Sunday, January 17, 2021

Crewture Weekly For 1/11 to 1/17

 







1. Chris Cadden isn't exactly in the Emil Larsen (two appearances, 31 minutes), Amro Tarek (a game, two minutes), or Alvaro Rey (two appearances, 32 minutes) Columbus Crew minute category. But, Chris Cadden (8 appearances, 353 minutes) sure did the whole here and gone before doing much thing.

The reason behind I believe is that Harrison Afful isn't ready to be replaced and Chris Cadden wasn't ready to replace him. Not sure the Columbus Crew needs another near starting level right back in 2021 or history will repeat itself. 

Except if the Crew can get their hands on Deandre Yedlin. Then you know go for it. 

Nice meme by Tony Galiffo on The Nordecke Facebook Group

Instead the Crew could use someone good and young but is still looking to grow their experience. Perhaps a young South American RB behind Afful. With Concacaf Champions League added in there will be minutes.

Cadden already played 7 minutes for Hibenian in a 2-0 win over Kilmarnock on Saturday.




A good thirty minute offseason read especially since you know there's not a ton going on momentarily. 


Included are a lot of pictures of a young Pedro. Along with what his parents did, does he believe in god, his career, COVID before MLS Cup, thoughts on US fans compared to Portuguese, and a hundred other things.



3. Another good read is this solid writeup by Stars and Stripes FC on Aboubacar Keita: https://www.starsandstripesfc.com/usmnt-youth/2021/1/14/22229696/ssfc-spotlight-aboubacar-keita-columbus-crew-usa-usmnt



Other notables:


We were all aware of but refreshing to see in image format. Especially if like me you're a visual person. 




There's also a story this week about the Columbus Crew 2021 kits being leaked here on Footy Headlines: https://www.footyheadlines.com/2021/01/columbus-crew-2021-away-kit.html?m=0&hEjNT=mME0G



And the Columbus Crew saying to the Chicago Fire hold my beer (story on last season's Fire logo debacle: https://www.hottimeinoldtown.com/2021/1/15/22233720/mansueto-shoulders-the-blame-for-the-chicago-fires-logo-failure-i-was-certainly-responsible ) and replacing the iconic all yellow home jersey. 


I've never heard of Footy Headlines so could be just an attempt at some click bait and a whoops when it doesn't happen. Well it worked. 



Anyone have the cajones to tag Dr. Pete in this and ask him?



Regardless, here's an idea for Major League Soccer teams. When you get bored don't change your logo to a snowflake.


Or a mountain being reflected into a lake. 



Also don't change an iconic jersey. 



Especially one that all Columbus Crew fans love. Remember we all cheer for a yellow soccer team?

There's a reason why the Cleveland Browns, Ohio State Buckeyes, Penn State Nittany Lions jerseys are so iconic. They don't really change. Keep it simple. Yellow jersey, black jersey. 



"The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing." -Henry Ford


Usually if something isn't working for MLS teams it's not the logo or the jersey. 

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Could Borja be headed to Crew as #2 in Zelarayan's Position?

 


Ecuadorian attacking midfielder Jonathan Borja (also can play left or right midfield) didn't have his option exercised with Cruz Azul. 

This past Summer, the 26 year old Borja's representatives were said to have conversations with the Columbus Crew despite Cruz Azul having a purchase option. 


To compound one day after Cruz Azul's Twitter goodbye, Borja is already in the United States. 




I find it unlikely just sightseeing during a worldwide pandemic.

One may think perhaps visiting with New York City FC or NYRB. 

But most of 2020 neither have been in New York City so not necessarily a guarantee of that. 

However, also in New York City are the Major League Soccer front offices. 

Would keep an eye on regardless as headed somewhere in Major League Soccer. But linked with Columbus Crew before.

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Columbus are your 2020 MLS Cup Champions!

In December 2015, Caleb Porter and the Portland Timbers came to Columbus for MLS Cup.

They won. 


Porter above was just being nice. The Portland Timbers were the better team on that day. 

Five years later in December 2020, who could've looked into a magic sorcery ball and said Porter would be the Columbus Crew coach for the next one?

