Crew finding a way

Currently the Crew are in a stretch of 10 Eastern Conference opponents in a row. Toronto was game 3 out of those 10 games. So far Columbus is 2-1.

Back on Track

Crew SC looking more comfortable, more Crew SC

Welcome to Crewture.

Which stands for Crew and Culture, and follows Crew supporter culture. Created around the Nordecke creation and used to follow the rise of the new supporters section which is now 9 years old.

Monday, August 31, 2009

8/31/09: Columbus Gets No Points In New Jersey, Looking Forward To NYRB's Grass Pitch



The Columbus game plan in New Jersey seems to usually be, play a combination of the B team along with the A team youngsters. This is usually like an AARP insurance plan for running around on basically a concrete surface. The usual result of this managerial decision is ineffectual play and an ineffectual result, the Crew didn't disappoint the script with a 1-0 loss on Sunday in front of 10,000* ineffectual fans. *Well, probably more like 5,000.

The Crew haven't won at Giants Stadium in 12 outings or since Frankie Hejduk was in his 20's(6 years ago but who is counting). The positive news though is that the Crew's knees can rest easy as the Red Bulls move to their new grass arena next year.

So, at least the Crew can shrug and say "we'll have better luck next year" as Columbus had similiar dismal results when playing in Colorado at Mile High. There was just something about that stadium too that irked the souls of everyone that put on the yellow & black jersey since 1996. But, since the move to DSG, the Crew are 2-0 in Colorado. The Crew also have a better chance as well to get results at new stadiums with grass like Real Salt Lake's or Red Bull New York's next year. So, the SSS movement should just (if the whole team doesn't transfer to Europe in the offseason) improve the Crew's record yearly, right?

So, that's a positive. Now on the game. The Crew had some pretty drill-like passing and about 179 pretty crosses from Emmanuel Ekpo, but didn't test Bouna Coundoul much of the game. If you can't put a shot on frame, then you're going to lose usually on the road. The strikers didn't put a real chance on net until Alejandro Moreno headed a fly ball to Coundoul in the 79th minute.

Jason Garey, Steven Lenhart, and Alejandro Moreno were all pretty ineffective at forward in New Jersey. Maybe it was the surface or maybe all three just didn't have the best of games, but whatever it was, the attack was about as dangerous as baby kittens. You know it isn't good news when Eric Brunner(who yesterday finishes about as well as I do) has your best two opportunities.

Other than that, I thought the defense and midfield did well for the most part. They held onto possession and passed around New York with skill. The only problem on defense was another defender should have stayed back while the Crew were in attack because New York had about four or five solid 4 vs. 2 counters. If New York's Dane Richards included his teammates more, it could have been 3-0. But, overall the defense to midfield buildup was good, there just wasn't much of a spark in attack and offensive forays fizzled out near the eighteen. It was a shame that no one could seem to get on the end of Ekpo's crosses too as he had quiet a few good ones. I notch that up to just bad luck.

Overall, the game just felt like the Crew were in training mode. They played mostly their B squad. They went around the field passing at a gingerly but smooth pace. Even when down, they seemed calm and not vexed about possibly losing this one. Columbus knew that Chicago already lost this week and the Crew have one game in hand on them. It was just a fun day Sunday, where it seemed like the attitude was "if we can get some points here with our B team great. But, if not whatever."

I just think the Crew needed and were looking forward to a break. A much needed one to re-focus after the surprise schlacking on Wednesday.

Ratings:
Gruenebaum- 6.5, Nothing he could have done on the Richards goal. Not much other work on the day.
Hejduk- 7, Got into the attack, made smart passes.
Marshall- 7, Not his best day but not his worst either. Had a good opportunity when he had Kandji covering him on the corner kick.
Brunner- 4.5, Can't give the ball up like that 25 yards out in the first half. Only Padula's foot saved that counter. If he could have finished his two chances in front of net his rating would have been higher, but understandable since he is a defender. Also a boneheaded yellow in the second half on Kandji.
Padula- 7.8, I thought he was one of the best players on the day. Smart passing, smart defending, in the game.
Carroll- 5, I didn't really notice him much either way until Richards goal. Carroll had Richards in front of him for three or four seconds. Carroll has to commit and slide in or do something. If Carroll just stands there then of course a fast winger is going to beat him in the open field one on one. Carroll should have slide tackled, fouled, grabbed Richards, made some sort of decision.
Moffat- 5.5, Okay game. Doesn't seem to have his touch or fitness all the way back yet. Seems like he isn't seeing the game as fast sometimes in the midfield yet. He will get back on track though.
Ekpo- 7.8. Good crosses, good overlaps, good passes, good moves. Thought it was a solid performance from him.
Gaven- 6.5. Was dangerous at times, especially early on in the game. Not a bad game.
Garey- 4. Not very good. Had a golden opportunity on a platter from Gaven early on in the game and skuffed it. When your in the box, wide open, with a ball rolling to you. You need to finish that. Seemed like he was thinking about it for the rest of the game.
Lenhart- 5.5. Okay, good in the air as usual. Seemed to come out of the gates with a lot of energy and better touches. But, still didn't contribute much in the way of dangerous either.

SUBS
Rogers- 5. Didn't bring much of any spark in the second half.
Moreno- Not enough time.
Schelotto- Not enough time.

Warzycha- 6. I get the resting of some players from the concrete pitch idea. But, when you have a bit of time off after this one, do you need to rest players like O'Rourke and Rogers? These guys are in their early 20's. Why not instead rest players actually with injury problems and who are older like Carroll and Hejduk? I also don't get some of the subbing. Moreno at around the 75th minute, isn't a speed player that is going to give an attack a spark. He is effective starting, not really as much off the bench. Also, Guillermo in the 86. Why even bother making the third sub? All three subs should have came on right after NYRB's goal, as it looked like the Crew could have used a lift from the 20th minute on.

Also what are we saving Renteria's legs for? Renteria's only game the last few months has been for Venezuela for 20 minutes in Giants Stadium on August 12th. I thought he could have provided an offensive spark to a dual attack. Why even sign him if we are not going to see what he has?

Saturday, August 29, 2009

8/29/09: Crew Look To Get Back To Business Against NYRB


Champions always come out on top in the end.

The Crew might be bloodied by the loss in Mexico City, but the Crew shouldn't go to New York with a bruised ego. After reading the players and Warzycha's comments to Mitchell, the Crew seem to be viewing the breakdown in the right way. These things happen.

Sure, it was an inopportune time for a breakdown (if there ever is a good time). The Crew were being looked at by some(including myself) as the new Great MLS Hope at winning in Mexico. The Crew were finally the MLS team with the ability to show Mexicans good American club football by beating a Mexican club at their place.

