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 supporters section which is now 10 years old.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

7/31/2012: When Bliss Speaks Youth People Should Listen

7/31/2012: When Bliss Speaks Youth People Should Listen
By Ryan Kozlowski

The United States Youth Soccer Association should start taking what Crew Technical Director Brian Bliss says and making it happen.

They could do even one better, get Brian Bliss and a group of like-minded peers to chair a committee to make the refinements that can take the United States to the next level.

The guy has won nearly everything with the Crew Youth Soccer Academy, and the higher ups including another McGuire Cup and the Super 20's.

A good interview here where Bliss explains his thoughts about the youth game, on Soccer America's Youth Soccer Insider.

I especially liked the points Bliss made on what needs to be done at the youth level to get America to the next level; and would extend on that, that one thing that American soccer needs to do is somehow give soccer player's who live in rural areas the ability to get noticed.

I coach high school soccer myself at Conneaut High School, just across the border from Youngstown, OH and Conneaut, OH in PA; I also played for them and somehow snuck my way into some college ball but that's the best I could do.

That's the best any of the kids on my team are going to be able to do, even if some of them have the skills. These kids, two or three of them, will work and work 24/7 on soccer and will never get their shot because they will never in their life be put in front of someone that a.) understands their talent and b.) has the resources to make something happen for them. Two or three of them, every four years, if they were just born in a New Jersey, California, Texas, Columbus, Ohio; they might of got the chance to get the development to get to the big level.

Regrettably, even if there real talent was soccer, they'll sit in a office raking in $30,000 a year and thinking "damn, if I only had parents that realized what I had."

There just is nothing in place for someone to pick out the good, rural kids and send them somewhere else regionally to get better development, and unless it's the parents dream as well there isn't the drive by the parents to get their kid in front of the right people.

I can tell you why Mexico does it better with less resources, because even in the smaller areas of the country the focus is on soccer and picking out those with the skill and sending them where they can develop. And it doesn't matter how much money you have.

SA: What can be done at the youth level to get American soccer to a higher level?
BRIAN BLISS: You hate to compliment them, but look at what Mexico’s got going on over there. They probably have half the resources that we do on the youth side but they’ve got it going. Whether it’s identifying players who are more technically gifted and then running with that -- as opposed to running with the more physical guys who are more mature in terms of their body at an early age for the sake of winning. We need to get away from that a little bit. I know it’s painful because youth clubs are in existence to win things in order to drive more revenue by kids signing up.

That’s unfortunate. But maybe we’ve got to get to a system where there are no more trophies, there are no more awards at the younger ages. Because that may be pointing us in the wrong direction at times.

Bliss should stay right where he is at. He's in his element at the Columbus Crew and being a manager at a Major League Soccer club would be a waste of his talents, he has the ability and know all to develop the younger talent at the Columbus Crew and to get them to the senior side.
We’re only in the first cycle of it. We’re just starting to get a couple of homegrown guys signed – the goalkeeper Matt Lampson from Ohio State; Aaron Horton, who went to Louisville; and then Ben Speas, who was Soccer America’s College Player of the Year [2011]. Those players have all come through our system, so we’re starting to see some benefits.

Once the Wil Trapp group, then the Benny Swanson group comes through, I think will start to see the true impact that Brian Bliss has had not only on the Columbus Crew organization but youth soccer.

7/31/2012: Trending.. Retirements, Crew News, Twitter Gaff's

Catch Friedel's Tottenham tonight against Cahill and the Red Bulls on ESPN2 at 7 p.m.

7/31/2012: Trending.. Retirements, Crew News, Twitter Gaff's

**Former Columbus Crew keeper Brad Friedel, who's spent the last 15 years in the English Premier League, has hinted at retirement after this season with Tottenham Hotspur.

The Ohio native has also said it's unlikely for him to go back to MLS and play afterwards due to his age.
"How much more do I got? Let's get through this (season) first. I have a year left on my contract and at my age, it really does go year to year."

"It's getting harder and harder to consider (MLS) because of my age. I've been really fortunate to have these opportunities in the Premier League with big clubs. It's always superseded any negotiations that I've started with MLS.

"I think MLS is a great place compared to what it was and it's a tremendous asset to the country. It's going to keep on getting bigger and bigger but being a part of it as a player, time's against it. Let's put it that way."

Jorge Campos scored 4, apparently not ready to sit the bench for Cunningham.

**Former Columbus Crew player, Jeff Cunningham, recently signed with the San Antonio Scorpions of the NASL. However, the league-leading NASL side's strikers responded to the news by putting up a 8-0 route against the Carolina Railhawks. Which has to make you wonder if Cunningham can ever get on the field for them as well.

Augusto signed by D.C.

**D.C. United acquired Brazilian midfielder Raphael Augusto before the MLS signing deadline, the 21 year old has some U-20 experience for Brazil and is a part of the Flumeniese program.

Fornuately, he will play no role for D.C. United this weekend against Columbus; on the other hand, no word yet when Federico Higuain will first strap on the yellow and black.

But, on the good side of things, Warzycha and Bliss have stated that Higuain is fit, working out with Colon before signing with Columbus.

**And in the whacky, a twitter meltdown this time by Swiss U-23 player Michel Morganella, after his side got whipped by the South Koreans, he called "South Koreans mentally handicapped retards."

So, what does that make you if you got beat by them, mohawk Michel?

The racist Morganella thanked his fans for their messages of support, and then was kicked out of the Olympics for failing (by a long mile) to demonstrate the Olympic spirit. What a loser.

7/31/2012: Jelen Will Not "Play For A Hat of Pears"- Warzycha, Crew Still Trying

Free agent Jelen still may be a possibility

7/31/2012: Jelen Will Not "Play For A Hat of Pears"- Says Warzycha, Crew Still Trying
By Ryan Kozlowski

In a recent interview from July 29th with Futbolnews.pl, Crew manager Robert Warzycha does admit that the Crew have been trying to get Ireneusz Jelen and may be still trying.

The Polish striker is no longer with Lille and could come over to the Crew as a free agent up to and until September 15th. However, there may be too many competitors for Jelen's signature.

Warzycha with Futbolnews.pl:

A lot of noise recently about Irenaeus Jelen moving to Columbus Crew?
Trying too many competitors. Many others are also looking at Jelen as well. But, still nothing in particular. Irek wants to stay in Europe. Do not come to us to play for a hat of pears. And at our salaries are not as high as in Europe.

Would it be useful to strengthen the Crew in a person like Jelen?
That is correct. The band is under construction. Scraping points and do not know if this year's team is applicable to the play-offs. Other teams do not sleep. It will be hard.

Brian Bliss tipped his hat, as well, in a Q&A on the Higuain signing at TheCrew.com last week, that options may still exist for Columbus:

-Obviously, the transfer window closes today, but do you forsee any more changes occurring with the Crew roster before the freeze date on September 15?
Never say never. Obviously, we can make trades within the league and we can still sign players that are free agents up until that point. Never say never, because there's still a lot of time left before that final deadline. We'll have to wait and see.

If New York Red Bull can fit Thierry Henry, Rafael Marquez, Tim Cahill, and a very good supporting cast including Kenny Cooper and Sebastian LeToux on their books.