Well Porter made sure the Columbus Crew were the better team this time.


And he loves himself some Nordecke. 


The next man up mentality wasn't always perfected during the season for Columbus.

But in the playoffs... Tarbell came in and picked up two shutouts for Eloy Room, Luis Diaz came in and destroyed the wings in replacement of Etienne Jr., and then rookie Aidan Morris played his best game in replacement of Darlington Nagbe in the MLS Cup Final. 

In four playoff games, Columbus only played the roster they wanted in one. 


Each Columbus Crew MLS Cup appearance has oddly intersected with a very important year in my life. 

The Columbus Crew became MLS Cup Champions in 2008.

That was a year. That was the start of this website. That was the year that I came up with the Nordecke name in January 2008. That was the year that my dad passed away on July 27th, 2008. 


I was 22. The only thing that kept me logically sane and moving forward was writing about Columbus Crew games that year.

I took my mind off of how I was feeling and flooded it into blog posts about Frankie Hejduk, Chad Marshall, GBS, Ale Moreno, Gino, Gaven, and etc. getting it done.

The Crew lost MLS Cup in 2015.

I didn't take that well. But I don't think a lot of things were going well then. Quite an immature 29 year old. 

Five days later I got into a car accident intoxicated yet thankfully alone. Had a subdural haematoma in the accident, was life flighted, and was in a hospital for a month. 



A lot of growing up from then. 

Yesterday was five years to the day, the above message was from Rick Thomas, who I would consider the Godfather of Columbus Crew tifo. Had several of those show up in my Facebook memories yesterday. 

Thank you for that. Yet sometimes I wish Facebook Memories wasn't a thing lol. I've had a cringe or 40 over old Facebook thoughts. 

Now 2020, has been a year of lessons for everyone. 

But everything has oddly gone great for me financially and career-wise.

Have ran into some nice opportunities both in videography and my regular work. 

Saving up currently to move back to Columbus, Ohio next Summer actually. So hopefully (or for some unhopefully) you will be seeing a lot more of Crewfighter. 🙄🤣


And what about Lucas Zelarayan?

He had big moments this year but I feel yesterday was his true coming out party. 2 goals and an assist in the biggest game of the year.

Well worth the money when your stars show up when required. 


Not saying all my thoughts are amazing or something. But actually wasn't surprised that the Columbus Crew came out of the most difficult season in history on top.


Currently have a lot of love going on. I love this team. I love our coach. I love our owners. I love our new stadium. I love our fans and their ability to keep us here. 

Overall, I love our current situation and believe even bigger things are ahead for us.


Saturday, December 5, 2020

Ending an era with an exclamation point!


My preview isn't going to be a big diatribe on what the Columbus Crew need to do to win. 


I'm not going to say this is the Columbus roster, this is New England's this is what needs to be done to take advantage. 


What the hell do I know?


What I do know is we are at home, we've won 12 out of 14 games at home this year.


We are the #3 seed and they are the #8th seed. 


That didn't matter for Toronto or the Philadelphia Union but we aren't them. 


This is our year. Caleb Porter says so himself...



If we win this Major League Soccer game the last Major League Soccer game at the first Major League Soccer stadium will be a MLS Cup Final. 



Sounds like a perfect ending. So what could go wrong?


The Columbus Crew had the downtick in their season at the right time. In September and October. They've righted the ship right before the playoffs and are back to it. 


However as a group (unless they are defense) I believe they need to inject some Luis Diaz into their play.

Take a defender on. Try to beat someone one on one.

Not every time. But do not take the first 60 minutes playing the same careful, slow passing game on every possession. 

We are at home. We are the better team. 

The scenario will be the same next week too.

So take it. It is yours.

Monday, November 30, 2020

REVIEW: Crew survives and thrives to Eastern Conference Final


In the East, #2 Toronto FC succumbed to #7 Nashville.


#1 Philadelphia Union went to the wayside to #8 New England. 


Does the bye break help or hurt you overall? Well Columbus found a way that week.


Despite both of those teams overtaking Columbus during the regular season neither big time opponent is still around.