I myself took the loss so hard because I was banking on the Crew being the team to show the world that MLS teams are not a joke and have the ability to win in tough places. I believed that this team could compete in Mexico City and I still believe they can.

But, I just know that the 5-0 drubbing will have people in England saying "Look how bad the champs got schlacked by a decent Mexican club, another reason why we can't start Becks as long as he is in that Mickey Mouse league." Or in Mexico, saying as miedotempo said, "The current champion of Major League Soccer failed to demonstrate the value of its crown."

We all should be upset about this performance because we all know the quality of this organization across the board. We should all be saying that was a blip and never again. The team has a lot to learn from this and one is embarrassment and the anger that comes from that. And, thankfully, Warzycha and the players seem much more upset about their performance than any fan could be. If they didn't that would be a big problem because it would show that they didn't care. I especially like this quote from Warzycha:
“I’m not saying that I take the loss easy. It’s 5-0. They just kicked our ass. No one is going to remember that we gave up two own goals and they scored on a penalty that was not a penalty. Nobody is going to remember that we played a man down for 60 minutes. Everybody that is reading the newspaper is going to remember that it’s 5-0. That’s what it is. What I hate after the game is that people are looking at me with that little bit of smile because I know what they’re thinking. That’s what is pissing me off.”

Warzycha hit it right on the head, that right there is what hurts the most. I hate that little damn smirk people get when they think there more superior or when they think they got one over on you for one reason or another. Hopefully, the players and Warzycha remember that little bit of smile and whipe it off everyone's faces by not letting it happen to them again in CONCACAF or MLS. Maybe they learn and whipe the smile off of Cruz Azul's fans faces in September.

Also, at least now Warzycha can say to the guys in the locker room in Saprissa, "remember that feeling when you walked off the field in Mexico City, let's not have that feeling again" and the guys will know exactly what he is talking about.

Also I like the Crew players honesty about the result, demonstrated here by Hesmer:
"I don't think from the opening whistle we came out with the right attitude," Hesmer said. "We pride ourselves on competing all the way through games. That clearly wasn't the case on Wednesday. It's the first time as long as I can remember when we stepped on the field and hadn't given it our all," Hesmer said. "Those games are going to happen. Unfortunately, that game happened against a good team in a tough environment."

Not giving it their all isn't a trend at our Massive club and Crew nation should be back to grinning by Sunday night.



Crew vs. NYRB:
The only contributors sidelined in this game are the Crew's Jed Zayner and the Red Bulls Albert Celades. The Crew should have a good opportunity to get back to their winning ways despite the Massive club being horrible on turf. The Crew may also debut Emilio Renteria. Why not they could use a spark plug after Wednesday.

PROJECTED LINEUP:
Brunner could probably use a seat as a consequence of his red card. The Carroll/O'Rourke pairing also looked a bit fragile against Cruz Azul, so may want to move O'Rourke back to the defensive line, and play two forwards against New York. The Crew need to come out early and pound some goals past a New York side with renewed hope with their first win in 18 games. Here's what I would go with.

---------------Hesmer----------------
Hejduk---Marshall---O'Rourke---Padula
---------------Carroll---------------
Ekpo---------------------------Rogers
--------------Schelotto--------------
-----Renteria------------Moreno------

PROJECTED SCORE: Crew win 2-0 off of goals from new signing Emilio Renteria and Guillermo Barros Schelotto.

8/29/09: More Ridicoulous Cartoons

Man, they are just having a ball with this in Mexico:



Sunday, and a Manchester United vs. Wigan performance can't come soon enough.

Friday, August 28, 2009

8/28/09: Ahh, Cartoons



Something about, "I was offended this once, don't remind me or I'll do worse."

8/28/09: Bad Results Happen To Good Teams. Next Step, Picking Oneself Off Of The Pavement



Bad results happen to the best of teams.

Manchester United isn't supposed to lose to Burnley 1-0. Columbus may be expected to lose to Cruz Azul in Mexico, but certainly not 5-0, which was a bit of a system shock.

Surely a shock to the players, the organization, the fans, and even MLS; as Don Garber(not usually designated as the Crew's number one fan) was even talking the Crew up pre-match. It was especially a shock to fans who lauded the Columbus side to Cruz Azul's confident fans, saying that Los Cementos fans should be scared of the Crew more than they should be of Saprissa. Might of been a shock even to Mexican writer Karina Xicotencatl at Miedotempo who predicted the Crew as favorites based on the two sides form coming into Wednesday's game.

When it comes down to it. It's one game that at some point in preparations and stepping on the field, the Crew were just not prepared for. It could be based on an unfamiliarity with altitude, playing internationally(the Crew has an illustrous history of six international games), nerves, and multiple other psychological barriers. All of these roadblocks combined into a lack of focus(or a bad game plan) in the beginning which led to two goals in ten minutes. And, that first 10 minutes was crucial to defining the rest of the contest as the Crew's minds were out of it at that point and Cruz Azul had free reign to terrorize for the rest of the night.

Crew fans were upset about it, as I'm sure Manchester United fans get upset by losing to Burnley. I got upset about it because I just worked for nine hours with kids facing troubled pasts, had a long long day of previous apartments charging me for carpet stains on carpet that was getting replaced anyways, had problems registering for graduate classes, missed watching the game, and came home at 1 a.m. to 5-0 Crew drubbing highlights. At that point, I was thinking "god hates me." Without all the other stuff, I'm sure a lot of Crew fans were just pissed about the result and that's fair. People get pissed when something they love doesn't work out like they would of hoped.

Some Crew fans had harsh words. I had some harsh words after typing up something quick being in a daze after work. The responses in the comments section said I and others were too harsh from saying it was a performance of amateurs, but Wednesday was a bit amateurish and that's okay, it happens. If I was a team and I had to equate my bad days to a record, I would probably be just above Red Bull New York, I hope. We just put a lot of stock in the Massive club and it was just a disappointing performance that takes a few days to get over. It was a performance that won't be proving MLS's quality to outsiders around the world and in our own country and we all believe the Crew is the team to do it. Sure, it was a bit much from myself and others as the result doesn't really spell doom in even the group tournament, as the majority of Crew fans(including myself) wouldn't have been surprised with a loss in Mexico going into the game on Wednesday anyways.

But, it's just the type of reaction from supporters who have been suffocated with recent success. When their team finally loses supporters are brought back down to Earth and they don't know how to react when they realize even a Massive team has an off night. But, for every bad night, the Crew show up when it really matters, like their 3-2 last second win to hold onto the Trillum Cup. The Crew will redeem themselves when it matters in this tournament and I'm sure they are even more upset with their performance, than any fan could be.

