Sunday, November 29, 2009
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Last June, Stern John said that he desires and wants to return to Columbus. But, at that time, John also said that he wanted one more year in England. Well, that one more year in England hasn't gone so hot. John has only made two appearances for Championship side Crystal Palace (in 13th place with only 23 points). John hasn't found the net in his two appearances for Palace.
John's lack of Palace appearances has led to a recent loan switch with Championship bottom feeders Ipswich Town; who are run by John's former Sunderland manager Roy Keane. The loan will last until January. John will try to prop up 23rd place Ipswich Town, currently on 13 points.
If the loan doesn't go well, expect Stern John to be in Columbus for the preseason. Also, expect John's stock to drop enough that the Crew could possibly fit John in at Moreno's salary.
So, what are your thoughts? Would it be worth it to bring John back into the squad? I think a guy still good enough for Crystal Palace in August and Roy Keane in November, has to still have some worth to Columbus come March.
John may be a nice target striker for Guillermo Barros Schelotto in 2010.
Here is Keano on John's strong character and why he brought John into the side:
Malvin Kamara, the Columbus Crew, and Willy Wonka.
** Malvin Kamara is apparently still turning down the Columbus Crew to stay with Conference National bottom feeders Barrow A.F.C.. No clue why the Crew are hot for a guy in the Blue Square Premier League (otherwise known as the Conference National or the 5th Division in England), but hey if it's in the English press it must have some truth to it. That was sarcasm..
However, the Malvin Kamara thing is sort of reminding me of the Renteria thing. Renteria talked it up to the press and that was true. Appears that Kamara is doing the same thing. I would think Kamara would be like Rohan Ricketts version 2.0, but who knows Bliss and company are in charge for a reason.
And, at least Kamara will bring an interesting pre-match ritual Nordeckside.
Friday, November 27, 2009
FYI, he thought Chad Barrett would score 10 goals this year, otherwise he would dress up like a old woman. Obviously, by that bet he just wanted to dress up like an old woman.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Moreno was a cornerstone in what might go down as the best and most successful Crew side in history. As I think we might be chasing 2008 memories for a while (Picture by Sam Fahmi).
Yesterday the Philadelphia Union selected Alejandro Moreno in the expansion draft. For the most part, Crew fans are reacting with a mix of sadness and relief. Sadness because Alejandro Moreno was a great guy who always connected well with the fans and worked hard for the Crew. Moreno was a big part of the Crew's 2008 success and truly loved it here. Relief because he isn't as big of a loss as Padula or others might have been. Moreno just doesn't work in the current system as well as he worked in Sigi's system. Further, it isn't a big surprise that Moreno is gone, four goals at striker isn't going to cut it anywhere, great guy or not, and I think the Crew would have looked in another direction in 2010 anyways.
As Moreno has said, the writing has been on the wall for a while... But, I don't think Moreno did much to change that on the field in 2009. If Moreno scored 10 goals in 2009, this wouldn't even be discussed and Moreno would have been protected as he was in 2008. With that said, I don't think Moreno should be surprised. I think he should be happy to have a clean removal now instead of a protracted, ugly offseason removal. Business is business. I also know that Moreno will never be booed in Columbus and the Nordecke will sing his song in the introductions when the Philadelphia Union comes to visit. The guy is pure class, a professional, and should be honored as such from Crew fans. Despite a disappointing 2009, I chose to remember Moreno like this:
He was one of my favorite players in 2008. In 2009, I'm not too sure what happened or where he went. Despite some of the things I have said about him this season, I and most of the Nordecke has much love for Moreno. I truly wish him well at Philadelphia Union. Further, Moreno has been counted out before, Houston counted him out and Moreno came back and did well for Columbus. Columbus now has counted him out and I hope Moreno rises again in 2010. Best of luck to him.
Also, a little late to the story, but here is some great work over at the Columbus Dispatch from Shawn Mitchell and Mike Arace. This comment really struck me from Mike Arace's piece and I hope the same fate isn't in store for GBS:
On that cold night in Sandy, Utah, Crew coach Robert Warzycha put Moreno and the incomparable Schelotto on the bench, and kept them there.
At some point in the second half, Schelotto turned to Moreno and said, "You know what the difference is between this year and last year?"
Moreno could think of 100 things, but he said, "What?"
And Schelotto said, "Everyone is playing, except for you and me."
"As obvious as it may seem, that comment brought it all together," Moreno said. "We're not a part of it anymore."
And, I totally agree with what Moreno has to say here about Guillermo in the playoff game at RSL:
"I don't think a guy who has won as many championships as Guillermo requires any extra motivation (for Game 2). I think Guillermo understands what games are important."
Moreno's comments about Warzycha in Mitchell's latest update makes me worry that Warzycha and company may have lost the locker room. This could be the real reason behind the Crew's late season collapse. Hopefully the Crew braintrust communicates a little better with the players they still have (they didn't even tell Moreno that they were not protecting him) and take steps to rebuild that great locker room in the 2010 offseason.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
According to Shawn Mitchell, Jed Zayner is still protected under Generation Adidas. Therefore, Zayner cannot be selected by the Philadelphia Union. Zayner would have been the perfect pick for Philadelphia Union, cheap and talented enough to start. Also, I wouldn't be surprised if Zayner wasn't totally against a fresh start in Philadelphia. But, as a Crew fan, I'm glad Zayner is protected and I have high hopes for him as our future and possibly present right back.
So, with Zayner out of the picture; A lot of Crew fans are now saying Jason Garey or Andy Iro would make the most sense for the Philadelphia Union in regards to bang for your buck. I disagree and I think Nowak will look for legitimate starters. The only legitimate, no doubt, starter who can give the Union some solid seasons is Gino Padula. That sucks. I really like Gino, he was our best defender in 2009, and it was pretty dumb not to protect him. Padula has at least two or three good seasons in him at 33 and I'm guessing those will now be with Philly.
If Gino is selected by Philly, then this was not a smart move by the Crew, since we have no other left backs on our whole team. I hope the Philadelphia Union takes Garey or Iro but I don't see it happening even though Padula is more expensive.
Monday, November 23, 2009
I was just clicking through some old school stuff and I found this youtube video of the Tacoma Stars of the Major Indoor Soccer League from the 1980's to the early 90's rather interesting. Apparently, Preki, Roy Wegerle, and Steve Zungul played for the Stars in front of crowds as high as 21,000.
And, here is the Tacoma Stars today. A wee bit different.
Here is an example of the San Diego Sockers. This example reminds me of hockey. But, with the higher scoring you would figure indoor soccer would be even more popular with regular Americans, who crave fast paced action with high scores.
Also surprisingly, the Cleveland Force in 1986/1987 (logo above) had an average attendance of 14,111 over 26 home games. That is just a little less than the Crew in 2009 with the Force having 11 more regular season games in 1986.
I remember the Cleveland Crunch, but the best that they could do is 8,000 as their highest average attendance. Nevertheless, they did have a following and people who definitely cared. And, crowds that showed up for the big moments. Here is one of their best moments (read the comments, hope that is never us 20 years from now):
So, what ever happened to indoor soccer? I always loved to play it in high school and college. Could a successful indoor league ever work in America again?
According to the Carolina Railhawks owner Selby Wellman:
"By going with NASL, we're obligated to operate our league at a high standard befitting a name that means so much to the soccer community throughout North America," said Selby Wellman, principal owner of the Carolina RailHawks and newly appointed president of NASL. "Our intention is to offer an elite brand of soccer and outstanding experience for our partners and fans, something the old NASL did very well during its day. We will do the same in the new NASL."
Thoughts: An elite brand of soccer, lol, well that is pretty doubtful.
What is your take on the name? At least it is slightly amusing.
Nevertheless, one thing the Rowdies have better than us is an already better looking website. And, interestingly enough former Houston Dynamo player Paul Daiglish will be their head coach.
Protecting Moffat is quite a surprise.
Every expansion year, which appears to be just about every year nowadays in MLS, the Crew loses a solid player to the expansion draft. This year the Crew stands to lose either Jed Zayner, Emilio Renteria, Gino Padula, or Frankie Hejduk. I don't see them picking anyone else and I'm expecting the Philadelphia Union to capitalize on the Crew's mistake and either go with Zayner or Renteria.
Overall, three of those four (Padula, Renteria, Zayner) were on my protected list, while some protected players (Brunner, Hesmer, Moffat) were not. So, how do you feel about who was protected and who was not? If you're late to the party, here's the list:
D Eric Brunner
MF Brian Carroll
MF Emmanuel Ekpo
MF Eddie Gaven
GK William Hesmer
F Steven Lenhart
D Chad Marshall
MF Adam Moffat
D/MF Danny O’Rourke
MF Robbie Rogers
MF/F Guillermo Barros Schelotto
MF Kevin Burns
MF Corey Elenio
F Jason Garey
MF Alex Grendi
GK Andy Gruenebaum
D Frankie Hejduk
D Andy Iro
F Alejandro Moreno
MF Duncan Oughton
D Gino Padula
F Emilio Renteria
GK Kenny Schoeni
D Jed Zayner
1.) Adam "10 games in the last two years" Moffat gets protected? Which makes me wonder if the Crew front office is playing some sort of crude joke on us. First off, there isn't a chance that Peter Nowak picks Moffat. Secondly, when Moffat came off of his multiple injuries and was healthy at the end of this year, he looked like one quarter of the Moffat from the start of 2008. I like Moffat as a person and I hope he gets back to form, but can you honestly say he is worth protecting? Moffat can't even find his way anywhere close to the starting lineup these days and we protect him over Padula, Renteria, Zayner, and Hejduk?
2.) Jed Zayner is better than Eric Brunner. I do not get all the Eric Brunner love considering the second half of Brunner's season was god awful. I rather just have Danny O'Rourke play center back.
3.) Gino Padula was our best defensive player in 2009. Sure, Chad Marshall received that award from MLS... But, Padula was there every game and was a rock for the Crew at left back. Who exactly are we going to replace him with? Padula has at least two good seasons in him, still only 33.
4.) If Jed Zayner is picked, who is going to play right back for us after Hejduk retires? Who knows if Hejduk even has a full season left in him. Hejduk only played 14 games for the Crew in 2009 and did not look like Frankie Hejduk in the playoffs or in Denmark.
5.) I think for $90,000 Renteria is a steal. I like Lenhart, but can you honestly say that Lenhart is going to be a 10-15 goals a year guy for us? I hope Lenhart is eventually, but I think Renteria could be if he had a full season. Losing Renteria could bite us in the ass eventually in Philly.
I also think Lenhart was protected over Renteria basically because everyone loves Lenhart's hair and his sense of humor. Soccer can be so gay like that sometimes, lol.
Anyways, I could see Nowak taking a flier on Renteria. I probably would if I was him.
6.) Think it is between Zayner, Renteria, and Padula on who gets picked. All three in my opinion should have been protected. If they pick Moreno, wow, celebration and PU's management is just as thick as some of these picks.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
And, depending on that list, Crew fans can either shrug and say "well, that's what I would of done" or yell at their computer and have a hissy fit on the interwebs, like a four year old in Wal-Mart..
So, on Montag, the Crew's first goal is to leave a mixture of players unprotected that the Philadelphia Union and Peter Nowak will have no interest in. As five teams will have no players selected in the expansion draft on this upcoming Wednesday. However, if Nowak is smart enough (and he is) he'll want to pluck just about any player who has been a part of a championship squad. Also, the Crew (no matter the list) are going to have some scintillating players for Nowak to choose from; as Warzycha has said, this is a deep squad, much deeper than just eleven players.
Therefore, the Crew can only minimalize the damage of the expansion draft. So, here is my best attempt at a list, along with my rationale (in order of importance):
1.) Chad Marshall- Hands down the best central defender in the league and has been rewarded as such for the past two seasons. Without him oddly, the Crew's offensive attack went into hibernation the second half of the year. Crucial player.
2.) Eddie Gaven- Unprotected last year, won't be the case this year despite his high salary. Was the Crew's most consistent midfielder and quite possibly most consistent player. Never really had a bad game.
3.) Danny O'Rourke- Rewarded as team MVP, local boy, can play several defensive positions. Definitely not going nowhere. Although, he should go back to central defense with Chad Marshall.
4.) Brian Carroll- Not sure if we could find anyone better than Brian Carroll at DM in MLS, and not sure if you want to spend the money on an international at the DM spot. Important player and someone Nowak is familiar with, and thus might pick. So, have to protect him.
5.) Gino Padula- Played more minutes than anyone in 2009. Padula is still only 33 years old. Also, it took the Crew forever to find someone who could play left back. That was an issue for the Crew since 2005. I also could see PU (great acroynym) taking a couple older guys who can be team leaders.
6.) Jed Zayner- Has shown that he is a credible replacement to Frankie Hejduk, once Hejduk departs from the game (well if he ever does). I have more faith in Zayner than Brunner, despite Brunner having more playing time.
7.) Emmanuel Ekpo- Still inconsistent, but only 21 and will continue to develop, a lot of years ahead of him. Too electric of a player to be left unprotected as I could see the Union picking him up easily. Still needs to be more consistent, but when he is on at times, Ekpo looks like the best player on the field.
8.) Guillermo Barros Schelotto- Should be number one on this list, but it should be very interesting to see whether he is on or off the list on Monday. Could be a crazy day come 3 p.m. If GBS is left off, there is no doubt in my mind that the Philadelphia Union will give GBS a better salary than $227,000 dollars. I say the Crew live to fight another negotiation day and protect Guillermo.
9.) Emilio Renteria- I think Renteria may be our best striker option that we have now. I also think that the Crew are going to get a new striker in 2010 that is a proven goalscorer. But, I think Renteria could be a strong number two. Warzycha will play two strikers in 2010.
Anyways, overall, Renteria may not have blown our socks off, but he had a great strike in Champions League that was more impressive than any other shot taken by the rest of our strikers the entire year. He is also strong and physical. He is also, compared to Moreno and many other options, much cheaper. Therefore, I would like to see more of him in 2010 before making a decision on whether he is a long term fit for the Crew. However, for the most part, I saw promise in his starts in the latter half of the 2009 season. Further, it wouldn't have made sense for the Crew to bring Renteria into the fold so late in the 2009 season if he wasn't part of their 2010 plans.
10.) Steven Lenhart- Fan favorite, hard worker, good player. You'll need at least three strikers in 2010. I think Lenhart has improved every season instead of plateauing like Moreno and possibly Garey. I would like to hold onto Lenhart and Renteria, drop the rest of our strikers, and bring in a third in 2010.
11.) Robbie Rogers (if in the fold and not headed to Europe) and if headed to Europe or elsewhere than Frankie Hejduk- Rumor is that Robbie Rogers will be left unprotected and may be on his way back to Europe anyways. I don't think that Rogers had a good enough 2009 to garner that much interest from Europe. But, Rogers is out of contract and if the Crew want to keep him, it is going to cost them a lot more money. Money they don't have if they keep Guillermo. I rather have Rogers on the squad as the more we can keep the trio of Ekpo, Gaven, and Rogers the better (which by the way should of been our midfield tandem for the whole of 2009! I don't know why they don't just play Gaven at CM! Get all of your best players on the field.)
As much as it hates me to say it, I'm leaving Hejduk out for now, unless Rogers is headed elsewhere. Frankie Hejduk was the heart and soul of the team in 2008. In 2009, Hejduk was elsewhere, half of the time, with either the national team or out injured. Hejduk only made 14 appearances in 2009. Further, 2010 may be Hejduk's last or next to last season. And if Hejduk is a part of the U.S. National camps, I'm not sure if it would be worthwhile to keep him when we have Zayner who can play his position as well, full time. And, O'Rourke who can play that position if Zayner goes down.
1.) William Hesmer- I don't think Hesmer had a solid enough of a 2009 to protect him, although I know the Crew will protect him. I just do not think it is dire to protect a goalkeeper. Especially with the ammount of quality goalkeepers in the USL (and with most of them likely looking to go to MLS even more so right now) with the mess that the USL is in. I have seen Bill Gaudette (Puerto Rico Islanders), Sam Cronin (Portland Timbers/D.C. United), and Matt Jordan (Montreal) on multiple occassions this year and I think all of them would not be much of a drop off, all three have improved vastly since they were last seen in MLS.
Also, possibly Brad Friedel could come back to MLS with the Crew in 2010. There have been rumors that he would like to come back next season and if he does come back he would like to be back with the Crew. Both as a former member and with his development camp close by. It would be a pretty decent stituation to pick up Friedel for the CONCACAF run, sign Guillermo for around $300,000, and then sign one more striker. I think we could all live with that.
But, the Crew have to be careful, as this could bite us in the ass. As any new keeper deal could fall through and then we are left with a Noah Palmer stituation. So, if left unprotected, the Crew better make sure they have an option elsewhere. Although, like I said, it is easiest to find keepers for MLS. It is much harder to find skilled attacking players. Therefore, I find it more important to hang onto our field players.
Also, I find it doubtful that the Philadelphia Union will pick Hesmer if left unprotected.
2.) Frankie Hejduk, if Rogers in in fold- Like I said before, only 14 games played in 2009, his age, and national team commitments. Would hate to see him play for another team in MLS. But, we do have cover there with Zayner and O'Rourke. I could see the Philadelphia Union picking Hejduk for veteran leadership and because he is marketable. But, I could also see the Philadelphia Union passing on Hejduk because of the aforementioned injury, age, and national team commitments.
It is a tough business and it is a tough call. But, were going to lose someone.
3.) Eric Brunner- More than likely has a good future in MLS and with the Crew. I just do not think he is there yet. I thought he played well the first half of the year, but struggled the second half. Got a lot of experience as a rookie but I also think that O'Rourke should be played back at central defense and Brunner, at this time in his career is a solid backup to Marshall and O'Rourke. Nothing wrong with that. I just don't think he is there yet to protect him.
I also don't think Nowak is going to look at Brunner's second half and see him as a starter on his back line. I could be wrong and Brunner could end up being an all star in 2010, but I just don't see it yet. If he is and is taken, I'm still fine with a backline of Hejduk/Zayner----Marshall----O'Rourke----Padula in 2010.
Further, the whole Brunner and New York Red Bull saga might turn other teams off. Because they might think that if Brunner doesn't want to be anywhere except Columbus, that Brunner will just play in the USL for a year and then come back to the Crew.
4.)Andy Iro- Just didn't have a big enough role in 2009 and we have enough cover in defense, not to protect him. Iro will not be picked anyways.
5.) Adam Moffat- Think he still has an important role with the Crew and 2010 may be his comeback year if Moffat can keep injury free. But, too oft injured and not enough minutes, so Moffat will be overlooked by Philadelphia Union.
6.) Kevin Burns- Played his way into Warzycha's good graces late in 2009. I think he possibly has done enough to secure a spot on the 2010 roster. More likely than not at his salary. But, think there is no chance PU picks him.
7.) Alejandro Moreno- Disappointing 2009. It is not very good when your top striker only has four goals on the season. Whether Philadelphia Union picks Moreno or not, I think he is gone in 2010. Only way I can see the Crew keeping Moreno is if he takes an extreme pay cut and plays for $50,000. Honestly, watching his 2009, he isn't worth that much more.
8.) Jason Garey- Had his moments during the Bash Brothers summer. But, unlike Lenhart, Garey has already had his chance to be the man. And, every time it looks as if he will revive himself (as he did this Summer), Garey goes back into a funk and lacks the ability to score again (as he did this Fall). I think he is gone as well. Trade bait with Moreno.
9.) Duncan Oughton- Great soldier and locker room guy. Played a role at some points in the season. Not going to be picked by the Philadelphia Union. I think it is 60-75% percent whether the Crew will even bring him back for one more year.
10.) Andy Grunebaum- Won't be selected, maybe he has what it takes to be a starter again though.
11.) Cory Elenio- Likely to be waived, draft pick will take his spot.
12.) Alex Grendi- Likely to be waived, draft pick will take his spot.
13.) Kenny Scheoni- Played pretty well against New England. May get a shot or either him or Grunebaum will get waived for a draft pick. The lesser of the two at the start of 2010.
Who will Philadelphia Union select? The above list of 13 players leaves no one that will make Nowak shake with joy. I think their best option is a 36 year old Hejduk (in terms of a big name to make Philadelphia Union fans happy), even though Hejduk might not even be around for two months of their season because of national team duty. And, as much as I would hate to see Hejduk in a Union shirt, I think we would survive without him. I mean Zayner will play at least half of Hejduk's starts anyways in 2010, since Zayner isn't in the NT picture.
If Hejduk was to retire from the NT before the season and was definitely with us for 30 games in 2010 I would protect him in a second. I just don't see that happening.
In the fold in 2010 (plus their expected salary for 2010 if same as there 2009 salary, I know some players are out of contract and their proposed gain or demotion in salary is listed. I'm not sure if other contracted players have an increase in their contract, if so most of them would be minimal I would imagine):
1. Chad Marshall- $250,000
2. Eddie Gaven- $173,250
3. Danny O'Rourke- $90,000
4. Brian Carroll- $133,875
5. Gino Padula- $150,000
6. Jed Zayner $39,930
7. Emmanuel Ekpo- $125,000
8. Guillermo Barros Schelotto- $227,000 offered (likely settle around $325,000)
9. Emilio Renteria- $90,000
10. Steven Lenhart- $34,000
11. Robbie Rogers- $92,500 currently (apparently out of contract, will at least go up to $150,000 to $200,000)
12. William Hesmer- $77,000
13. Eric Brunner- $34,000
14. Adam Moffat- $48,000
15. Kevin Burns- $20,100 *
16. Andy Greunebaum- $34,650
17. Andy Iro- $45,100 *
18. Duncan Oughton- $42,140 *
Total salary: $1,754,805 out of $2,300,000 without *. With * $1,862,145 out of $2,300,000
* denotes bubble players, the thinking is that there either going to be kept or replaced by a better player.
OUT and their salaries:
1. Alejandro Moreno $132,500
2. Frankie Hejduk $150,000
3. Jason Garey $52,937
4. Kenny Scheoni $34,000
5. Alex Grendi $20,100
6. Corey Elenio $20,100
7. Kevin Burns- $20,100 *
8. Andy Iro- $45,100 *
9. Duncan Oughton- $42,140 *
* Possibly out, could go either way
Total salary to play with in offseason: $409,637 without *. With * $516,977
I'm guessing the Crew will likely hold onto Burns, Iro, and Oughton because they will likely be cheaper than other depth players. This leaves the Crew with $409,637 to $437,855 to play with for six players.
Warzycha and Bliss were down in Miami recently to scout the Honduras national team. Here is the Honduras lineup for that game: Noel Valladares, Mauricio Sabillon, Víctor Bernardez, Erick Norales, Emilio Izaguirre, Hendry Thomas, Wilson Palacios, Dani Turcios, Walter Martínez, Carlos Pavón (lol, hopefully not him), David Suazo. The Crew are unlikely to be looking for a defender. Possibly a CM or striker or winger depending on the stituation with Rogers. Or even an AM depending on the Schelotto stituation.
The following players play for high profile teams and are completely unlikely to come to the Crew: Edgar Alvarez (Bari), Amado Guevara (too expensive at TFC), Julio Cesar De Leon (Torino), Ramon Nunez (Cruz Azul), Wilson Palacios (Tottenham Hotspur), Hendry Thomas (Wigan Athletic), David Suazo (Internazionale).
Which leaves Danilo Turcios (age 31), Melvin Valladares (25), Walter Martinez (27), Jerry Palacios (28), Georgie Welcome (24), and possibly Carlos Costly (27). All of them play in Honduras except Costly. And, here
are the attacking and midfield players worth by USD via transfermarkt (only a few were available):
1. Carlos Costly $1,185,000 with GKS Belchatow according to transfermarkt. However, Guevara is also listed at $1,185,000 market value yet only makes $300,000 with TFC.
2. Walter Martinez is possibly affordable enough at $296,000 USD market value. If Guevara is $1,185,000 maybe Martinez is $200,000. I would say possibly Danilo Turcios, Melvin Valladares, Jerry Palacios, and Georgie Welcome hold a similiar or slightly lesser price tag.
I'm guessing since they played in the game, Bliss is either interested in Danilo Turcios or Walter Martinez.
So, lets say player 19 is a Honduran at $200,000 dollars.
19. Honduran, probably a Walter Martinez type $200,000
20. First Round Draft Pick No. 1 $80,000
21. First Round Draft Pick No. 2 $60,000
22. 2010's version of Elenio, late draft pick $20,000
23. 2010's version of Grendi, late draft pick $20,000
24. The final $40,000 spent on someone of Moffat's quality.
DRAFT PICKS: I do not want the Crew to trade either of their first round draft picks. I do not get why the Crew are so scared to use their draft picks. The last draft TFC received some solid, young talent that I think will pay dividends, even more so, for them next year in Stefan Frei, O'Brien White, and Sam Cronin. Also, the LA Galaxy have built most of their back line off of the draft in the last two years, with Sean Franklin, Omar Gonzalez, and A.J. De La Garza.
So, if you don't draft duds, you could build some talented depth and starters. Use both of your draft picks. You rarely have to pay a draft pick over $100,000, and usually closer to $50,000, even in the first round. That is cheap, young talent. And, if the Crew picks wisely they could come away with two guys who could contribute greatly in 2010. USE THEM! The talent pool in the draft gets better every year. It is better to get two solid, young players instead of trading them up to afford one good, established MLS player in my opinion.
Plus, give the fans something to look forward to on draft day. The last draft was so excruciatingly boring for Crew fans.
-----Honduran Striker(Someone like Martinez)
Sam Cronin-type first round pick
O'Brien White-type first round pick
I don't think something like that would be too shabby for 2010. Add two draft picks and we are much deeper as well.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Who Would You Pick?
One solid Crew player will be headed out of Columbus.
Since the season is now over, many people have many questions about next year. Certainly, and rightly so, the spotlight is under Guillermo Barros Schelotto. Nobody wants to see him leave- especially to another MLS club. But there are other issues that have to be addressed, starting with the MLS expansion draft- which is this week. So which players should Warzycha, Bliss, and McCullers protect? Should they protect the veterans, youth, or a mixture of both? Right now, the best option for the future of this club is to try and think of not only next year, but the years ahead. Here is my list of "protected" and "non-protected" players for the expansion draft.
Okay, I know, some of you may be scratching your heads right now, wondering why on earth Schelotto isn't on any of my lists. This is because I have no idea where I should put him. With the contract he was just offered, it doesn't look like he will sign with us again. Is he worth the risk of protecting, and then having somebody like Gaven picked by Philly? Also, what if Schelotto is protected and then he doesn't sign with us again. There is the risk of losing two players that are important to the team, just because we protected one of them in Schelotto. So you can decide with the Schelotto issue for yourself.
As you can see, on defense, Hejduk and Padula are not protected. The reason is because they are not getting any younger, and losing one of them would hurt the Crew less than if we were to lose Brunner, Zayner, or even Iro. Hejduk and Padula, lets face it, how many more years do they have? The three younger defenders, on the other hand, have room to grow, mature, and develop their game. They are the future of the Crew's defense. Also, you have to think as if you were Peter Nowak and the rest of the Union; are they most likely to pick one of the younger defenders, with room to grow and develop, or one of the aging veterans?
The midfielders were the obvious players to protect. The trio of Gaven, Ekpo, and Rogers is very important for the club. They are 3 very good wingers that provide a lot of skill and speed. Carroll is vital for the club because he is arguably the best defensive midfielder in the league. And O'Rourke, well he can play a variety of positions; defensive midfield, fullback, or centerback. The one midfielder that is important to the club and may be at risk is Adam Moffat. But what is the chance of him being picked? He had an amazing start to the 2008 season, but then he got injured. In 2009, he had a few injuries and when he was healthy he did not exactly win the trust of Warzycha.
I only picked one forward, and it was Lenhart. Lenhart, in my opinion, is by far the best forward on the team (again, this is excluding Schelotto). Moreno, as I used to be a huge fan of, was really disappointing this year. Garey, despite scoring goals, he has not had consistent playing time in the past couple of years. And Renteria, he has not really shown much since coming to Columbus. True, he did score the vital goal in the Champions league, but other than that he did not play consistent enough. Especially against Real Salt Lake, in the first leg. Each time he touched the ball, it seemed like either he was gong to trip over it or he did not know what to do with it. And if Nowak saw that game, I'm sure he won't be looking in picking Renteria in the draft.
So I had a lot of defenders, and a lot of youth on my list of protected players; since the Crew need to focus on the future of the club as well. We will see what Warzycha and Company will do in a few days. They surely don't want to lose somebody as important as what happened last year with Brad Evans. So who would you pick as your 11? What would you do with Schelotto? There are many questions that are going to be asked during the offseason, and this could help answer some of them or help produce more of them.
Was watching the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association soccer championships tonight, since I live in Northwestern PA, and they played some Philadelphia Union commercials, multiple times. Pretty nice commercials that were supporter orientated. Better than any commercial I have seen from the Crew; which is surprising (or not) since Philadelphia Union doesn't even have fans to make a fan commercial yet.
Got to give this dude some props.. Probably figured he would be the only Crew fan in Seattle.
Some interesting things from the Summit (stress the some):
**Don Garber prefers having a Western Conference and Eastern Conference because then there are more winners in MLS. You don't just have the MLS Cup winner, but you also have the Eastern Conference and Western Conference winners. Everyone is a winner! That is so soccer mom!
Unsurprisingly, David Beckham didn't celebrate winning the Western Conference because no one remembers that and because LA has yet to win anything until Sunday.
Garber said, "Once I'm out the first thing that the next commissioner will do is go to a single table." One can only hope.
**Hearing the whole Supporters Shield story made me want to nap. Not that I don't appreciate the hard work of those who made the Shield happen. And, not that I don't enjoy winning it every year... I just think it would've been more interesting if they made the history into a synth rap video and placed it on youtube.
**Drew Carey has too many ideas.. I counted 30 times that he said, "I have an idea."
**The usual too much b*tching about football lines. Odd ideas like changing the venue from Robertson Stadium to Rice's Football Complex which would be a logistical nightmare. You can't just break a lease because the field looks like a cow pasture. Silly, silly MLS fans.
**Watching the Supporters Shield hand off and another 'ugh, supporter shirt.' I'm hoping the Nordecke supporters go more casual in their team gear. Everyone knows you're a supporter if you're in the section. Enough with the walking billboards.
**Other than that, cool little ceremony and a good idea for MLS to put all these sorts of pressers and ceremonies on their website for free. Anyone can follow the build up.
Friday, November 20, 2009
In a surprising twist, TFC finally got something right, they signed a coach with excellent MLS experience. A hell of a coach in Preki. Unsurprisingly TFC fans have a mixed reaction to anyone coaching their team that is non-English. But, I think with Preki TFC is a lock for the playoffs next year. I mean look what the guy has done with an oft injured Chivas USA the last two years.
Columbus Crew GM Mark McCullers gives a much needed, state of the Crew union address here. I like most of what he had to say. Good points on the Nordecke, the team, and the fact that we still had a pretty successful 2009 (could have been a lot worse). Anyways, good timing for a State of the Union, as everyone has been a little over the top with all of the rumors lately, including myself.
The Schelotto thing is in the early stages as well. Who knows Schelotto might take the offer, he did say he might look it over once he "cools down." If McCullers can sign Schelotto up for $227,000 or a little more, he is a genius. So, lets wait to see what happens with that before jumping to conclusions.. Once again myself included.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
**According to Shawn Mitchell, Robert Warzycha and Brian Bliss were in Miami tonight to scout the Peru vs. Honduras Friendly at Landshark Stadium. Both clubs used their A rosters and Bliss has shown interest in Honduran players. Probably a good call since a lot of them are playing in the EPL these days.
So, whose a player the Crew could be after? How about Carlos Costly? Costly plays for GKS Belchatow in Poland. Maybe he is getting a little sick of cold, Eastern Europe and wants to be a little closer to Honduras.
The Crew could possibly sign Costly as a DP, that could explain why they're looking to drop down Guillermo's salary. Guillermo won't likely be enough to compete in CONCACAF.
**From here, Warzycha is headed to South Africa:
Major League Soccer and adidas announced today that Crew head coach Robert Warzycha has been selected to lead 18 MLS 'Generation adidas' players to South Africa - site of the 2010 FIFA World Cup - for a two-week tour that will include a trio of friendly matches. The group is scheduled to depart Friday, Nov. 27 and will return stateside Tuesday, Dec. 8.
The squad will first take on the Orlando Pirates reserve squad on Monday, Nov. 30, then will take on a yet-to-be-determined opponent on Thursday, Dec. 3. The schedule of friendlies will then conclude with a match against the AJAX Cape Town reserves on Sunday, Dec. 6.
The 2008 Mexican Apetura champions Toluca square off against the 2008 MLS Champions Columbus Crew.
Well I was hoping for a little Arab United or Marathon, but we get pegged against Toluca, one of the top clubs in recent history in Mexico. As Toluca won Mexico's 2008 Apetura and has made it to the playoffs of Mexican soccer the last four seasons. Currently, in the 2009 Apetura, Toluca is once again in first place...
However, one good thing (and there is just about one good thing) is that if we beat Toluca in the first knockout round of games, we could likely beat anyone in the knockout rounds of the tournament.
The matchup against Toluca begins between March 9-11th at Crew Stadium and will continue March 16-18th down in Mexico. The Crew will likely not be game fit at all and will face a Toluca side in the middle of their season. Isn't that just gravy?
Overall, against Mexican sides, the Crew have only won one non-friendly competition. The Crew beat Morelia 2-0 at home in 2003 in the CONCACAF Champions Cup. But, Morelia already beat Columbus 6-0 in Morelia's home leg so that wasn't a worry. In total, in official CONCACAF competition the Crew are 1-3 against Mexican sides and have been outscored by a total of 2-13. The current Crew were demolished against Cruz Azul by a total of 7-0 in their two 2009 games. Even losing 2-0 to Cruz Azul's B/C side in Columbus.
So, let's hope the Crew stops offending Guillermo Barros Schelotto. And, somehow signs Palermo. And, agrees to sign some other superstars for $16,000 dollar salaries. Otherwise, this might be a tough one against Toluca.
I had a feeling that when Schelotto came over to the Nordecke for the first time in the two years of it's existence that it would be his last. It felt like a fairwell, as he waved at us on the way to the tunnel and gave a final bow. That seems especially the case now, according to today's Columbus Dispatch story. As the Crew dropped their highest goal scorer's salary by 65% percent in their 2010 contract offer and figured that their best player would be okay with it. Umm, figuring that GBS was and is your best player and you already benched him in a playoff game, wouldn't you maybe want to play this one with some kid gloves? Yet, this is starting to look like an ever going offseason saga, as the Crew front office looks to offend any world-class coach or player that comes into this organization. My conclusion from all of this is that it appears the Crew are inept at negotiating with anyone world-class at this club.
Look at last year, Sigi Schmid at one point wanted to stay with the club but the Crew botched that giving him a ridicoulous salary until it was too late.
Now Guillermo Barros Schelotto wants to stay with the club, but they cut his salary 65% percent, even though he was the team's leading scorer with 12 goals (3rd highest in all of MLS).
The Sigi move might have cost the Crew another cup, as no way Sigi Schmid leaves GBS out of a playoff game. The next move might make it unnecessary for the Crew to even show up to their games in March against Toluca in the CONCACAF Champions League.
Of course, Guillermo has a right to be mad. GBS said the following to the Dispatch:
"Maybe I am a little -- not angry -- but surprised," Schelotto said. "Maybe I will analyze this offer from Columbus when I get cool."
Maybe he will analyze the offer. My thinking is the damage is done. World-class players and coaches have ego's, heck any player does, and when they are lowballed they're going to look for other offers. And, someone, somewhere will offer more than $227,000 dollars for a midfielder that has nearly 20 goals and over 20 assists and was a MVP in the last two seasons; doesn't matter if that league is MLS.
The point is that no one world-class is staying in Columbus for $200,000 dollars when they can jet off to Seattle for more money or jet off to a South American club and be a hero again.
So, sure, the Crew Front Office did an excellent job in building the team that won it all in 2008. But, they seem to be doing an equally impressive job of tearing it all down. First, the coach. Now, the team's best player BY FAR! Hmm..
I get dropping down Guillermo's salary a little, hell even Guillermo would understand that for his second half of the year. But, 65% PERCENT! ROFL!
Crew General Manager Mark McCullers seems a little aloof on how ridicoulous the offer was:
"Guillermo has said he wants to stay here, and we've said we want him to stay here," McCullers said. "When you've got two willing parties that have the same goal, that's a pretty good thing."
Yeah but one willing party is offended and is now looking for more willing parties that are likely going to best the Crew's offer...
I mean sure I would love for GBS to sign for $227,000 dollars, that would leave us more cap space to sign more players that could make us a legitimate contender for winning CONCACAF. Especially because if you saw the two games against Cruz Azul, our current roster doesn't have a chance in hell. And, well, maybe McCullers knows this and maybe Mark McCullers can convince Guillermo to go along with it for the allocades.
But, I still don't think that GBS will go along for $227,000. Sure, Guillermo is probably not still worth $650,000. But, he is at least worth $350,000. I'm not totally against what McCullers is attempting to do because that might mean the Crew will attempt to bring in another DP (possibly a striker) to supplement GBS. But, the Crew have to be careful how they tread, they could end up without Guillermo and if the Maciej Zurawski debacle taught us anything, without a replacement.
So, if everything goes bad with GBS, I just hope the Crew has some backup plan. Or a player or two that could keep us from falling into the cellar in 2010.
Also, why not just drop Guillermo's salary a little and make cuts in other places. Like drop Moreno's salary. And, maybe have Zayner take Hejduk's place. I love Hejduk but I think Zayner (who is closer to being a credible starter than Brunner in my opinion) could be a starter and a credible replacement. We have no credible replacement for Guillermo and I'm doubtful we will be able to find one that wants to come to Columbus.
Monday, November 16, 2009
Garber continues to stress the importance of the CONCACAF Champions League, the fact that Columbus made it more of a priority than some teams may have put them in Garber's good graces.
Today, the Crew will be drawn for a March 9th and March 16th matchup against either four teams from Mexico including Pumas, last year’s runner-up Cruz Azul, Toluca and Pachuca or three teams from Central America – Arabe Unido of Panama, Comunicaciones of Guatemala and Honduras’ Marathón.
The Crew will be likely routing to go against one of the latter; either the oddly named Arab United, Comunicaciones, or Marathon in the quarterfinal.
Oddly enough the winners of the 2008 CONCACAF Champions League Atlante, don't play in the Club World Cup until December 2009. Therefore, if the Crew do win the CONCACAF Champions League, in a tournament that started in the Summer of 2009, they will not play in the Club World Cup until December 2010. That's a wee bit ridicoulous.
Almost two years from start to finish.
Also, the Crew have qualified for the 2010-2011 Champions League by winning the 2009 Supporters Shield. Therefore, in 2010 they will finish up the 2009-2010 version in the Summer of 2010 if they get all the way. And, then have to start up the 2010-2011 version in August 2010. Which means the Crew will be playing in two versions of the Champions League for virtually the whole 2010 season. And, they thought 2009 was congested?
**Mexican-American and Tigres central defender Edgar Castillo is likely to get his first cap on Wednesday for the USA vs. Denmark. Add Jermaine Jones in the New Year and the USA appears to get much deeper on the defensive side of the ball.
In a UK Eurosport Yahoo Article:
"For many, many years, people said, 'Hey, soccer is never going to make it because Americans don't understand the game, it's a foreign sport, people might play the game but they stop playing as teenagers.'
"We have proven in many, many markets, we've proven it in Toronto, we've proven it in Seattle, in Chicago and Columbus, that all of these people who have grown up with the game now can get into stands and can replicate that aspect of the game that gets them very excited when they are watching the EPL (English Premier League) or La Liga on television," he added.
"We now have that in MLS. To me this is a by-product of the league being around for 14 years, of expansion and more and more teams, very broad television coverage and deeper commitment to the sport (on television)...
According to Street & Smith's Sports Business Journal, The Columbus Crew was one of the few teams to report an increase in ticket prices for 2010. The club increased season-ticket packages 6 percent on average, or $1 a ticket. Despite that, the team is ahead in renewals compared with 2009 largely due to its on-field success and an enhanced customer service department, President Mark McCullers said.
In total, the renewals so far look like this, according to SBJ:
Chicago Fire 50%
Chivas USA 50%
Colorado Rapids 70%
Columbus Crew 50%
D.C. United 50%
FC Dallas NA
Houston Dynamo 50%
Kansas City Wizards NA
Los Angeles Galaxy 60%
New England Revolution 30%
New York Red Bulls 85%
Philadelphia Union **
Real Salt Lake 50%
San Jose Earthquakes NA
Seattle Sounders FC 90%
Toronto FC 95%
My thoughts: I still haven't renewed. If my ticket reps are reading I'm still a college graduate student. So might want to throw me back down to the college student rate, and we'll talk. :-)
With a stadium capacity of 80,311. It would be great for MLS!
According to the Detriot Free Press, The city of Pontiac has accepted an auction bid of $583,000 from a Toronto-based real estate company to buy the Pontiac Silverdome and its 127 adjacent acres.
Dan Duggan, owner of the Michigan Bucks (the Crew's affilate), stated “Somebody called me from the Marriott this afternoon when it all went down and said, ‘Are you buying the Silverdome?’ ” Duggan said Monday. “I said, ‘No, not this week.’ He said, ‘There’s a Canadian company that said they’re putting a pro soccer team in Detroit.’
My thoughts: Toronto based and a new franchise in Detriot. Let's just hope that Duane Rollins doesn't have $583,000 dollars.... Because, you know they'll be trying to buy the Columbus Crew and will try to change them to the Detriot Crew faster then you can say Noorzai. I mean TFC needs a safe place to travel for road trips. I'm sure Detriot fans (other than Bradd) will woo them and tell them how special they are.
My Personal Opinion- The top moment of 2009 for the Columbus Crew, the pinnacle of the season, was the comeback Trillum Cup win complete with a goal in the final minute to steal away the trophy from hated TFC. 3-2, thanks for coming, try again next year.
This below video I made illustrates the perfect-ness of the week. Bad ass tifo, scoring with Garey and Lenhart, renewed optimism, a feeling of Crew invincibility has returned. I actually recently ripped a CD with this audio complete with the goals in the music and Build a Bonfire (let me know if you want one, I could easily rip another). It's going to help get me pumped during 3 hour trips to C-Bus in 2010:
So, what is your take on the best moment? Did you prefer the Saprissa win instead or another moment?
Crewture, has changed, and changed, and changed. The current website is a hell of a lot better than what I had in March 2008, I wish I still had a screenshot of that. But, it can always continue to improve. And, It will change some more in this offseason to hopefully continue with the improvement of the website. Therefore, I have some questions for Crewture viewers... Please give me some honesty, as it helps. I may try a couple different things this offseason. I'm happy with the website, but I could always be happier..
I like the header.. But, I think the article section could be easier to read and possibly the section below is not used the best. Please feel free to take the survey, leave me comments (angry or nice), and feel free to email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday, November 15, 2009
11/15/09: Looking Forward To MLS Taking Over It's Own Website; Also, Looking Forward To A Crew Website That Doesn't Suck
Most MLS team websites cannot hold a candle to those of top flight clubs such as Manchester United or third world clubs such as Caracas FC.
If you haven't heard, and I sure haven't before doing a little searching on Street & Smith's Sport Business Journal today, the MLS website (which was run by Major League Baseball) will be managed, starting in March 2010, by MLS in a new format. Well, if there is no strike and a season to cover in March, but that aside, I think this is a much needed move by MLS.
As first and foremost, it is no secret that the team websites lack personality (of any sort) and are bland. MLS websites are lagging behind even the Venezuelan leagues, just look at Caracas FC (who I looked up when researching the Crew's Emilio Renteria) and compare that to the Crew's website. Or compare the Crew's cookie cutter, website design to a NFL team.
How I hope MLS does it...
1.) First, MLS needs to have a website design that is going to attract an outsider to the website and a team's page, and get them wanting to know more. Case in point being, if some regular American stumbles over the MLS website, you want them to be like "whoa, what is this, I need to know more", not "sh*t, I just stumbled upon a soccer website." I like what Caracas FC does above and I like what Manchester United does here, it just looks fresh, especially start up pages like the aforementioned displaying some form of passion from the get go.
2.) Secondly, each team page needs to be different. At least the Rapids and the Revolution at least try (albeit neither design is much more appealing). Anyways, each MLS team and their fans have created or at least started to create different identities. Therefore, the team's websites should fit those established identities. The current design for each team just looks like a business; like each team has no individual importance, that they all have similiar nondescriptant identities, and each team is just a subsidary to MLS. This isn't what MLS is going for and by taking over I'm betting they will change this. I mean what do you expect from the MLB anyways?
3.) MLS appears to get this and that is why I'm looking forward to the new design. From the words of MLS President Mark Abbott via Street & Smith's SBJ:
“Fans are interacting with their teams through a number of digital platforms,” Abbott said. “If we want to continue to grow our league, it’s critical we have ways to provide fans with what they want on those platforms, so that we can continue to build our fan base.”
It is interesting that MLS, according to the article, hired the founder of the Offsides Rules, Shawn Francis. It's a pretty solid move considering that, personally, like 80% percent of my MLS news comes from blogs instead of MLSnet. Hiring a guy that can liven up the website is a good move and thus MLS will likely get this right and at worse cannot do worse than their current product and format.
Overall... I'm just happy at the prospect of a Crew official website that doesn't look like total crap.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
After watching the epic fail tonight of Chicago in the PK department, a sad finality came over me that the actual MLS season is finally coming to a close. For some reason, the shock that the season was over for the Crew really didn’t hit me until tonight, and so thus begins the long winter of withdrawal until Crewsmas begins again in 4 months. So as the lights finally get turned off for good at CCS, the drums get packed away, and the banners folded, I want to turn my blog entry tonight to the positive highlights of our season in the Nordecke. The post written over at MatchFit USA, although infuriating and unsubstantiated to the attendance decline in recent years at CCS, brings a valid point.
That point being is the growth and viability of our fan base surely lies in the expansion and marketability of the Nordecke. The small attendance of 10,200 at the RSL home game although small, really paints a true picture of where our paid fan base rests and filters out where the casual fan may sit. If you watched the game, it was no surprise that at least 60% of that crowd was in the general vicinity of the Nordecke. I am just not talking about the large portion in the section itself, but to the right of it where it seemed the largest collection of fans was watching the game. I find this as direct evidence that the passion of the Nordecke is and will continue to draw more fans in our direction and eventually increase our attendance. No longer do I think McCullers and his cronies have the right to pursue, discriminate, and find fault with the Nordecke for their own impotent ways of their marketing department to get more casual fans to the game but should embrace it if they wish to see attendance rise.
But that is a topic for another day and tonight I want to highlight the top 5 TIFO and fan displays of the season that helps fuel that passion. As I look in retrospect to 2 years ago compared to now, it is remarkable how evolved our TIFO displays and way of supporting our team has really developed and continues to do so. So without further delay, I give you my own top 5 Nordecke displays of the 2010 season…..
5. Better Dead Then Red
This is what I consider probably the most intricate and complicated banner display of the season. This banner which was constructed in the warehouse the week prior to the Toronto 2nd home game, was composed of 4 king size sheets and about 15 hours of drawing and painting labor in the boiling midsummer heat. Unfortunately, this banner goes #5 on my list for the unfortunate displaying of the banner. No good pictures really exist of it at the game and it wasn’t pulled properly to show it in its true entirety. Heres hoping that it’s still around and possibly could be hung off the stage for 2010 opener against TFC to show its true glory.
4. Forza Crew
This banner might be one of the largest done of the season. Artistically simple compared to the Better Dead Than Red, this banner still got the message across and was displayed amazingly at games in the beginning of the season. Although I wasn’t on the team that made it and don’t know the details, I think it was probably one of the best shown banners at games this season.
3. Lamar Hunt “True Original”
Classic. Brilliantly designed. A testimonial to the greatness of our late owner who helped started the MLS in America. This banner that typically rests at the top of the Nordecke, was made at the beginning of the season by Rick Thomas, 2010 winner of fan of the year. Those who know Rick would agree that whatever banner he brings to a game is well done. This banner though is just special, and even was displayed at the Crew Awards in honor of our late owner. Kudos Rick to the thought of painting this banner. I hope it stays at the top of the Nordecke for many years to come.
2. Home Opener Two Stick Display
I put this at #2 just for the shear amount of work, money, time invested, and planning that went behind the home opener of the 2010 season. The two stick idea was presented at the end of the season and encouraged by every fan to get involved and present a large display to the team before the game. Most of the two-sticks were made between Ryan and Rick, but I am sure many others contributed to the cause. The result? A cohesive display of support shown to usher in our 2010 season and one of the most impressive displays of the season in the MLS IMHO.
1. Crew Bar Scarf
Primarily done by Kevin, Footy 5 and Blake, this banner was fashioned by dying 6 white queen sized sheets in yellow, and sewn together with 5 black sheets with the LH and Crew liquid stitched to the fabric. Displayed at the Seattle game, the scarf was probably the most well seen and documented TIFO of the season. Over 15 people on game day went through the motions and displayed it on pvc poles up in the air during the 8th minute. Probably the longest banner in Crew history and to my own recent memory, never done in any other MLS setting, I crown this scarf as the 2010 TIFO of the season.
These 5 were my best choices for the season, but I’m sure many others could have made the list. As always, I leave it up to you to agree or disagree on what you consider to be the best fan displays of the season. My sole hope is that next year, our faithful Nordecke follows will create more banners that will outdo our current expectations and continue to be the best supporters group in the MLS.
Until next time, I’ll leave this quote, which I found on bigsoccer, that I think is very relevant to the nature of who we are as the Nordecke.
“The summer supporter and the sunshine fan will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their club; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Championship, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.”
Crew haters can burn in hell..
If you haven't read this from the Fake Sigi Blog, finally someone else with some educated discussion on all the idiots that harken to move the Crew. Look, despite being the smallest market, the Crew attendance average was 14,400 which beat 6 other larger markets this season. Also, in a bad economic climate the Crew had the lowest ammount of decrease this season compared to every other team except Chivas USA and Toronto from 2008 to 2009 (maybe that alone was because of the 2008 season and was the 2,000 boost that every other team missed from not having a good side, but hell no one thought of that). As without winning the trophy in 2008, maybe the Crew's attendance is 12,000. Maybe stability was the increase. Also, both New England's 7,000 and RSL's 9,000 playoff attendances on Saturday's were less than the Crew's Thursday night attendance. SO WHY THE HELL ARE WE ALWAYS DISCUSSED WHEN THERE ARE OTHER TEAMS WITH BIGGER ISSUES, MUCH SHITTIER SUPPORTERS GROUPS, AND WORSE ATTENDANCES THAN OUR SMALLER MARKET.
Here was my similiar take on this from earlier this week.
Overall, the haters are not worth much of our time. Plain and simple Duane Rollins is an idiot (I mean just look at these guys, you can make that assessment without reading, lol). So, is Jason Davis at Match Fit USA. And, of course, they have links on their blogs for each others pages, and Match Fit USA has advertisement for CSRN and Kartik "All Crew fans are the devil incarnate" Krishnayer. So, it's like a little, evil media blog network set to try to destroy the Crew and their fans. However, anyone with a head(like Fake Sigi) can see that they have no argument, they have no facts, they just don't like us. Let's learn not to care.
I mean, really, does it make sense why they would focus on us when there were worse attendances in New England and Salt Lake in the playoffs and six worse attendances across the league this year? The only thing it can be is that we are a threat. We have a supporters group that is on a meteor-like rise and will be the unabashed best either next year or soon after. And, three to five years from now.. I can bet that what the Nordecke is bringing will bring the people eventually to make Crew Stadium a sell out for every home game. I have no doubt. But, regaining what inept management in 2002-2005 did to our franchise doesn't happen in a few years.
Whatever, they can all burn in hell, this cannot fail...
11/14/09: Garber, MLS, Heck Even Yours Truly Is Looking For A LA Vs. Chicago Final, Work Stoppage, And Etc.
To be a big time league, it helps to have your stars playing in the games that matter. Shockingly, in regards to MLS parity, MLS and Garber are one Chicago win away from having just that with a Beckham vs. Blanco final. And, press from around the world is noticing: here, here, and here. This is huge for Garber and co. as well as for the league; as MLS would have their two stars, the most recognizable names and faces in the most important fixture of the year. In addition, a Beckham vs. Blanco showdown, in terms of neutral interest, clearly beats Real Salt Lake vs. Houston. So, I'm okay with hoping Chicago makes it to the final as long as they lose; because once Columbus is out of the running I'm basically just looking for the best final. And, Los Angeles vs. Chicago is clearly it.
Another plus is that Los Angeles with Beckham and Donovan vs. Chicago with Blanco and McBride, in front of 60,000 fans at Qwest, just screams Major League for MLS (which could stand for, at times, Minor League Soccer); At least it does a hell of a lot more than playing a final in a 20,000 seat, soccer specific stadium where Ching squares off against Movsisyan. Additionally, this is impeccable timing for MLS as Blanco is headed back to Mexico, and Beckham is likely headed back to Europe for good as well. So, I can bet that Garber and co. will be praying for a Chicago win tonight. And, really I don't blame them.
Other interesting side stories:
**If Blanco's Fire make it to the final, a Beckham vs. Blanco showdown shows that, given time, the DP rule does make a difference with a team.
**Also, Beckham once again overcomes the doubters, seems like he has a little bit of history of that.
**I think Mitchell might be a little premature to be too worried about a strike to devote three articles to it months in advance. Article one, and blog entries two and three. Sure, it's a little worrisome. But, the fact is that MLS isn't Major League Baseball in terms of popularity. Thus, there is no way in hell that MLS can survive a work stoppage. Even if it is a month or two. A stoppage will just make the league look more Minor League than American football lines do. The season has to continue as planned, otherwise only the hardcores will give the sport any legitmacy when it returns.
I think that the players know that Garber has to concede to their demands eventually. Because Garber and the league cannot afford the alternative. The league I would think can give the concessions as well, the league gets like $40 million for each new franchise alone. So, hell, if MLS devoted just one franchise fee to the salary cap we would be a world respected league.
Yet, on both sides, I don't get how money can get in the way of soccer. I know MLS is a business, but they stand to lose more if they stick to the current deal. And, for the players... I somehow lived in Columbus off of $14,000 a year in loan money while paying $712 dollars in rent a month. Sure, if I would of known about a family tradegy, I would have signed with a cheaper place. But, point is, with a roommate, you could rent a decent place in Columbus for $200 to $300 bucks a month. Sure, it's not the ritz, but that leaves you with $14,000 to live off of in a year with a $16,600 salary. I could live off of $14,000 a year and be happy playing soccer. However, maybe I'm just not a future thinking person.
Even if that is the case, I would be smitten to make $16,000 a year playing soccer. Especially since I don't have to pay the money back. So, I'm sorry, I don't feel much sympathy for the MLS soccer player because they get paid normal salaries, instead of ridicoulous salaries in other sports.
And, sure, I get that a few are paid minimal wage salaries. But, seriously, those players are only a few that never see the field. How long is practice? If you ask me, it's a pretty good gig to just show up at practice for two hours for half of a year and pull in a $16,000 dollar salary. Easiest $16,000 dollars ever made (I mean seriously what has Cory Elenio done this year to earn more? Not picking on him, just saying). And, hell two hours a day doesn't take up a full day, get a job bartending or doing something else at night. And, there is a offseason where you can work full time and pull in extra money. Lol, I don't really get the tradegy, especially since most of the people making the $16,000 are 22-24 year olds. Dude, nearly no one in that age group is making bank at that time in their life. Further, if you do well in MLS you'll make more or you'll drop out of MLS and use your degree. Nearly all MLS players have one of those as well, unlike other leagues.
I would kill to be in there stituation. Kind of ridicoulous if you ask me.
** Remember the ridicoulous-ness of Houston's Robertson Field when the Crew played their in last year's season opener? Well, here's an interesting blog piece by Freddie Ljeunberg on the horrible Houston field. Great to get an outsiders perspective on this and I can't agree more with these lines:
You have so many talented young U.S. players in the league, but if you don't give them a chance to show how good they are, they won't get the credit they deserve.
It's a show. It's a theater.
And, I'm not too sure sometimes if MLS gets that "it's a show and it's a theater," and if they do than they directed either Jennifer's Body or Paranormal Activity. Ala they suck at it at times. As commercial sports, to be popular, have to be just as much dramatic spectacle as sporting activity, if not more so, to capture great spectator interest. For example, the Super Bowl is great at being a dramatic spectacle. On the other hand, MLS, not so much, when they have a half full 25,000 seat Home Depot Center for a final and they have as half time entertainment C listers such as Adele, Lupe Fiasco, and Bowling For Soup. Garber needs to get some Little Wayne or something, even though I know MLS is watching their pennies, mise well spend $500,000 on an entertainer instead of $250,000 and make it an event.
Further, each MLS final should be in a larger stadium than a SSS, because you need the dramatic spectacle factor. Further, I would look to put games, in the future, even in cities without teams. I would love to see a MLS Final at University of Phoenix Stadium or the new Cowboys Stadium. Further, when it isn't the home team in the final, most of the crowd at the MLS Cup encompass fans that have traveled all across the country. So, I don't think it would hurt or have an affect in attendance at the final.
Nevertheless, MLS got it right this year with Qwest Field. Especially if they luck out with LA vs. Chicago.