Despite having 24% percent of their roster out from positive COVID tests the previous week, Columbus found a way again. 


Only two of those out were usual Columbus starters. But no practice, not knowing if there will be a game by the end of the week, worried for your teammates, along with a hundred other thoughts. 


Luckily replacements Andrew Tarbell and Luis Diaz have started more than enough in 2020 to be dependable and make the outcome still possibly favorable for Columbus.


Eventually the outcome was. 


Columbus took their sweet time though. Their sweet extra time. 


Columbus had the lion's share of possession early on but were down 8-2 early on shots. 


Columbus made up the gap slowly finishing the shots at 17 to 17. 


Columbus nearly had all the shots in extra time as Nashville looked worn out mentally and physically despite Columbus making no subs for the first part of extra time while Nashville made five by that point. 


In addition believe as the game progressed Luis Diaz took on more Nashville players one on one and perhaps that spurned on his teammates to be a bit more imaginative than passing the ball left, right, and back slowly looking for the perfect shot.


Sometimes you have to make that perfect shot, chance happen yourself. 


Well Columbus is now 11 for 12 in winning at home. If Minnesota, Seattle, or FC Dallas can beat Sporting Kansas City Columbus's final two playoff games will be at home too.


If not Columbus will have to win their first away game of this season in the MLS Cup Final.


Regardless Columbus will find a way.


Sunday, November 22, 2020

REVIEW: Columbus moves on with relative ease.

 


Welcome to 2020 in Major League Soccer where the debut game for a head coach can be the opening playoff game.

That's what occurred yesterday for one Gerhard Struber who the New York Red Bulls paid Barnsley $2.36 million to secure his rights and sign as their head coach back in October.

Struber's coaching accolades prior include coaching two Austrian 2nd division teams and then most recently keeping Barnsley out of the relegation zone in the English Championship.
 

Nevermind that Barnsley would've been relegated if it wasn't for Wigan Athletic falling into administration and receiving a twelve point deduction.


Gerhard Struber (not Jaap Stam)


Lets just say I'm glad that the Columbus Crew went the American, Major League Soccer experience route with Caleb Porter.

Major League Soccer is starting to trend into a haven for questionable international coaches such as Struber, Raphael Wicky, Diego Alonso, and a few Dutch ones.

Struber's major power play in his first game was to keep Brian White out of the starting lineup and start beanpole Tom Barlow who makes Adam Jahn look like Messi.
 

Brian White scored at the end of the game after coming on so as a Columbus Crew fan I appreciate Struber's first power play.
 

Regardless, I wasn't very concerned even when Columbus were down momentarily in the first half.
 

That lack of concern would've grown if it was 1-0 going into half, luckily Dru Yearwood solved that by running over Pedro Santos in the Red Bull penalty area 150 seconds later.
 

Thanks pal. 1-1. 


I was thinking all first half man this Dru Yearwood stinks, NYRB needs to calm it down with starting every homegrown player.
 

Just to look him up and find out that he's one of their DP's from ENGLAND!

Glad with Yearwood and Jason Pendant we didn't end up with Denis Hamlett as our GM. Yikes.

Regardless, I was more concerned by the lack of connectivity and awake-ness by the Columbus Crew in the entirety of the first half.

The only player that looked alive and made good decisions throughout the 1st half was Pedro Santos (and you can't say that every game...). So good on him.

For the rest of the playoffs the entire Columbus Crew need to start showing up a bit earlier.
 

If you need 5 to 10 minutes to feel out the game fine. Not 45 as game will be over by then against Toronto.
 

I doubt Porter was terribly pleased either with the first half and probably had some choice words.

I just wish Porter could have some choice words before the game to spark that fire a bit earlier. 😅

Nevertheless 34 seconds into the 2nd half. 2-1 Nagbe. 


Then Gyasi Zardes capped things off with some real brilliance in the 68th minute to make it 3-1.

What Zardes really did well throughout the game was playing defense as a forward. Probably actually the best forward I've seen at that. Came back and disrupted about five plays himself. 

Fernando Adi would blow up if he tried that. 

Another player that was huge was Derrick Etienne Jr. who had an assist, two if you want to be honest as Etienne's one blocked shot led to Nagbe's goal seconds later. 

