Gallery: Seattle Sounders 2-1 Minnesota United – Last-gasp Dempsey penalty breaks Loons hearts

Seattle Sounders 2-1 Minnesota United – Minnesota were seconds away from picking up an impressive away draw at Seattle on Sunday. But then the referee pointed to the spot. Clint Dempsey stepped up, and converted to complete the hosts’ comeback victory.

Minnesota have still yet to win an away game in MLS. But they must have fancied their chances when new arrival Ethan Finlay scored on his Loons debut. The former Columbus man put the visitors 1-0 up against the odds. But their lead didn’t last long.

Set-pieces have hurt Minnesota so often this season and Sunday was no different. Chad Marshall headed home from Nicolas Lodeiro’s cross in the 31st minute to tie the game up. But the Sounders struggled to kick on.

Minnesota stood firm and created chances themselves, with rookie striker Abu Danladi missing a couple of golden opportunities. The scores were level heading into the final few seconds. But then Seattle got the penalty.

Jermaine Taylor was adjudged to have handled the ball inside the area. Dempsey stepped up and coolly slotted past Bobby Shuttleworth to give the hosts their third-straight win. The Sounders are top of the West. The Loons stay bottom.

Check out exclusive photos from Sunday’s game below, courtesy of MLSGB photographers Denise McCooey and Paul Kahl.

Seattle Sounders 2-1 Minnesota United – Gallery:

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MLS Preview and Prediction: Columbus Crew vs Houston Dynamo

Competition: Major League Soccer – Columbus Crew vs. Houston Dynamo

Venue: MAPFRE Stadium – Saturday, April 23 – 19:30 ET (00:30 BST) 

Match Odds: Columbus 4/5 – Draw 13/5 – Houston 100/30

Match Preview

Columbus Crew host Houston Dynamo is a clash between two sides desperate for points as they look to climb their respective conferences on Saturday night.

Columbus picked up their first win of the season in the 3-2 home victory against New York City last weekend, ending a run of five games without success to start the campaign.

Gregg Berhalter will be delighted to have seen his side seal three points and will see Saturday’s game as the perfect opportunity to make it two on the bounce. The Crew sit ninth heading into the weekend and need to start climbing the table quickly.

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Houston aren’t faring much better themselves over in the West. Owen Coyle’s men have picked up the same amount of points as Columbus (5) after six games, but currently sit bottom of the Western Conference.

Last week’s 4-1 home defeat to LA Galaxy will have left supporters disappointed, particularly after the Dynamo took the lead inside 60 seconds. An improved performance this week is crucial to prevent panic setting in.

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Houston have a poor record away in Columbus, having not won in eight attempts, and will need to be at their best to stand a chance of leaving with all three points this weekend.

These two sides met once last year, with Houston coming out on top in a 1-0 win at BBVA Compass Stadium in March. However, the Dynamo have not scored in their last two visits to MAPFRE Stadium.

Team News

Columbus will be without Gaston Sauro as he is still out with a hamstring injury, while Tony Tchani and Corey Ashe are doubts.

Houston have just one injury concern heading into the weekend as Rob Lovejoy is a doubt with a hamstring strain. Owen Coyle is expected to make changes to the side that lost 4-1 to LA Galaxy last time out.

Key Points

Columbus Crew’s last five: L/D/D/L/W

Houston Dynamo’s last five: W/L/L/D/L

Key Stat: Columbus have only lost one of ten home meetings against Houston in MLS, with that defeat coming in 2007.

Key Player: Ethan Finlay – The Columbus winger had his best game of the season last weekend as he tallied a goal and an assist in the 3-2 win over New York City. If he can build on that display, he’ll cause the Dynamo all kinds of problems.

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Score Prediction

Columbus Crew 2-1 Houston Dynamo – Columbus might have had to wait six weeks to get their first win of 2016, but they should now follow it up with another home victory on Saturday. Houston have struggled so far, having not won in four, and don’t look set to trouble the Crew enough to seal three points here. Home win.

MLS Fantasy Focus: Time to invest in Crew attackers for Week 7?

By Jamie Dawe and Sam Martin

Double delirium for the Rapids in Week 6, alongside a duo of poor performances for the Red Bulls made last week a complete reversal of form from the 2015 season. However, FC Dallas have stayed true to last season’s form and top the Supporters’ Shield rankings with 17 points from 8 games, six of which were gained in Week 6 with comfortable wins over SKC and the Timbers. A first goal for Seattle’s Jordan Morris ($8.1) could signal the start of things to come from this much-hyped youngster. Overall, Week 6 was a positive one, with plenty of things to build upon in the coming weeks of the campaign.

