COLUMBUS, Ohio – No, it’s not the Blues Brothers on a “mission from God,” but Crew defender Andy Iro said the team’s objectives will prevent a letdown in a rematch with forlorn D.C. United on Saturday in RFK Stadium.
It’s the same venue in which the Crew needed 120 minutes Wednesday to beat the worst team in MLS 2-1 in a semifinal of the US Open Cup.
“We’re on a mission here,” Iro said. “We want to win the Supporters’ Shield. We want to finish off the East. Those goals aren’t going anywhere in a hurry.”
In defeating United on a Guillermo Barros Schelotto penalty kick in the 98th minute, the Crew actually did themselves no favors if they want an unprecedented third straight Supporters’ Shield.
The Crew (41 points) trail overall leader Los Angeles by two and are one up on Real Salt Lake with eight league games left for the trio.
However, RSL and Columbus play an additional four CONCACAF Champions League games, plus the Crew have the Open Cup final, which will give them a tough stretch of three games in seven days come October.
The Crew host San Jose on Oct. 2, play the Open Cup final at Seattle Sounders FC three days later then meet the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park three days after that on a Friday.
But that wasn’t on the minds of the Crew after taking down a gritty D.C. United.“Any chance you get to win a trophy, you have to take advantage of it,” midfielder Brian Carroll said. “Even though we have another tournament and the regular season going on, we want to do as well as we can in anything we compete in.”
The next step is holding off fast-charging New York (37 points) in the Eastern Conference.
“[Wednesday] was a big game for us, but Saturday’s even bigger,” Iro said. “It’s all there for us.”
SOUNDING OFF: Crew management is annoyed that the Open Cup title game can’t be played Oct. 12 in Seattle because the Sounders scheduled a friendly that night against Chivas de Guadalajara.
If Chivas USA had defeated Seattle on Wednesday, the match with the Crew would have been Oct. 12 at the Home Depot Center.
What are the odds that Seattle will wear “electricity” yellow uniforms and force the Crew into their seldom-worn all-black? Would former Crew coach Sigi Schmid do that to the team he led to the 2008 MLS Cup? Hmm.
By the way, the Crew host Seattle on Sept. 18 in an MLS game.
ROUND TWO: A scuffle that led to the ejection of DC’s Pablo Hernandez and a caution to Danny O'Rourke influenced the outcome of Wednesday's semifinal. The Crew took advantage of the extra man to get the equalizer in the 89th minute on Iro’s shot that deflected off DC defender Marc Burch.
The combatants could clash again Saturday since Hernández’s red card does not carry into MLS play. O’Rourke will likely start because center midfielder Adam Moffat is suspended for the match.