THURSDAY NIGHT PREVIEW COLUMBUS-NEW ENGLAND
(ESPN2, 7 pm ET/4 pm PT) By Ridge Mahoney
The cost of missing the
playoffs last year and its failure to score a goal in two games this year is putting pressure on the Columbus Crew already, regardless of when Argentine attacker Guillermo Barros
's paperwork is completed so he can suit up for the Black and Gold.
Columbus tied 0-0 at Real Salt Lake last week after finishing goalless against the New York Red Bulls in its
opener. Few of the Crew's 28 shots to date have seriously tested opposing keepers, although a rising 25-yarder off the foot of Eddie Gaven
forced a flying save by RSL's Nick Rimando
and two other goal-bound shots were cleared.
The Revs rolled over Toronto FC, 4-0, last weekend. Taylor Twellman
scored twice in the first 18 minutes, after he rattled a shot off the
crossbar in a 1-0 loss to the Fire opening weekend, and his sharp form will be of concern to Crew keeper Andy Gruenebaum
and a back line still without Chad Marshall
Rookie Adam Cristman
has not looked out of place up front and veteran Steve Ralston
(two assists) is surging up the flank every chance he gets. Andy Dorman
, who scored the
fourth goal in the rout of TFC, is relishing a greater attacking responsibility in the post-Clint Dempsey
era. Khano Smith
started at left mid against Toronto and hit a clever cross that
led to the first goal. When Joey Franchino
comes back from his personal problems he may not have a spot.
New England has gone 176 minutes without allowing a goal after Chicago struck
in the fourth minute on opening day with James Riley
deputizing for Michael Parkhurst
(dislocated shoulder) in the middle of its three-man back line. Yet disgruntled midfielder
is again expressing his displeasure at not finalizing a new contract and for the first time has hinted he might go on strike.
In last year's games at Columbus, the Crew
won, 3-0, with Jason Garey
's goal in the third minute proving to be the gamewinner, and tied the Revs, 1-1, on a late goal by Kei Kamara
. New England won both games at Gillette Stadium
by 1-0 scores.
The second ESPN2 telecast of the season will include analyst Tommy Smyth
alongside host Rob Stone
. The regular announcing team features Dave O'Brien
(play-by-play), Allen Hopkins
(reporter), and Eric Wynalda