Week 6 Review

The Good:

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Only six minutes into his MLS return for Montreal, Didier Drogba’s ($11.5) cheeky back heel leveled the score up at 1-1, as Montreal went on to earn three huge points away to Chicago. Impact teammate Ignacio Piatti ($10.6) netted a stunning 90th-minute winner with a curled effort from the edge of the box in a game dominated by Montreal. Meanwhile, the Sounders’ revival continues as Seattle beat Philadelphia 2-1 with defender Chad Marshall ($8.6) heading home from a corner to score for the second consecutive week. While it may have been a disappointing defeat for New York City, World Cup winning forward ‘El Guaje’, David Villa ($11.3) netted a brace – his third and fourth goals of the season. An emphatic victory for LA Galaxy was was started and continued by a Giovani Dos Santos ($10.9) double, with the Galaxy running away as 4-1 winners in Houston. Portland’s Fanendo Adi ($10.2) also continued his fine form, netting his second brace of the campaign against San Jose. Michael Barrios ($8.1) netted in both of Dallas’ games, which leaves the Western Conference leaders on a six-game unbeaten run. On the theme of unbeaten runs, Real Salt Lake remain the only MLS side yet to lose a league match this season. Juan Manuel Martinez ($8.5) netted early in the second half to make it consecutive 1-0 victories. How long can this incredible run continue for RSL?

The Bad:

Seattle Sounders vs Philadelphia Union Red Card Alberg

Philadelphia midfielder Roland Alberg ($8.1) picked up two yellow cards within 53 minutes of his side’s 2-1 defeat to Seattle. Columbus Crew’s Tyson Wahl ($6.0) conceded a penalty that teammate Michael Parkhurst then saw red for in a case of mistaken identity in his side’s eventual win over NYCFC. Wahl has since been handed the suspension that Parkhurst was wrongly given. Portland’s Diego Valeri ($10.3) also saw red in the dying moments of Portland’s 3-1 triumph, picking up a 90th minute yellow and 95th minute red card. The Red Bulls made it six defeats from seven as the star club from the 2015 season are being let down by key attacking players such as Bradley Wright-Phillips ($10.5), Lloyd Sam ($8.9) and Mike Grella ($7.8), with the team having only netted five goals from their seven matches so far. A club with such high expectations will be expecting to push on sooner rather than later. Houston Dynamo dropped to the bottom of the Western Conference after being outclassed by LA Galaxy, despite taking the lead within the first minute. The Dynamo have only managed one win so far this campaign (admittedly it was a resounding 5-0 romp against Dallas, with this being Dallas’ only defeat). It summarises the thrilling unpredictability of the league!

Week 7 Preview

Must Buy:

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With Columbus finally returning to form in their victory over NYCFC, now’s the time to stock up on their star players. When Kei Kamara ($10.9), Ethan Finlay ($10.7) and Federico Higuain ($10.3) are firing on all cylinders, they are an unbeatable side. Looking ahead to upcoming DGW’s, adding some SKC players would certainly seem wise. Nuno Coelho ($8.3) is quickly building a name for himself in Kansas City, along with their only two other ever-present starters, goalkeeper Tim Melia ($5.7) and French fullback Amadou Dia ($6.0).

Must Sell:

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Chicago Fire only play once in the next three weeks, so budget-hogging players like David Accam ($9.2) and Kennedy Igboananike ($8.1) need to be discarded for now. Portland are relying incredibly heavily on Adi and the now suspended Valeri, and won’t play in Week 7. Even when they do return to action, it might be worth transferring out Lucas Melano ($8.7), who is extremely pricy for a player that’s yet to really shine. Injuries to Marco Pappa ($8.2), Matt Hedges ($9.0) and Alvas Powell ($7.1) mean these three players will be dead weight for at least the next two or three game weeks and replacements should be brought in.

Who will you be transferring in for Week 7?

MLS Fantasy 2016: What you need to succeed

By Jamie Dawe

Every year the MLS Fantasy minefield blows up anyone who hasn’t fully considered their team selection or their formation. Many people watch their team slide down the leaderboard for the first month while they helplessly panic behind their computer screens. However, there are a few key things you ought to know before you set up your team for this year’s competition.

The New Rules

There are now only 16 players on your roster (rather than 18), but each team still has the same $120.0 budget, meaning you can fill your side with more stars than ever in 2016.