There is no reason why the Crew can't work something out to have Ireneusz Jelen, Federico Higuain, and Milovan Mirosevic all on the books with their supporting cast.

The Crew have said that they could even forsee the speedy Higuain playing on the left wing. If so, Arrieta and Jelen wouldn't sound too bad up top.

I find it unlikely the Crew will make it happen, but it's nice to hear that Columbus is attempting all possibilities to improve their team.

Monday, July 30, 2012

7/30/2012: McGuire Cup Win; Wil Trapp's, Benny Swanson's Future Of Club?

Crew U-19's win second McGuire Cup in three years. Crew strong in academy further down the road as well.

7/30/2012: McGuire Cup Win; Wil Trapp's, Benny Swanson's Future Of Club?
By Ryan Kozlowski

Crew Technical Director Brian Bliss had the following to say on his U-19 charges, a month before, in the Midwest Regional:
"I'd venture to say that last year's team had more individual talent and this year's team has more depth."

"From my experience coaching in this tournament, I'd say that if I had to error one way or another, I'd rather have more depth than a few more talented players because depth becomes very important when you have to play five games in five games to win the tournament. I like the way this team has been built."
Well, Brian Bliss was correct, as he compared this year's U-19 Crew to the 2010 National Champions who won the McGuire Cup as well.

Now the Columbus Crew Academy has two McGuire Cup's in three years, after defeating Georgia’s Gwinnett Soccer Association Phoenix 2-1 on Saturday night at the United States Youth Soccer National Championships in Rock Hill, S.C.

Wil Trapp scores for Akron

Crew academy standout Wil Trapp, played for the Crew U-19's in Saturday's national championship win, 48 hours after losing with the U.S. U-20's in the Milk Cup Tournament taking place in Ireland.

Wil Trapp may be another local standout that the Crew will try to acquire for the senior team (in the same vein as Ben Speas, Aaron Horton, and Matt Lampson.)

Other players from this team, to watch out for in the future, include Cole DeNormandie from Cincinnati


DeNormandie scored a team-leading 7 goals for the University of Cincinnati in his freshman year and scored 4 goals in 9 matches, including two game-winners, to help the Crew's U-20 and U-19 teams to two separate finals in a 10 day span.

Also, Kofi Agyapong, who has recently been selected to the USL Super-20 All-Tournament Team:

All of the players on this squad including Fatai Alashe, Chandler Gagnon, and Luke Blades would be eligible for a homegrown player contract with the Columbus Crew.

Another Crew Academy product to watch out for at the younger levels, is Grove City native Benny Swanson.

Benny Swanson helped the US U-15 National Team to a fifth place finish in the International Marveld Tournament in Holland earlier this Summer. The team finished ahead of the likes of Ajax, Olympique Marseille, Liverpool, and Real Madrid academy sides in the tournament.

His stellar play, has the 14 year old, even bumped up to the U17 U.S. National Team in this past week. As Benny Swanson stole the show in a 40 person camp, despite being the youngest field player.

As quoted here in TopDrawerSoccer.com:
Like in the earlier game, the U.S. buckled in and held on for the 2-1 win against the Academy side much thanks to the midfield, which was anchored all game by youngster Benjamin Swanson.

“I thought it was a pretty good game,” Swanson told TopDrawerSoccer.com after the game. “I thought we moved the ball well in the first half. In the second half, it opened up and we were able to add another goal.”

Swanson is the youngest field player (alongside Cameron Lindley – both were born on July 18, 1997) at this camp. However, immaturity has not been a factor for the Columbus Crew Academy product.

“At first, it was an eye-opening experience in terms of how fast and intense the game was,” Swanson said about the camp so far. “I'm getting used it more and more. It has been a great experience overall.”

Swanson, while not getting on the score sheet, was the maestro of the day for the U.S. His carefully crafted passes helped open up the opposition on a number of occasions.
As I've stated in previous articles, Crew future may be bright thanks to our work in the reserves and academy. Even if the Wil Trapp's and Benny Swanson's only stay stateside for so long, even 3 years of use in the senior side is something the Crew can capitalize on.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

7/29/2012: Sporting KC #SUCKONE- KC Twitter Fan Meltdown

Sporting KC Fans: They used to be so peaceful.

7/29/2012: Sporting KC #SUCKONE- KC Twitter Fan Meltdown
By Ryan Kozlowski

Yesterday, I posted the following comment, on Sporting KC's new found arrogance within their fan groups and team (not sure if I was being serious), but wrote a little blurb on it in the article, Arrieta Comes Up Huge! Crew Win 2-1:

All Kansas City's powered blue fans could do is scoff; especially the ones that got to enjoy Arrieta's celebrations up close twice in the same spot.

Which made me grin because you give Sporting KC a new jersey, new name, and new stadium and they start to think their something. Their team and their fans have this new found arrogance about them, like they forgot they were once a small-scale operation, in a 10,000 seat baseball stadium a year and a half ago.

This comment was before I saw the following ridiculous article on DEADSPIN (if you can call it an article); As a KC fan who had a "drunken" discussion with Crew players on twitter, self-submitted his tweets and the players tweets, to a blog, because he didn't like how the Crew won..

Which makes me think I was right, the quality of the KC fan may be diminishing; as this interesting individual, detailed his exchange between Crew players and his "drunken" self because apparently he was proud to get noticed by MLS players, even if he was in the wrong for calling Marshall out..

Further, usually people are not that drunk when they can admit to being drunk. So, "Drunken" self probably means watching the game from his mom's basement.. where he used up his last $14.99 he made at Family Video to buy MLS's online feed.

But, even if he was "drunk" (usually a good excuse to the cops when you hit somebody, swerve your car over the median on the road, or flash people in public); is being "drunk" any excuse to say this to Chad Marshall or anyone on twitter and not expect to get your ass handed back to you:

Here was his reasoning to Deadspin, for this comment:

Was at SKC v. Columbus last night. Sporting had the ball, but the Crew had a player down with an injury. The ref blew to bring on the medical staff. This was not a foul, just a stoppage to get the player checked out. Typical soccer protocol would have Columbus play the ball out of bounds or send it to SKC's keeper. This is to avoid gaining an unfair advantage after their own player needed medical attention.

Instead, Columbus plays the ball into the box and scores off a muffed clearance.

I was pretty pissed and decided (drunk) to tweet Chad Marshall, the offending Columbus player who had played the ball in, instead of returning possession.

Maybe this guy really was drunk

Because Columbus never played the ball into the box or scored on a muffed clearance, instead KC midfielder Graham Zusi passed the ball accidently to Arrieta and Arrieta scored from 30 yards out. This guy probably should've looked at a highlight to refresh his memory.


Crew players are still people and if you call any person a "douchebag", "assclown", who "shit on 100 years of (their profession's) tradition."

Expect replies..

And I give Chad Marshall credit with a very calm and since deleted, "thanks for the three points, #suckone." If someone insulted most people to that degree, it wouldn't go that easy.

And the rest of the team had Chad Marshall's back:

Then KC "drunk":

Well, if you don't want a reply don't send it to Chad Marshall's twitter.. And, if you want to make an argument that your somehow right, don't describe yourself as "drunk", that's like saying "don't listen to what else I have to say, I'm wrong.."