And, obviously I wouldn't spend a good sliver of my life writing Crew stories, making banners, making videos, and improving this website if I believed they were really amateurs. I wouldn't spend most of the week saying the Crew will beat Cruz Azul and win in Mexico, if I believed they were amateurs. But, I'm sure even Manchester United fans said their performance was that of amateurs against Burnley. And, really for the Nordecke, they are our heroes and when a hero wins almost every day, it's hard to swallow a loss when you need them to win the most on the international scene.

Results like Wednesday just sting for a couple of days. Just like the Real Salt Lake game stung for the vast majority of Crew fans, because we all know the Massive is better.

And, the Crew rose up after the 4-1 loss to Real Salt Lake and have gone on to recapture first place in their division. No one would have expected that at the end of April. They are capable of rising up again and having some good performances against Cruz Azul and Saprissa in the future of group play. It's just up to them to prove the doubters wrong. I believe they will. They got slapped hard by Cruz Azul. But, what hurts makes you stronger. The Crew will come out Sunday hungry to wipe that defeat from the fans minds. Also, good luck to whatever Cruz Azul team shows up to Columbus in September, they will need it to get a result.

Looking at it. If the Crew lost in Cruz Azul 3-2, or 2-1. The Crew may not be too ticked off about it and might of lost at home in September against Cruz Azul as well. But, losing 5-0 to anyone, puts a big circle on that game down the road. The Crew will be hungry to avenge that defeat.

When we advance out of the group at the end of October, losing 5-0 at Cruz Azul might have been the trigger in giving us that one decisive win at home against Cruz Azul, instead of two losses.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

8/27/09: Utterly Bad, Crew Lay Over & Die In Mexico.


Cruz Azul ends the game in the first 10 minutes with two goals on the way to a 5-0 thumping of Columbus (Pic by: Reuters/Henry Romero).

I missed watching this game since I had to work until 1 a.m., I figured it may be better that way and I might be greeted after a tedious night of work with a good result. The whole way home from work I had a bad feeling. I kept telling myself, "no, the Crew have done it," but I knew I was lying to myself and usually my feelings are right. When I sat down to my computer with my eyes peeking out of my hands, I saw 5-0 Cruz Azul.

5 explicit words later, I took a deep breath and realized the truth. No matter how dominant a MLS team looks in MLS, they are nothing more than a bunch of part time amateurs just about anywhere else in the world.

I never wanted to believe that the Crew were just another amateur MLS side, but looking at the highlights(below) and from what Crew fans had to say on the forums, it seems the Crew looked like boys facing off against men.



Some Crew fans had some harsh words to say on the boards as well like the following (I don't totally agree, but after a performance like that I guess you can expect some backlashing):
"Today's game reinforced my opinion that Alejandro Moreno is simply a hard worker with nearly no talent who's made a living off of capitalizing off the mistakes of stupid MLS defenders."

And, the ratings from the fans were not much better:
Brunner: F---- (played stupidly)
Marshall: F---- (no heart, multiple embarrassing mistakes)
Schelotto: F- (no pace, awful passing)
Gaven: F- (embarrassing)
Hejduk: F--- (played stupidly, should know better)
Padula: F- (multiple dangerous tackles, multiple long passes to nowhere, as usual)
Moreno: F- (nothing)
O'Rourke: F (not too sure here)
Rogers: B- (great open field dribbling, no finishing)
Hesmer: D (would like to see him move toward the ball when it isn't aimed directly at him)
Lenhart: C (got his head on the ball at least)
Ekpo: D (maybe Rogers should not be his mentor)
Moffat: C (some nice shots from distance, none actually on frame)
Carroll: D (?)

And some fans even thought those ratings were too nice for some players:
I would expect Rogers to get a B from some but he didn't rate more than an F in my book. When you stub your toe on an open shot, can't beat the BACKUP keeper 1v1, can't beat a defender when the games is close AND dribble the ball out of the field of play while twisting your ankle; sorry, that's not a B.

Looking at the highlights, all you can really say about the Crew's performance is that it was utterly bad. No MLS team, even the Crew, will be going to the FIFA World Club Cup until the teams actually get a overall salary higher than teams in Lithuania. So, I guess the Crew can table those plans for a while. Or maybe they will prove us wrong and do better at home against these sort of clubs. It's up to them whether they pick themselves up and shake themselves off like they did after the 4-1 loss to Real Salt Lake earlier this season. It's only up to them on how they will grow from this defeat.

8/26/09: Pitch Invasion In England

Looks like England still has some trouble.

West Ham fans were so estastic and so stupid during their 3-1 win over Millwall that some of their fans invaded the pitch after their goals:



English officials, including the Sports Minister call the actions of the fans a "disgrace" and West Ham may be kicked out of the Carling Cup because of their fans actions.

FYI, never invade the field of play, it could cost your team.

8/26/09: Renteria Won't Make Trip, Garber Says If Any MLS Team Was To Win In Mexico It Would Be Columbus


Guillermo Barros Schelotto in front of the most important of the three trophies the Crew won in 2008. Cruz Azul hasn't won an important trophy, be it their league or Champions League since 1997 (Pic by: Jeff Gross/Getty Images).

The Crew's new signing, Venezuelan international Emilio Renteria, will not make the trip to Mexico. The Crew didn't receive Emilio's work permit hard copy as of Tuesday morning, meaning Renteria would have been stuck in Mexico if "the deer" would have made the trip. Nevertheless, Renteria should be available this Sunday away from home at Red Bull New York. The Red Bulls home, Giants Stadium, is a confine that Renteria has familiarity with, playing for Venezuela there on August 12th against Colombia. Another Crew player who will not make the trip is rookie Alex Grendi. Grendi is still suffering from injury and will also stay back in Columbus and join CrewXtra Wednesday night before the game.

Other then Renteria and Grendi, the entire rest of the roster(21 players) will be making the trip to Mexico. Many expect veterans Guillermo Barros Schelotto and Frankie Hejduk, both fresh off of injury, to start against Cruz Azul as their leadership will be instrumental in getting a result.

As Shawn Mitchell points out, none of the Crew players are confident enough to call out a victory. The players know that no matter Cruz Azul's standing in Mexico, no matter who Cruz Azul puts on the field, and no matter how dismal the crowd is on Wednesday night that the Crew are still playing in the altitude of Mexico City. Further, the history of American teams in Mexico surely doesn't tip in the Crew's favor as well, as U.S. national and MLS teams are a combined 1-38-2 in Mexico. In reality, it should just be 0-38-2 as the one "win" came from a forfeit in 2001 by Chivas Guadlajara.

Yet it's doubtful that previous statistics mean anything to the Crew, they still play 90 minutes for a reason and anything can happen in 90 minutes, especially when the Crew are a quality side.

