crew SC history to record 50 of each. Additionally, Higuain would join a very elite club of MLS players to achieve this same feat, as only 19 other players have managed to accomplish this.

HIGUAIN MAKES 150TH APPEARANCE

With his start in Saturday’s match at BMO Field, Federico Higuain reached 150 regular-season appearances (145 starts), tying Ethan Finlay for ninth place in Crew SC’s list of most regular-season appearances in club history. The Argentinean midfielder is now behind only Chad Marshall (253), Mike Clark (221), Eddie Gaven (209), Jeff Cunningham (203), Justin Meram (188), Brian Maisonneuve (172), Brian McBride (161) and Robert Warzycha (160).

TRAPP MAKES 125TH START

Midfielder Wil Trapp made his 125th regular-season start (128th appearance) in Saturday’s 2-0 win over Toronto FC. The Black & Gold captain led the Black & Gold with 67 passes, created three goal-scoring opportunities, registered five tackles and got 81 touches on the ball. Trapp’s three goal-scoring chances against the Reds tied Cristian Martinez for the most goal-scoring chances created by the Black & Gold during the match.

 

MONTREAL IMPACT NOTES

“The Crew is a great team with players that have been playing together for a long time,” said Montreal Impact head coach Rémi Garde. “It will be a difficult game for us. I think we need to be less theoretic at times. The players have absorbed the tactical information well, but soccer is a game that needs individual initiative. I would rather see my players act than react.”

Chasing points on the road

Montreal will be looking to put last Sunday’s 2-1 loss to Vancouver behind them and add points to the bank before its home opener at Olympic Stadium. Despite the result, positivity stemmed from the team’s overall play, whether in its defensive rigour or its willingness going forward at times. The challenge in Columbus will be to extend these moments in order to control the Crew’s attacking outbreaks, all the while keeping the Black & Yellow on their toes defensively.

“We know it’s a good team, but if we aren’t creative and we don’t let ourselves go, we’ll have a hard time creating chances,” said midfielder Saphir Taïder. “We need to make sure we enjoy ourselves and give it our all, so we have no regrets after the game.”

The Impact is scheduled to play six of its first eight games on the road to start the season, which can be a delicate situation, but the team’s spirit and fitness are allowing the players to look at this game against their Ohio rivals in a positive light.

“There always seems to be two or three teams that start the season with most of their games on the road,” said goalkeeper Evan Bush. “If you prepare and go into the start of the season with the right mindset, it could be very beneficial. I think our team spirit is good thanks to our collective block and our defensive structure. The mentality we showed throughout training camp is helping us for these first few away games. It’s up to us to get something out of them.”

An unwelcoming stadium

In nine games at MAPFRE Stadium, the Montreal Impact has only amassed five points since it began in MLS in 2012, with an overall record of five wins, eight losses and three draws against the Crew. These meetings featuring the Bleu-blanc-noir and Columbus are typically highlighted with numerous goals, both teams having scored 48 times in 16 games.

Nacho Piatti is regularly successful against the Crew SC, earning five goals and two assists in seven games. If Evan Bush plays just 49 minutes of the game, he’ll pass 10,000 minutes in MLS and will become the third Impact player, and first goalkeeper, to reach that milestone.

Upcoming games

The Montreal Impact will play its home opener on Saturday, March 17, at Olympic Stadium, against Toronto FC (TVA Sports, CTV, TSN, 98,5fm, TSN Radio 690 – TICKETS), before the international break. The Bleu-blanc-noir will then be back in action to face the Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday, March 31 at 10pm (TVA Sports, TSN Radio 690).

 


(courtesy MLS)

 

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

ABOUT COLUMBUS CREW SC
Columbus Crew SC (Soccer Club) is the first club in Major League Soccer and in 2015, Crew SC was crowned MLS Eastern Conference Champions in the organization’s 20th season. Owned and operated by Precourt Sports Ventures (PSV), it won its first MLS Cup championship in 2008 and also won the 2002 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup as well as MLS Supporters’ Shield titles in 2004, 2008 and 2009. The 2018 campaign is the Black & Gold’s 20th season at historic MAPFRE Stadium – the first soccer-specific stadium in the United States. The club was purchased by PSV on July 29, 2013 as part of the privately held investment and management firm’s sports and entertainment business enterprise, and the club has qualified for the MLS Cup Playoffs in three of the four seasons since, including winning the Eastern Conference Championship in 2015.

 

GAME PREVIEW WRITTEN BY Alena Schuckmann, ColumbusCrewSc.com; COURTESY COLUMBUS CREW SC COMMUNICATIONS

MONTREAL IMPACT INFORMATION FROM TEAM PRESS RELEASE