Points are now scored for players who suffer four fouls in a game, for every 35 passes that are completed with 85% accuracy and also for every four shots taken in a game. In addition, defenders and defensive midfielders can score points for clearances, interceptions, tackles and blocks. This will make players like Osvaldo Alonso ($8.5) and Matias Laba ($7.5) even more attractive propositions.

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The Roster

Having two goalkeepers gives you room to have a week-in-week-out starting goalkeeper and also a young up-and-coming ‘keeper who may get game time later in the season. I wouldn’t recommend spending anymore than $11.0 of your budget on the two goalkeeper positions.

Having five defenders gives you the opportunity to splash out on a back five if you’re the kind of manager who likes banking on reliable centre-backs who rack up clean sheets, interceptions and the odd headed goal. Many prefer to use just three defenders, with attacking full-backs becoming increasingly popular too.

The limit of five midfielders now means that building a successful five-man midfield is significantly harder to achieve. However, the increased budget per player could mean that a spend of $45.0 on your midfield may not be terminal.

Four strikers gives you the chance to have at least one low priced striker to make room elsewhere for a big golden boot challenger. Cheap options like Dominic Oduro ($7.5) and Tesho Akindele ($7.5) could become great investments for the season.

The Formation

There’s only one formation I can recommend for the first weeks of the fantasy season and that’s a 3-5-2. In the unpredictable and occasionally maddening league which is Major League Soccer, the only position you can truly rely on is that of the central midfielder. Regardless of the match, quality of the team or the scoreline – passing bonuses are sure to be gained and so I see players like Dax McCarty ($9.0) and Tony Tchani ($8.0) as safe bets for early points. You could also try a 3-4-3 or 4-4-2 if one of your strikers/defenders is likely to play in a midfield role. In my view, any other formation would be complete anarchism before the tone for the season has been set.

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The Must Haves

The increased budget per player has opened up teams to have three or four massive stars in their starting XI. This is why players like last year’s top points scorer Sebastian Giovinco ($11.5) are definitely worth having in your team for the start of the season. Another player along these lines is Ethan Finlay ($10.5), who will also benefit from the new passing bonus points.

However, this doesn’t mean that the most expensive players are always going to be the highest scoring. Strikers like Innocent Emeghara ($9.0) and Maximiliano Urruti ($8.5) are sure to get more playing time this season and they are both proven goalscorers. In defence, Dallas’ No. 1 Jesse Gonzalez ($6.0) might be worth an investment as FC Dallas have four home games in their first six. This home start makes Zach Loyd ($7.5) a steal at this value. On the cheaper side, Josh Saunders ($5.0) may suddenly have a less porous defensive line in front of him as NYCFC have dramatically bolstered their defensive options this offseason. Four home games in the first five won’t hurt either.

The Risks

A few players picked in this year’s SuperDraft may go straight into the starting lineup of some MLS sides. For example, Joshua Yaro ($6.0) and Brandon Vincent ($5.0) are bound to get plenty of playing time. Jordan Morris ($8.5) joining Seattle Sounders was possibly the biggest deal of the offseason and it’s anyone’s guess whether he’ll hit the ground running, or whether he’ll take more time to progress. The Colorado Rapids’ biggest offseason signing was Shkelzen Gashi ($9.0), who had been the top scorer in the Swiss Super League for the last two seasons. Whether he can single-handedly turn around the Rapids’ dreadful scoring record, I don’t know. The Rapids also have talented defender/midfielder Marlon Hairston ($5.0) returning from injury, but he might not be thrown straight back into the Starting XI from the outset.

The No-No’s

DC United goalkeeper Bill Hamid ($6.0) will be out for at least the first three months of the season and should be ignored. MLS Cup winners Portland have a new left back in Chris Klute ($7.0) but he could easily miss the first games of the season with a knee injury. Nigel De Jong ($9.0) is a new presence in the LA Galaxy midfield, but he is not known for his scoring exploits and is rather more known for racking up yellow cards, so I personally would wait and see if the new scoring system favours him. Also, for his price and his position as a forward in a fantasy squad Giovanni Dos Santos ($11.0) is probably worth a miss until he settles into his new role on the right side of in the Galaxy side.

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The Best Bench Warmers

Cameron Porter ($5.0) should gain significant value if he gets the playing time he was in line to receive before his horrific injury at the beginning of the 2015 season. Along these same lines, Andre Blake ($5.0) could be a starting ‘keeper for Philadelphia this year – and if he’s given the chance – he could become the best bargain ‘keeper in the league. Hadji Barry ($5.0) could also be given the chance to prove himself in a faster, more fluent Orlando City attack – and if he plays to his potential, his price will skyrocket very quickly.

