Lineup Preview for Crew SC vs. New York Red Bull

Without playoffs coming quick would like to see more consistency in lineup.

Does Crew SC Got Talent?

Which Crew SC player would be best at karaoke?

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.

Friday, November 26, 2010

11/26/2010: Crew Have Half A Roster To Fill After Losing Two More Players To Timbers



11/26/2010: Crew Have Half A Roster To Fill After Losing Two More Players To Timbers

What do you do when you trade your right back in waiting (Jed Zayner) in midseason, then decline to negotiate with your veteran right back (Frankie Hejduk), and then leave your only other player that has played right back in the last two years -other than those two aforementioned- unprotected in the expansion draft (Eric Brunner)?

Well, if your Brian Bliss, you don't panic without any right backs.

"We've got some work to do, but rebuilding is not the right word to use for what we're doing," Bliss said. "That would imply we're going to take our lumps in the next year or two. I don't think that is going to be the case."

Case or not, with the Timbers electing to go with the Crew's Eric Brunner and Adam Moffat in the expansion draft, Columbus now has half a roster to rebuild; As the Columbus Crew only have 15 players under contract. Therefore, they'll have to fill 50% percent of the locker room with completely new faces next year.

The news on Moffat and Brunner probably goes with a shrug for most Crew fans. Both Moffat and Brunner were helpful over the last few years; however, after the departure of Guillermo Barros Schelotto and Frankie Hejduk and etc. it's hard to meet any other sort of news (other than a DP signing) with any sort of heightened reaction.

Best of luck to both in Portland, not a bad gig as far as going to another club with great fan support and an excellent supporters section.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

11/24/2010: Kezman To Columbus?


Hey, he looks good in black and yellow right?

The former PSV Eindhoven, Chelsea, Athletico Madrid, and Fenerbache hitman Mateja Kezman is apparently considering coming to MLS according to this Serbian report. The 31 year old striker has hit a rut in recent years, only compiling 5 goals in 35 appearances for Paris St. Germain and not really showing up too well for Zenit St. Petersburg. So, Mateja must figure he can spark his career by going to MLS and facing off against the Tim Ream's of the world.

Kezman, a Yugoslav striker with 17 goals in 49 appearances for his National side and vast Champions League experience, could likely make some more noise than the current strikers at the Columbus Crew.

But, don't bet on the Crew opening up those kind of purse strings. If NYRB hires Thierry Henry, we might hire Donell Henry. So, I wouldn't bet on it, as knowing Hunt Sports Group and the Crew, if it involves a lot of money it ain't happening. Just look at them dumping Schelotto when they could of likely re-negotiated for around $300,000 a year with the great one.

But, hey still a nice thought. Would at least make it seem like Columbus has some sort of plan.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

11/23/2010: Crew Lose Out On Former Trialist Bas Ent, Ent Signs 3 Year Deal With Toronto F.C.


23 year old Bas Ent impressed MLS clubs Toronto F.C. and the Columbus Crew during his time in America with the Dayton Dutch Lions. Ent trialed for Toronto for a week and played 45 minutes for the Canadian club against EPL side Bolton Wanderers. Then Ent got a week trial with the Crew after impressing in a friendly matchup against the Crew (above). But, apparently Toronto will nab the young Dutch winger over Columbus.

11/23/2010: Crew Lose Out On Former Trialist Bas Ent, Ent Signs 3 Year Deal With Toronto F.C.

Dutch Topklasser League website, Topklasser.nl, which is the league website of Bas Ent's Dutch side, Katwijk, reported today that 23 year old Bas Ent has signed a three year deal with MLS side Toronto F.C.; A popular Dutch soccer website, VoetbalPrimeur.nl, has also picked up the story. Both of these stories confirm what I've personally heard (used to work at DDL F.C.) from a former Dayton Dutch Lions co-worker a week ago, who said that Ent has signed a three year deal with Toronto F.C.

