Revolution-Crew Preview

The Associated Press

After being idle in league play for nearly two weeks, the Columbus Crew finally have a chance to build on a big victory.

The Crew will attempt to win consecutive matches for the first time this season Saturday night when they host a New England Revolution team that is struggling on the road.

Columbus (6-8-5) returns to action for the first time since ending its three-game skid and Portland's 15-game unbeaten streak with a 1-0 home win on July 7.

Bernardo Anor provided the lone goal as the Crew handed the Timbers their first loss since March 9. The midfielder will try to extend his goal-scoring streak to three matches as Columbus aims for back-to-back wins for the first time since a four-game run from Aug. 22-Sept. 1, 2012.

Teammate Dominic Oduro could also be a factor on the attack, ranking among the MLS leaders with eight goals and scoring twice in his last three home matches versus New England.

Trailing the sixth-place Revolution (6-7-6) by one point in the Eastern Conference, Columbus has a chance to leapfrog them with a win.

"We're two teams kind of on the same boat and a win is huge," Crew goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum told the team's official website. "It's that time where you've got to start making moves."

After missing the Portland game due to a shoulder injury, Gruenebaum returned to training this week and hopes to play. He's allowed seven goals while going 1-2-2 in five career starts against the Revolution.

New England, which looks to avoid a season-worst third straight defeat, has only one win over its last six matches overall (1-3-2).

The Revolution had a particularly tough time on the road, winning once in eight matches (1-4-3) since opening the season with a 1-0 victory at Chicago. They've also conceded 10 goals in losing three straight matches at Columbus, last winning there on Oct. 25, 2009.

"It's an Eastern Conference opponent," rookie midfielder Scott Caldwell said. "Really, we don't want to slip any further down the table, so this game is very important for the rest of the season."

The Revolution gave up a pair of second-half goals - including a go-ahead own goal in the 67th minute - in a 2-1 loss at Colorado on Wednesday.

Midfielder Juan Toja provided the only tally - his first league goal since July 19, 2008 - as the Revolution continue to play without star forward Juan Agudelo, who is recovering from an injured right knee.

Dimitry Imbongo's goal and an own goal by Crew defender Chad Marshall in the second half gave New England a 2-0 victory in Foxborough, Mass., in the most recent meeting on Sept. 5, 2012. Imbongo will be available in this match after serving a red-card suspension against the Rapids.

Striker Saer Sene (hip contusion), midfielder Stephen McCarthy (head laceration) and defender Chris Tierney (knee irritation) also hope to return after missing Wednesday's loss.