This is just a brief overview of what can be an extremely in-depth game. However, if I were to tell you anymore of my secrets, there would be no point in picking your own team…

All I can do is wish you luck and may the fantasy force be with you!

Who do you think is an absolute must-have in MLS Fantasy 2016?

MLS Preview and Prediction: DC United vs Columbus Crew

Competition: Major League Soccer – DC United vs. Columbus Crew

Venue: RFK Stadium – Saturday, May 2nd – 19:00 ET (00:00 BST) 

Match Odds: DC United 6/4 – Draw 12/5 – Columbus 7/5

Match Preview

DC United host Columbus Crew in a key Eastern Conference clash on Saturday night with two of the best form sides in MLS going head-to-head.

DC extended their unbeaten run to five in last week’s impressive 2-1 comeback win against the Vancouver Whitecaps and are now just two points behind the Canadian side in the MLS Supporters’ Shield standings, with two games in hand.

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Ben Olsen’s men have looked strong this season and with Fabian Espindola returning to the side from suspension last weekend, they are in a position to push on further, with a win against Columbus the aim this Saturday.

The Crew have an unbeaten run going themselves, having not lost in four, and recorded their second consecutive win last week in that 4-1 thumping of the Philadelphia Union.

The Black and Yellow have scored more goals than any side in MLS after eight weeks and travel to DC in fine spirits.

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Columbus have taken points from DC United in their last three trips to RFK Stadium, winning two and drawing one, and will hope to continue that trend this week.

DC have not beaten Columbus in their last five meetings and so this one is perfectly poised in what should be a great contest.

Team News

DC United will be without Markus Halsti, Eddie Johnson, Steve Birnbaum and Collin Martin, while a goalkeeping crisis sees Bill Hamid and Andrew Dykstra both doubtful. Travis Worra came on for Dykstra last week and could get his first first ever start in this one. Fabian Espindola will partner Chris Rolfe in attack again.

Columbus Crew have just two concerns going into the game as Sergio Campbell and Wil Trapp are both doubtful. Tony Tchani and Mohammed Saeid are likely to continue their midfield partnership in the absence of Trapp, while Kei Kamara will hope to continue his fine form in front of goal as the lone striker.

Key Points

DC United’s last five: W/W/D/D/W

Columbus Crew’s last five: L/D/D/W/W

Key Stat: DC United are unbeaten in their last 12 home games in MLS, but will need to snap a run of five games without a win against the Crew to seal all three points.

Key Player: Ethan Finlay – The Crew winger scored his first brace in MLS last weekend in that win over Philadelphia. He now has two goals and four assists this season and is looking in fine form.

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Score Prediction

DC United 1-1 Columbus Crew – These two are in such good form that it’s too difficult to separate them. A draw would probably suit both and that is the most likely outcome, though expect both sides to score as some fine attacking talents will be on display.

MLS Player of the Week: Week 8 – Ethan Finlay

Columbus Crew started the season slowly with just one win in their first five games, but they have now won two on the bounce and look in fine shape, with Ethan Finlay picking up this week’s MLSGB MLS Player of the Week award.

Finlay scored two and grabbed an assist in Saturday’s 4-1 win against Philadelphia Union at MAPFRE Stadium.

The 24-year-old winger has looked good so far this campaign and he’ll be delighted to have picked up his first goals of the season to help the Crew extend their unbeaten run to four.

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They sit fourth in the Eastern Conference, just three points behind New England Revolution and DC United who share the top spot, and face DC in their next outing on Saturday night.

Finlay will hope to pick up where he left off in that game and his statistics from Saturday’s game against the Union make for fine reading.

Ethan Finlay's statistics vs. Philadelphia Union (Stats via WhoScored.com)

Ethan Finlay’s statistics vs. Philadelphia Union (Stats via WhoScored.com)

The pacey American scored from both of his shots, and completed 93% of his passes in a brilliant display that will have filled Crew fans with delight.

Finlay is now second in the MLS assists charts with four, only one behind Sporting Kansas City’s Benny Feilhaber.

The improving Columbus star scored 11 goals with seven assists in 29 games last season but is on track to build on those numbers after a fine start to the season.

What did you make of Ethan Finlay’s performance this week? Did he deserve to be named as MLS Player of the Week?