Etienne also had an assist to Zelarayan the prior meeting between Columbus and NYRB back at the #MLSisBack Tournament.

It's basically Etienne's position for the rest of these playoffs. If Etienne keeps this up it could be his position for much longer.  



That's another thing what the hell were Denis Hamlett and RBNY thinking of by loaning Etienne out to FC Cincinnati last year (who barely played him, about all you need to know about why FC Cincinnati rocks so much) and then afterwards RBNY declined Etienne's option making him a free agent for the Columbus Crew to pick up this prior offseason?

I mean I shouldn't sound enraged. Thanks. 😅

But who did RBNY have so great to let Etienne go? 

As even Aaron Long looks a bit pedestrian nowadays for RBNY although it could just be his mullet and the players surrounding him. 

Etienne was a player I rated in the past when he was playing often with NYRB. Came into this season with 60 MLS appearances and 6 goals at 23. Yeah you will make a mistake or two from the ages of 18 to 22 but sure as hell beats most college draft picks with no MLS games.  

Definitely beats their other recent pickups at around the same age in Jason Pendant and Dru Yearwood. 

Further if you think Florian Valot and Daniel Royer are better midfield wingers I have to question your mental acuity. Both speedwise or otherwise. I only think they signed Valot because he's French and therefore must be good? As both are currently not that good and not 23 so are unlikely to grow. Neither would start a game in Columbus unless there was an injury or two. 

Just makes zero sense. 

For our next opponent I'm rooting for Nashville as who wouldn't want to be at home again. Especially when you've won 10 out of 11 there this year. 

But also going to Connecticut and beating Toronto FC after the dismantling there the last time would be about the biggest  statement that Columbus can make that "we are for real."

As prior to the 2nd half on 9/27/20 the Columbus Crew were perfect and then the season kind of went halfway off the rails after that. 

Regardless Columbus will have a better, stronger opponent compared to this first game. I just hope Columbus gets going in this next game sooner. 
 


Thursday, November 12, 2020

PREVIEW: Will the ZZ Top show continue in playoffs?



#3 SEED: COLUMBUS CREW (12-6-5)- 41 POINTS / GF: 36 GA: 21 

                                                                         VS. 





#6 SEED: NEW YORK RED BULLS (9-9-5)- 32 POINTS / GF: 29 GA: 31

The Columbus Crew have been a bit bi-polar with their results lately. 

In the last six games they've beaten the #1 and #5 Eastern Conference playoff seeds. They've also reintroduced the welcome attraction of both Zardes and Zelarayan scoring in the same game. 



But intermittently the Crew have sprinkled in a tie to the #24th team and a loss to the #25th team in MLS. 

The Crew followed those breaks between wins with an even more baffling late goal loss to Orlando City while up a man. 

Yet a partly cloudy 3-2-1 run shows some signs of sun for the Columbus Crew compared to a shambolic 0-3-1 start to October. 

Now the question is can the Columbus Crew string consecutive Nordecke pleasing performances together?

COLUMBUS CREW vs. NEW YORK RED BULL MATCHUP:

New York finished the season on decision day in good form defeating #2 side Toronto FC 2-1 at home with goals from Tom Barlow and Brian White.

But likewise they've been a little all over the map. Since October NYRB have been 3-3-3. 



For Columbus I would go at this game the same offensively to when the Crew played the New York Red Bulls last on 7/16/2020.

7/16/20 Crew lineup and highlights


As offensively Columbus lined up the same last week as well.

Which led to the wanted result at home that jumped Columbus up to the #3 seed. For continuity and familiarity sake I would play the same starting eleven in total as the last game. 


Instead of ending a victorious MLS Cup campaign with a NYRB win could Columbus possibly start one that way?

Columbus doesn't need to get ahead of themselves. 

Instead if the Crew can show focus, I would say Columbus would be a good bet with everything on the line at home to have a similar result to 7/16/2020.

RESULT: Columbus has another streak of back to back ZZ Top scoring games with another 2-0 result over NYRB. Goals by Zardes and Zelarayan.
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