The Columbus Crew battled Toronto F.C. this Summer a little over Bas Ent; as both TFC and Columbus invited Ent to week long trials. Ent had to say the following about his trial this Summer with the Columbus Crew, "I consider this trial as an appreciation for my performance this season. It gives me confidence. The Crew's level is very high, it's obvious that they are the front runners in the MLS by far. In terms of organization you can see this is a very big club. This trial is the icing on my cake."

Nevertheless, it looks as if TFC won the battle or that Warzycha and Bliss didn't rate the Dutch winger as highly as Toronto did. Therefore, Ent will not be a part of the Crew's youth plan, as the Crew have decided to go younger and faster after parting ways with veterans Schelotto, Hejduk, Padula, Oughton, and Carroll. However, Ent shouldn't take it too personal as it's fair to say that the only overwhelmingly positive signing in the last two years for Columbus has been Renteria.

Last month, some Crew fans wondered why the Crew signed Cleveland International player Josh Williams (who rarely played for PDL side Cleveland and had less than spectacular stats in the PDL) over a better known PDL commodity in former Dayton Dutch Lions player Bas Ent. Hopefully that decision, along with many others of the Crew in this last week, doesn't come back to bite them.



Will see in our first game against Toronto in 2011. If Ent torches the inconsistent Shaun Francis and Eric Brunner, there's your answer.

Monday, November 22, 2010

11/23/2010: Columbus Crew Hit The Self-Destruct Button



11/23/2010: Columbus Crew Hit The Self-Destruct Button

The Crew have had by far one of the most stable lineups in MLS over the last three to four years. That stability of strong players and strong personalities has culminated in two Supporters Shields, two CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals appearances, and one MLS Cup. The stability and success that goes with it may not be anymore however. As this past week the Crew coaching staff and front office have decided to hit the red self-destruct button and blow up their group of leaders and larger-than-life players because of recent disappointments that were not completely the starting eleven's fault.

Crew General Manager Mark McCullers told the Dispatch last week that the current group isn't physical enough and cannot score enough goals. McCullers said, "I think we should have scored at least 10 more goals (in 2010)." But, whose fault is that? If the Crew coaching staff and front office wants more goals then maybe they should get around to actually signing a bonified goalscorer (no Herrera and Mendoza do not count) that Schelotto can actualy feed! Instead of umm, parting ways with a player that played a part in 17 of your goals in 2010. Further, going into 2010 the front office and coaching staff said that a 20 goals a year striker was the missing piece in the Crew's formula, and yet they never solved that problem. In fact, they failed miserably.

Just look at their solutions, Herrera, once described as gelling magically with Schelotto from the start and also described as the guy who will score goals by the boatload in 2010, played a minute in MLS for the Crew before being let go in July. And Mendoza may have scored a few goals for the Crew in 2010, but seems lazy as hell and won't chase after a ball that is more than two feet away from him. Also Mendoza misses quite a few sitters that, for example, could of put the Rapids (the eventual 2010 MLS Champions) away early in these 2010 playoffs.

Further, maybe the actual problem in 2010 was preferring players like Jason Garey and Steven Lenhart for too long up top, when both seem to stumble their way to 5 goals a year; while game changers like Renteria seem to languish on the bench, despite playing well and scoring goals at a clip. As I personally think that if Renteria started all 30 games, he would of scored 10-15 goals in 2010.

Further the disappointments don't just lay with the players, as the decisions of Robert Warzycha have been suspect for most of 2010. For example, in the home playoff game against the Rapids, the Rapids looked done and dusted; but Warzycha took out Ekpo (probably because of yellow, but still should of had some faith) who was playing fantastic and who is surprisingly a pretty good defensive midfielder. As soon as that change was made for Burns and company, the play started to turn in the Rapids favor and they were allowed to find a way back. That was just one of many dubious calls on the year from the bullpen, as the disappointments this year are half (if not more) the coaching staff's fault on this season. Nevertheless, the coaches get off scott free while players who have given a hell of a lot more over the last three years get placed on the chopping block.