MLS commissioner Don Garber is hopeful for a Crew win in Mexico, "If any team can do it, the Crew probably is that team. The Crew is a very strong club on the field. They've proved that with their record so far this year. This is an important tournament and I believe (the Crew) is taking it very seriously."

In fact, they are, as General Manager Mark McCullers said the club's goal is to win the tournament and make it to the FIFA World Club Cup.

In the other locker room, it's yet to be seen how serious Cruz Azul takes this game. In their first CONCACAF game at home against Saprissa, Cruz Azul played their entire second team and snuck away with a 2-0 result. If Cruz Azul plays their second team against Columbus, I can almost guarentee that the cement makers won't have similiar luck. But, the second team might be what the Crew gets as Cruz Azul's entire first team played in an exhausting derby game against Club America on Saturday. If Cruz Azul marches out the reserves, the Crew will definitely win.

Further, Cruz Azul admitted that their side doesn't know a lot about Columbus, and because of this I believe that Cruz Azul will likely put out their second team with the rationale, "it's just another weak MLS team that does badly in this tournament." If Cruz Azul puts their second team out for Saprissa, I can see them doing it again for Columbus. And, if Cruz Azul does, they will learn a lot about Columbus come the end of 90 tonight. Players like Guillermo Barros Schelotto and Robbie Rogers will punish reserves and the Crew will win.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

8/26/09: Saprissa Beats Islanders 3-1

A much closer game in Saprissa really as Puerto Rico scored first then allowed 3 straight goals against Saprissa. Then Puerto Rico had two chances that just somehow didn't go in as both opportunities 9 out of 10 times are goals:


Columbus was more dominate at home against Puerto Rico than Saprissa was.

8/25/09: Miedotempo Marking Crew As Slight Favorites, Despite MLS History In Mexico.


Cruz Azul prepares for a second yellow menance in the space of three days (Photo by: Mexsport).

Highlights from the article by Karina Xicotencatl:

Cruz Azul are coming into this game with decreased morale after the 3-2 loss to America, and face yet another yellow team.

- The attendance and morale in the stands will probably be low.

- Cruz Azul doesn't know much about Columbus. The article mentions the nine game unbeaten streak Columbus has. (Crewfighter's thoughts: But the Crew has had 8 days to look up film and information on Cruz Azul and formulate a game plan for them.)

-Schelotto is hungry for minutes after being out nearly a month. He is the idol of the fans of the yellow team.

-The confidence of being the league champion and not losing since June 20 when Columbus fell 2-1 to FC Dallas and their complete victory vs. the Puerto Rico Islanders in Concacaf Champions League are compelling reasons to mark them as favorites in the game against Cruz Azul.

- The tempo of the match in the first 30 minutes will be crucial.


The Crew are being marked as slight favorites despite MLS's history in Mexico:

All-Time Competitive Record by MLS in Mexico
1998 Leon vs. Colorado 4:2
2001 Santos vs. Kansas City 4:2
2002 Pachuca vs. San Jose 3:0
2002 Morelia vs. Chicago 2:0
2002 Santos vs. Kansas City 2:1
2002 Morelia vs. Kansas City 6:1
2003 Morelia vs. Columbus 6:0
2003 Necaxa vs. LA Galaxy 2:1
2005 Pumas vs. DC United 5:0
2007 Chivas vs. DC United 2:1
2007 Pachuca vs. Houston 5:2 AET
2007 Chivas vs. DC United 1:0
2008 Pachuca vs. DC United 2:0
2008 Cruz Azul vs. DC United 2:0
2008 Pumas vs. Houston 4:4
2009 Atlante vs. Houston 3:0
16 Matches; 1 Draw; 15 Losses

But, this Columbus team is a more complete team than most of their MLS predecessors and is a much different Columbus team than the one who faced Morelia in 2003.

8/25/09: Why We Will Win Concacaf Champions League Summed Up In Three Initials.

G.B.S.

"I play international tournaments to win, no matter who, no matter where, no matter what."


In a round of 16 Copa Libertadores match against Paysandu of Brazil in 2003, Boca Juniors lost in the home leg of the contest 1-0. Going to Paysandu things didn't look good for Boca. But, Guillermo Barros Schelotto lifted his side and led Boca Juniors with a hat trick and an assist on Marcelo Delgado's goal to win the away leg 4-1, and advance to the round of 8 4-2 on aggregate.

Boca Juniors would go on to win the Copa Libertadores and the Argentinian League that year thanks to the exploits of Guillermo Barros Schelotto.

That's only the middle of GBS's long history of exploits in international tournaments:


A history that continues tomorrow with Guillermo Barros Schelotto scoring in Mexico. I'll bet on it.

8/25/09: Hejduk Available For Cruz Azul, Schelotto Prepared For Full 90, & Renteria May Be Available As Well



After being out for the last month, U.S. international Frankie Hejduk started full training on Monday and will be available for the Crew's trip to Mexico City on Wednesday. Frankie's replacement Jed Zayner has filled in superbly for Hejduk over the last month, but this may be one of those times where you rush back the veteran. Hejduk has experience playing at altitude in Mexico City for USA vs. Mexico games, and his leadership will be a big boon to the backline. If Hejduk doesn't start, Eric Brunner and Jed Zayner together on the backline could be too much youth and inexperience South of the border.

Hejduk made the following comment to Craig Merz yesterday about his previously strained quadricep:
"Today was my first real day testing it. It felt good," he said. "The quad's not an issue anymore. It's more getting myself mentally back into it more than anything else. The physical part is there. I'm trying to get on the same page and help wherever I can whether it's starting or coming off the bench."

Emilio Renteria may also play a role by the 90th minute whistle. The new Venezuelan international signing received news that his work permit has been approved. But, the Crew have (as of Monday) not received Renteria's hard copy of the document meaning Renteria could not re-enter the U.S. from Mexico without it. According to Merz, Renteria will not travel without it. So, keep your fingers crossed Crew fans that Renteria's work permit is giftwrapped at One Black & Gold Blvd. this Tuesday morning.

Some may be asking why the rush on getting Emilio in the lineup? I think it's obvious. I think Renteria could make a difference in this game and this tournament. His long powerful shot is a weapon the Crew doesn't have as of yet in their arsenal. Further, Emilio has experience in Copa Liberatdores(The South American version of CONCACAF Champs League), where he led Caracas FC all the way to the quarterfinals of that difficult tournament. Lastly, Caracas has a little more altitude than Columbus at 900 meters compared to Columbus, OH's 276 meters. Sure, Mexico City is at an outrageous 2,240 meters but hey having someone like Renteria who has grown up at the edge of a mountain range surely can't hurt. Overall, when looking at all the games, Wednesday's game may just be the most difficult assignment the Crew faces this entire tournament, so might as well go with any little advantage you can muster.


Caracas FC's practice facility was on the edge of a mountain.

Altitude may not effect the Crew too much overall. Columbus has been victorious the last two games thay have played at altitude against the Colorado Rapids away. Winning 2-0 in July 2008 and 1-0 in July 2009 at 1,601 meters. Nevertheless, Cruz Azul is a much different monster compared to the Colorado Rapids.


Another boon for the Crew is having their MVP back for a full 90, for the first time in five weeks, ready to go. Guillermo Barros Schelotto's influence and experience in the midfield will be a huge difference maker. GBS doesn't mess around during these tournaments. As this is what the legend had to say about this tournament on Argentinian television a week ago, "I play international tournaments to win, no matter who, no matter where, no matter what." The guy has only been involved in winning 11 international tournaments; including 4 Copa Libertadores, 4 Copa Sudamericana, and 2 Intercontinental Cups. Also as you will see from the video on my post in the stories below, he scores a lot in these sort of tournaments. If Guillermo is ready to win in Mexico City, the Crew is ready to win in Mexico City.

But, overall, the Crew's biggest advantage may be that they play as a family and are all about the team first mantra.

From Craig Merz's discussion yesterday with Captain Frankie Hejduk:
"Only 11 guys can play every week but we are tight like a family here. We say before the games we're a family. You fight your hardest for the family," he said.

Hejduk said the key for the players is to trust that Warzycha and his staff are doing what's best for the team.

"Whatever decision the coach makes you respect it and move on," he said.


Warzycha said to Merz that the feelings go both ways:
"I have a lot of respect for the guys. Even if I don't play them I respect them," he said. "We have a good group of guys and they are respecting the game and respecting my decision. They don't have to agree with the decision but they have to respect it. As long as they respect it we're going to be good."

MY LINEUP:
----------------Hesmer---------------
Hejduk---O'Rourke---Marshall---Padula
---------------Carroll---------------
Gaven-------------------------Rogers
-----Guillermo Barros Schelotto------
-------Moreno----------Renteria------

I would drop someone from the defensive midfield and go with two forwards up front. I would go for the surprise, and bring Renteria in right away for the start. I would play Ekpo, Gaven, and Rogers because they are our best three attacking midfielders. Gaven and Rogers have no problem in assisting Carroll in defense, also Ekpo has been improved at defense. I would drop back O'Rourke from midfield to defensive line because he has more experience overall than Brunner. Brunner has done very well. But, rookie wits can become frayed easily in Mexico. I think this is the lineup that gives us the best chance. We shouldn't go out with a defensive lineup or a lineup that shows we are afraid, we should go down there all guns blazing. Because it's the only chance we have at getting a result.

Otherwise, we lose 2-0 like Puerto Rico did here.

Prediction: Crew win 2-1 off of more international tournament heroics from Guillermo Barros Schelotto with the first goal. Then either Robbie Rogers or Emilio Renteria connect with one upper 90 to allow the Crew to escape with a 2-1 win.

8/25/09: Brandon Moss Joins OSU as an Assistant



After a severe knee injury, Brandon Moss retired from the Crew in January 2008 after making 20 appearances and 17 starts for the Massive. Moss (the Albuquerque, New Mexico native) hasn't strayed far from Columbus since retiring, working with the Crew Juniors and with OSU in the camps they put on. Now Moss will join OSU's staff as a volunteer assistant.

From the Dispatch:
"I am excited for the opportunity to begin coaching at the college level, especially with a program like Ohio State," Moss said in a statement. "I had the opportunity to work with coach Bluem through the Crew Juniors program and eventually Ohio State's camps and am eager to learn from him."

Moss's first opportunity to prepare and coach the Buckeyes will occur in the upcoming weeks leading to OSU's September 4th opener against Gonzaga.

Monday, August 24, 2009

8/24/09: The Crew Know How To Deal

The Columbus Crew have made some of the most ambitious moves and near moves in recent MLS history. GM Mark McCullers and his coaching staff(be it Sigi Schmid or Robert Warzycha) have done well over the last four years at luring talent to Columbus despite the Crew's small wage bill. If anything I expect new Crew signing Emilio Renteria to be a successful story (like Schelotto) because of the Crew's transfer history over the last couple of years. A transfer history that has shown extreme competence at getting a lot for a small price. Here's a little history on the hits and near hits during the McCullers era.

Even on the near hits it's important to understand that these players were about to put pen to paper, unlike other MLS teams who are associated with big names but it turns out to be just fluff and rumor.

NEAR HITS:


Michael Chopra - January-February 2006
The 22 year old Newcastle player at the time was very close to putting pen to paper with a deal to take him stateside with the Crew in the winter of 2006. Chopra was on his way to Columbus until he was inserted into a FA Cup game for injured starter Michael Owen, scored, and then started against Manchester City the next game, and played until Owen came back.

A quote from McCullers via the Columbus Dispatch on Feb. 3, 2006:
"It was a pretty good example of the fishing expedition, as (coach Sigi Schmid) likes to describe it," general manager Mark McCullers said. "We had him in the boat and then he got off. That's the way it goes in the international market."

Chopra, now 25, has had the most success with Cardiff City and after a spell with Sunderland is back with the Welsh based Championship club. Chopra is off to a cracker of a 2009 season, with 7 goals in 4 appearances.

Although Chopra may be a daft goalscorer, he hasn't had as much success though hanging on to wives as of late. :-)

Here's a video of Chopra:



Maciej Zurawski - January 2008
Maciej Zurawski was the captain of the Polish national team at the time and had a solid career at Wisla Krakow and Celtic, before going out of favor with Celtic's manager. Looking for a new club in 2008, Zurawski was all but a done deal the night before the transfer window deadline. But, when everyone awhoke the next day, Zurawski was headed to Greece to play for Larissa.

Here's a Columbus Dispatch article from that time period.

Since then the Polish striker has dropped out of the national team picture and even though he scored 15 goals in 38 appearances for Larissa, Zurawski has moved to the Cyprus league. It appears that the deal for Zurawski falling through wasn't too much of a downer after all since the Cypriot League isn't exactly a powerhouse. USL-2 probably is a more competitive level.

HITS:

Eddie Gaven- March 29, 2006
Crew traded Edson Buddle for Eddie Gaven and Chris Leitch
It took Eddie Gaven about a year and a half to get going with the Crew, but the last year and a half has been well worth it. Gaven is a terror on the wing and has upped his production. 100 times the player that he was traded for in Edson Buddle.

Here's a story about the deal.

Apparently we can thank resident TFC dummy Mo Johnston for handing us Gaven for Buddle. So, thanks TFC!


Alejandro Moreno - May 10, 2007
Crew Traded Joseph Ngwenya for Alejandro Moreno
Since this deal, Venezuelan international Alejandro Moreno has made 67 appearances scoring 20 goals for the Crew. Joseph Ngwenya only made 25 appearances for Houston scoring 7 goals before jetsetting to Europe and only scoring 1 goal for Antalyspor in 11 appearances since. Ngwenya was another striker like Buddle who lacked focus.


Brian Carroll- November 26, 2007
Crew traded Kei Kamara for Brian Carroll
Brian Carroll who was a pillar for DC United and was almost signed by Olympique de Marsielle, was picked up by the Crew from San Jose for hot head Kei Kamara. Carroll has played every game since for Columbus, being once again a pillar at defensive midfield while Kamara played 12 games for San Jose before being shipped to Houston. Kamara hasn't faired much better there scoring 9 goals in 30 appearances and being a bench player behind Ching and Landin.

Another huge deal for a midfielder that just gets it done(same could be said about Gaven) for two hotheads who make A.D.D. like decisions in Kei Kamara and Edson Buddle.


William Hesmer- January 2006
Crew traded partial allocation to Toronto FC for William Hesmer
Again feel free to thank TFC as William Hesmer has become a solid goalkeeper making 64 starts since for the Crew while the partial allocation probably helped finance TFC duds like Laurent Robert.


Guillermo Barros Schelotto- April 19, 2007
Crew acquired Guillermo Barros Schelotto from Boca Juniors
The signing that changed it all, Guillermo Barros Schelotto has been a much needed leader and distrubutor in the midfield. In 66 appearances, GBS has 22 goals and picked up 19 assists alone in the Crew's 2008 championship run.

The Crew picked up the 2008 MVP for a $225,000 dollar contract which was a steal. The Crew re-signed Guillermo for over $400,000 dollars in 2009 and Guillermo has awarded the side by scoring 10 goals before an injury sidelined him for the last month.


Emmanuel Ekpo- April 15, 2008
The Crew acquired Ekpo from Enyimba FC of Nigeria
The Crew signed Emmanuel Ekpo for about $125,000 and the Nigerian U-23 international who won a silver medal in the Olympics has been one of the most creative and exciting players to watch for the Crew over the last two years. An excellent scouting job by another solid acquistion for the Crew, scout Brian Bliss.

Ekpo has made 38 appearances scoring 6 goals. And, I believe he will start to really break out soon.


Robbie Rogers- January 2007
Acquired through draft lottery via SC Heerenveen
Good thing the Crew didn't pass on Rogers in the draft lottery like FC Dallas did on Danny Szetela this year. Robbie Rogers is a great young talent and hopefully has a few more years before he jet sets to Europe.


Adam Moffat- September 2007
Acquired from Cleveland City Stars
A player who came on extremely strong at the beginning of 2008. Has had injury problems but the 23 year old Scottish player is healthy once again and will have a solid role with the Crew down the stretch.


Gino Padula- June 2008
Crew acquired Gino Padula from Montpellier HSC
Gino Padula was brought in for a trial with the Crew while the team was over in England, the Crew were so impressed with Padula that they signed him right away. Padula has been a rock at left back, a position that has been a trouble spot for the Crew for years before Padula's arrival.


Emilio Renteria- August 19, 2009
Crew acquired Emilio Renteria from Caracas FC
The Crew overall made the right decision to part ways with Pat Noonan and to bring in a more exciting player like Emilio Renteria as a replacement. Renteria has a powerful shot and has experience in Copa Liberatdores, which will help in CONCACAF Champions League. The young 24 year old talent also cost the Crew less than expected, being salaried at only $100,000 to $150,000. Leaving the Crew with money to go after one similiar player with the Crew's singular open roster spot.

All these moves can be summed up in,


Steven Lenhart
Acquired from Azusa Pacific College
Yes, Azusa Pacific College. Lenhart in all competitions in two seasons for the Crew has 10 goals in 31 appearances. Lenhart embodies the Crew's coaching staff, scouts, and front office smarts because look at some of the guys the Crew picked up. Adam Moffat from Cleveland City, Gino Padula riding the bench in France, William Hesmer not even given a chance from Toronto FC, Eric Brunner from Miami FC, and Steven Lenhart from Azusa Pacific College.

Also, not so shabby draft decisions to pick up guys like Jed Zayner and Jason Garey who have both given solid contributions this season.

What's next?
So with one open roster spot, who will be next to join a solid cast? Whoever it is I'm sure Bliss, McCullers, Warzycha, and company will pick someone who fits and who they can get a lot out of for a little money.

8/24/09: Match 2 CONCACAF- Columbus Crew vs. Cruz Azul Match Preview




In last weeks Group C opening action, The Columbus Crew took care of the Puerto Rico Islanders by a scoreline of 2-0, that could of easily have been 4-0 or 5-0 at home. Cruz Azul did much of the same, also winning by a scoreline of 2-0 at home against Saprissa, when the score could of easily have been 4-0 or 5-0 as well. These results (although at home) could be vindictive of who in the Group of Death will be battling it out come the end of September for top spot in Group C.

These results also set up a crucial fixture this Wednesday when a rested Columbus(10-3-9, first place in their league) head down to an unrested Cruz Azul(2-3-0, 11th place in their league). Cruz Azul are on three days rest after losing to Club America 3-2 on Saturday in their classico derby, while the Crew will be on eight days rest:


This game turnover for Cruz Azul would be akin to the Crew playing Cruz Azul a couple of days after a game against Chicago or Toronto, with the Crew playing their full starting lineup against their rival and adding on about 80 more years of rival history in the process. So, one advantage for the Crew is that Azul's latest loss probably isn't out of the cement workers heads.

Here's a good video from Saturday on the rivalry between Club America and Cruz Azul. Here's a full write up on the game.

Also, the Columbus Crew are not New England or DC United from the previous year in this tournament. There coming into this tournament looking to win it. There coming into Cruz Azul not looking to bunker, but looking to win. Forward Jason Garey outlines this in comments to Craig Merz, "Our goal is to be sitting at six points (in the Champions League) going into a little bit of a break. We've got New York then a few days off to recuperate as a team then get ready for the stretch in the fall. We're getting five or six days off to get away from soccer and come back rested and recharged. We'll be full strength, ready to go." So, if Cruz Azul thinks that the Crew will play a bunker ball game in Mexico like Puerto Rico did in Columbus, Cruz Azul will be sorely mistaken. The Crew need to go out with all guns blazing in Mexico, this is the only way to win down there and Warzycha understands this.

Overall, the Crew have the depth as a team to go all the way. Everyone is healthy and adding Emilio Renteria(and possibly another player) surely doesn't hurt. The Crew are happy with their performance last week against Puerto Rico and believe that they can build on it at Cruz Azul. As O'Rourke tells Crew writer Steve Sirk, "It's a huge start. Not only was it the first game, but it's a home game. Any time you play a team from a lower division it is difficult because they are going to play that much harder. We know it's not going to get any easier with Saprissa and Cruz Azul." It won't be easier at Cruz Azul. But, the Crew has had all week to prepare for the matchup, while Cruz Azul has spent half of their week preparing for Club America and half of their week getting over their loss against Club America.

Cruz Azul may also just overlook the best squad to come out of MLS in years in my opinion.

Prediction: Crew win 2-1 off of a goal by Guillermo Barros Schelotto in the first half. Then Emilio Renteria receives his P-1 visa on Tuesday, just in time to boom one upper 90 in the 87th minute to give the Crew the 2-1 victory in Mexico City.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

8/22/09: Smoke Bombs on Steriods

A picture from preperations and practicing with high quality smoke bombs before the TFC game a few weeks ago:


I'll try to dig up the video of this.

And from the game against TFC, some great photos of the banners and smoke bombs by the Ultra:









8/22/09: Who Will The Crew Go After With Their Last Roster Spot?

The Columbus Crew still have one roster spot open and $100,000 to $150,000 to give to whoever they want for the rest of the year. I received news a few weeks back that the last player that the Crew were giving an extensive look(to sign in Nyazamba's unoccupied spot) is a young 19 year old African. Nevertheless, with no news on that front, the Crew might of hit a snag with those negotiations. Still, it appears from Bliss's comments lately that the Crew are not about to rest on their depth laurels. From Bliss's discussion with Mitchell the other day, "the league doesn't give out awards for not using (salary) money." However, Bliss cautioned, "there is a reason why guys are unattached at this point," Bliss said. "It's tough to find someone who is going to help you. There are exceptions, though."

With how well and how close the Crew played the Renteria move to their chest, I can almost guarentee there is an exception. The Crew want to push for the FIFA World Club Cup and to get there, first things first, they are going to have to get out of their CONCACAF Champions League group this season. To give themselves a better opportunity they will spend the remaining $150,000 or so(usually a starter's salary) to get one more quality player.

So, what sort of player could the Crew possibly be looking for? Bliss discussed this with fans in the pregame coaches corner last Saturday stating that the Crew could use some depth on the left side of the field, a player who could play some left back and left midfield as well. Which is a good point. If Padula or Rogers were to go down, we have no real solid cover there. If Padula goes down it would be the right footed O'Rourke playing out of position and if Rogers goes down it would be Gaven playing out of position or rookie Alex Grendi.


A player that fits the mold (since Bliss visited Ghana earlier in the year) would be someone like Daniel Addy. Young, 19, left winger, left back. Nevertheless, although Addy's team Randers only has about 3,000 spectators a game(man TFC fans would be all over them with the attendance smack), they do play in UEFA Cup and Addy is the sort looking to stay in Europe and make the jump to a bigger league someday. Addy already has two caps for Ghana and is contracted until 2011. I wouldn't expect him to be the player the Crew is or gave a look to.


Francis Coffie though is someone who could possibly be a player the Crew could be looking at. Coffie is a left winger and is contracted until 2010 with Ghanaian side Asante Kotoko (Bliss was in Ghana). However, Coffie was handed a one month trial with newly promoted Bundesliga side SC Frieburg in late May. The trial was unsuccessful but it appears he would be outside of the Crew's price range.

Video of Coffie:


These players are probably too pricey. Others that fit the mold are Ishmael Yartey and Wakaso Mubarak. But, both are doing too well in Europe. Mubarak is stuck in Ghana and hasn't made it back to Elche. But, it's probably a little unrelastic that any of these players are coming here for less than $400,000.

A player that could probably come here for $100,000 to $150,000 is Abdul Naza Alhassan, who played 6 matches for the Ghanaian U-17 team and also has been involved with the U-20 team. He was contracted with Shonan Bellmare of the J League and made 3 appearances in 2008. But, isn't in their team picture on Bellmare's website and doesn't show up on their latest roster on the team website. Abdul Naza could play left midfield but is more of an attacking player, couldn't play any left back. So, I'm not sure if it could be him or not.


Or it could be no one from Africa and maybe the Crew goes a different route and picks up someone who already is familiar with MLS. Someone like Terry Cooke.

So, what do you think? What sort of player would you like the Crew to sign with the last roster spot?

Friday, August 21, 2009

8/21/09: MLS Starting To Get It Right, Signing Younger International Talent






MLS is starting to get it right, signing younger talent mainly from the America's instead of older European talent like the league did in the circa 90's and early 2000's. MLS is still signing some European players but instead of stars past their prime these are younger, lesser known talent who could spring into big time players. The average age of recent MLS Summer transfers is 25 exactly, buoyed mainly by San Jose and their signing of 34 year old Andre Luiz Moreira. National team starters come from Honduras, Trinidad & Tobago, El Salvador, Haiti, Burundi, and Costa Rica. Players in their national team's picture or have received starts recently come from Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, Scotland, the USA, and etc. Players previously in their National team's plans come from Brazil, Hungary, and Austria.

In regards to club play, incoming players were on the books of clubs last season such as Aberdeen, Cruz Azul, Chivas De Guadalajara, Marathon, SC Caambuur, Anderlecht, SC Heerenveen, Brescia, Jaguares, Coventry City, and Red Bull Salzburg.

Overall, the Summer 2009 transfer window has been, in my opinion, the best midseason transfer window as of yet for MLS. The supporting cast in MLS is improving. Don't believe me? Check out the resumes below.