And then sends it to some blog, lol.

Maybe he can write a song about it too:


Saturday, July 28, 2012

7/28/2012: Arrieta Comes Up Huge! Crew Win 2-1

Costa Rican gem scores twice to lead Columbus

7/28/2012: Arrieta Comes Up Huge! Crew Win 2-1
By Ryan Kozlowski

The Columbus Crew by signing Federico Higuain as their designated player (a playmaker, second striker who's more of a setup man) apparently know what there doing judging by Jairo's beast of a night.

Once Columbus gets Higuain on the field behind Arrieta, with Mirosevic and Duka as well behind the Costa Rican, the diminutive striker is going to have a field day with all of that service he can bury.

It Arrieta can keep up this level of fitness, drive, and concentration in front of net; the Crew offense may all of a sudden get downright scary for the rest of the Eastern Conference.

As Arrieta let it be known tonight, away at a tough Sporting KC, that he's here to do the business.

Sporting Kansas City went up 1-0 in the 8th minute, via former Columbus Crew striker Kei Kamara's finish; Kamara had an excellent game once again for KC and Crew fans were probably thinking here we go again, as KC scored in the 5th minute at Columbus two weeks ago and the 8th minute tonight.

But, Arrieta had two answers to steal the show.

First, in the 17th minute, Arrieta collected a ball, shrugged off a KC defender, and fired into the turf, shooting in the direction the keeper just came from, making it 1-1. This goal was very technical and much harder than it looked.

Second, in the 34th minute, a confident Arrieta, was granted space the size of the state of New Jersey and figured if you don't respect me yet I'll make you pay; So, Arrieta fired from 25 yards- blazing a scorching curling ball into the net. KC keeper Jimmy Nielsen had to know it was coming, but there was nothing he could do.

All Kansas City's powered blue fans could do is scoff; especially the ones that got to enjoy Arrieta's celebrations up close twice in the same spot.

Which made me grin because you give Sporting KC a new jersey, new name, and new stadium and they start to think their something. Their team and their fans have this new found arrogance about them, like they forgot they were once a small-scale operation, in a 10,000 seat baseball stadium a year and a half ago.

Well, Arrieta, Greunebaum, and company brought Sporting KC back down a peg tonight. Their message was that this year's battle for the Eastern Conference is going to be a war of attrition, one that themselves or New York Red Bull won't be running away with anytime soon.

Everything about this game was great. Playoff atmosphere and intensity, a Crew striker looking like a real striker, a confident Kansas City choking- throwing the kitchen sink at the Crew in the second half and being denied by a stalwart Crew defense and Greunebaum, Kei Kamara missing a sitter in the 8th minute of stoppage time, and that doucher Peter Vermes bitching and moaning at Warzycha at the end like the Crew cheated or something.

You know why? Because Peter Vermes is scared because he knows the Crew can make a run now.

Two straight wins against Eastern Conference opponents in D.C. United and Sporting KC. We get D.C. United again at D.C. United where Columbus will like their chances again (could have Higuain), and the week after that we got lowly Toronto F.C. at home.

Two more wins and we could be right there, near the top.

Arrieta strikes once:

Arrieta strikes twice:

If this isn't goal of the week, MLS fans are blind.

I'll have ratings up tomorrow.

7/28/2012: Federico! Columbus Signs Higuain

7/28/2012: Federico! Columbus Signs Higuain
By Ryan Kozlowski

We got him! The designated player.

Kudos to the Columbus Crew for keeping the deal under wraps until the final moment.

But, Federico Higuain is ours!

And there can be no better signing. Yes, he's only scored 10 goals out of 62 appearances for his last Argentina Primera Division club, but Higuain is only 27!

Plus, he has a good pedigree being the son of Jorge Higuain and having Real Madrid player Gonzalo Higuain as a brother.

Further, were the club of Argentine legends, Guillermo Barros Schelotto for one would definitely approve of our new signing.

Anyway, strikers hit their best form between the age of 28 to 32. Therefore, we can only expect that the best is yet to come from Federico.

Federico also hit 11 goals in 36 appearances for Argentina Primera side Godoy Cruz.

“On behalf of our club, we are extremely excited to bring another world class player to Crew fans and to the Columbus market,” said Crew President and General Manager Mark McCullers. “Federico is a talented, technical and speedy attacking player who will add another dimension to our offense."

Anyway, with him. Arrieta, and Renteria, supported by a good midfield and defense I'm a lot more optimistic that the Columbus Crew can sneak into the playoffs.

Federico in action:

Friday, July 27, 2012

7/27/2012: Crew vs. Sporting KC Preview

The Crew hope to do the celebrating at Livestrong, this time around.

Crew vs. Sporting KC Preview
By Ryan Kozlowski

Two weeks prior, on July 14th, Sporting Kansas City came into Columbus Crew Stadium and made easy work of the Crew defense, on the way to a 2-0 victory.

The Columbus Crew need to return the favor on Saturday, as the 2nd place team in the East (on 37 points) plays host this time.

Columbus comes into this contest sitting on a measly 25 points, 6 points behind Chicago for the final playoff spot.

Nevertheless, the Crew have two games in hand on Chicago (and the rest of the East leaders); two straight wins for the Black & Gold could have the Crew back into the thick of things.

So, what's the difference from July 14th, that may lead to a different but more favorable result for the Crew this go around:

1.) Aurelin Collin, the 26 year old all-star defender for KC, is out for two weeks with a facial fracture.

An injury to an all-star defender is a huge break, and means KC will have to struggle to find a replacement in defense; and that the Crew can look to exploit that replacement defender.

Also, interestingly enough, the replacement could possibly be Crew Manager Robert Warzycha's son, Konrad Warzycha.

2.) Since playing Columbus, KC has had a rough go of things. Losing to the Houston Dynamo and tying a struggling New England at home.

On top of that, KC just got pummeled by Montpelier in their friendly, compared to Columbus who won their friendly against Stoke City.

So, the Crew come into this game feeling more confident than Kansas City, despite where both teams sit in the standings and despite the results two weeks prior.

3.) New striker signing Arrieta, appears to be getting more acclimated with Columbus and MLS. The Costa Rican was much more effective against D.C. United (registering an assist) and against Stoke City, then he was against Sporting K.C. in his first MLS appearance.

His improved performances, along with Duka- who wasn't healthy for the last SKC game, but is now back in the fold, should make the Crew more competitive attacking-wise.

4.) Other players are also making it known what their best positions are on this version of the Crew (thanks to the Stoke friendly); as Renteria appears to be more effective on the right wing, while Finlay may be most helpful at left back.

That brings us to..


I believe if it isn't broke, don't fix it. Especially since Warzycha tinkers with his roster almost every week and it has lead to some poor results, and a lack of consistency:

But on the other hand, with what I saw in the Stoke City friendly (now I see the positives of having a friendly like this), I would be okay as well with this lineup as well:

Either one I believe can get us a result that were looking for.

RESULT: Columbus Crew 1 Sporting Kansas City 0
Just think Columbus is in a better frame of mind at the moment, coming off two wins, compared to SKC who have 2 losses and a tie in their last three outings.

Also believe that SKC may struggle in defense without their leader Aurelin Collin.