Because of the recent cuts, this offseason the Crew will be scrambling to find a new attacking midfielder, a new defensive midfielder, a new right back, possibly a new left back, and of course a striker still that is worth something. Blowing up a stable squad, after a few disappointments, has worked so well in turning around clubs such as the Houston Dynamo and New England Revolution (that strong odor your smelling is sarcasm), so I guess the Crew have decided to go that route as well. Here is what will be gone next year and the upside and downside to these moves.



Guillermo Barros Schelotto- 102 games, 35 goals, 47 assists are gone. The best attacking midfielder in MLS by far over the last three years. Need a painful reminder, here you go:


Upside: None, some cap space to spend on some P.O.S. South American striker.
Downside: Legend is gone, only guy that consistently gets goals and assists yearly; Crew Stadium won't be the same without a Guillermo chant. And really should of let us know it was Guillermo's last game so the fans could at least say goodbye in a special way. Heartbreaking way to cut ties with a guy that has given us soo much.



Brian Carroll- Played 83 out of 90 games in the last three years, was a rock in defensive midfield.
Upside: Wasn't as consistent in 2010, but still one of the best defensive midfielder's in MLS.
Downside: Danny O'Rourke is are only worthwhile DM now. I'm okay with it if it means were going to only play with one DM, but have a feeling this means more playing time for questionably talented players such as Adam Moffat and Kevin Burns. I love the irony of how players like Guillermo and Carroll are being dropped, but players that haven't done crap (like Moffat) since the beginning of 2008 and players that are vastly overrated by Warzycha (Burns) somehow find themselves still on the roster.

One more thing, a second round pick for Brian Carroll! Jesus, at least get a first round pick, Carroll is worth that much as he would start defensive midfield on almost any team.



Frankie Hejduk-
Upside: Some questionable play at times in the past season; but still has a motor and gets down the wing well still.
Downside: His heart is with the Crew, as no one would be surprised if Frankie had Crew tattoo's all over his body. Lots of pride. Hejduk is a fan favorite and has put a lot of sweat in for this team. Also, despite Hejduk's small dip in form, I think the Crew are still going to have a tough time finding someone better at right back next season. Same for Schelotto's and Carroll's positions. As I doubt anyone is really going to just come in and make that position theirs next year?



Gino Padula-
Upside: Getting older, Crew will eventually need an upgrade at left back.
Downside: I still think Padula is better than the jittery Shaun Francis at left back and I'm not convinced Francis is a legitimate starter and replacement yet. I feel like Padula got injured and never got a chance to win back his position in 2010; although Padula looked good this year when he found the field.



Jason Garey-
Upside: Only move I'm totally okay with; as Garey got a free pass with the Crew for far too long, 15 goals in 83 games just isn't really good as a striker. Sure Garey showed flashes, but he was just a decent striker. Time for Garey to sell bonds or become an assistant manager or whatever half decent MLS players do after a short MLS career.
Downside: Bash Brothers two stick will now be irrevelant or worth more on ebay.



Leandre Griffit-
Upside:
Not really seeing one, I thought Griffit looked lively when he was on the field in 2010. Crew went through quite a bit to bring him in the squad for nothing.
Downside: Crew are saying they want to go younger, but can't they see a young talent worth some time in the squad in their own roster? Griffit scored in his first four minutes on a MLS field and looked very talented and composed every time he stepped on the field for the Crew in 2010. Also, the only problem with Griffit was that he didn't get many chances to step on the field; while guys like Francis and Burns saw four times the minutes in 2010.

Because of that I'm scared of the coaching staff's thoughts on talent.

Nevertheless, the Crew have said they may restructure with Griffit, and should consider doing so because Griffit will be worth the cheap salary. If not, I'm sure someone in MLS will see Griffit's worth if the Crew don't... And the Crew will pay for it in the end.