MLS Preview and Prediction: Houston Dynamo vs Columbus Crew

Competition: Major League Soccer – Houston Dynamo vs Columbus Crew

Venue: BBVA Compass Stadium – Sunday, March 8th – 20:30 ET (01:30 GMT – Sunday, 9)

Match Odds: Houston Dynamo 5/4 – Draw 11/5 – Columbus Crew 11/5

Match Preview

Houston Dynamo host the Columbus Crew on Saturday night in their season openers of the 2015 Major League Soccer campaign. This one sees two good sides that have had eventful yet promising offseasons go head-to-head.

Houston has changed their manager, opting to go for Owen Coyle. The Scot replaces Dominic Kinnear who departed the club at the end of the 2014 season after eight years in charge.

The managerial change sees former Premier League manager Coyle take over a Houston side that needs to do better than last season as they have a lot of promise in the squad.

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With the addition of Erick Torres to bolster an already strong team that boasts World Cup stars DaMarcus Beasley and Brad Davis, the Dynamo could be set for a good season.

Starting a season at home is always a good thing and Houston are the favorites going into the game against the Columbus Crew.

Houston Dynamo’s MLS home record in 2014: P17 – W8 – D4 – L5

The Columbus Crew’s changes have been more image-based as the club enter 2015 with a new logo and are without too many changes to their roster. The addition of Kei Kamara will bolster their attacking options and is a good pickup.

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Midfield acquisitions, Mohammed Saeid and Kristinn Steindorsson will add depth to a midfield that is very strong. Defensive midfielder, Will Trapp was recently called up to the USMNT and will want to continue to impress this year.

Columbus Crew’s MLS away record in 2014: P17 – W5 – D6 – L6

A special mention has to go to Ethan Finlay as the young attacking midfielder chipped in with eleven goals in MLS last term and will be hoping for more of the same in 2015.

Team News

Houston Dynamo: No injuries and we’re expecting everyone to be available for selection. Will Bruin is set to start in attack while defender Raul Rodriguez should make his debut at centre-back.

Columbus Crew: Romain Gall is out of this game with a knee injury. Kei Kamara and Kristinn Steindorsson should make their debuts.

Key Points

Houston Dynamo’s form: N/A

Columbus Crew’s form: N/A

Key Stat: The Houston Dynamo have only lost once at home to Columbus in MLS, a 2-0 defeat in June 2011.

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Key Player: Federico Higuain – The Argentinian playmaker can lay on assists as well as score goals. He was key in 2014 for Columbus and if they are to take anything from Sunday’s game he will need to be at his best in a playmaking role.

Score Prediction

Houston Dynamo 1-1 Columbus Crew – A game that neither side want to lose and we don’t think either will risk losing in this one. It could be a tight game but with each side bagging a goal. Score draw.

MLS 2015 Season Preview: Columbus Crew

In the build up to the new season we’ll have a new MLS 2015 Season Preview up everyday. Today we take a look at what the Columbus Crew will be looking to achieve this year. 

Columbus Crew will be looking to replicate last season’s form and finish in one of the all important top six spots in the Eastern Conference once again. The Crew have had a relatively busy offseason with more names out than in. Head coach Gregg Berhalter will be pleased with keeping hold of both Ethan Finlay and Federico Higuain, both of whom were at the forefront of everything good for the Columbus Crew last campaign.

Last season’s finish: Eastern Conference position: 3rd – P34 – W14 – D10 – L10

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What needs to change this year?

Crew SC need to find that winning mentality to turn draws into wins on a more regular basis. They drew more games in comparison to DC United and New England Revolution who were the only sides to finish above them in the East last campaign. The disappointment of the playoff drubbing at the hand of New England is something they can use as motivation for success this season.

Kei Kamara will add more goals and the signing of Kristin Steindorsson can bring in creativity as well as goals from midfield while the addition of Chris Klute from Colorado Rapids brings in another defensive option. The fullback featured 25 times for the Rapids last season, with 24 of those as starts, and he will provide cover to the defence. It is going to be a much tougher campaign this season and a strong squad is going to be vital if Columbus Crew are to make the playoffs again.

Key changes to squad:

Ins: Kei Kamara – Forward, Ben Swanson – Midfielder (Homegrown Player), Mohammed Saeid – Midfielder, Kristin Steindorsson – Midfielder, Chris Klute – Defender, Hernan Grana – Defender, Cedrick Mabwati – Midfielder (joining in July)

Outs: Ross Friedman – Defender, Matt Wiet – Defender, Josh Williams – Defender, Eric Gehrig – Defender, Ben Sweat – Defender, Fifi Baiden – Midfield, Daniel Paladini – Midfield, Agustin Viana – Midfield, Matt Walker – Midfield, Bernardo Anor – Midfield, Jairo Arrieta – Forward.

