Crew-Impact Preview


The Columbus Crew's defense has been a strength all season, but their weak offense has prevented them putting together any long winning streaks.

The Crew, though, have earned at least a point in six of seven games as they visit the short-handed Montreal Impact on Sunday looking to win a second straight meeting.

Columbus has allowed an MLS-low 15 goals but scored only 16 - second-fewest in the Eastern Conference. As a result, the Crew haven't won more than two in a row all season.

Columbus (6-5-4) has managed to put together a strong seven-game stretch, going 4-1-2 while scoring a season high-tying two goals four times. The club defeated Real Salt Lake 2-0 last Saturday.

"I feel like today, we played to win from the first minute," coach Robert Warzycha said. "We knew what we had to do. The players were very confident. That was different."

Tony Tchani scored for the second time in as many games and Eddie Gaven recorded his team-leading fourth goal.

Columbus may get some additional support up front from the addition of striker Jairo Arrieta, who will be available for the first time after scoring in a 3-1 reserve league victory over New York on Monday. Arrieta recorded 45 goals in five seasons playing with Deportivo Saprissa in Costa Rica.

Columbus defeated Montreal (5-11-3) by a 2-0 score March 24.

"We can't really take much (from that game). It's a totally different team," the Crew's Andy Gruenbaum, who had six saves in the contest, told the team's official website. "We have a little confidence. They're struggling, but they're going to come out flying at home. They're a dangerous team."

The Impact have lost three straight while being outscored 9-1. Patrice Bernier scored in the 49th minute against Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday to give Montreal the lead, but it went on to lose 3-1.

The Impact, who have given up a league-high 35 goals, allowed two on penalty kicks off disputed hand balls.

Captain Davy Arnaud and Felipe Martins, who each have three goals, received their fifth yellow cards of the season for arguing with referee Sorin Stoica over the calls. Both will serve automatic one-game suspensions Sunday.

"Having Davy and Felipe out will be something we will have to deal with, but we have some magic guys up front," defender Jeb Brovsky said. "Guys from top to bottom are ready to step in. We need to be a little bit more creative and try to get our lateral defenders to support the attack more."

Newly acquired defender Alessandro Nesta, who played for AC Milan, will not be available after signing with the team earlier this week.