Duncan Oughton- With the Crew for 9 years, good locker room guy and has done well off the bench for the Crew in recent years.
Upside: Probably hasn't been worth the salary space at times in the last few years but has done well when he has found the field in recent years.
Downside: Duncan is another heart and soul guy for the Crew. The Crew is losing a lot of heart and pride in their locker room with both Oughton and Frankie Hejduk now gone.

Overall, all I know is that this tranformation better lead to some damn results quick (and by that I mean trophies) or come 2011 some other heads will be on the chopping block and it won't be the players. Clark Hunt will be the one pushing some red buttons.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

11/3/2010: Crew Have Easiest Road They'll Likely Ever Have To Club World Cup


Emilio Renteria and the Crew has had some of their best success recently in the Champions League, and the Crew have played well against Mexican side Santos Laguna this season with one win and a tie that wasn't in Mexico due to a Renteria disallowed goal. However, the Crew will be happy to not have to face a Mexican side until the final in the knockout stages.

The Columbus Crew have the easiest route they'll likely ever have to a Concacaf Champions League final and a club goal of playing the likes of Manchester United and Inter Milan in a non-friendly competition in the Club World Cup.

The Crew will start off the knockout rounds of the Concacaf Champions League at home between Feb. 22-24 against MLS opponent Real Salt Lake; then face off the following week against RSL in the two game second round series. If the Crew have a better offseason with transactions and training than RSL the Crew will likely get to their first Concacaf Champions League semifinal.

At the Semifinal they'll meet the winner of Olimpia-Saprissa in a two game series in March and April. The Crew got the better of Saprissa in their two games against the Costa Rican club in the 2009 version of the Champions League, beating Saprissa twice. Further, Saprissa is likely to be the favorite in that series against Olimpia. The Crew will feel very confident going up against Saprissa again.

A win against Saprissa and they'll face off against a Mexican team in a two game final where Columbus will have to play the series of their lives to book the first Club World Cup appearance for a MLS team.

Quarterfinals
First Leg
February 22-24
Toluca (MEX) vs. Monterrey (MEX)
Cruz Azul (MEX) vs. Santos Laguna (MEX)
Columbus Crew (USA) vs. Real Salt Lake (USA)
Saprissa (CRC) vs. Olimpia (HON)
Second Leg
March 1-3
Monterrey (MEX) vs. Toluca (MEX)
Santos Laguna (MEX) vs. Cruz Azul (MEX)
Real Salt Lake (USA) vs. Columbus Crew (USA)
Olimpia (HON) vs. Saprissa (CRC)

Semifinals
First Leg
March 15-17
Salt Lake-Columbus winner vs. Olimpia-Saprissa winner
Monterrey-Toluca winner vs. Santos-Cruz Azul winner
Second Leg
April 5-7
Olimpia-Saprissa winner vs. Salt Lake-Columbus winner
Santos-Cruz Azul winner vs. Monterrey-Toluca winner

Finals
First Leg
April 19-21
Santos-Cruz Azul/Monterrey-Toluca winner vs. Olimpia-Saprissa/Salt Lake-Columbus winner
Second Leg
April 26-28
Olimpia-Saprissa/Salt Lake-Columbus winner vs. Santos-Cruz Azul/Monterrey-Toluca winner

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

11/3/2010: Crew Appear To Be Doing A Much Better Job At Promoting.. Will It Lead To Results?



The Columbus Crew have seemed to improve their marketing and promoting of games over the second half of 2010. I haven't seen many games with poor crowds over the second half of the season, except for the Concacaf Champions League games; And it appears that the Crew have stepped it up a notch for the first playoff game this season.

The Crew have done quite a bit of social media marketing for Saturday, they have a Scarf Ohio campaign for the playoffs, a nice video of Cavs players and Jim Tressel repping the black and gold, and they conveniently have no sports competition this weekend with Ohio State on a bye.

Further, the Crew have made some smart cross promotion deals; As the Blue Jackets also have a home game later in the night and the Crew have paired up their playoff game at 4 p.m. with the Blue Jackets game later that night for $50 bucks.

