The Crew have sent two fine young gents off to the Olympic games to represent their countries in Robbie Rogers and Emmanuel Ekpo. What's truly curious about this entire situation is that:
1. They play on the same club team
2. Neither played significantly for that team last year
3. Both have been key to their club team's success this year
4. Both have first and last names that start with the same letter.
5. They will be battling each other for the right to come back and play for that club team
...I mean, to win the Gold. Sure.
That's right. In case you didn't know, the US and Nigeria are in the same knockout group. In fact, they'll be on the same pitch August 13th in the Beijing Workers Stadium, presumably lined up opposite each other. Also, as with all round-robin group play tournaments, it is possible both teams could not only advance, but there is a chance the US and Nigeria could square off in the gold medal match. So, what does this mean for Crew fans?
Root for Japan and The Netherlands.
Just kidding. But it does present that tough question for the USMNT diehards: root for Robbie Rogers to win a gold, or root for him to be back in Crew Stadium ASAP. As much as I love Ekpo, I hope he sees limited to no time and Nigeria gets thumped 5-0 in their first game. I don't know if I can root against the Natty Lights, but I do not have any affiliation for Nigeria.
Full schedule here.
The US Men's Schedule:
8/7 5:00am vs. Japan
8/10 7:45am vs. The Netherlands
8/13 5:00am vs. Nigeria
8/7 7:45am vs. The Netherlands
8/10 5:00am vs. Japan
8/13 5:00am vs. USA
Quarter finals: 8/16
Semi Finals: 8/19
Bronze Medal: 8/22
Gold Medal: 8/23
Here are the games we lose one of them for if they make it all the way.
7/27 - @ Colorado (W: 2-0)
8/02 - @ Houston
8/16 - FC Dallas
8/23 - Real Salt Lake
It is entirely possible we could have a Nigeria/USA final, Which is the worst/best case scenario, depending on how you look at it. But even then, we're talking four games against Western Conference teams. We will definitely lose both of these guys for the next game, and probably the home game with Dallas, unless they don't play at all, and their teams don't advance. If they get bounced in the quarter finals, we get one or both back for Real Salt Lake.
The big question is: How much is this going to affect the Crew? Well, maybe it will be worse than originally thought, now with Lenhart suspended for the next two games, and Frankie suspended for one. If we take only two points over the next three games, we will be on 33 points with 9 games to go. Not all that bad, but not great. Of those 9 games remaining, 7 will be against Eastern Conference teams, which means we will be slugging it out to get the Supporter's shield/playoff positioning.
For me, I'm club over country. So give me Robbie Rogers back tomorrow. What about you?