Gaven, Schelotto, Hejduk's for 9/20

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Crew SC 2 minutes and 19 seconds from a huge result

But, everyone else who could catch them lost or tied.

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, September 20, 2010

9/20/2010: Something's Gone Very Wrong In Crewland


No smiles in Columbus as of late. Is it selection? Team problems?


The Columbus Crew have dropped their last two league games by a combined score of 7-1. Ouch! We are like Blackpool vs. Chelsea or Arsenal when we face off against a Western Conference team. In the process of getting demolished in the last two league games, the Crew have nearly knocked themselves out of the Supporters Shield race after battling so hard to get back into it; as the Crew find themselves six points adrift of LA, after being tied with them last week, and 3 points behind RSL without a hope of catching either at their current form. Moreover, the 4-nil shelling at the hands of Seattle and Sigi Schmid on Saturday makes it look like Columbus doesn't have a hope in matching up with any Western Conference side in the playoffs. Further, that meet up against Seattle again in the U.S. Open Cup Final in October doesn't look as appealing hardware-wise as it once did.

All of this leads to a question that has started to float around like a stench that no one wants to take credit for after our last two shellings against RSL and LA; A question that finally needs to be answered with some moves after Saturday night's embarrassment in front of 17,144, one of the better crowds of the year for the Crew. Namely, What the hell is going on?

Actually I have quite a few questions...

1. Why on earth is Warzycha continuing to start players that never perform over players that consistently perform? Leandre Griffit scored a beautiful goal against Joe Public on Wednesday night. Griffit looks lively every time he is on the field and has scored twice in four overall appearances in all competitions for the Crew. Griffit brings a talent and a confidence that comes with time in the English Premiership that other midfielders on the Crew, except for possibly Gaven, appear to not have. Yet how does Warzycha celebrate Griffit's brillant play on Wednesday night; Well, if you guessed by leaving him completely off the 18 man roster? Your shockingly right.

Andres Mendoza has been with the Crew for nearly two months practicing with the squad as he worked out his visa issues; By the time he was cleared by FIFA everyone expected Mendoza to be game fit and ready to take over at striker. But, despite scoring in the few minutes he was in against L.A. and despite looking very good against Joe Public last Wednesday, Mendoza got 16 junk minutes this weekend against Seattle while the inconsistent Garey and Lenhart continue to start. Sorry, Robert, but Garey and Lenhart are nowhere near Mendoza or Renteria's level and shouldn't be starting over them in the league.

Garey and Lenhart are good players and have a role off the bench that can lead to goals at the end of games. But, neither one played in Mexico, France, Belgium, Ukraine and neither might just end up being a nation's top striker in qualifying for World Cup 2014 (Renteria has a chance for Venezuela); I don't think either of those two things are in the cards for either one of our strikers not from South America.

But, I know, I know, that the Crew have this high esteem for themselves where it takes any new signing two years to get into the starting eleven (just look at Renteria who performs better than nearly everyone on the team and continues to sit on the bench); But, at some damn time they need to get over themselves and inject the better players in there right away to inject some life into a dead squad, a dead attack, and a dead midfield.

Griffit should get a chance on the left flank but despite solid play, Rogers who has been out of comission for two months has a better chance of seeing league time first for whatever reason. Renteria and Mendoza should be prefered over Lenhart and Garey, it's a crime that Renteria scores every two games and can't find a spot on this starting eleven.

2. Duka is better than Moffat and Burns; Or hell can't be worse- Our team overall is more defensive and slower than it has to be. Heck, even with two dm's and four defenders, and midfielders that like to track back we still lose 4-nil. Well, Duka is a midfielder who can play both and he is actually a high talent in the U.S. system... Something Burns or Moffat will never claim for any nation except maybe Bermuda. So, why the hell wouldn't you give Duka a shot if the other players you run out underperform consistently. At the moment we have no one creative to pair with Schelotto in our midfield and Duka has looked like a breath of fresh air every time he comes on. Further, every time I see Duka and Schelotto together they seem to be very similiar players and find each other well.

With Carroll and Moffat or Burns the midfield transition is too slow and unless the ball gets to Schelotto there is no one finding those creative players with Moffat or Burns passing the ball around.

1+2= gets us to 3. There may be a reason why we look so much better in the CONCACAF Champions League than we have in league play recently- And no it's not because Joe Public and Municipal are vastly inferior.. We have even looked better against Santos. Were just more creative with that lineup, more interesting to watch, and create better opportunities because there is better, more creative players on the field.

Think of it this way, our league play starting eleven plays like Blackpool (a team of overachievers who can play well against a decent team but get shelled against any club with real talent) and our Champions League starting eleven looks like Arsenal (a team with fresh ideas and fresh players that are quicker and more technically adept who eventually find a way to exploit an inferior or even good team).

4. Who does Warzycha blame when things go wrong? The subpar players he surrounds Schelotto with in league play or Schelotto? Schelotto. The only talent sometimes in the attack for the Crew midfield in recent weeks in league play. According to TheCrew.com, Warzycha said the following about Schelotto, “If he plays well, I don’t have a problem putting him on the field," Warzycha said. "But for some reason he can’t find the game right now."

Maybe it isn't Schelotto and maybe it has more to do with the players surrounding him like Burns, Moffat, Lenhart, and a tired Gaven. No wonder there isn't much offensive punch.

5. So is the Crew going to two actual strikers up top? From the same article: “I would look for more power in front,” Warzycha said. “Obviously, with Steven [Lenhart] and Guillermo, the last game I don’t think we had enough. Maybe we’ll go with a little bit of speed up front [against Santos],” Warzycha said.

I'm not cool with blaming Schelotto..I think it has more to do with what he has been surrounded with. And, I wish there was a way to get him, Mendoza, and Renteria on the field at all times together. But, if the only alternative for right now is to give Schelotto some rest and try Renteria and Mendoza up top together this may just save our season... Especially, if you can find some way to have enough defense in the back while having Renteria and Mendoza up top with Schelotto somewhere behind.

Warzycha needs to admit his mistakes now before it bombs our season. Warzycha needs to give Mendoza and Renteria a shot up top together. I think there are a boatload of goals possible with that combination..

In comparison, I don't see no goals if Guillermo has only Garey or Lenhart to combine with. Just in that stituation, Lenhart or Garey are on their own little island and Guillermo is on his own 10-15 yards behind them and neither has the ability to combine with the other effectively alone.

On the other hand, Mendoza and Renteria can be a poweful combination. So, I hope that's what Warzycha means by more power and speed.. And he's not thinking of Garey who doesn't have a lot of either of those capabilities.. But, who knows with Warzycha these days..

Feels like somewhere he lost the script and that he should start listening to Bliss a little bit more who has brought in the right talent in Griffit, Mendoza, and Renteria; and who has done a wonderful job at winning two championships already for the Crew at the youth level this year.

Warzycha admires the hard working player that overachieves.. It's an Eastern European trait that's admirable and it's also the Columbus Crew's motto. Every player the Crew has on the roster has a role and all have talent.. But, heaven forbid we start our best talent once in a while.

Here, I'll spell it out for you--

--------------Hesmer-----------------
Hejduk----Marshall--O'Rourke---Padula(when back to health and no you don't have to always start Iro)
-------------Carroll-----------------
Gaven/Renteria--Duka/Gaven--Griffit/Rogers (Ekpo first off bench left or right mid)
-------------Schelotto---------------
----------Mendoza/Renteria-----------

Or
-------------Hesmer-----------------
Hejduk----Marshall--O'Rourke--Padula
-------------Carroll----------------
Gaven------------------------Griffit
-------------Schelotto--------------
-------Mendoza----------Renteria----

But, what should you expect? THE SAME LINEUPS, THE SAME FAILINGS IN THE PLAYOFFS AS LAST YEAR Especially when the Crew organization feeds us crap like this right after an embarrassing 4-nil loss: Crew result not indicative of performance- Despite a 4-0 loss to Seattle, Columbus sees positives in game.

REALLY? REALLY! FYI Crew, A 4-0 loss is always an awful performance. There is no excuse for that if you want to wear the Crew jersey.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

9/15/2010: Crew Demolish Joe Public 3-nil, Griffit and Mendoza Looked Sharp


Griffit had a nice runout for Columbus against Joe Public, a beautiful goal as well to open up the Joe Public defense in the 47th minute too.

The Columbus Crew continue to do well against any side not named Real Salt Lake or the Los Angeles Galaxy; as the Crew cruised past Joe Public 3-nil last night in front of a small crowd at Columbus Crew Stadium.

The goalscoring started off in the 47th minute when the Crew's Frenchman Leandre Griffit sent a technically adept, curling curve ball past the Joe Public keeper and into the net to make it 1-nil Crew. New Peruvian striker Andres Mendoza was credited with the assist on that goal but unfornately couldn't open his own Champions League account with the Crew despite several opportunities in the first half to do so.

The Griffit goal relaxed the Crew and their finishing improved as Jason Garey was able to make it 2-nil just minutes later; as a cross by Emmanuel Ekpo found Garey's head in the 51st minute and the ball then glanced into the back of the net.

The Crew would cap the night off in the 79th minute as a nice assist by Crew youngster Dilly Duka found Steven Lenhart near the 18 on the right side; Lenhart would send a powerful strike across his body that would find paydirt in the left side of the net to make it 3-nil Crew.

The win, despite being against an undermanned Trinidad & Tobago side, should give the Crew the needed confidence to hopefully turn their fortunes around this weekend against the Seattle Sounders at home. The Crew need to get back to their winning ways after losing a pivotal game against L.A. the previous Saturday. The loss puts the Crew a game behind in the Supporters Shield race. However, the Crew still have a favorable schedule with struggling teams such as Toronto, Chicago, and Philadelphia still left on the docket.

While the Supporters Shield race is still up for grabs, the Crew should be feeling pretty good about their chances now of advancing in the CONCACAF Champions League. The Crew's six points is only second to Santos Laguna (on 7 pts) while Municipal and Joe Public both are struggling with only 2 and 1 pts respectively. If the Crew have a favorable result in their next game against Santos that should be enough for them to qualify from the group. I would expect the Crew to be up for the Santos game at home as payback for a tie they should of received the first go around down in Mexico.

Ratings:
Andy Gruenebaum- 7.0: Doing a solid job at being the CONCACAF Champions League starting goalkeeper. Looking like a very viable option if Hesmer ever gets injured. Shutout deserves a good rating, even though Gruenebaum was rarely tested by Joe Public.
Duncan Oughton- 7.2: Good job shutting down the middle and distributing. Nice to see Oughton being productive in games like this.
Eric Brunner- 7.1: Good to get him starting, Joe Public didn't give him or Marshall many issues.
Chad Marshall- 7.5: Joe Public strikers were no match for Marshall.
Andy Iro (came in 79th minute)- 6.8: Did fine when he came in to relieve Marshall.
Shaun Francis- 6.8: Getting better with more time on the field.
Adam Moffat- 6.5: Not bad, but could of got into the attack a little more with Garey and Griffit.
Emmanuel Ekpo- 8.0: Always looks fantastic against these subpar CONCACAF teams that don't seem to scout Ekpo or the Crew in general.
Dilly Duka (came in 61st minute)- 7.2: Nice assist, but should be getting starting minutes in games like this.
Leandre Griffit- 8.5: I like how Griffit plays, would like to see him get an opportunity with the starting 11 more often. I think he is really technically adept.
Kevin Burns- 7.0: Not a bad day out. Showing to be good depth for CONCACAF and U.S. Open Cup.
Jason Garey- 7.7: Nice header, lively for most of the game.
Andres Mendoza- 7.9: Dangerous most of his time in during his first start. Nice big frame, will be a nice option and threat for the Crew in the attack.
Steven Lenhart (came in 65th minute)- 7.6: Beautiful goal.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

9/7/2010: Daily Update- Crew Trialist Ent Scoring Back In Holland, Voodoo for Marc Burch, NORonTOUR Continues Stops, No Becks For First Place Showdown


Ent's MLS dreams may have to wait another year, but that's not affecting his form back in Holland.

**It seems that neither the Columbus Crew or Toronto F.C. had enough interest in the end to make a late Summer move for Dayton Dutch Lions 23-year-old Bas Ent. Ent trialed for Toronto in mid-July and for the Crew in early-August, but is now back with first place, third division (Dutch topklasse side) VV Katwijk. Ent scored the winner the previous week here at the 5:33 mark and will square off against another former Dutch Lions striker, Hans van de Haar this weekend; van de Haar plays for second place Spakenburg and will battle Ent for first place in the Topklasse this Saturday:



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**After the Crew's 2-1 victory over D.C. United in the U.S. Open Cup Semifinal, former Crew defender turned D.C. United part-timer Marc Burch felt that his team was slighted in the U.S. Open Cup Semifinal loss because in his opinion the Crew "have dirty players" and so Burch claimed him and United "would be out for revenge (in a regular season rematch) on Saturday."

Well, Burch didn't get a chance to be a part of that lackluster revenge.. Lackluster in every way as the Crew would march on to another win with D.C. registering no shots on goal. But, very lackluster for Burch who couldn't even play a part despite his words; as despite looking perfectly healthy in a postgame slam of the Crew for DCUnited.tv, Burch had to miss Saturday's rematch because he required season-ending surgery to his right foot that was injured against the Crew in Wednesday's Semifinal game.

Could voodoo have played a part? I posted the above image. But, a previous one I made had Schelotto holding Burch's right foot; although I figured that was a bit too harsh.. However, it seems my Guillermo-inspired voodoo may have worked on Marc Burch.

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**Another sizeable Crew crowd made their way to the nation's capital this Saturday to cheer on Columbus (below). Crew fans have added New York, Philadelphia, F.C. Dallas, and D.C. United so far this year to their usual big trips to rivals Chicago and Toronto (both Chicago and Toronto still remain on the away trips this season). According to the always reliable wikipedia, this phenomenon is known as "NorOnTour". Hey, I like it, add it next to "Massive", "Nordecke", & "Canaries" in your Crew vocabulary.



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**Beckham was hoping to make his return to the L.A. Galaxy squad this Saturday in a crucial matchup against the Columbus Crew. Both Columbus and L.A. have 13-5-5 records and Saturday's game is for first place in the league as well as to take control of the Supporters Shield race. However, according to CrewXtra, Beckham will have to wait another week for his return.



Good news for the Crew, who will look to continue the late-season struggles of a Beckham-less L.A.

9/7/2010: After 1st Minute With Crew, Mendoza Dreams Up Lofty "Miroslav Klose" Goals



After one minute on the pitch with the Crew on Saturday to close up the 1-0 victory over D.C. United, Andres "El Condor" Mendoza already has lofty goals. As apparently, Mendoza sees himself playing for Peru in the World Cup in 2014 at the age of 36 and he looks up and wants to be like Miroslav Klose when he achieves that goal. Mendoza expects to get back into the Peruvian team through their new head coach Sergio Markarian, who coached Andres at Sporting Cristal in Peru from 1996-1997: "He knows me well, I debuted at Cristal. People think I am old, but recently I turned 32. And dream of reaching the World Cup.

Mendoza expects to be there with his older striker hero, Germany's Miroslav Klose. "[Klose] said he hoped to go to Brazil in 2014, when he turns 36. I want to go as well. It's a childhood dream and hopefully I can accomplish it. I have faith, because there are good players in Peru. If not I'll be frustrated, but my career was successful."

Nothing wrong with a little ambition, even at the ripe age of 32; but, talk about shooting for the stars. As first and foremost Mendoza would need Peru to qualify for the World Cup in 2014. However, Peru hasn't qualified since 1982 and Peru finished last in qualifying in South America for South Africa 2010 with only 3 wins and 13 points. Then Mendoza would have to go on enough of a scoring tear to be Peru's star striker at 36 at the World Cup. Something we all hope for, but Mendoza's Club Brugge days were six years ago.. And then if that wasn't enough of a stretch, finally Mendoza wants to be regarded at the level of Miroslav Klose when this all occurs. Good luck and by all means, as I would love to have a Klose-type player in our attack, but sounds like a bit of a stretch...

One good thing though about Mendoza's star gazing is that it signals that Mendoza will not be boring for bloggers like me during his time with the Crew :-); And here's some more Mendoza quotes on his debut with the Columbus Crew.

Mendoza quotes after D.C. United game-

How did you feel in your debut in the MLS?
I only played a few minutes but it felt good . I was anxious to get back because I was inactive since I detached from Diyarbakirspor Turkey. Now just think about playing, scoring goals and being champion of MLS.

Just now you walked by Guillermo Barros Schelotto , who is the biggest star of your club.
Yes, I get along with him . He was endorsed by references such as Nolberto Solano, who played for Boca Juniors with him. There is communication because we both speak Spanish (laughs). But all the players get along well, as well as the coach ( Robert) Warzycha .

Against DC United you entered as a lone striker . What is your ideal job ?
I'm a center forward . My best production comes there, like when I was a '9' shirt for in Bruges in Belgium. But I am left handed and fast, so many technicians put me on the left flank. One of them was Paulo Autuori. That made me a wheel in the selection of Peruvian Claudio Pizarro to be the lone striker. I agreed to play in another position because I always want to be on the field.

Do you think that people in Peru are unfair to you ?
I do not know. Perhaps because of bigotry , people only remember the goals that I missed. But the important goals they forget. So is football: one day you're up and the other down. Have long assumed that this is so. So rarely read the Peruvian press. A sector is very destructive. And they quickly forget everything.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

9/4/2010: Andres Mendoza To Debut Today and More


Crew finally get their new attack option on the field: With top experience in Mexico with Morelia, in France with Olympique Marseille, in Belgium with Club Brugge, and many other clubs the Crew are hoping Mendoza can give them that finishing punch in the end stretch of their season.

**The Crew have received the okay to debut Andres Mendoza. Mendoza has finally received his international transfer certificate from Turkish Super Lig side Diyarbakirspor. The ITC allows Mendoza to play for the Crew in their regular season game against D.C. United tonight. Mendoza flew out of Columbus Friday afternoon to join his new Columbus teammates. Mendoza, who has trained with Columbus over the past month, is from what I heard expected to start to give the strikers who played Wednesday night a rest or Mendoza will be the first striker off the bench in the 60th to 65th minute.



**Although great news for Mendoza, the battle with Diyarbakirspor is not over according to Mendoza's agent Ricky Schanks (good agent name btw):

"FIFA sent the letter and pass to Mendoza and therefore he's eligible to play Saturday for the Columbus Crew in Washington. The news delighted the player, taking into account that he wants to play. The next step now is to try to get the six months of salary owed from the Turkish club," said Schanks.

**The usually sweltering RFK in August and September will be nice for once as the Crew will be treated to high 60's for most of tonight's game in Washington, D.C.

**The D.C. United players felt hard done by their 2-1 loss to the Columbus Crew in the U.S. Open Cup Semifinal on Wednesday. Former Crew player and current D.C. United scumbucket Marc Burch said that the Crew have "some dirty players" and that D.C. would be "out for revenge on Saturday night."

The Crew will likely make a few changes to their roster for tonight's game. I could see Dilly Duka getting his first regular season start, as Duka played well in the U.S. Open Cup match on Wednesday. Also, as previously mentioned, Mendoza may be included in the starting lineup to give the attack a little more punch. However, no matter what the Crew employs and no matter what tactics D.C. United use to pump themselves up for this encounter, I still see a similiar 2-1 result for the Crew. Columbus just has to many weapons and is just a way better team all around that they'll always be able to outlast this D.C. United team over 90 minutes.

Prediction: 2-1 Crew, goals by Renteria in the first half and Mendoza in the second half.

**Former Crew player Brian McBride, 38, unsurprisingly announced that he will be retiring after this season. McBride's 62 goals with Columbus made him an icon in his early days with the Crew. However, there would be a lot more fanfare about McBride's retirement in Columbus if McBride would of retired with English outfit Fulham instead of Crew rivals, the Chicago Fire.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

9/1/2010: U.S. Open Cup Semifinal Stream, Preview


Apparently the 12th man is home on the couch, picture from Crew Union's twitter from the stands minutes before the U.S. Open Cup Semifinal match against D.C. United.

Here's a nice preview of the game from D.C. United's side of things. Former Crew player Marc Burch says that D.C. United will be ready for the Crew no matter if the Crew march out a formidable roster or not for the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Semifinal, named after the Crew's late owner:


To watch the game a horrible stream can be found here.