MLS 2009 incoming Summer transfers(in order that picture appears above):

1. Luis Angel Landin, Age: 24, Position: Forward, Nationality: Mexican, Last Club: Cruz Azul, Senior Caps: 5 for Mexico, 2 for U-23 team with 2 goals. Already over 150 caps of experience in Mexican First Division with 33 goals. MLS Club: Houston Dynamo
2. Emilio Renteria, Age: 24, Position: Forward/Attacking Mid, Nationality: Venezuelan, Last Club: Caracas FC, Senior Caps: 3 for Venezuela with 3 goals, 19 total goals at the youth levels. Over 120 caps in Venezuelan first division with 26 goals in league play. Helped Caracas FC to a Quarterfinal run in Copa Liberatdores last season. MLS Club: Columbus Crew.
3. Jesus Padilla, Age: 22, Position: Forward, Nationality: Mexican-American, Last Club: Chivas De Guadalajara. 24 caps since 2006 with Mexican first division side Chivas De Guadalajara. MLS Club: Chivas USA
4. Jamith Cuesta, Age: 20, Position: Defender, Nationality: Columbian, Last Club: Sante Fe/Expreso Rojo. A starter for Colombia's U-20 team and a solid prospect for Colombia going forward. Was a starter for most of 2007 for Sante Fe(one of Colombia's bigger clubs) until moving to second division side Expreso Rojo in 2008 where Jamith also was a starter. MLS Club: Chivas USA
5. Marvin Chavez, Age: 25, Postition: Attacking Midfielder, Nationality: Honduran, Last Club: Marathon. Senior Caps: A midfielder starter for solid CONCACAF side Honduras as of late with 17 caps and 1 goal since 2006. MLS Club: FC Dallas
6. Jair Benitez, Age: 30, Position: Left Back, Nationality: Colombian, Last Club: Independente Medellin. Senior Caps: 7. MLS Club: FC Dallas
7. Rachid El Khalifi, Age: 30, Position: Midfielder, Nationality: Dutch, Last Club: SC Cambuur. Senior Caps: 0. Has played all 257 of his caps in the Dutch Second Division scoring 33 goals in the process. Also played a season in the Dutch First Division with SC Cambuur. MLS Club: Real Salt Lake
8. Nelson Gonzalez, Age: 20, Position: Midfielder/Forward, Nationality: Argentinian, Last Club: Quilmes. Senior Caps: 0. Lesser known commodity, has been with Quilmes of Argentinian Second Division since 2007 receiving 1 senior cap in 2007 and 9 senior caps in 2008. MLS Club: Real Salt Lake
9. David Habarugira, Age: 20, Position: Left Back, Nationality: Burundi/Belgian, Last Club: Union Saint Galliose via Anderlecht. Senior Caps: 6 with Burundi. Was an Anderlecht youth product from 2002 to 2007, receiving one senior cap in 2007. MLS Club: DC United
10. Danny Szetela, Age: 22, Position: Defensive Midfielder, Nationality: American, Last Club: Brescia via Racing Santander. 26 caps and starter for Serie B side Brescia during last season. Senior Caps: 3. 7 U-20 Caps with 3 goals. MLS Club: DC United
11. Lesly Fellinga, Age: 23, Position: Left Back, Nationality: Haitian/Dutch, Last Club: SC Heerenveen. Senior Caps: 12 for Haiti, 5 Haitian U-23 Caps, and 1 Dutch U-15 cap. MLS Club: Toronto FC
12. Zoltan Hercegfalvi, Age: 29, Position: Striker, Nationality: Hungarian, Last Club: Budapest Honaved (On loan). Nearly 300 caps(73 goals) total playing with the top teams in Hungary and Sparta Prague in the Czech Republic. Senior Caps: 3 for Hungary. MLS Club: Kansas City Wizards
13. Fabio Carleandro Da Silva, Age: 29, Position: Defender/Defensive Midfield, Nationality: Brazilian, Last Club: Rio Branco. Over 300 caps total playing in Brazil for clubs like Sport Recife and Rio Branco(where he captained the side last year). Also played quite a bit in Serbia, most notably with Red Star Belgrade. MLS Club: San Jose Earthquakes
14. Andre Luiz Moreira, Age: 34, Position: Central midfield, Nationality: Brazilian, Last Club: Jaguares of Mexican First Division. Senior Caps: 19 (2 goals) with Brazil. Played for top clubs in Brazil, France, Portugal. MLS Club: San Jose Earthquakes
15. Ramon Sanchez, Age: 27, Position: Midfielder, Nationality: El Salvadoran, Last Club: Allianza FC. Senior Caps: 52(2 goals) plus plenty of youth caps. Is El Salvador's National team Captain. MLS Club: San Jose Earthquakes
16. Facundo Diz, Age: 30, Position: Forward, Nationality: Argentinian, Last Club: Platenese. Senior Caps: 0. 9 goals in 15 games with Platense of the Argentinian Second Division last season to save them from relegation. MLS Club: Colorado Rapids
17. Jamie Smith, Age: 28, Position: Right winger/Striker, Nationality: Scottish, Last Club: Aberdeen. Senior Caps: 2 with Scotland. 42 appearances with Celtic, 30 with ADO Den Haag, and 81 most recently with Aberdeen. MLS Club: Colorado Rapids
18. Leonardo Gonzalez, Age: 28, Position: Defender, Nationality: Costa Rican, Last Club: CS Herediano/Muncipal Liberia. Senior Caps: 60 with 1 goal, played in 2006 World Cup in Germany. MLS Club: Seattle Sounders
19. Julien Baudet, Age: 30, Position: Defender, Nationality: French, Last Club: Crewe Alexandra. Senior Caps: 0. Started his career with 21 caps with First Division French side Toulouse. Since then has been in the English lower divisions, especially catching on with English League One side Crewe Alexandra with 110 caps and 2 goals over the last three years. Baudet was announced the player of the year for Crewe last year but the team couldn't afford to keep him after they were relegated to League Two. MLS Club: Colorado Rapids.
20. Chris Birchall, Age: 25, Position: Central Midfield, Nationality: Trinidadian/English, Last Club: Coventry City/Brighton & Hove Albion(loan). Senior Caps: 36 with Trinidad and Tobago(4 goals), played in 2006 World Cup. Was loaned out from Championship outfit Coventry City from 2006-2009, but made 29 appearances for City and about 20 others for St. Mirren, Brighton & Hove, and etc. MLS Club: LA Galaxy
21. Walter Garcia, Age: 25, Position: Center Back, Nationality: Argentinian, Last Club: FC Rubin Kazan/Quilmes(loan). Senior Caps: 0. Garcia has good experience with over 80 caps in the Argentinian first division and also experience in the Russian Premier Division. MLS Club: New York Red Bulls
22. Ernst Obster, Age: 25, Position: Left sided attacking midfielder, Nationality: Austrian, Last Club: Red Bull Salzburg. Senior Caps: 11 with U-21 Austrian team. Over 100 caps with top Austrian sides. MLS Club: Red Bull New York

What player do you think will make the biggest impact?

8/21/09: Crewture Mixtape Weeks 21 & 22



Featuring the Crew's 3-0 win over San Jose, 2-0 win over Dallas, and 2-0 win over Puerto Rico.

Music by:
1. Underdog- Kasabian
2. From The Ritz to Rubble- Arctic Monkeys
3. Lil' Hipster Girl- LMFAO
4. Fire- Kasabian

Pictures by Sam Fahmi and clips by FSC, ONN, and Telemundo respectively

Youtube version:


Vimeo version.