Crew-Rapids Preview


The Columbus Crew continue to struggle to find the back of the net.

Given their offensive issues in recent trips to Colorado, Friday night's match against the Rapids might not help them turn things around.

The Crew (4-5-7) have played back-to-back scoreless draws, going 181 minutes without a goal in league play. Including the playoffs, they are also scoreless in five straight losses at Colorado, failing to score in 501 minutes since a 1-0 victory on Aug. 1, 2009.

It's the fifth-longest scoreless drought for any team at an opponent in MLS history, and if the Crew fail to score Friday, it would move up to second place.

Columbus, which has a 392-minute scoreless streak and four-match losing skid in the overall series, is 0-3-3 on the road since a 2-1 victory in Seattle on March 29.

Though midfielder Wil Trapp returned from a three-game absence due to a knee injury, the Crew failed to score for the fifth time in nine league matches against FC Dallas.

"We are not happy. We definitely could have got three points. We did not create enough, including myself," forward Justin Meram told the league's official website. "The first half I thought we were pretty good. The second half, I am not sure what happened. But we need to create more chances."

Colorado (7-5-4) is tied with Real Salt Lake for second place in the Western Conference with 25 points. The Rapids have 11 goals during a 3-1-1 stretch and have won three of four at home.

Clint Irwin recorded his sixth clean sheet of the season - which trails only the seven by Sporting Kansas City's Eric Kronberg - in Saturday's 2-0 home victory over Vancouver. Colorado's eight shutouts lead the league.

Both goals came in the first half, with Vicente Sanchez scoring his team-leading sixth goal on a penalty kick. Sanchez, who was substituted out in the 69th minute, hadn't played a league match since May 3 due to a sprained knee.

"He could've (gone 90 minutes)," coach Pablo Mastroeni said. "More importantly, for him, to finish the game in the form that he did, which was really good, and now to build on that next week."

The Rapids' six goals from the 12-yard spot are tied with Vancouver for the most in MLS.

Jose Mari, who has three goals in 10 games, remains sidelined with a sprained ankle.

A loss for the Crew would match their worst losing streak in series history, equaling the five straight they dropped to Colorado between April 5, 1997-Sept. 19, 1998. They're 0-2-3 since their last Independence Day victory in 2001 against Los Angeles.