Key player: Federico Higuain – Midfield/Forward

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The classy attacking midfielder enjoyed a solid campaign last term and will need to push on and contribute even more to his side, in a similar role of that of Lee Nguyen with the Revs, as much is expected of Higuain ahead of the new season.

One to watch: Adam Bedell – Forward

His rookie season saw him net just twice in 16 appearances but at 6’6″ he towers over defenders and could become a quality target man for Crew SC. It will be interesting to see if he can tie down a starting role.

Predicted finish: Eastern Conference – 4th

We can expect another hard fought season from Columbus Crew, but in a more competitive division they may struggle to match last seasons third place finish. If Kamara can hit the ground running with goals we may well be surprised with what the Black & Gold can achieve and they must find a way to turn draws into wins.

How do you think Columbus Crew will do in 2015?

2014 MLS Season Review: Columbus Crew

Eastern Conference final position: 3rd

Eastern Conference playoffs: Semi-Final

Best Moment

Beating LA Galaxy 4-1 in mid-August was a special result for the Columbus Crew, especially as the Galaxy were in good form at the time.

Worst Moment

A run of eight games without a win through April and May saw the Crew score just six goals. They lost three on the bounce without finding the net in what was their worst form of the season. The 7-3 playoff loss to New England will have hurt them too.

Player of the Year

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Federico Higuain was excellent this season. The Argentinian playmaker scored 12 goals and picked up six assists in what was a solid campaign. He missed the Crew’s playoff second-leg against New England and fans will hope that they haven’t seen the last of him. He is an extremely talented player who can turn games in an instance.

Biggest Win

Columbus Crew 4-1 LA Galaxy (August 16 2014)

Biggest Defeat

New York Red Bulls 4-1 Columbus Crew (July 12 2014)

What to improve for the 2015 season…

Columbus Crew will have a new look starting next season

Columbus Crew will have a new look starting next season

The Crew made the playoffs for the first season in three years so it was certainly a successful campaign. They will be disappointed with the way they exited, but Columbus will be expecting a similar season next year. Rising stars such as Ethan Finlay look set to improve further and should help the side return to the playoffs. They were the most accurate passers of the ball in MLS and will expect to keep a similar style of play come March. The new logo will see the club look different but fans will expect much the same of what they saw this year.

What did we learn as Columbus Crew finally taste victory in win against Chicago?

The Columbus Crew ended an eight-game winless streak in MLS with their first victory since March as they beat Chicago Fire 2-0 on Saturday night. Here are our key takeaways:

1. Ethan Finlay is quick, and dangerous…and quick.

The 23-year-old made his first appearance of the season, starting on the right-wing in place of Dominic Oduro and made an instant impact on the game. He opened the scoring for the Crew after he flew past Chicago defender Greg Cochrane to latch on to a fantastic pass by Federico Higuain, and slotted in from a tight angle after rounding goalkeeper Sean Johnson. It was his second of the season after he scored in last week’s 3-3 draw with Portland. His incredible pace was a threat all night and he is certainly dangerous.

2. Federico Higuain is playing excellent football.

The Argentine added to his wonderful performance last week by grabbing two assists against the Fire to ensure his team would finally win a game. His first past to Finlay was weighted perfectly, as was his pass with the outside of the boot to Jairo Arrieta, who coolly slotted through the legs of Johnson to make it 2-0 early on. Higuain is making everything tick for the Crew and they will pick up more and more wins if he continues in the form he is showing.

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(Photo: Higuain is putting in some inspired performances for the Crew)

3. A depleted Chicago really missed Mike Magee.

Magee missed the game with a late calf injury, and Chicago were not the attacking threat they have been without him. Quincy Amarikwa was partnered by Juan Luis Anangono up front, but the two couldn’t click as Magee and Amarikwa have been. Anangono had a glancing header come off the post in what was the Fire’s best chance of the game, but they were flat and below par all night. They will hope Magee returns in time for their game against LA Galaxy next week.

 

Columbus will want to add to their overdue win when they travel to Toronto next weekend. The Crew now sit in fifth place in the Eastern Conference on 16 points, four higher than the Fire who fall to eighth.

Highlights via MLS on YouTube: