Foxborough, MA (Sports Network) - The Columbus Crew complete an emotional and
brutal stretch of seven games in just 21 days on Wednesday at the New England
Following the death of Crew midfielder Kirk Urso in early August, Columbus has
responded with four wins and two draws to surge into fourth place in the East,
and to within just four points of second place.
Urso, 22, died of natural causes last month, although additional test results
are pending and, after a postponed match due to his funeral, Columbus has gone
on an incredible run in a short span.
In addition to emotions of losing a teammate, Columbus has uncovered two stars
in Federico Higuain and Jairo Arrieta. Higuain, the older brother of Argentine
and Real Madrid forward Higuain, is the brightest of the two.
Higuain has three goals and six assists in just five matches for the Crew, and
the last four of those games during a six-game unbeaten streak are wins.
With the end of the stretch in sight, and Higuain proving to be the next great
Designated Player in Columbus after Guillermo Barros Schelotto, the Crew will
try to add another win at Gillette Stadium against struggling New England.
"It's been a tough stretch with a lot of games in a short amount of time, but
guys are stepping up," Columbus defender Chad Marshall said. "I know guys are
tired but we have that 'Never say die' attitude and we're somehow managing to
get three points which is nice."
Columbus (12-8-6) ended a five-match win streak for the Montreal Impact in its
last match and have a draw and a win against New England (6-14-7) already this
The Revolution are winless in their last 10 games and completes a run of three
home matches in eight days against the Crew. New England has tied its last two
matches, but face a tough task against Columbus.
New England will be playing its fourth game in 11 days, and with striker Saer
Sene out with a torn ACL and striker Jerry Bengtson away on international duty
with Honduras, it could struggle offensively.
The only positive for the Revolution is the fixture is at Gillette, where they
have accumulated 20 of their 25 points this season with a 5-4-5 record. With a
playoff berth no longer a realistic option, staying off the bottom is a goal.
New England finished tied for the fewest points in last season with expansion
Vancouver Whitecaps FC and has just a four-point cushion on Toronto FC and the
worst record in MLS this season.