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.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

1/2/2012: NAIA Players The Crew Should Give A Look- Exclusive Top 10 From NAIA 2011 Championship Week

After going down in the early minutes of the final, Lindsey Wilson won it all at the 2011 NAIA Championship, going a perfect 25-0 and upsetting No. 1 at the time Hastings by a 3-2 scoreline. Here's a look at the individual players from the 2011 NAIA Championship tournament who might make a claim to be a part of an MLS squad in the future.

Had a crash course in NAIA soccer by spending a week from November 28th to December 5th in Orange Beach, Alabama play-by-play announcing and filming for the NAIA Championship's online internet stream. Saw all 15 games of the 2011 NAIA Championship and a lot of these players in 2, 3, or 4 highly competitive games in a five day period. Some players showed up everyday and really impressed, and other players who came in with big numbers didn't blow the scouts away and disappointed. My top ten players from the tournament, who the Columbus Crew scouts should give a camp invite or keep their eye on are listed below; And I'm sure some of these players are on the radar of the Crew as Brian Bliss was in Orange Beach, Alabama at least for the first day of the tournament. I definitely remember seeing him in the stands on day one. There were also D.C. United jackets, Toronto F.C. jackets, and Division I college scouts as well in the stands looking for transfers from what I saw on each day.

Another interesting note, former Crew player Ezra Hendrickson was in town on the final days of the tournament and was booked for another week in Alabama to scout NAIA players in the Tourbeau Sports Group NAIA Player Showcase the week following the tournament. Ezra was there relaying information to the Seattle Sounders and former Crew manager Sigi Schmid.

Former Crew aside, without further or do this is Crewture's Top Ten Players from NAIA's 2011 Championship Week. Yes, there may be some bigger players on the radar like DeShorn Brown. But, this is who impressed during tournament week.

#1- Francois "Paco" Navarro
William Carey University Crusaders- 16 goals, 7 assists in 2011
From: Paris, France

Review: Was the conduit that nearly every William Carey attack ran through during tournament week. Good with both feet, could switch to the left and right wing and had the freedom to take it down the middle as well. Excellent footwork, the ball almost sticks to Navarro's feet. Best footwork and debatedly footskills in the whole tournament.

Showed up every game and put William Carey on his shoulders at times to get them to their first NAIA Fab Four appearance in 10 years. Only time "Paco" was a little off was in the Semifinal when he put himself in two excellent opportunities to tie and then win the game against Hastings in the second half, and couldn't finish. Usually was as cold as a cucumber as far as nerves, looked so relaxed out there on the ball like he was on a Sunday stroll down the Champs-Élysées. But, possibly the third game in four days started to get Navarro a little mentally fatigued and off of his game.

But, a very exciting player to watch. Always looked forward to watching him and William Carey in this tournament. Always like a good underdog team, as nobody probably expected Carey to beat #3 Mobile and #4 Rio Grande to face off against Hastings in the Semifinal.

Francois Navarro Video- Just recently compiled, good look at his skills:

#2- Niall Crick
USAO- University of Science and Arts Drovers
From: Leith, Scotland
Crick was just 3 assists away from breaking University of Science and Arts assist record after gaining an assist in USAO's win on day two of the tournament and a goal in a loss against Hastings on day three. The short in stature Crick played like a big man in a defensive midfield/midfield role clogging up the opposing midfield on Championship week and even giving Hastings difficulty at times when it came to controlling that area of the field in their Round of 8 matchup.

Crick, not a big talker, did his talking on the field. Very intelligent player. Excellent footwork, excellent passer, unselfish at setting up teammates, and had a hell of a goal in the closing minutes of USAO's tournament run. Very good central/defensive midfield player. Deserves a look, can set up oodles of goals, and at the end of his college career.

Niall Crick highlights:

#3- Samuel Asante
Lindsey Wilson College
Speed kills and Samuel Asante has it. He also has good vision and skills. Everyone talks about Lebogang Moloto and Moloto won the MVP of the tournament for Lindsey Wilson, but Asante was their best player in my opinion.

Just showed up for the entire tournament, when Moloto it appeared took 15 minutes off at times. But, Moloto did come up big when Lindsey needed him and that's an important quality as well.

Surprisingly this is the only video on the senior Asante, all the other videos on youtube that popped up are of the Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Samuel Asante. FYI, someone at Lindsey needs to make Lindsey Wilson's Asante a highlight tape because he impressed all of us in the play-by-play booth:

#4- Jordan Green
Hastings University- 21 goals, 7 assists in 2011 regular season, 3 more goals and an assist in tournament week
Green has good height and size. But, the thing that impressed me most about the whole Hastings squad is their stamina. The strikers Jordan Green and Nate Polak and company could run for days. Great conditioning.

But, Green also has shifty footwork and good speed. Has it all really, could be a dynamic project forward for some MLS team.

Here's Green's power header in the final, shocking Lindsey Wilson in the first few minutes before Wilson would regroup and win the 2011 final 3-2:

#5- Chris Williams
Lindsey Wilson College- 2011 Championship Tournament Defensive MVP
Williams formerly duoed in the backline with Joe Tait, who went on to play with the Dayton Dutch Lions and has now signed on with the Philadelphia Union of MLS. I believe that Williams has similiar ability, even though he's getting up there in his mid-20's. Strong, tough defender. Kind of unsporting at times, but tries to exact his will on opposing strikers.

Also, has the ability to score. Took Lindsey Wilson's free kicks, has a bazooka for a leg; as one of his free kicks was a game winner when Lindsey Wilson struggled in their opener of the tournament.

His central back partner Bouthelezi is no sloutch as well and could probably hold his own in MLS eventually.

#6- Nate Polak
Hastings University- 17 goals, 15 assists in 2011
Review: Polak and Green couldn't seem to find the net in their first game of the tournament, but later on you could see why the duo combined for almost 40 goals total during the regular season. Has a lot of the same capabilities described about as Green. Maybe a touch slower than Green, but smarter positionally and placing himself in the right positions on the field to attack the defense.

Also, more of a distrubutor. You could place this duo on a MLS team and they might eventually reproduce their goal rate if given a few years to learn the MLS game.

Surprisingly no video on Polak.

#7- Lebogang Moloto
Lindsey Wilson College
Review: Started off the tournament slow in the first game, and the first half of the second game. Sometimes would disappear for 15 minutes but came up big with big goals against Southern Poly and in the final against Hastings and that's what you need from a striker. Has a great nose for goal.

#8- Joel Theissen, as well as secondarily Brandon Tyler and Oliver Hewitt-Fisher
Rio Grande

Review: All three were excellent in Rio Grande's two games, as Rio Grande had the best outside backs in pushing up and joining the attack in this tournament. All three gave their opponents fits down the wings in their two games before succumbing eventually to a William Carey side that was on top of their game in that point of the tournament. Theissen especially impressed, the 26 year old with one senior cap in the A-League with Syndey F.C. and Australia U-23 experience, might be ready for a NASL side or the bottom end of a MLS roster for depth next year.

#9- Carl Goody
William Carey University
Had to put a goalkeeper in the mix, and freshman phenom Carl Goody was the best at the NAIA Championship Tournament. The 6'4 keeper from Newmarket, England helped propel William Carey to the Fab Four, along with Navarro and a pair of excellent Brazilian midfielders. A player that once he becomes a junior or senior at William Carey should get a lot of recognition from MLS and NASL clubs.

#10- Scott Parkinson
University of Science and Arts Drovers- SAC Conference Defender of The Year

Review: Was injured in the second game but looked like the top defender in the first game and a half, and toughed it out to play for USAO in the second game, as the Drovers went down to Hastings. Along with Chris Williams, another strong UK defender that may have a future either here in MLS or NASL, or overseas in the English lower divisions.

Video of Scott Parkinson:

Other Notables:

Best Off The Bench- William Carey's Matheus Saroli- The freshman attacking midfielder came off the bench for three goals for William Carey, including two in 3 minutes against Rio Grande to propel William Carey to the Fab Four. A player to watch out for in the future along with Carey's other two Brazilian's Luis Trude and Jose Presti.

Most Disappointing Team: University of Mobile- A team everyone was talking about coming into the tournament as tournament hosts, who were crushed 3-nil by William Carey. Thanks for playing; apparently Mobile are not hard to deal with without their top MLS prospect Deshorn Brown.

Most Disappointing Performance: Rio Grande's Richard Isberner- Came in with a bevy of goals, 29 on the season, but the Brazilian looked like he was in Brazil as he barely got a touch and seemed lost in the cold November nights in Alabama. Rio Grande would of went a lot farther with Isberner scoring up top in this tournament.

Thing That's Stuck Into My Mind: Baker's fan chant, "I Believe! I Believe That! I Believe That We Will Win! I Believe That We Will Win." Which probably was the worst soccer chant in the history of soccer chants.

1/2/2012: The Day When Dilly Duka Fistpumped Me Off Of Facebook

What one may call an impromtu interview

This was a few months ago.. But out of the blue, the Crew's attacking midfielder Dilly Duka decided to say whats up to me on the social network, facebook.

Apparently Dilly must of saw my website at some point, decided I was probably good at computers, and might be able to fix his webcam problem. But, when I couldn't fix Dilly's webcam problem he fistpumped (or rather blocked) me off of facebook. :-( Nooo!

I was sad for a moment; as thoughts of hanging with Dilly and some fine, New Jersey hotties in a hottub danced in my head. But, then I thought hey that's interesting for Crewture, I'll print screen it.

I do admit I was sort of longwinded and a tad annoying during the conversation.

Nevertheless, if Chad Marshall asked for advice on how to trim his rose bushes over facebook, the normal Crew fan would probably first crap themselves; After that embarrassment wore off, they would then say a prayer not to have their facebook freeze during this heaven-sent online conversation; Then they probably would collect themselves to try to give advice, as well as get their whole life story in there at the same time. An "I'm pretty awesome too, honest" moment when the other person knows your probably not.

You especially got to talk yourself up if your a sport management major who's hoping to eventually land some sort of soccer job; As you never know what sort of connection can get things moving, a soccer player might have a camp and there might be someone at the camp and blah, da-blah you got a job (that's sort of how I got involved in the NAIA Championship).

No hard feelings to Duka, was a player I liked when everyone was down on him in the rookie season and I'm still a fan of his play and female posse. Further, I only get mad when hot babes delete me from facebook for stalking them (that was a joke), just found the conversation rather amusing.

ok playing it cool, playing it cool; deep breaths bro good work

ok just stop there ryan

starting to get diaherrea of the mouth, but might still be able to save yourself.

I'm dilly duka, I play in MLS, I don't give a fart about your high school soccer formations. Let's talk about girls. Ok fair enough, I got this.

London, Oxford, oh yeah Ryan you forgot to name drop mother's basement.

Webcam? Well that's an odd direction but could make a better story.

Just you know talking to the cousins back in jersey.

Don't know anything about webcams surprisingly, time to make up some bullshit.

FAIL, your deleted, no hottub for you.

Way to play that one like an over-excited spazz Ryan.

"I know the Jersey Scene pretty good."

I bet you do, Dilly, I bet you do.

Oh why couldn't I just play it cool. Wanted Montville to love me to. :-(

Sunday, July 3, 2011

7/3/2011: Former Crew Legend Guillermo Barros Schelotto's Last Days On The Pitch, Or Were They? (Video Diary)

Schelotto returns to Columbus on July 10th to work on his new Schelotto & Padula independent academy, hopefully there is something Crew-related going on during Schelotto's return next week (Pic By: Sam Fahmi).

Crew legend Guillermo Barros Schelotto teared up (below) at the end of his "expected" final game before retiring from professional soccer on June 30th, 2011.

Schelotto a legend wherever he went (Gimnasia, Boca Juniors, Columbus Crew) ended his career where it began with Gimnasia. Schelotto and the Gimnasia's fans emotion was overflowing (in the above video) partly because it was Schelotto's last game and partly because of the result; as Gimnasia's 1-1 tie in a playoff for promotion against San Martin on Wednesday was not enough for them to stay in the Argentina Primera.

Gimnasia will play second division, Argentinian soccer next season for the first time in 30 years. Schelotto is the type to be much more disappointed about failing to achieve a goal, in this case sucessfully helping Gimnasia avoid relegation, then focusing on his last game.

However, despite missing out on their goal of staying in the Argentina Primera. Guillermo's club Gimnasia fought hard at the end of the season to give themselves a chance of staying up in Argentina's Primera Division. As over the last few weeks, Gimnasia spanked Huracan 2-nil and followed that up by going 2 goals up on Boca Juniors out of the gate.

Guillermo scored that second goal on a penalty (the whole goal sequence begins at 3:56):

Guillermo had no qualms about celebrating against another former team (as Guillermo played for Boca Juniors from 1997-2007). That may have motivated Guillermo's former teammate Palermo and his teammates to steal a vital two points from Gimnasia (as Boca came back to tie the game 2-2); Those three points could have steered Gimnasia to safety from relegation.

Speaking of Palermo. Schelotto wished his fellow teammate at Boca Juniors (and Crew transfer rumor for years :-) Palermo luck as he leaves Boca as well (10:53), Schelotto also appears in the first minute of this video celebrating goals on many different occasions with Palermo:

And if you thought Schelotto's fairwell was extravagent and an emotional tearjerker, they really know how to say goodbye to a player at Boca Juniors

What's next for Schelotto? Well back to his second home (or as I like to call it first home :-), Columbus. As Schelotto expects to return right away on July 10th to Columbus, Ohio to work on his new Schelotto & Padula Academy.

Maybe while he's in town someone can convince Guillermo to sign a one game contract for a testimonial fairwell. Or a half season contract, since he's been doing a lot of half-season mercinary-like work as of late :-). Or some sort of coaching position. Or at least a chance to do a lap around the field to cheer one more time with all the Crew fans (a chance Guillermo never really got before to say goodbye).

Knowing the Crew they'll probably blow the second opportunity to keep Schelotto around, just like they did the first.

Friday, July 1, 2011

7/1/2011: The Crew Puts Premium On Messing Up In U.S. Open Cup

Matthew Delicate slammed home the heading winner in the 85th minute against the Crew on Tuesday, to give his third-division Richmond a 2-1 win at Crew Stadium, knocking the Crew out of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

The Columbus Crew front office contends they put a premium on the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, named after their late owner.

If that was the case, then there would be a premium lineup contending in the game. Right?

Crew Lineup for 2-1 loss against Richmond~ GK Gruenebaum; D Veeder (Iro 88th), Gehrig, Burns, O’Rourke; MF Prim (Heinemann 59th), Grossman, Rusmir, Rogers (Anor 87th); F Meram, Cunningham.

Grossman, Veeder, Rusmir, Gehrig, Prim, and Burns have barely seen a field all year. O'Rourke and Gruenebaum haven't seen a field all year due to injury. So, what did Head Coach Robert Warzycha expect? Apparently a resounding win.

"They have to wear this crest," Crew coach Robert Warzycha said of his team
afterward, pointing to the Crew logo on his shirt
. "I don't think they know
that. I am so disappointed. So disappointed."

I'm really not. It isn't much of a stretch to expect Richmond's players, who've been playing all year and doing well (won their first two Open Cup contests by 8-2 margin, second place in USL-Pro), to play better than a lot of untested guys that may not even be USL-Pro capable (Veeder, Prim, Gehrig, Grossman, etc.).

But, let's not fib coaching staff, front office; you can't really be disappointed about something you didn't put a premium on. Well, you can be disappointed but only mildly since you're more than likely partly to blame for the result.

I definitely commend Warzycha for the last two league wins, the team looked much better. But, wouldn't you want to keep that going by at least fielding half-starters on Tuesday, grabbing a early lead, and subbing out the most valuable from there. Nothing kills momentum and fan praise from two league wins better than an extremely early exit from the U.S. Open Cup at home against a third division club (that's like Chelsea losing to Milton Keys Dons in the League Cup); and it's sad because Warzycha almost sets himself up to fail and you can see it coming from a mile away.

Honestly, I would like to see Warzycha become more selfish with his selections, it's his job on the line in the next few years. Warzycha built a younger, faster club this year which, although it wasn't the key point, could hopefully deal better with fixture congestion. So, I don't see why for one week, early-20 something guys like Anor, Balchan, Gaven, etc. couldn't have a 45 minute run out against Richmond (even if it meant appearing in 3 games in 7 days).

A few starters could have made the difference and Warzycha's club could still be alive to win another trophy and one of only two Champions League birth's still available this year; as there is no way the Crew are catching up with the Galaxy and the rest of the West this season for the Supporters Shield birth, only way back in the Champions League this year for the Crew now is by winning the MLS Cup.

But, it appears by Tuesday's lineup selection, the coaching staff were playing the "what if so and so gets injured in this Open Cup" game (which is the way injuries happen anyways, when you overthink preventing them). Now Warzycha gets to do the "what if I played a few starters for the first half and I was still alive for the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup", which just happens to be named after our late owner and something the Crew apparently put a 'premium' on.

Fans want trophies and any silverware helps. So, yeah Warzycha's starting eleven has played better as of late. But, in my opinion, if I was the coach I wouldn't turn around and play a lineup like that against a third division club so I could lose to them at home and disqualify myself from my best chance to win a trophy (and a Champions League birth). Just isn't smart, if I was trying to impress the fans and ownership by all the silverware I won.

Blame Robbie Rogers fitness from being with the national team (sure Rogers should be fit, but is he motivated after not playing in the Gold Cup and coming back to play against third division Richmond in front of 1,000 fans at Crew Stadium, for a side he's disillusioned with anyways and has asked for a trade away from earlier in the season). Sure blame the whole lineup for Tuesday saying they didn't play for the crest? When that was the first competitive game for Gehrig, Veeder, and Prim (what do you expect, for them to ball out against Delicate and a good Richmond side with 15 games under their belt this season). Or blame O'Rourke and Greunebaum and expect them to have great games after returning from injury and haven't seen a game since last year. Or blame Rusmir who was a total waste of a signing but your coaching staff signed him. Or blame Cunningham, who as the second leading goalscorer in MLS history was never going to be motivated to play well as a reserve player and a super sub.

The only people I blame is the front office and the coaching staff for not putting any premium on this game. Could have at least sprinkled in a few players in a good frame of mind. Mendoza, Gaven, Anor, Balchan to at least give Tuesday's "Bad News Bears" side a chance. I don't expect a big premium to be set on these games, especially early on, but at least give your side a chance to win.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

6/28/2011: Preview- Crew Open Up, U.S. Open Cup Action Against Richmond Kickers Tonight

Richmond Kickers defeated the Dutch Lions 4-1 in the U.S. Open Cup first round (above) and the Pittsburgh Riverhounds by a 4-1 scoreline, as well, in the second round to get to tonight's third round showdown (picture by Jacq Roos).

The Richmond Kickers had a rather pedestrian route to the 3rd round of tonight's U.S. Open Cup matchup against the Columbus Crew. The Kickers destroyed both the Pittsburgh Riverhounds (in the 2nd round) and the Dayton Dutch Lions (in the first round) by 4-1 scores to set themselves up with another U.S. Open Cup matchup against the Columbus Crew tonight.

The Kickers overall 8-2 route should give them momentum coming into this third round, but both results were against USL-Pro bottom feeders; as the Kickers have 24 points on the USL campaign compared to the Riverhounds 12 and the Dutch Lions 5 points. Further, the Dutch Lions (which could go with the nickname "USL-Pro Whipping Boys") have just one win in twelve games on the season. In contrast, the Kickers will find it much harder to duplicate a similiar result against another Ohio foe, as the Crew are on a good run of form in a superior league.

Richmond hasn't had much success against the Columbus Crew in U.S. Open Cup history either. The Crew started out their championship winning Open Cup campaign in 2002 by defeating Richmond 3-nil. Also, in the Crew's U.S. Open Cup run last season to the final against Seattle, the Crew dispatched two USL opponents (similiar to Richmond's ability) with ease, with a team full of reserves.

In similiarity, tonight is expected to be a team full of reserves. As the Crew are expected to trot out a lineup of:
Veeder, Gehrig, Burns, O'Rourke
Rogers, Grossman, Rusmir, Meram

The lineup should be capable enough as O'Rourke is a starter when he is healthy; Rogers was a starter until he fell out of favor as of late; Cunningham is still capable; and Rusmir, Meram, and Grossman have seen starting time.

This makeshift lineup will compete with one of the more talented teams in the USL. To be successful, the Crew will have to shutdown Richmond's player to watch out for, Matthew Delicate, who has 7 goals and 3 assists for the Kickers in 12 games this season.

Another name looking to make an impact is a familiar one in Stanley Nyazamba (2 goals and 2 assists in 2011 for the Kickers). Nyazamba was a member of the Crew in 2008 and 2009, but had problems off the field during his time in Columbus and never saw a minute of starting time at Crew Stadium. Nyazamba will finally see the field today and he will likely have a score to settle.

Expected scoreline: 2-nil Crew, goals by Meram and Cunningham

6/28/2011: New Faces Step Up For The Crew During Latest Winning Streak

New faces have stepped up for the Crew in their last two victories over the Colorado Rapids (4-1) and Houston Dynamo (2-0). Venezuelan U-20 player Bernardo Anor (picked deep in the 2011 draft- 3rd round, 48th pick) posted a goal and an assist in the 2-0 victory against Houston on June 18th. Anor backed that up with another solid 90 minutes against the Colorado Rapids on June 26th.

Anor Spotlight: Perfect assist for Mendoza's goal against Houston

Justin Meram, the highly touted University of Michigan product; who didn't particularly show much in his early appearances this season, showed his blistering pace in that same Houston game by blowing by the Houston defense and setting up Anor's goal in the Houston contest to finish off the Dynamo. The zero to sixty change in pace seen in Meram's assist, was similiar to some of his goals in the Big Ten, a skill that Crew fans appreciated in the youngster. As of late, Meram has set himself up nicely as a late impact, speed option off of the bench.

Meram Spotlight: Acceleration catches Dynamo defense off guard, leads to Anor's goal

Tommy Heinemann, who played for the third division Charleston Battery and second division Carolina Railhawks last season, has surprised everyone by being the favored option up top with Andres Mendoza as of late (most would of expected the more experienced Renteria or Cunningham to be in that position instead). The strong, tall Heinemann repaid Warzycha's faith in him with an insurance goal against the Rapids on June 26th. The goal should help Heinemann's confidence; and the 3 goals between the striker duo of Heinemann and Mendoza on Sunday against the Rapids makes it likely that the two will team up once again against Dallas on July 2nd.

Heinemann Spotlight: Late goal gets Heinemann on the scoresheet

The emergence of these three and Mendoza's uptick in performances as of late has the Crew back in the hunt for the top spot in the Eastern conference.

Monday, June 27, 2011

6/27/2011: Nordecke Moves For A Game, May Create Spark For Supporters

Lately the Nordecke has been suffering from some dullness (the clinical term for 2011 could be described as "Schelotto post-pardem depression"). The section that was jam packed has become half full, chants are less audible, section tifo displays have been pretty non-existant.. Most of all security has stifled anything slightly interesting from happening in the section since early 2009.

That is until last night, as halfway through celebrating a resounding 4-1 win over the Rapids, the Nordecke migrated to the upper north-corner in solidarity with latino group La Turbina and their drums (which are about the only thing you can still hear on a telecast).

Why did La Turbina move again? And why did everyone follow? From what I have purveyed from the forums, the story isn't the most fascinating ever. Here's my best shot in the quickest, non-waste of your time, synopsis form..

Apparently, a guy that will just call Herbert, to avoid the rath of Herbert's spokesperson confidant/soccer forum attorney, couldn't stand somewhere because security labeled the area a fire hazard.. But, La Turbina and their drums were allowed to stand there soon after. Herbert was nonplused and demanded an answer from security, La Turbina (instead of dealing with security) said whatever and moved to the upper stands and most of the Nordecke followed.

Now according to Herbert's friend, this whole stituation has:

"discredited [Herbert], as he is a wonderful person, and friend to anyone, but its
not a matter for the whole stadium. He has not even seen the article just knows
parts of it. When he sees it he will decide what to do next. and it will not be
for everyones entertainment. It will be for the truth of someone who has
supported the team just like the rest of you."

Well, while Herbert plans his next move, and we all await in titilating expectation.. I'll just take a moment to thank Herbert. You my friend sparked the supporters to at least do something together, in unison.

And from what I have heard the supporters were more together, after the move, and chanted at their greatest decibels- since changes have shrunk the Nordecke in early 2009.

So, instead of berating Herbert. We should all be thanking him because hey at least something noteworthy not only happened on the field but also in the stands. Both the team and the Nordecke at least showed last night that we still have a heartbeat and Columbus is still kicking.

**On a sidenote, the only downpart of not having a full Nordecke, in it's usual spot, is that Mendoza had no supporters to really celebrate with when he finally scored a nice goal from a solid effort:

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

5/25/2011: Good Support Is Less Political Bickering, More Of Following One Logical Standpoint

We Are! Minute!: Not very massive six rows deep as of late.

Apparently in 2011 the Nordeckehas lost it's punch. Myself, who was so invested in the whole Nordecke thing (hell I even suggested the Nordecke name), saw the writing on the wall and believed the Nordecke was beginning to lose it's punch in the second half of 2009.

The Nordecke was becoming less rambunctious, passionate, creative, and less volatile (becoming less volatile was possibly the only good change that occurred from the FO stepping in after the KC game stoppage and other events in early 2009). The Nordecke was also much more concerned with what the FO thought about every supporter issue (swearing getting out of control, YSA chant, etc.).. Which was fine, the north corner that we call home is the front offices property (tell that to ultras groups in Poland or Italy), but I understand were in America and some behavior was unnecessary. On the other hand, in the process of getting rid of the unnecessary behavior, some of the harmless support and passion was stamped out unintentionally in the process.

In late 2008 and early 2009, when the front office started laying down their foot, it was part necessary and part the fault of the supporters group leaders for not doing it themselves in a way that would have maybe curtailed some of the stamping. In the process some of the changes took away what made the Nordecke a success, and well interesting and appealing.

Eventually, the front office posted rules in front of every supporters entrance. That wasn't a big issue (as most of the rules concerned legitimate issues like throwing objects on the field and racial, ethnic, or religious-slanted language). But, then after the KC game in early 2009, the front office took the advice of the SG(supporter group) leaders that the issues were coming from outsiders migrating to the section. So, logically if this was true, the front office needed to shut down access to the Nordecke for anyone who didn't have a season ticket or single game ticket in the Nordecke.

And they did.. Which shutdown the second half migration where the Nordecke grew as the game went on.

This Nordecke Lockdown didn't make sense for a number of reasons:
1.) An outsider could still purchase a single game ticket in the Nordecke and cause a racial and smoke bomb throwing ruckus.
2.) Outsiders and migrating fans from the family-orientated seats are usually more passive in their support in comparison to Nordecke regulars. Therefore, these outsiders were usually migrating over, as a response to the passion in the section, and to get a taste for the section to see if this passionate way of supporting was for them.

So, by recommending to prevent these potential Nordecke supporters from migrating over, in the most mind numbing way, the SG leaders were messing up the growing surge of potential Nordecke supporters by failing to place blame on the Nordecke.

As a result, it comes as no shock to me that our numbers have been down ever since or that there's less electricity/magic in the corner.
3.) Finally, the diehard Nordecke supporter from 2008-early 2009 was responsible for any issue in the section at that time. It made no sense that an outsider, probably at their first or second Crew game, would have enough of an emotional connection to the club to throw a smoke bomb or beer cup on the field, yell a racial slur, throw a handful of streamers, or fight a bunch of West Ham United fans. Or try to stop a corner kick as in the KC game. Or start a You Suck Asshole chant. The list goes on.

An outsider just isn't emotionally invested enough in the team to cause that much trouble and put themselves on the line or get that pissed about the other team scoring or taking a corner kick.

Sure, a newbie trying to impress others in the corner may have been responsible for taking part or starting some of these issues. But, I find it unlikely that the blocking of migrating fans curtailed all or any of the issues caused by possible new "troublemakers" or season ticket holding, Nordecke mainstay "troublemakers.." Instead, I think increased security, increased SG self-policing, and increased persecution from police for smoke bomb throwing caused a more-subdued, less volatile Nordecke.

Nevertheless, unintentionally, the only result of making the Nordecke a non-open seating section was that it curtailed some of the passion at games and the continual growth of the section.

Now that we got that little nugget of an issue out of the way, let's go to issue number two:

First off I agree with LaMacchia's point number one, especially the bolded-

1 – The Nordecke is not a free-for-all party, it's a rally to support The Crew. That's all. There are a lot of people this year saying that the Nordecke, and therefore Crew Stadium, has lost it's punch. A large part of the reason people are saying this is because it has become about individuals, or groups of individuals, and not about the Crew. No good. I've heard from many people – some from outside Columbus – that the Nordecke has become a laughing stock. Is that what you want? Is that what you're buddy with the vuvuzela wants?

It's always been half about individuals and half about supporting the Crew. Let's face it.

It's the most logical reason for getting involved in a supporters group for a soccer club no matter if your on this side of the ocean or in Europe. Some individuals just never get noticed in real life, so they try to become a big deal by becoming a supporters group leader.

I had this problem a bit back in 2008.. My dad passed away, we lost our house, I felt a bit downgraded by society so tried to make myself a big deal elsewhere.

I pushed the envelope by throwing countless loan bucks into banners and etc.. And this leads me to another problem with the Nordecke.

7 – Make a banner, or two-stick, or flag. I can honestly say I've never done this, and I regret it every gameday. Have you seen Section 8 in Chicago? Or The Cauldron in KC? Or the Sons of Ben in Philly? You can do that, you have done that, you should do it more

The Nordecke has a problem with lazyiness.. Always had one. If it had half the focus of the Timbers Army or ECS on banners and etc., instead of getting drunk and acting like a lame ass fool we would be 10 times as good as 2008.

Everyone wants to say make a banner. But, is anyone willing to pick up a brush or coordinate anything. No. Do they wish to criticize or tell someone who does pick up a brush and throw a couple bills at the project what to do. Yes.

This has always been a main problem with the Nordecke.. Everyone has a point of view, no one wants to take action to prove their point of view correct.

And more importantly, there's too many leaders not enough followers. It's always been this way. We need more yes men, that will shutup and follow a capo. We got too many people who are like look at me.

Well trust me, I've had this website. I've been in the papers a little before (Toronto Sun, Norweigan soccer mag, 614 Magazine). But, there is no fame or glam or money that comes out of being a soccer hooligan. So, just shutup.. Follow a capo with a megaphone.. Everyone put in 2 or 3 bucks for a crowd display that fills the whole Nordecke area.. And will command so much more respect.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

4/23/2011: Can We Return A "Rival"?

TFC & Their Fans Are Like The Last Person Picked In Dodgeball.. Unathletic, uninspired, lazy (like Colin Samuel on a PK follow up), and hopeless. The lead up to this game looks even less promising for TFC than in years past.

Just take a look at all the things not in TFC's favor:
*11 games against the Crew and no wins for TFC.
*A new lineup reshuffle for TFC in their ten year plan with no players I recognize: who the hell is Yourassowsky, Eckersley (the newest panic stopgap failure from Europe), and Martina?
*No DeRo, no Carl Robinson, no Dichio.. Just a bunch of crap players.
*Alan Gordon is spearheading their attack?
*And our defense hasn't given up a goal in four games..

Put that all together and it's looking like a 2-0 win at least for the Crew. Yawn, and back to Columbus.

Or how Jim Brennan, the guy who retired two games into the season for TFC after losing to Columbus, says "that craphole" with this dramatic piece of acting:

Yeah that was intense.

But, what can you expect from a guy that dresses up like a ballerina in his free time and from a class organization such as Toronto F.C.

And what can you expect from scholarly TFC fans, who show their class that comes from living in utopian Toronto:

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

4/19/2011: Crewture.TV- Crew Ultras Artwork

4/19/2011: Former San Lorenzo Player Prim May Be Attacking Midfield Answer

The Crew's defense has gelled leading to four consecutive shutouts on the trot. Now the Crew midfield is starting to gel with both Robbie Rogers and Dilly Duka picking up their games. The only missing puzzle piece is an attack that works, both in strikers who can score and an attacking midfielder who can feed these strikers.

The Crew have tried to transition Emmanuel Ekpo into this attacking midfield position with limited success at best. The Crew have also tried Dejan Rusmir, a Serbian player with good success as an attacking midfielder in the Romanian top flight, again with limited success. So, now the Crew has to go back to the drawing board at the attacking midfield position.

The Crew's new solution is a preseason trialist in Santiago Prim, who the Crew apparently wanted to sign but Prim was still under contract with Argentinian Primera side San Lorenzo at that time.

Well, fortunes have changed for the Crew, as according to the Columbus Dispatch Prim is now a free agent and will rejoin the Crew on Wednesday.

The only question, with Prim likely to be signed, is who will be cut to make room for Prim? Will it be a lesser known commodity such as Riggs or Heinemann? Or will it be a straight swap for Rusmir? Or has patience finally run out on Ekpo and will he be the one to get the axe?

I find it unlikely to be Emmanuel Ekpo, as "Manu" still has trade value and could still be successful this year on our right side (where he is much more comfortable and a better player). But, the rest are probably unlikely to make an impact for Columbus this season and, along with a few other faces, may be worried if called to Warzycha's office this Wednesday.

Nevertheless, on a brighter note, hopefully Prim can be the missing piece in that attacking midfield role. And, hopefully either Renteria, Mendoza, or Cunningham can start to step up to make that striker role theirs.

Monday, April 18, 2011

4/19/2011: 6 Thoughts After A Step Back From The Game

Crew not so bad, but still have a lot to prove.

You may be asking, "where the hell has Crewture been?" I took an unexpected month hiatus from writing on here since I was in limbo on whether to take a job with the Dayton Dutch Lions again. Wanted the experience, the salary "ehh no comment." Despite the hiatus, I still took a look at all of the games and here are some of my disconnected thoughts on the season so far. I'll only be writing on the Crew from here on in, so weekly articles should be rolling in once again and I'm looking to clear the 30th at work to take the trip to the home Whitecaps game. So, without further or do..

Crewfighter's 6 Disconnected Thoughts On The Crew's 2011 Season So Far

1. They're Better Than We Thought They Were (So Far)..
Despite not being exactly exciting offensively, the new look Crew is getting it done defensively. Since a shelling in the season opener away against D.C. United, the Crew has four clean sheets thanks to the (so far) excellent additions of Balchan and Miranda. Both have been younger, faster, and smarter in 2011 (so far) than Hejduk and Padula were on the defensive wings in 2010. And, have been able to (so far) gel with Marshall and the rest of the established defense.

This Iron Curtain has culminated into a start that can be taken as pleasantly surprising (so far) for Crew fans.. Especially after the initial freak out! fest in the first few weeks of the season (myself included), based on dooldrum performances for the Crew away at RSL in the Champions League, as well as in the season opener at D.C. United, and leading to an explosively bland home opening draw; With those results in mind, I bet most Crew fans were expecting the Canaries (so far) to be 0-5 at this point instead of tied for second..

Yes, were tied for second.. Who knew? Considering the Crew haven't played dominating soccer at all yet in 2011.

Nevertheless, currently the Crew are on track to safely be a playoff contender, especially if the offense starts to gel like the defense has (so far) in 2011.

2. Is Robbie Rogers Manning Up?

After riding the pine in the season opener at D.C. United, Robbie Rogers whined on twitter stating that he "requested a trade" and was apparently even kind enough to point out which teams he would love to be traded to.. Some sources say the request was actually made in crayon.

But, after Rogers got over his tears (for frankly being benched once for two and a half years of ineffectiveness) it appears to have been the shot in the arm that has rejuvinated the previously talented and highly-touted prospect. And even though the Crew attack may only have four goals in five games- Rogers has two of them, including Saturday's deft touch winner.

Rogers two goals in five games in 2011, matches his regular season goal scoring total from 42 regular season games in 2009 and 2010. Production no one, including Rogers, could consider scintillating or unbenchable.

Rogers turn around has calmed him down a bit.
As Rogers has apoligized and stated he's fine with staying with the Crew for the rest of 2011 but looks to head to Europe in 2012. Nevertheless, Rogers needs to keep up his current fine form to turn some heads in Europe. So, hopefully he continues to be focused and continues to man up for the Crew.

Image: Sam Fahmi/Massive Report

Either way, it was nice to see Robbie come celebrate with some of his critics in the Nordecke after his winning goal on Saturday.. If he keeps scoring in 2011 he'll have a lot of pals in that corner, who may just wish for a 2012 encore.

3. Attendance or lack thereof
In three home games the Crew's attendance is an average of 10,850.. With the 14,549 attendance for the F.C. Dallas game likely highly inflated, with 5,000 of those fans morphed into yellow chairs. A 10,850 average attendance so far is only likely beating out San Jose (because they only have 10,000 seats) and Kansas City because their new stadium hasn't been finished yet and thus no home games for fans to go to.

Sure there has been bad weather but that doesn't keep Portland Timbers fans away.

And some Crew fans ponder "why can't we have an atmosphere like that every day in our stadium?" And it's because your Portland's and your Seattle's, even your Toronto's (although they're looking a bit sparser this year too) spend money on marketing to make money on ticket sells. HSG appears terrified to spend a buck on selling this team to Columbus, which has to make the Crew's General Manager Mark McCullers job of filling the stadium rough (even with a comfy new four year extension).

And hell even teams in markets that have struggled, like FC Dallas and the Colorado Rapids, both already have a sell out under their belts in 2011.

The Crew, despite not being terrible in 2011 so far, haven't helped themselves either by shipping off the identity of the club in the likes of Schelotto and Hejduk. Also, the Crew didn't sign a star replacement and the new no names, along with a faltering Cunningham, just haven't been enough capitivating star power to bring in random fans in bad weather. I don't see how anyone could be shocked by this, sure the Crew might of made these moves to make the team better, but those moves were not made to help attendance.

Even the Nordecke, usually packed no matter, looked as if half of the diehards took the night off in the rainy weather against KC where only 7,396 came out (above picture).

4. Duka Stepping Up
Dilly Duka had a good second half on Saturday and Warzycha is putting faith in the youngster saying that "he deserves the minutes." Well, Duka proved that on Saturday by providing a nice assist on Robbie Rogers goal and being very active in the midfield.

If Duka can continue to contribute that should help stabilize the midfield if Rogers and Gaven continue to play well. Now all the Crew needs is someone to step up on the forward line and start scoring goals at a clip, and the Crew might be onto something in 2011.

Well that's not all the Crew needs, which takes us to number 5.)

5.) Prim to Replace Ekpo In The Attacking Mid Slot?

It's been no secret that the Crew has had a problem in replacing Schelotto in that creative, attacking midfield slot. And it's also been no secret that Ekpo hasn't done a good job in that attacking midfield slot. Well,
here enters Santiago Prim who is now a free agent from San Lorenzo in Argentina and apparently back in Columbus.

If Prim is the answer in attacking midfield, when Ekpo and Rusmir have not been, it could be a big missing piece to the Crew's puzzle in 2011.. And since the Crew have seen Prim before in their preseason hopefully they're right.

But, has to make you wonder who will be let go (since all roster spots are currently filled)? Don't see it being Ekpo since he has trade value. Someone such as Riggs, Heinemann, or even Rusmir would make more sense.

6.) Four Shutouts Is Great And A Step In The Right Direction But.. The Crew has yet to do anything significant in 2011.. They got a long way to go yet to prove themselves.. And another first round playoff exit and a mediocre season will still be seen as a disappointment by most Crew fans, as that wasn't a step in the right direction compared to 2010. So, yeah there has been some positives in the last few games, but the Crew still got a long way to go yet to prove the naysayers wrong..

Sunday, March 20, 2011

3/20/2011: Columbus Until I Die. The Forgotten Slogan As Of Late.

After watching the away opener to start the season, I hope this guy who posted a comment on
The Columbus Dispatch
isn't right:

From Gilley:

Trust me Bobby - it's gonna get a lot worse.

I think I figured it out tonight - Crew mgmt has given up, they're just going thru the motions, marking time, punching the clock, and have freed themselves from

Tonight reminded me of one of those times in the EPL when a
manager gets threatened w/ a charge of improper conduct for fielding a weak
team. It usually happens to small teams, with small squads who can't cope w/
fixture congestion. Bliss and McC couldn't possibly expect this side to compete
in MLS, so I assume that competing in MLS was not their goal.

I think they figured out that, even if they win MLS cup and/or supporters shield,
there's no riches or respect coming their way. In this market, with this
stadium, in that location there's no victory for them to enjoy, because
there's no suitable prize on offer. So like businessmen, they decided to
produce a barely passable product, with a level of quality just barely
sufficient to squeeze the blood from their Columbus turnip.

The Crew has become the Devil Rays of MLS - no ambition except to just open the store every day. They've dropped off the civic radar, and I'm told by political
insiders that they're not even maintaining minimal relationships with
political or local business partners.

I think one path to opportunity is a stadium in a social
location where you can have dinner before the match, and a drink after. Crew
management seemed to share that view in the past, but I'm told that they've
totally checked out of the civic relationships that could help make this, or
anything else, happen.

The Hunts are gonna just barely keep the wheels on this jalopy until
MLS demands the keys, and repo's the franchise. There's no
upward mobility available to the Crew regardless of on-field performance, so
they decided to stop chasing it.

I was all set to go to home matches for the love of
the game, without any expectation of Crew success. But now, to my
horror, I've realized that on many nights this year they'll probably be unable
to even make it an interesting match.

My first reaction is freak out much? But, since Sigi Schmid jumped ship for the Seattle Sounders I can't help but notice that even when I'm optimistic the Crew has bungled every chance in the past few years.

1.) The 2009 Playoffs (First Round Exit)
2.) The 2010 Playoffs (First Round Exit)
3.) 2010 Supporters Shield
4.) 2010 U.S. Open Cup
5.) Not taking Champions League serious this offseason.. Watching RSL, they took it as a big opportunity, I didn't get the same from Warzycha's comments.
6.) No killer ambition to win Champions League group with a real chance of doing so last season.
7.) No ambition to sign any real big names this offseason despite having the cap space. Relying instead on no names such as Rusmir to fill the gap.

And here we are. We went from losing big games to making moves to take ourselves completely out of competition to be involved in big games. Honestly, I expected us to lose deep down against RSL. I expected us to drop this home opener.

Let's be honest 2008 couldn't last forever. But, god I just want some fight and belief from management, the players, and even the fans. Yes, the fans whine and complain, but management, when you ask for "patience from the fans" like Bliss asked in the Dispatch yesterday, maybe you would like to do your jobs first, before expecting any optimism from the fans.

Sorry, but it's honestly been a D+ plus effort at replacing Schelotto and company this offseason.. When you drop all of your big names, you better have an innovative plan B in the books. What we found out this offseason was that there wasn't a plan.

I just don't get what the hell is going on overall? It's like we reverted back to 2005-2006 in a snap of a finger.

Were Columbus! And we need to start acting like Columbus. Everyone is acting lately without any heart or soul. Where's the fight?

I'm just sick of the pessimistic cloud around this organization lately. The fans expect to lose, management makes excuses before the game and expects to lose, and the players look like they lost from the whistle.

No matter what happens to Columbus Crew, I'll never forget the year 2008.. My dad passed away that year and the Columbus Crew's championship run got my mind off of that. I'm eternally grateful for the Schelotto's and Hejduk's. The Schelotto's and Hejduk's who were ushered out. Labeled as now the problem, despite connecting on the third goal in the MLS Cup that sealed the deal in 2008. It was real winners, with real passion, at every level.

Where the hell has that gone? I want Columbus Until I Die back. I want passion back. I want players who play for the shirt, I want managers and staff who stay up 24/7 to make the big deals happen to take us to that next level, and I want the fans at the level they were in 2008/early 2009 when we made Crew Stadium formidable and a place no one else could win at.

We all have dropped off as of late and we all need to take a long look in the mirror and re-commit to Columbus Until I Die.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

3/17/2011: Cunningham Is The Man, New Crewture Vid, & More

"For some reason I have a reputation," said Cunningham, whose voice rises and native accent thickens when agitated. "But it's all good. I stopped caring what other people say. I know at the end of the day I can look my daughter in the eye and say, 'Baby, I did good. Your papa worked hard and he accomplished some good things.' "

I think I've done enough with the opportunities that I have been given. My
family is proud of me and that's all that really matters.

My mother is the only person that can say something that can put me in my place.
That's a woman of character right there. Jesus Christ and my mother, that's who
I answer to.

For me to have scored the first goal in the first soccer stadium in this
country is a great memory. Years from now, when I look back, that's something
I'll always carry with me. It was exciting. It still is. When I drive by that
stadium I reflect on the great times I had there. To come back and have the
opportunity to play there again is exciting. I'm really looking forward to

Those were some of the quotes in Cunningham's recent article with The Columbus Dispatch, check the rest out here.

Crewture's Thoughts: I like Cunningham's attitude, he knows himself and he doesn't care about what others say about him, he just looks to do the business. Hopefully this leads to a few goals this year.


Just a new video I made of supporter's pictures, music mixed up by me as well. Not the best Crew vid ever, just like to get those creative juices following with the season almost here.

Pictures of ultra artwork from the Columbus Crew's ultras in their supporter end in the Nordecke.

1. (Dj Reno Rhino Remix- Pursuit of Rihanna) Pursuit of Happiness- Kid Cudi ft. Steve Aoki vs. Rihanna- S & M
2. (Dj Reno Rhino Remix) Miami to Ibiza Like a G6 - Swedish House Mafia & Far East Movement vs. Loco pops- Bombfunk
3. The Last Episode- Dr. Dre ft. Snoop Dogg (Reepr Bootleg)


I'll have a preview of Saturday's game up tomorrow.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

3/10/2011: Crew's Warzycha, Bliss Visit Israel, May Make Move In The Summer

Maccabi Haifa's Gustavo Boccoli (left) and Tomer Hemed (right) may be attacking options for the Crew in the Summer window.

The Crew's signing of Dejan Rusmir appears to suggest that the Crew are content to allow Rusmir, Ekpo, Gaven, and Duka take turns holding down that attacking midfield position behind Renteria and Mendoza.. Well, at least until the Summer time, when the Crew will get a chance to re-evaluate and possibly make a move for an Israeli league player.

As this past week, Crew manager Robert Warzycha and Technical Director Brian Bliss, were in Israel scouting attacking midfield players such as Maccabi Haifi's Gustavo Boccoli and Tomer Hemed, as well as Hapoel Acre FC's midfielder Maharan Radi.

Not much out there on Radi, but Boccoli and Hemed seem to be strong options.

Boccoli has over 200 caps with Maccabi Haifa alone since 2004, with nearly another 200 with other Israeli and Brazilian clubs. The 33 year old has been voted the best player in Israel before.

Tomer Hemed has scored 5 goals in his last 9 outings for Maccabi Haifa. The 23 year old's recent outings have gained the attention of the Isreali national team, Hemed has recently been called up for a friendly.

3/10/2011: Quick Thoughts On Champions League Disaster, Other Recent Crew News

RSL flexed their muscles at home last week. The better team won and rightly so last week. The Crew were out of sorts during the whole first half, came out well for the first 20 minutes of the second half, and then the changes made by Robert Warzycha allowed RSL to retake the momentum.

I can't really tell you why the changes led to RSL's two second half goals; but I can say that when your team is down 2-nil, scores a goal to start the second half to bring themselves back into the game, and starts to play themselves into a game you don't make 3 changes because it has the possibility to change the momentum.

The Crew players who started to link up well in the second half, had to learn to link up well with three new faces, and it didn't work out well; In comparison, RSL who are all used to each other started to take the game over in front of a good crowd.

Stubbing your own toes. The Crew called game over on themselves in this series by playing better than RSL in the home leg but not scoring, and seeming perfectly content to not score and play to a 0-0 draw. Also, RSL finished that game with 9 men compared to the Crew's 10. This team, just like last year's, doesn't seem to have that killer's instinct to put a team away.

Also, chance after chance to win silverware in 2010 and now 2011 is wasted. Here goes another.

This Crew didn't seize the occasion to win the U.S. Open Cup last year and they didn't seize the occasion last week against Real Salt Lake. They lost a Supporters Shield they were running away with last Summer, and plummeted out of the playoffs in the first round for the second time in two years last October.

Losing the big games is just becoming an unhealthy habit for the Crew as of late. And a lack of distraughtness over it is particularly distressing.

No Ratings. I'm going to bypass on rating players for this game, because it would get ugly in a 4-1 loss.

In Other News, the RSL fans came out in numbers for their leg, while only the Nordecke came out in Columbus. Probably the overall reason MLS players rank Rio Tinto as a tougher place to play this week. Got to think overall that has to do with the altitude (with the Rapids also being ranked higher) than the fans.

3/10/2011: Crew Down Revs 3-1 In Preseason, Don't Count Heinemann Out Of Starting 11 Just Yet

The Crew's big 6'4 striker, Tommy Heinemann, who terrorized the USL- scoring 13 goals last season with the Charleston Battery and Carolina Railhawks, made a statement against the New England Revolution yesterday not to count him out of the starting eleven this year.

Heinemann scored two goals in the Crew's 3-1 route against the Revs in the final round of preseason training in Kennisaw, Georgia. For a Crew team, who could only manage one goal in 180 minutes against Real Salt Lake (25 of those minutes against a 9 man RSL) anyone with a hot foot could find themselves up top in the starting eleven.

With Cunningham and Mendoza making all the headlines, but not being overly impressive in their two outings, Heinemann at least made a statement yesterday for Warzycha not to totally forget about the "Caveman."

Here's a couple clips of yesterday's game, Duka makes a good run here:

And the Crew's defense falls asleep on Ilija Stolica's Revs goal in the 62nd minute:

Probably the worst defensive effort I've seen in a while leading to a goal, some of these lapses on defense (also seen in the away leg against RSL) are a bit concerning.

3/10/2011: VIDEO-The Columbus Crew Experience Past & Present Videos

Here's a clip on the Columbus Crew in their first season in 1996:

And here's a promotional clip for the Columbus Crew for the Crew's 15th season in 2011:

Glad to see the change with more of a focus on hardcore support in the corner with the Nordecke instead of little kids doing the macarana (as was seen on one part of that first video in 1996). Still the first video is very cool, like the beginning clip and find it funny to see Jay Crawford (now on ESPN) talking about falling in love with the Crew.

3/10/2011: Crew Sign Dejan Rusmir

Serbian attacking midfielder Dejan Rusmir (working out above before the RSL home game earlier this season) was officially signed yesterday by the Columbus Crew. Rusmir, 31, has been with the Crew since late January. Rusmir may have the Crew midfield to thank for his signing, as the lackluster play at the attacking midfield position as of late has led to the Crew officially making the move for the Serbian playmaker.

Rusmir has some tricky playmaking ability (the following two videos are from his best days with Romanian Premier League club Ceahlaul from 2006-2008):

Rusmir's best years were from 2006 to 2009 with Romanian Premier League clubs Ceahlaul and Farul. In this past 2009-2010 season Rusmir had a bit of a falling out with Farul, as the club was relegated and Rusmir only made 10 appearances for the club in the Romanian second division this past season.

That led to Rusmir's move stateside. Rusmir is a good passer who sees the field nicely. Rusmir could be considered possibly as a poor man's, Eastern European (taller) version of Schelotto in that respect.

The main concern is that at 31, Rusmir has just 102 professional appearances to his name. The Crew's Eddie Gaven at 24 has double that number with 207 professional appearances.

Considering Rusmir's career and his above videos, do you see him making a positive impact on the Crew's 2011 lineup? Vote in the poll to the right.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

3/1/2011: Nordecke Featured In 614 Magazine

The Columbus Crew's "Nordecke" supporters section was recently featured in 614 Magazine. 614 Magazine is a hip, trendy magazine that covers different stories throughout the city of Columbus and puts it together for a monthly magazine. The feature called "Cult of Crew" can be read here.

It's a good breakdown of the section for those unfamiliar with the "Nordecke" throughout the world or in Columbus.

3/1/2011: Preview- All Comes Down To Tonight In Second Leg Of Crew Vs. RSL

The Crew will have to replace Emilio Renteria, facing a red card suspension, with Jeff Cunningham. However, the Crew should not expect too much of a drop off considering Cunningham's previous success in Salt Lake.

3/1/2011: Preview- All Comes Down To Tonight In Second Leg Of Crew Vs. RSL

The Columbus Crew surprised and delighted Crew fans in the first leg of this CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinal by having the better play compared to a more stablized Real Salt Lake team; As Real Salt Lake was one of the strongest team's last season and only made one roster move this offseason compared to the Crew's 15 and counting roster moves.

Yet the first leg, last Tuesday in Columbus, still ended in a 0-0 tie. The Crew, still in preseason mode on the offensive side of the ball, couldn't capitalize on their more promising offensive forays and defense's stronger play. The inability to score last Tuesday at home, hopefully not a carryover from the 2010 season, puts the Crew in the underdog slot tonight away at RSL's Rio Tinto Stadium.

The underdog status intensifies when one also considers the Crew have yet to win at altitude in Real Salt Lake's Rio Tinto, 0-3 since the opening of the stadia.

Add to that 7 players, most of them starters, will be missing in action once again for the second leg tonight... And mix in a suspended Emilio Renteria, for added grimace.

Such a formula of lineup disaster is unlikely to equate to a Crew debut in the CONCACAF Champions League Semifinals after 90 minutes tonight.

But, then again, when the Crew debuted four new players on defense last week out of five positions, a clean sheet and a tie seemed unlikely in the first leg. So, let's play the game before crowning RSL Champions of the North American soccer world.

Crew Legend Jeff Cunningham Slated To Make His First Crew Start Since 2004

RSL knows all about Jeff Cunningham. The U.S. International from Montego Bay has scored 19 goals in 32 games with the club from the land of milk and honey.

Sporting a unique hairstyle at the time, which probably helped with headers.

Warzycha is unsurprisingly looking at Cunningham to fill the suspended Renteria's starting spot. Probably not a bad move considering Cunningham has scored over 1 goal a game in every two appearances he has made in Utah.

Hopefully Jeff can get one over on a Real Salt Lake club that shipped him to the unforgiving tundra of Toronto F.C., where Cunningham had the worst form of his successful MLS career.

Is RSL Focused On Winning This Series Or On Creating Docu-drama's?

For the CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinal RSL has logged in over 40 minutes of docu-drama coverage, full with awe inspiring intro music and a creepy narrator for part 1 and part 2 of the series.

This past week, parts 3 and 4 were shot. The documentary is pretty good and interesting as a fan of MLS soccer, who wonders what goes into the preparation for these games. However, I wonder if the Crew can use any of this to get a feel on RSL's prepping for tonight's matchup?

Here's part 1 and part 2 if you want to hear the most painstaking voice over ever.

Another issue I have with this series is that we know who MLS headquarters is rooting for tonight; As MLS didn't decide to cover both teams in this series, only RSL. So, if the Crew beat RSL tonight, MLS will no longer be able to do this series on RSL's CONCACAF Champions League run and it would look cheap to switch over to the Crew midstream.

With some money and production invested in the filming of RSL, how nice would it be to give another "forget you" to MLS headquarters. The Massive club gets snubbed again, you would think that MLS could at least do this series on Columbus, since we won't be on ESPN all year.

"No one likes us and we don't care."

Ok.. I kind of care otherwise I wouldn't of wrote about it.

Crewture's Lineup Prediction:


William Hesmer has declared himself ready to play on Tuesday, and I would like to see that happen.

Newly installed backup Ray Burse didn't do a bad job last Tuesday, but Burse also wasn't challenged often by RSL. I see a stark contrast on the horizon at RSL's home turf, as I'm afraid Burse (or whoever starts at goalkeeper) won't have a similiarly boring night out.

Dilly Duka may also be fit for tonight's match up. If Duka was a little more game fit, I would not be surprised if the U.S. youth international got his chance at attacking midfield; As Emmanuel Ekpo was unconvincing at that position last week.

As far as the defense, same chorus, second verse. Most of our starting defense from last year is still injured but Miranda, Balchan, Gardner, and Grossman all took some names and kicked some ass last week in their debuts.

More of the same will be crucial in winning on the road and advancing to the CONCACAF Champions League Semifinals.

Tripped Up: The Crew are going to need much better performances out of their midfield trio of Ekpo (above), Gaven, and Rogers to advance to the semifinals.

Keys To The Game: Crew are going to need a repeat "standing O-hio like" performance from their makeshift backline. The Crew are also going to have to get Ekpo, Rogers, and Gaven to step up and become more involved in the game. Further, Cunningham's veteran goalscoring experience is going to be key in slotting one past RSL; were going to need a focused Cunningham tonight otherwise I don't know if we score.

Prediction: Crew 2, RSL 1

Tonight will not be as preseason-like as last week for both clubs. Both clubs have 90 minutes of soccer that matters underneath their belts and I have a feeling it will get intense tonight; as both clubs are staring elimination from this tournament right in the face.. A huge contrast compared to last week which was more of a feeling out process in bone chilling weather.

I believe last week wasn't an albatross for our new defenders, I think they'll show up once again. Nevertheless, RSL is going to be more threatening offensively at home, it will be a battle, and they will score.

The question is whether the Crew's offense is going to show up tonight past the first 25 minutes of the game; as that was around the time the Crew attack started to shut down last week.

A similiar shut down and the Crew goes home. However, I have a feeling Cunningham will put the Crew on his back this evening. I'm saying two for MLS's second leading goalscorer...

Unfornately those two are not coming in a MLS matchup :-), which will delay Cunningham taking over first place on the MLS scoring charts. However, I don't think Cunningham or the Crew will particularly mind as long as their headed for a Semifinal matchup.