7/27/2012: No Transfers On Crew Horizon

No Transfers On Crew Horizon
By Ryan Kozlowski

On transfer day, Ireneusz Jelen is unlikely to happen. In fact, the deal was probably just a projected signing by Crew fans, a guess by the followers of the Massive club on bigsoccer.com and on my website myself.

As both this website and a few weeks before that Crew bigsoccer posters, came to a similar conclusion that someone like Jelen would make sense, based on the DP clues given out by the club.

A few weeks after, a French website that dedicates itself to rumors on MLS, picked up the story and ran with it, with no confirmations. After that the story of Jelen to the Columbus Crew was all over the Polish press.

The DP clues that led to such a projection, were given out a month and a half back. Before Technical Director Brian Bliss went to the Milk Cup (no transfer battling being done there) and before the Columbus Crew told The Columbus Dispatch there would be no more transfer news, until there is a transfer.

Overall, I don't think many Crew fans expected Ireneusz Jelen to be the target of the Columbus Crew. But, they wanted the Crew to try something to improve their club. Crew fans wanted something to get excited over, when everyone else has Tim Cahill, Kenny Miller, or another star to look forward to. So, hopefully the Columbus front office understands Crew fans starting their own rumors and hopefully they've tried to find someone that can help.

Even trying to pick up a 2nd or 3rd striker from another MLS club, that may be surplus to another club's needs; but who has 6 or 7 goals on the season, that can help to fit our goal-scoring needs, would be seen as positive transfer news. Maybe Bliss should've been focusing on that route instead of the leads he was following in Argentina.

I hope to at least hear later today what deals the Columbus Crew have tried to accomplish because I'm not convinced yet that Columbus has enough to make a playoff push.

Sure, we've had a couple, better results in the last week. The D.C. United win was a good result and the Stoke City result was a feel good story, but can the Crew consistently win with what they have?

So far this season, Columbus have had a nice result over a Real Salt Lake or a D.C. United, and the next week they'll look like a totally different team, bereft of any ideas offensively, as in the Montreal game.

It's unfornuate if Columbus couldn't get anything done, but hopefully it's because they trust in what they have when the club is healthy.

Duka appears to be a key piece, and Arrieta looks like the player we needed after a woeful first appearance.

Either way, the Columbus fans will support the club.

Also, returning the favor of a home loss to Sporting KC would be just what the doctor ordered, for everyone to forget any failings to sign a major, impact player.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

7/26/2012: Garber Wants More Butts In Crew Seats

7/26/2012: Garber Wants More Butts In Crew Seats
By Ryan Kozlowski

Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber wants more support for the Columbus Crew by Columbusite's, according to Columbus's Business First:

Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber tells Sporting News that the Crew needs more support and that Columbus and other smaller markets are more important to the league than New York.
He also said he has met with Columbus city leaders, Crew Owner Clark Hunt and General Manager Mark McCullers to help drum up more corporate support, such as the deal the team cut with Barbasol to sponsor its jerseys.

If Columbus and other smaller markets are more important than New York, then Commissioner Garber should be drumming up big name, designated players to come to Columbus to bring out fans instead of New York.

Will take a Thierry Henry or a Tim Cahill please.. Someone with big entertainment value will add more corporate sponsors.

Garber can't say David Beckham in a Crew jersey wouldn't lead to a couple more million in Crew corporate sponsorship.

So, trade David Beckham to Columbus. Or bring Neymar to Columbus :-)

Ok, that was all a joke and isn't happening, but still.

Sporting News published the comments as part of a wide-ranging interview with Garber, who has been the head of the league since 1999. Garber said Columbus was one of the league’s markets that he would ”like to see perform better,” saying the Crew has a “great little stadium” that fans need to go out to support.

I guess Don "The Maker Of Statements That He Could Do Little About" Garber, has missed the last three home attendances of 17,000, 19,000, and another 17,000. Which is a lot better than at least half of MLS clubs.

Or maybe he'll take credit for the turn around, just as he appears to be taking credit for the Barbasol deal.

7/26/2012: (VIDEO) Crewture.com Weekly Report

Discussion on the topics of the Crew's 2-1 win over EPL team Stoke City, their upcoming away game against Sporting Kansas City, international topics like women's soccer, the All-Star game, and the international friendlies that took place all across the United States this week featuring English, Italian, and French teams.

I'm looking to crunch this down to 5 better, scripted minutes next week. Might call it Crewture.com's Weekly Five, spending a minute on five different topics. I'm also willing to take a few questions from Crewture.com readers on the Crew or topic ideas from things that happen in the run up to next Thursday, August 2nd.

I apologize for my awful French in advance.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

7/24/2012: The Crew Have Much In Reserve (Stoke Recap)

Ben Speas scores the game winner in the 87th minute against English Premier League side Stoke City.

7/24/2012: The Crew Have Much In Reserve (Stoke Recap)
BY Ryan Kozlowski

With parity going by the wayside in Major League Soccer, being replaced with the haves and have not's, The Columbus Crew have one thing that a lot of clubs do not.. much in reserve.

The Columbus Crew won the Reserve League last year and have their sights on that result again this season, with a 6-2 record.

When the Columbus Crew reserves came on against the Stoke City reserves tonight, the back end of the lineup once again impressed.

In the second half of tonight's friendly, Columbus and their reserves absolutely bossed an international Stoke side featuring Whelan, Jones, Sorenson, and others making several times more.

And even if the Stoke City players, featured in the second half, are on the outside looking in for Tony Pulis's starting eleven... their playing Aaron Schoenfield from East Tennessee St., Ethan Finlay from Creighton, and Matt Lampson- who hasn't even seen minutes against an MLS senior team before.

When your Glenn Whelan, just finishing up playing for Ireland in Euro 2012, and your getting bossed in midfield against the Columbus Crew reserves, that shouldn't happen right?

But, the Columbus Crew reserves, and well the whole team, had something going for them. For the second game they wanted it more, and players that needed to impress made things happen, in Aaron Horton and Ben Speas.

Both homegrown players from Lewis Center and Stow, OH respectively have a lot of pride playing for Columbus, Ohio.

That showed with their celebrations in front of the Columbus Crew's supporters section, The Nordecke, after cool finishes against an English Premier League side, that even competed in the Europa League this previous season.

Both players desperately needed it.

Aaron Horton couldn't even get minutes for the Reserve team and found himself loaned out to the USL-Pro Dayton Dutch Lions earlier this year.

Ben Speas was supposed to be a big time rookie, who could possibly contribute from the get go.

But, Speas faced a sports hernia to start the season and then an ugly row with the coaching staff in The Columbus Dispatch recently; as Speas was apparently healthy for a month, but was frustrated to have no first-team action in a Crew that struggled offensively.

Well, the former Tar Heels performance tonight did the talking, and it said that maybe Ben Speas should be getting some minutes. And not only him, but maybe even Aaron Horton should get 5-10 minutes up top.

Anyone who can take their chances and finish (on a team where no one can), deserves some notice, even in a friendly against a non-inspired Stoke.

Either way though, this is a feel good sign, even if it doesn't change much right away for Horton or Speas. It shows that not only are the Crew doing the correct things in the reserves, but also in their academy where both Horton and Speas, and even Lampson came out of.

When teams like New York have Thierry Henry, Gary Cahill, and Rafael Marquez; supported by other former EPL players like Teemu Tainio and Jan Gunnar Solli. For Columbus to continue to be competitive, their going to have to make sure they do the right things in their academy and reserves.

Plus, I believe a player that has been through the academy and reserves is going to fight harder for that Columbus Crew shirt than some overpaid international, hired gun that secretly thinks MLS is a joke and is just looking for their final pay day.

So keep your Beckham's and Cahill's. I rather have 10 more Horton's and Lampson's.


GK- Greunebaum (6)- Not much came his way.
GK- Lampson (8)- Anytime your a rookie, and you can keep that chill and in control against Stoke City, you deserve some props. Lampson has some nice composure on him, and it appears a good keeper head. If that's our third keeper, were good for the keeper position for a long time to come.
CB- Mendes (6)- Hope no injury, probably shouldn't of left him in that long. Only sour spot, along with Vukovic's injury.
CB/LB- Williams (7)- Williams is one of the breakout players of the year, he is consistently solid; except possibly against SKC in a new position, but the kid has a strong head on his shoulders.
CB- James (7.5)- Thought Julius James looked really solid.
RB- Miranda (6)- Got beat one time in the first half and then sort of lagged to get back, should've led to something. But, not bad other than that.
LB- Gehrig (7.5)- Good performance in an unfamiliar left back position. His defensive stop led to Renteria move and goal.
LB- Vukovic (6)- Didn't have the most significant outing ever, before his injury.
LB- Finlay (7.5)- May be one of those attacking players in college, that turn into a nice wing back in MLS. I thought he was solid at left back, definitely has the speed to get forward and back, can add something surprising from left back... Compared to when he's up in the attack, where his moves and etc. seem to be read and stopped by most MLS defenders.
DM- Grossman (6)- Not many touches, but did most of the dirty work in midfield while Birchall joined into the attack more against Stoke.
DM- Birchall (7)- Had some nice play, but at other times was probably trying to run a little too much against his hometown club Stoke. Still good overall.
DM- Tchani (7.5)- Thought he had a solid second half.
AM- Duka (8.5)- Kid's just good. He's the catalyst to this year's team, if he stays healthy maybe the Crew can surprise a few teams, sneak into the playoffs, and do some damage. But, without him, usually the Crew don't have enough variety in their attack.

Throughout the first half, an unfit Stoke City defense looked afraid to challenge Duka, so they laid off and let him take shots and make moves. One almost led to a dynamic goal.
AM- Gaven (6.5)- Had some nice moments but couldn't break through the Stoke City defense in the first half.
AM- Meram (6.5)- Once again had some nice moments, but like Gaven, didn't result in anything, even if both with Duka deserved a goal from that first half.
AM- Speas (9.5 MOTM)- Game winner and looked like a second Dilly Duka. If he turns out to be as composed and sure of himself, were set in midfield; as long as Warzycha can keep Speas happy.
LW- Horton (9)- Got a much deserved goal. Nice to see someone who has put in the minutes and who has been shipped to the Dayton Dutch Lions, who are awful in USL Pro, get a result from his efforts.

He is a striker and he has 1 goal in 1 appearance against English Premier League teams, so maybe the Crew should give him a run out every once in a while. You never know who has a nose for goal, even if they don't blow you away around the rest of the field.
RW- Renteria (9)- Nice assist. Crew coaching staff and fans need to lower the pressure on Renteria and I believe he will flourish. When it's just a friendly, and everything is relaxed, Renteria went out there in the second half and joked the Stoke City right middie and back.
ST- Schoenfield (9.5)- Haven't been the biggest fan in the past. But, really liked how Schoenfield played tonight, showed a lot more technical ability and was dangerous.
ST- Arrieta (9)- He's going to have more of an impact this year than Vargas. Not the same player.
ST- Vargas (6)- Didn't really do a thing.

7/24/2012: Columbus vs. Stoke City (LIVE VIDEO)

UPDATE: Johnathon Walters puts Stoke up 1-nil in first half, despite Columbus dominating most of the possession and shots. Dilly Duka, Chris Birchall, Eddie Gaven, and Justin Meram look good once again for Columbus.
Watch live streaming video from mlschannel1 at livestream.com

7/24/2012: Warzycha Declares Interest In Jelen?

Warzycha finally speaks on Jelen.

 That's according to Sport.WP.PL, who said that Crew Manager Robert Warzycha made the following comment to the Polish press:
We will help Irenaeusz Jelen. This is a player with very high skills to be without a club - commented Robert Warzycha.

7/24/2012: Trending Stoke.. Crouchie, Birchall, Pennant

From Columbus Crew's instagram- he's big, he's red, his legs stick out the bed, Peter Crouch:

**A preview of the match tonight, between the Columbus Crew and Stoke City, is on the Columbus Crew website and if you cannot make it to the game a live feed will be on TheCrew.com.

**Chris Birchall is having a week to remember. First he scores the game-winner against D.C. United, a much-needed boost for the Trinidad international, who could use some extra confidence since coming back to MLS with Columbus; and now he plays his hometown rival, Stoke City:

“Stoke City and Port Vale are the two teams in that city. I grew up there. Stoke is my hometown. My address is Stoke. All my best friends play for Stoke. It’s a bizarre thing that happened. I couldn’t believe it. Of all the teams that we’re playing, we’re playing them.”

Birchall played previously with Port Vale, trained with Port Vale before coming to Columbus, and almost was going to play for "free" for Port Vale before coming back to MLS.

Not only that Stoke City's defender, Andy Wilkinson, was the best man in Chris Birchall's wedding this June.

Stoke City defender Andy Wilkinson

 **In not as feel good news, Stoke City's star winger Jermaine Pennant won't be playing against the Columbus Crew tonight because of his criminal record:
Under US law, Pennant must wait for his application to be accepted before he flies out to join the rest of his teammates who are in Columbus, in preparation of their US tour which will see them play Columbus Crew, Sporting Kansas City and there sister club Orlando City.

If the winger`s application is granted, he will fly out to America on his own, but for the time being the former England under-21 international is training with Stoke`s youth side.

Former Newcastle pair Joey Barton and Nile Ranger were barred from travelling with the Magpies in 2011 because of their criminal records.

7/24/2012: Emotional Win For Columbus Crew

Duka and company lead Crew to hard fought win.

Stuck at work lately, but got to say that I like how the Crew dug out the victory against D.C. United. Great work by Birchall on the run and the goal, Arrieta on the pass to Birchall, and Duka for his overall work rate/footwork in midfield.

I've been digging the Crew for not having a lot of pride lately, and not wanting it more than their opponents in the last few games.

But, on the winning goal, you could tell Columbus wanted it more and that it meant a lot to them:

Kudos all around. What the Crew needed before a big road trip.

Will have a more in-depth recap of the game tonight, with other posts.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

7/21/2012: Trending.. Speas, Duka, Miranda

1.) Rookie attacking midfielder Ben Speas has been healthy for the last month, but just not utilized by the Crew, according to Bob Hunter's commentary:
After [Speas] missed a big part of this season because of a sports hernia, he seems to have fallen out of the team’s plans and apparently isn’t happy about it. He has been healthy for more than a month and isn’t playing, and didn’t even make the field when the Crew trained 11 on 11. His agent said that they don’t like the way he is being treated by the coaching staff, which is hardly surprising.
Speas, scored the winning goal for North Carolina to win the College Cup last year and elected to skip the draft and sign with Columbus early.

But, who needs to keep a rookie like that, happy? Apparently not the Crew coaching staff.

Speas did some damage control later in the day:

But, there's some truth to every rumor, and if Speas couldn't get on the field, with all the injuries in the past month, it's unlikely he will at any part of this season.

With Tchani and Birchall's substandard performances at times, and Kevan George playing a role, Speas should get a chance as well.

So, he has every right to be frustrated.

I personally wouldn't mind a creative midfield of Duka, Meram, Speas, Gaven, supported by O'Rourke, with a designated player in front, like Jelen, alone.

The current midfield just seems to not have any ideas.

2.) Crew midfielder Dilly Duka is pulling a Guillermo Barros Schelotto and stating that "he won't practice as hard."

This gem comes from the Crew's own website:

“Now, I’m learning my lessons from the past that I should definitely take it easier in training throughout the week so I’m fresher and ready for the weekend,” the third-year player said.

His new philosophy may not always jibe with that of head coach Robert Warzycha, who expects his players to go all out all the time during practices.

“I like players that are giving everything everyday and then he’ll play the game,” Warzycha said. “But if he’s doing that he’s smart enough to do it.”

Apparently, Duka is safe to do as he pleases as he's the only player that does anything inspiring when he comes on the field anyway.

All the other Crew players either back pass or try to kick the ball as fast as they can, running into an opposing defender in the process, and turning the ball over.

“He’s so creative. The ball just kind of sticks to his foot," said teammate Andy Greunebaum. Which makes Duka a treasured commodity on an uncreative Crew, with very little technical ability on the ball.

On the frontpage of TheCrew.com, so safe to say it will be Arrieta and Vargas, the Costa Rican duo up top this weekend vs. DC United.

3.) Olman Vargas might come out of his hiatus, from the starting lineup, to form an all Costa Rican partnership up top with Jairo Arrieta against D.C. United.

Warzycha stated he thinks their would be a good understanding between the two since they've played together at Saprissa and with their national team. Even though, Arrieta has 3 international appearances and Vargas has only one, never together. Further, the duo never made a great partnership when they were both at Saprissa.

However, it's worth a try since nothing else has worked; even if I'm doubtful that either will be that effective in MLS.

But, I don't mind Meram, the second most creative player on the team, combining with Duka in midfield.

When Birchall, Tchani, Gaven, and George are in the midfield, there isn't enough creativity to break defenses down.

4.) Crew right back Sebastian Miranda continues to be in the doghouse.

After 50 staight starts, Miranda is likely to sit the bench for the second straight week, despite Josh Williams error causing the first goal in a 2-0 home loss to Sporting KC last week.

I honestly don't think Miranda, or Vukovic, have been that bad this season. When they've played, we have had one of the best defenses in MLS.

So, perhaps this is some elaborate trick by Warzycha to take the focus off of his inept offense.

Either way, I don't get why you would not want to use someone who has 50 straight starts.. And I really don't get why you would want to piss a player off like that, who's been so consistent for the club.

5.) If was nice to see an outpouring of emotion from Crew players in regards to the Colorado cinema shooting (seen thoughts from Meram, Tchani, Birchall, and others):

Friday, July 20, 2012

7/21/2012: Lanus President Says Guillermo "Brillant"

Guillermo coaching top Argentine side Lanus through practices, to prepare for Fall season.

7/21/2012: Lanus President Says Guillermo "Brillant"
By Ryan Kozlowski

Before Guillermo's version of Lanus has even kicked a ball, the president of the club is calling Guillermo "Brillant."

Such praise for a manager, before winning hardware, would seem weird to most in the soccer world; but Crew fans would perfectly understand "Brillant" in referencing Guillermo.

To Crew fans Gullermo Barros Schelotto is like Clint Eastwood, he's the strong, silent type.
He smells of confidence.
He was the roaming cowboy, as well as the midfield magician, who brought the Crew back, game-after-game, during the 2008 Championship winning season.
He did everything.

So, Brilliant makes sense to us.

Guillermo Barros Schelotto was a brillant player. And if you want to know a brilliant player, you have to know his brilliant moments.

1:32 mark is it for me- It's pure Guillermo and why fans fall in love with a player, and there's no reason he couldn't inspire the same as a manager:

That goal against Chivas... I can still close my eyes and see the sunny day, the sweaty hot section of fans tilting over each other towards the field, and seeing Guillermo pivot by using his elbow on the Chivas defender and spinning off of him, ending up on the end of the ball, 1-0.

Everything was perfect about it.

Guillermo still has a major affect on Crew fans.

Even today, Crew fans can't help but keep tabs on him, think about how he played, and well even paint him; as here's a sick little portrait done by Crew fan and writer Aaron Katzeman:

They especially want him as Crew Head Coach.

The idea of Guillermo Barros Schelotto as head coach is appealing to a lot of Crew fans and many hope it happens someday. But, with Lanus President Nicolas Russo throwing around "brillant manager" already, it will be sometime much further in the future.

Here's the full quote from Lanus President Nicolas Russo via ESPN Deportes:
"Guillermo is brilliant. Grandísmo is a technical, highly intelligent and cunning coach. I always had hiring expectations while he played for Boca and I wanted him twice and he was always going to be coach of Lanus," Russo confided in an interview with the radio program "Sport Telam."
Guillermo, who made 102 regular season appearances for Columbus, has made it no secret that one day he would like to coach Columbus.

Warzycha may be safe until GBS moves on from Lanus, well, if he does.

7/21/2012: Polish Press Saying Crew After Jelen

I posted this speculative piece a few weeks back (Lille Free Agent Ireneusz Jelen Crew Target?) about Ireneusz Jelen making sense as a possible designated player target for Robert Warzycha; since Jelen had a strike rate of 1 goal every 3 games in Ligue 1 (49 goals in 153 matches), speaks the same language as Warzycha, and is a high-pedigree Polish player who's down on his luck in France and unlikely to go back to his home country.

Jelen also fit the description of what the Crew were after at the time; as Crew technical director Brian Bliss told The Columbus Dispatch, back in June, that Columbus made an offer to a European striker whose nation was playing in Euro 2012.

On 7/19/2012, a French sport website or two gave the story some real legs, starting with MLS-News.fr, which didn't have an agent or player comment, or anything from Columbus; But stated, from whomever sources they did have, that Columbus had an interest in Jelen.

Now on 7/20/2012, all the major Polish soccer websites are reporting on Warzycha being interested in Jelen as well, in detail. But, still without an agent or player comment.

From Onet.pl:
Smuda did not take Jelen to Euro 2012, but he impresses another Polish coach. Robert Warzycha would like to bring the recent OSC Lille striker to the Columbus Crew. To conduct the transfer, but with less time. 
For Jelen offer from the Columbus Crew may be his last resort. In Lille, he did not fare well. Last season the club ended up in relegation battle and fell into oblivion. Smuda did not take him to Euro 2012, which, in fact, only worsened his current situation. There was no offer for him in Ligue 1, and the Chinese Shanghai Shenhua proved to be very determined to win him over. But, instead, the club brought in Didier Drogba.

The forward [Jelen] in a short time had received three offers but the deals did not work. Reportedly with Stade Brest, Racing Santander and Shanghai Shenhua. Player has not changed employers and the last time on the pitch came in February. Soon, his fate may change.

From Fakt.PL:
Jelen's high rating in France has fallen. But, before Deer unexpectedly appeared an interesting offer. Former Polish representative could play in the club trained by a Pole, one Robert Warzycha, of Columbus Crew.

Apparently, coach trying to convince Jelen to move overseas. Club of Ohio last season came in ninth place in the overall MLS table, and currently occupies eighth place in the Eastern Conference.

Perhaps such a risky step could help rebuild Jelen's career and have him go back to playing for the new coach of Poland Waldemar Fornalika (49 l).

Also reported on four other major, Polish soccer websites.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

7/19/2012: Trending.. Goals, Transfers, & Twitters.

1.) Everyone's talking about Micheal Bradley, and here's a good article by Jamie Trecker on Bradley's move to Roma...

But former Borussia Dortmund reserve, turned Rapid Vienna star Terrence Boyd, who were just going to call "TBoyd", bicycle kicked in a goal and almost bicycle kicked in another against his US compatriot Bradley and Roma in a preseason friendly:

The striker who has been favored by U.S. National team manager Jurgen Klinsmann lately, thanks to 20 goals for Borussia's reserves, looks like he's getting closer to being a preferred option for good up top with Jozy Altidore.

TBoyd (far right) with two other, new Rapid Vienna signings.

2.) Today some French websites are reporting that the Columbus Crew's Warzycha is indeed interested in his Polish compatriot and former Auxerre striker Ireneusz Jelen.

Jelen for Poland against Serbia, last year

I speculated that Jelen may be a Crew target a few weeks back for the designated player spot, and joked today that I'll take a finders fee if I'm responsible for the French rumors and it leads to something.

Well, Adam Jardy of The Columbus Dispatch tweeted:

On the Crewture rumor, (my link provided), the Crew said the DP player played in Euro 2012, and Jelen did not play.

Then he got a reply back from a reader:

Minutes later, Jardy's tweet about my Jelen rumor was taken down. Wonder why? Possibly The Dispatch said "hey, Jardy just so you know we don't associate with that rag" or the Crew told him to take it down because their indeed in negotiations with Jelen. :-) Or Ryan Kramb was right, that the DP player's nation was in Euro, but the player wasn't.

Either way, it was cool to be tweeted by The Dispatch's Jardy for a little while.

3.) The Nordecke chanted "Sack Warzycha" against Kansas City, but General Manager Mark McCullers still keeps his rose-tinted glasses on in this discussion with Adam Jardy at The Columbus Dispatch.

You may be surprised, but I agree in a way that it's probably best for Columbus to play out this season, as is.

Shaking things up in a managerial sense, midseason, isn't going to help anything unless Guillermo Barros Schelotto (if that happened Crew fans would be naming their babies Mark) or Leo Beenhakker or some bigger name wants to take a crack at coaching in MLS.

Anyway, I'm sure McCullers resolve on Warzycha will shake if the Crew doesn't improve and misses the playoffs again this season, or bows out again in the first round.

In addition, with the Crew's current roster, I don't think Columbus could entice anyone in mid-season to take over who would do a much better job.

Instead, I think the Crew should pursue some trades, work hard on that designated player option. Warzycha should be up Bliss's behind making these things happen in the next 8 days. Because the fact is that this current team doesn't have enough offensively, or total, to make a playoff push.

But, I don't expect pressure to subside from Crew fans, who think that Columbus has been resting on it's 2008 laurels and have gained a taste for substandard results:

It appears Warzycha is going to get the chance to prove himself over the rest of this season. But, he better make fast work of it.

It took Schmid three years to make Columbus a champion. On year four, Warzycha can't even make them a playoff team.

4.) Thierry Henry's goal against Chicago has been getting the lion share of the praise on the internet, Terrence Boyd's was better for me, still a sweet finish by Henry who's been saving it up since his last one on April 28th:

5.) Good to see Tony Tchani helping out the community and the kids, on his twitter.

And Josh Williams doing the same, entertaining kids, as kid groups watched training today:

6.) Stoke City have signed Geoff Cameron, as long as a conditional work permit is accepted. Unfornuately, not in time to face off against Columbus on July 24th.

7/19/2012: Crew To Host MLS Soccer Exec Summit

"Were all happy and talking about executive-type stuff!"

7/19/2012: Crew To Host MLS Soccer Exec Summit
By Ryan Kozlowski

So, Don Garber may like Columbus after all; as the Don has decided to host a MLS Soccer Exec Summit in Columbus, to coincide with the World Cup qualifier against Jamaica on September 11th.

From Jeff Bell, at Columbus Biz Journals:

The Crew will host the Major League Soccer Business Summit on Sept. 12-13 with more than 250 league executives and team staff members coming to town. Besides taking in the World Cup qualifier, they will share best practices learned in running their clubs and get an update on league business, said Crew President and General Manager Mark McCullers.

Major League Soccer has held one other business summit, in Chicago in 2008, with league execs and staffers usually just convening at big events such as the all-star game, player draft and MLS Cup championship. But McCullers said MLS Commissioner Don Garber felt the timing was right to revive the summit and hold it in Columbus and support the Crew’s Goal 10K effort to boost home attendance that sagged to 12,185 a game last year, second lowest in the league.

Garber: "How many soccer exec's does it take to sell out Crew Stadium? 250! Hey-o!"

The Columbus Crew's attendance has skyrocketed to 14,572 per game this year. But, admittedly the Crew front office still has plenty of work to get to that 10K ticket sales mark.

I would recommend staying awake for the Seattle Sounders PowerPoint.

7/19/2012: French Reports Have Crew After Striker Jelen

Polish and former Auxerre striker Ireneusz Jelen headed to Columbus?

7/19/2012: French Reports Have Crew After Striker Jelen
By Ryan Kozlowski

From MLS-News.FR, and also being reported at Sport France:

Without a club since leaving Lille this summer, the Polish striker Ireneusz Jelen could bounce back in MLS, according to reports. The former Auxerre striker, 31, is in the viewfinder of the Columbus Crew and his manager, his compatriot Robert Warzycha. The Polish international, who was not invited at the last EURO played in its country, is one of the priorities of the technician of the franchise in Ohio, modest eighth in the East.
There have been no other substantive reports, that either French sport website links to.

Which makes me wonder if they got the speculation from my website's article, 7/7/2012: Lille Free Agent Ireneusz Jelen Crew Target?

Where the article, if you actually read it and not just take the headline, was pure speculation; as I like to take hints from what Crew technical director Brian Bliss says in the paper and try to guess what the Crew may be after as far as a designated player.

Still if it's on two French websites now, it will be on 40 to 50 in a hour, which who knows could lead to Jelen's agent reaching out to Columbus or the Crew calling the Polish striker.

 I'm kind of poor, so I'll take a finder's fee.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

7/18/2012: Stoke City Announces Roster For July 24th

Tony Pulis's Stoke City, who finished 14th in the English Premier League last season, are bringing all of their big guns to Crew Stadium for a 7:30 p.m. encounter on Wednesday, July 24th.

Stoke City FC traveling roster:

Goalkeepers: Asmir Begovic, Thomas Sorensen, Carlo Nash

Defenders: Andy Wilkinson, Ryan Shotton, Robert Huth, Ryan Shawcross, Matthew Upson, Danny Higginbotham, Marc Wilson, Danny Collins.

Midfielders: Jermaine Pennant, Glenn Whelan, Dean Whitehead, Rory Delap, Matthew Etherington, Wilson Palacios, Diego Arismendi, Michael Tonge, Jamie Ness.

Strikers: Peter Crouch, Kenwyne Jones, Jonathan Walters, Cameron Jerome, Mamady Sidibe.

The Columbus Crew are 2-3-2 against English clubs, losing in all three of their previous encounters since 2007. The Crew lost to Aston Villa 3-1 in 2007, fell to West Ham 3-1 in 2008 (in the infamous watered down-version of the ICF vs. Hudson Street Hooligans brawl), and lost to Newcastle United 3-0 last July.

The Crew will likely play mostly reserves, which may be a good thing since their starting eleven has lost 3 out of the last 4 games.

I also hope the Crew plays mostly reserves because umm.., were in the middle of a season. Like Stoke City is going to play us in November. Personally always found these mid-Summer friendlies sort of silly, but if used for reserves it's alright.

That being said one week whoever is starting for the Crew is a reserve the next week, and vice-versa, so who knows who will trot out against the Potters.

The only thing that may make it worth the 10 to 15 bucks for a ticket, is if Peter Crouch can do one of these again. I would pay to see that:

But, then again it's a friendly on a Wednesday against a lower rung English Premier team, a difficult Grouchy point would be picking the attendance and the Crew's starting eleven for this one.

If the Columbus front office wanted to spice it up, they should've re-invited West Ham. :-)

Are you going? Do you think the Crew should vary their friendlies for non-EPL teams as well? Like, for example, I wouldn't mind seeing a Borussia Dortmund. Talk about it in the comments below, on our facebook group, or hit us up on twitter.

7/18/2012: Renteria Suspended, Frustration Showing

A fan favorite, Renteria, hasn't lived up to expectations as of late. But, may not be his fault.

7/18/2012: Renteria Suspended, Frustration Showing?
By Ryan Kozlowski

When the Crew decided not to re-negotiate and hold onto DP striker Andres Mendoza, Emilio Renteria was meant to become the man up top in 2012.

The Crew may wish now, in hindsight, they would've held onto the troubled Mendoza; as apparently Renteria has a better go of things when he's not expected to be the main scorer.

Renteria has started 14 games this season (1189 minutes total), only tallying 2 goals in a team-high 41 attempts on goal.

Against Sporting Kansas City, Renteria had a shot ricochet off the post that should've been converted:

He's had many this season that should've been in the back of the net. But, hit crossbars and shanked strikes has been the Renteria story in 2012.

Renteria was dreaming that this would be his year, but other than a cheeky goal in Seattle it hasn't been.

However, should the Crew ever have made Renteria the main man, instead of a number two? Even at Caracas F.C., Renteria only had 9 goals in 53 league appearances; he's always been a workhorse, who's battling leads to goals for the main striker and his surrounding midfielders.

I truly believe if Renteria had a Marco di Vaio or Kenny Miller or Robbie Keane in front of him, like some MLS clubs have, that all of a sudden Renteria is effective and has a long career at Columbus.

The fact is he isn't the best finisher, but he does the things that could complement well a pure finisher.

And that shows, as most of this season he has been more comfortable coming back to midfield, to try to get some touches on the ball. Then getting fouled, as he thought he was on the play that led to his suspension against Kansas City, or dispossessed.

He's not like a Marco di Vaio who can just sit up top and wait until someone gives him a good pass that he can finish. Renteria's game is to drop in midfield, battle, connect with his midfielders, and then work it to Schelotto or someone who can finish.. And, then at times, when Renteria feels a little inspiration, his game is once in a while to finish himself with something brilliant.

Renteria is frustrated because he has no main man, to work off of. Even working off of Mendoza, allowed the Crew to have enough production up top to be a playoff team (something they won't be this year if things continue as is); it also allowed the Crew to have a set striker pairing game in, game out if neither was injured (another thing that they can't have this year, that's affecting them).

But, Renteria is doing himself no favors with his frustration that led to this reaction, that led to a suspension:

So, if Meram and Arrieta can get something going against D.C United; who lost 4-0 last week on the road against Houston and who are without their no. 1 in net, Bill Hamid, you have to wonder if Renteria has exhausted his chances in 2012?

And the silly thing is that's it's probably not even his fault because the Crew and its fans are expecting him to be a goal-scoring machine, when the fact is he's just a great compliment to a goal-scoring machine.

Renteria just works better when Schelotto was the main man or Mendoza was the main man. If the Crew were to find their DP striker before the July 27th deadline, I think will all see a different Renteria in the second-half of the season.

What are your thoughts on what Columbus should do with Renteria for the rest of this season and in the off-season? Do you agree Renteria is more effective with a striker than can shoulder most of the expectations? Share them on our twitter at /CrewtureFanzine or in our facebook group, search CrewtureFanzine.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

7/18/2012: Jerry The Legend Rant Of The Week On Speas

Jerry The Legend (fellow in the middle, to the right of Aron Winter) is part of the Queen City Supporters, Hudson Street Hooligans, Einheit, and the Nordecke. Travels hrs to games from Cincinnati. Wanted me to warn you that his rants are similar to that of a 13 year old retarded child.

7/18/2012: Rant Of The Week- Where The Hell Is Speas? - By Jerry The Legend/ CREWTURE.COM

Here's a question for all to ponder: When the hell is Ben Speas going to be healthy???

The most action he's gotten for Columbus is holding a Barbasol shaving cream can.

Yet, when you think about it, we've struck pure gold the past TWO years with the draft. Last year we picked up Balchan, who when healthy again, will eventually be O'rouke's replacement once he's too banged up to go hard anymore. We got J9, who has said all he needs to do is be on the pitch and scored some clutch goals (even if he runs his mouth on twitter too much. Not that I give a damn about OSU, but still).

This year we won the draft the day BEFORE it started by picking up Speas. I think once he's healthy and gets some time, we're not even gonna care who the DP is or isn't gonna be. We'll have our much needed attacker.

Then we got Ethan who is more or less another THE Robbie Rodgers,

Awe, Robbie Patterson!

minus the douchebag attitude, and actually has a great attitude with this team, and wants to give his all. Plus picking up George and Lampson who will be important backups down the road.

So when the hell can these youngins get healthy???? Not soon enough.

A DP would help us right now, but what we really need is a GOOD training staff that can get these boys into good fitness, and more importantly keep them healthy. I think some of our solutions are right under our noses, but they're not available.

Oh, and as always..... Fire RW

What do you think of the Crew youngins? If we lost a few more games, should more of them see the field? Also, what about the fact that no one can ever be healthy on the Crew, is there a problem with the Crew physio? Thoughts welcome on our twitter, facebook group, or comment below.