Hopefully, this leads to a nearly full house and an atmosphere much more like Seattle's on Sunday; And less like the Rapids awful atmosphere in the first game of this series where the fans were outnumbered by seats 3 to 1. If it's more like Seattle's atmosphere (hard to be as good without 36,000 seats), but still it will definitely be a lift for a Crew team that didn't look so hot in the first game in the series.



Overall, I'm just glad that the Crew front office is starting to market the team more like a professional club instead of a minor event. No one is going to come to a game if you never market a Crew game like it's something of importance. So kudos there.

11/3/2010: Play Like Gareth Bale Today! Should Be The Crew Midfield's Motto On Saturday



Gareth Bale is the most magnificient player I have ever seen after watching his performance against Inter Milan yesterday. A player that Robbie Rogers, Eddie Gaven, and Emmanuel Ekpo should attempt to emmulate in the midfield; As Bale always makes the right decision (the most important thing in football). Further, Bale made world class Inter defenders look like orange cones yesterday. Bale had 3 goals and 2 assists in 2 games against Inter Milan (quite possibly the best defense in club football). Quite simply Bale is a special, special player who doesn't take any play, any run down the line off. I would take Bale anyday over a Lampard or Gerrard.

What winger is going to step up for the Columbus Crew on Saturday and put in a faultless performance like Bale? I'm going to call all three out and say they have been lazy at times and always haven't given their 110% percent, with Gaven being the least offending. It's time for them to step up and play like they can, because the defense nor our strikers have the ability to save our season and give us some hope of a cup this year. That prospect lies solely on our midfield.

And credit to Warzycha, who has finally got it right in the midfield and has his best three midfield talents on the field at once with Ekpo and Rogers on the wings, and Gaven commanding the middle. But, each have taken a game (Gaven), or games (Ekpo), or half a season off (Rogers). Let's go through each:

**Gaven is the smartest player out of the bunch when it comes to decisions. But, Gaven could be more decisive and commanding. Gaven doesn't always need to pass the ball off. More runs like the one he had at the end of the 2009 season against F.C. Dallas would lead to higher stats for the Crew's most composed midfielder.

Gaven needs to take more of a leadership role in the middle and hold others accountable. I just don't think that's in his personality yet. He could also use a little more work on his fitness because once in a while he has a bad game due to being worn out.

Gaven started playing in this league at 16, he has the ability to be a phenom and a U.S. National team star if he just puts in that extra little work. I believe with a little more confidence Gaven will be a winger at a World Cup for the U.S. someday.

**Ekpo was recommended by Nigerian and African champs Enyimba to start for the Nigerian National team before Ekpo came to the Crew. Ekpo has flashes of pure brillance for the Crew, the only problem is those flashes have been few and far between. He hasn't played bad this second half, much better than his first. But, if he were to play more like he did against Colorado in 2008, Kansas City in early 2009, Municipal in Champions League in 2010 then he would be incredible. Problem is it seems like Ekpo just has one or two games a year where he takes over and balls out.

The rest of the time he makes bad decisions 50% percent of the time. If he would put in more performances like he is capable of, maybe Ekpo wouldn't wonder why he isn't in the Nigerian picture like he was when he was eligible for the U-21 team.

**Rogers has dropped off the face of the Earth since being a solid player for the Crew in 2008. Rogers was a U.S. National team phenom with moves and ability that a lot of people haven't seen before at the Crew, he has seemed disinterested since the start of the 2009 season. Further, he told Colorado Rapids goalkeeper Pickens last week that he shouldn't bad mouth the Crew. But, then Rogers went out and played a subpar, stinker of a game.. Rogers could of caught up to a couple balls last week that he let go past him. Also, Rogers just nonchalantly plays with the ball when he could finish it.

What all three need to do is get a game tape of Gareth Bale's performance in Tottenham's 3-1 win over Inter Milan.. And get inspired. Otherwise, the Crew's season ends Saturday. Period.

Bale's performances against Inter: