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, February 28, 2012

2/28/2012: Ekpo Signs With Norwegian Champs Molde FK & Scores, Vukovic Info/Video, More Updates

Ekpo signs three-year deal and scores in pre-season for European Champions League 2011 group competitors Molde FK.

2/28/2012: Ekpo Signs With Norwegian Champs Molde FK & Scores, Vukovic Info/Video, More Updates
By Ryan Kozlowski

The former Columbus Crew winger, Emmanuel Ekpo, let his contract expire this offseason and decided to look for work in Europe instead.

The 24-year-old, after months of trials and searching, signed with a pretty good club (but not too good where he might be confined only to reserve matchups) in Norwegian champions Molde FK.

The deal was for three years, as Ekpo hopes to gain experience and then possibly make the leap to a middle La Liga or Bundesliga side at 27.

The Nigerian has already set out to make an impression for former Manchester United star, now Molde skipper, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in pre-season matches for the Norwegian defending champions.

Last week, Ekpo scored in a 3-1 spanking of 3rd division, Spanish side Union Estepona in Molde's preseason camp in Spain.

Ekpo rounded four Estepona players and then the Estepona keeper to score a delightful indivdual goal in the 69th minute during a 3-1 pre-season victory (Picture by Erik Birkeland, Rbnett.no/fotball)

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was even more impressed with Ekpo in his second appearance against Russian side Alania, a day after the Estepona goal, in a 1-0 victory (video here, as Ekpo was involved around the goal at the end of this video). Gunnar said the following about the game, and singled out Ekpo, with others for praise:
Magnus does things at a level that very few can match in the Premier League. Jo Inge looks good and deserved the goal. In addition, it was nice to see Mattias Moström succeed. He was very good. And Emmanuel Ekpo showed even more qualities today. He reads the game and break frequently. And he has a splitter with the ball similar to Petter Rudi, says Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Crewture.com wishes Emmanuel Ekpo luck at Molde FK. Although a player that was inconsistent at times, he was a player that was liked for his creativity for the Crew.

Good to see former Crew players that may have not been seen as crucial to the Crew's puzzle such as Mendoza, Rogers, and Ekpo, land with teams such as Atlante, Leeds United, and now Champions League sides such as Molde FK.

Ekpo also joins a young American whos making a name for himself at Molde in Josh Gatt, video here. Gatt made 22 appearances for Norwegian champs Molde in 2011 and may be a true American that Klinnsmann should take a closer look at.

**Here's a little more on Nemanja Vukovic, the 27-year-old has his most professional appearances with Greek top division strugglers F.C. Panetolikos in 2011 with 15 appearances, 29 total over his three seasons there from 2009 to 2011; and Montenegron top side FK Buchanost from 2007-2009 where he was a major starter for all three years.

Most recently, with some coaching changes and the like at struggling Panetolikos, the Montenegron went back to local Montenegron side OFK Grbalj to get more playing time.

To hopefully jumpstart his career again, Vukovic is now on trial with the Columbus Crew.

Here's a few videos of Vukovic, oddly the second one uses, for it's intro, a background of the Colorado Rapids Dicks Sporting Goods Park, where the Crew will play there first MLS game of the 2012 season. Good omen for Nemanja, perhaps?

In this first video, Nemanja shows ability to get up in the attack with Panetolikos and good footskills in tight spaces:

**In a change of pace from players, here's an interesting take from a few days back by Columbus's Business First website on how the Crew can make the most out of their FOX Sports regional deal.

Ohio University sport management professor Michael Pfahl, who specializes in media convergence, believes the deal with FOX Sports will give the Crew a broader appeal around the state, as well as bordering states.

But, it's up to the Crew to use that appeal by using Fox Sports Ohio to drive fans to their website after the games air.

Pfahl states:
“TV is really just brand awareness. I think what you can do is cut out people who don’t care about soccer. You can cut out hooligans. You’re left with a lot of different communities in the middle. This allows the Crew to speak on a big platform to a lot of people.”

What Pfahl means by this is that the Crew are never going to attract diehard American football fans or need to worry about attracting diehard soccer hooligans that are already hooked to the Crew in Ohio. But, the Fox Sports Ohio deal needs to put an attractive brand of soccer in front of bypassing viewers and then attract those viewers to want to know more by looking up the Crew online, and eventually buying a ticket or two in the 2012 season or merchandise, here or there.

Monday, February 27, 2012

2/27/2012: Duka Scores For U.S. U-23's in 3-nil Victory

May have been a warm up for the U.S. U-23's, as Brek Shea, Juan Agudelo, and company faced off against some outfit I never heard of in the San Antonio Scorpions.

But, nevertheless it's never a bad thing to score for your national side, and Columbus Crew midfielder Dilly Duka scored on a nice individual effort to make it 2-nil, on the way to a 3-0 victory for the U.S. U-23's against a not so deadly San Antonio Scorpion side.

Duka's goal starts at 1:43 on this video:

The U-23 group in this video will likely represent the United States in the U.S. London 2012 Olympic Games, and continued good performances by Dilly Duka can help him become a starter on that team.

On the 2008 version, both Gaven and Rogers started on the U-23 Olympic side.

2/27/2012: "Dare To Be Massive" Commercial

Pretty sweet online promo video, the Columbus Crew need to make these commercials there ads for local television stations. Recent promos from this season and 2010 are definitely improved over previous seasons:

Also wish I had the Crew's editing and video equipment. Oh some day.

What do you think of the ad? How could they be improved?

2/26/2012: Crew Let Victory Go Late, In 2-2 Tie With Charleston

Ethan Findlay in the new Barbasol kit.

2/26/2012: Crew Let Victory Go Late, In 2-2 Tie With Charleston
By Ryan Kozlowski

Crew rookie Ethan Findlay (pictured above) had a nice assist on Saturday setting up Eddie Gaven, as him and the Crew started off well in their latest pre-season challenge. The Crew only needed six minutes to register a 1-0 lead in there most competitive matches yet this season, in the Carolina Challenge Cup against the Charleston Battery on Saturday. The Crew will face the Chicago Fire on Wednesday in the Challenge Cup with a chance to win the tournament with a victory.

In their first match of the Challenge Cup, the Crew started off well in both halves, only to let a weaker USL side in Charleston battle back to a 2-2 tie. The Crew dominated most of the first-half and second-half against the Battery but late concentration lapses would, as in previous years, again bother Warzycha's team.

With the Crew controlling in the first-half, the Battery only needed a nice counter and some sleepy Crew defense to knot the game up at 1's. As the Charleston Battery would counter late in the first-half, in the 40th minute, with a Dane Kelly goal similiar to Gaven's.

Once again, the Crew would shake it off and continue to pile on the pressure- leading finally to a penalty kick and a Milovan Mirosevic goal in the 59th minute.

The Crew defense solidified as the second-half went on, and with only minutes remaining in the contest had control and believed to have the Battery finished. Only to have another carbon copy reply from Charleston, as Crew defender Carlos Mendes took down Salieu Bundu in the penalty area (in the 89th minute), was red carded, and a deputizing Greunebaum was beat by Jose Cuevas.

The tie and the lapses left a sour taste in Head Coach Warzycha's mouth:

“Obviously, I’m not [happy about it]. We had the lead in the first half, and we gave up the goal at the end of the first half. The same thing happened in the second half. Sometimes you have to be lucky, but more than anything we have to make sure you work hard [to prevent that from happening].”

The late-lapses in halves were a problem for the Crew last year in some games and late-lapses have plagued Warzycha's teams in entire seasons; in 2009, and 2010, and last season.

In the Summer of 2009, the Crew jumped out to a huge lead for the Supporters Shield (the Supporters Shield is given to the team with the best record in MLS) only to barely win the Shield by a point at the end of the season.

In 2010, the Crew would take the lead in the East only to barely hang on as East leaders. But, would lose the Supporters Shield to the Galaxy, by many points despite leading the race for the best record in early Summer.

In 2011, the Crew were never in the Shield race but were tops in the East during most of the Summer only to drop all the way to 4th in the East in 2011 and squeak into the playoffs.

This is troubling for Warzycha. Rogers said the lifelong Crew coach "couldn't get the most" out of him. Can he get the most out of the players wearing the black and yellow kits in 2012?

Warzycha will try to get the most out of his makeshift lineup on Wednesday, as the Crew will need an improved performance against rivals Chicago Fire to gain some confidence this pre-season. The Crew haven't had the best results so far this pre-season, only getting results against weak competition such as U.S. U-18's as well as college sides.

The Crew employed this lineup, missing a few starters because of injury, against Charleston:
Columbus Crew – Andy Gruenebaum, Sebastian Miranda, Chad Marshall, Carlos Mendes, Shawn Francis (Nemanja Vukovic 46), Eddie Gaven, Tony Tchani (Danny O’Rourke 61), Milovan Mirosevic (Cole Grossman 84), Ethan Finlay (Aaron Horton 82), Olman Vargas (Kirk Urso 46), Emilio Renteria (Tommy Heinemann 70)

The lineup against Charleston was definitely attack-minded from the get go with nearly four-strikers in the first half with Renteria, Vargas, Finlay, and Mirosevic.

It must be a little distressing for Warzycha that more goals were not scored in that half against a weaker Charleston side. On Wednesday, it will be interesting to see if the Crew employ this sort of lineup from the get go against Chicago or go with a more defensive lineup; employed more so in the second-half against Charleston when defender Kirk Urso came in for striker Olman Vargas.

Overall, results do not matter at this point of the season, but improvement does. To watch to see if the Crew does improve, check out the game against the Chicago Fire live on Wednesday, February 29, at 5 p.m. on www.thecrew.com.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

2/23/2012: Crew Finalize FSN Deal As Garber Comes For State Of League Address

Last night, the Columbus Crew finalized a deal with Fox Sports Ohio to broadcast all Crew games in high definition (HD). They announced that, as well as many other things most of us already knew in the following 40 minute video.

Later tonight, I'll have a more in-depth write up from myself and possibly a writeup from a couple new writers I'm looking to work with.


2/23/2012: Rogers Hits Back At Warzycha

2/23/2012: Rogers Hits Back At Warzycha
By Ryan Kozlowski

Robbie Rogers is off in England battling with a Leeds United squad looking for promotion to the Premiership. In addition, Rogers currently is looking to not disappear in the Leeds reserves as the coach that brought Rogers over, Simon Grayson, was recently fired for a poor string of results.

Still with all of this stress of an overseas adventure, the former Crew winger Rogers had enough time to take a poke at his ex-coach in The New York Times:

“My first two years in M.L.S. I had Sigi Schmid,” Rogers said. “He knew how to get the best out of his players. My last three years were just kind of inconsistent. My relationship with [Robert Warzycha] was just kind of on and off. He didn’t communicate with me as well as I might have liked. I think he has a good eye for talent, but I thought I worked better with Sigi.”

If you look at Robbie Rogers stats for his last season with Sigi Schmid:

And compare that to Robbie Rogers stats for his last season with Robert Warzycha:

Rogers basically just reversed goals and assists, which isn't necessarily bad. You need someone to give a good pass to make the goals happen as well.

So, when Sigi was getting his best out of the winger Rogers contributed to 10 goals in 30 games. Whereas, when Robert was getting his best out of Rogers he contributed to 9 goals in 25 games. Not much of a difference.

Maybe Rogers was just a bit inconsistent because he was disinterested, he's always had one eye across the Atlantic (never really hid it well himself). So, find it a bit unnecessary to have to blame your field play on your ex-coach.

Or question Warzycha's ability to get the most out of his players.

Sometimes it's not best to ponder the past, especially when the present isn't so bad for a player.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

2/22/2012: Columbus Crew Designated Player Not Coming Before Season (Or More Than Likely At All)

No big name designated players, such as Dejan Stankovic (above), before the season according to the Crew brass.

2/22/2012: Columbus Crew Designated Player Not Coming Before Season (Or More Than Likely At All)
By Ryan Kozlowski

The Columbus Dispatch's Adam Jardy hinted a week ago, on his twitter account, of imminent news on the designated player front for the Columbus Crew.

If you were a Crew fan you probably refreshed the Dispatch's sports page a couple times last Friday hoping for good news. Finally,

Soccer: Crew’s plans for designated player on hold

That title was so anti-climatic (and well for Crew fans with a pessimistic reproach out there- expected), that I skimmed through the article at work on my Samsung and left the story alone for a few days.

As I've learned over my history of writing on here, usually the best, balanced ideas come after some thought. So here's some thoughts on the Crew's designated player search:

1. Why give up on a DP before the season (or admit that it's unlikely) so early: As the Crew made their admission that there was unlikely to be a designated player before the season, there were 23 days before the first game. Even if it's unlikely that the Crew will sign a designated player, why supply the "quotes" for an article on it already? Why not tease the fans a little? The Crew could of continued to say were close (for the remainder of the 23 days before their matchup with Colorado) and keep the feel good optimism up and maybe sell some more tickets that way. The front office, in my opinion, takes all the fun out of it by saying, oh maybe in August.

I appreciate the honesty but some things are better left unknown.

2. It's sometimes a waste to bring on a designated player in August (or rather any signing): As was the case with Mendoza and possibly Schelotto (early on) bringing someone in with two months left in the season usually hinders that player; as well as sometimes the team chemistry and overall play developed in this part of the season.

This is usually because the team ethos is developed in January and February, and it's hard to be included at the tail end of the season.

Therefore, the designated player is frustrated because he's thrown into a stituation where he has no time to bond with his teammates. His teammates are frustrated because the new guy is supposed to be a savior and his play (because of possibly stress) isn't the best early on (even the same with Beckham).

I typically think it's better to bring a designated player or any player in before the season. Mid-season transfers sometimes have success right away (think Louis Saha netting two for Tottenham against Newcastle in his first day), but usually waver in the wind for that half or quarter season and show their true worth in the following full season.

3. Does no designated player mean no new signings at all before the season?: I'm particularly unimpressed with the Crew's failure to adequately address the left back stituation.

I have reservations that Lindsey Wilson alum Shaun Francis has the required level of play (bad ball skills, nervousness), it eventually took the Crew coaching staff and most Crew fans a year and a half to come to a similiar (but perhaps less brisk) conclusion.

Francis apparently though is still in the hunt for the left back position, along with some Laing kid who is injured and Kasali Casal.

Casal is a former D.C. United (lets be honest) bottom of the roster player, who was cast off, and has bounced around Europe with only 30 senior caps since 2007. In comparison, the Crew's right back Sebastian Miranda had 36 just last year.

Casal, Francis, Laing? All three leave a lot left to be desired compared to the rest of the backline. If the Crew doesn't make a move or trade for a competent left back, I rather see O'Rourke, who sometimes played left back for an injured Gino Padula a few years back, in the position.

I would much rather see a backline of Miranda----Mendes----Marshall-----O'Rourke then Miranda----Mendes----Marshall-----Casal/Francis/Laing on opening day.

Gaven and Duka can track back and play defense more, because I don't think our midfield necessarily falls apart without O'Rourke in a DM role.

Heck, 4.) signing a designated player left back for one year, would be better than signing no one. At least we would have the best defense in MLS and defense wins championships.

Crew didn't take care of the left back problem in the draft, so if they can't sign some star striker (which usually is out of the Crew's pay range and apparently was since there targets were not interested) why not sign a DP left back to sure things up. A left back designated player is much more affordable than a designated striker.

Also, if skilled a left back designated player could shift up to Rogers position and possibly play left-mid as well.

Unlikely the Crew will put down big money for a defensive-minded star, but really it's better than having Kasali Casal as our left back on opening day.

5.) Season tickets are sold now, not in August: The Crew are unlikely to make any move in August unless it's a big name that will attract fans without season tickets to the stadium.

I don't think helping to get to the playoffs is enough of a task for the DP. With the millions that the Crew apparently lost last year, that player has to help season tickets or provide an immediate boost to the seats filled in August by casual onlookers.

Monday, February 20, 2012

2/20/2012: VIDEO- Dedicated To Past Crew Heroes & Future Ones

2/20/2012: VIDEO- Dedicated To Past Crew Heroes & Future Ones
By Ryan Kozlowski

Pic Credit: Sam Fahmi/ Studio 79 & Massive Report
Music by: Molly Hanlon "You Are Goodbye"

Thursday, February 16, 2012

2/16/2012: Former D.C. United Player, Fulham Product Kasali Yinka Casal On Trial With Crew

The 6'2, quick left back Casal looks to get back into MLS through trial with Crew.

24-year-old Kasali Casal has seen the world through football.

Casal has lived in England, the United States, the Netherlands, Romania, and most recently Hungary during his football travels. Unfornately for Casal he hasn't seen much playing time with any of the clubs he has been with in these countries.

The most time on the field Casal has received, during his senior career, is with Dutch second division side SC Cambuur, where the Nigerian received 16 appearances.

Overall in Casal's four years of senior football, after leaving the Fulham academy where he learned the trade from 2003-2007, Casal has only made 30 appearances.

That may be problematic since a lot of players see more appearances than Casal has in one year, such as the Crew's Sebastian Miranda who made 36 for the Crew last season.

Casal's best moment was in 2008. At the start of that season, League One side Swindon Town signed the youngster to a two year deal after a successful trial. But, Casal wasn't favored and only made 5 appearances in two years for the Swindon club.

Since then Casal has been with Romanian first division side CFR Cluj where he made zero appearances and then with Hungarian first division side SC Vargas where he made five.

The Nigerian looks to revive his career now with the Columbus Crew.

Casal has been with some good clubs and is a Fulham academy product. He has stepped into a good stituation as the Crew are in desperate need of a cheap, serviceable left back since Francis hasn't impressed enough as of yet at the position.

Casal will battle Francis, as well as a couple Crew draftees, to see who will take up that left back spot. If Warzycha isn't impressed enough with any of his current options, including Casal, he may have to trade for a left back or go to the transfer market.

Not much can be drawn from this video, but here's some highlights of Casal at SC Cambuur in 2007-2008 campaign:

2/16/2012: SHIRT SPONSOR- Crew Gain Barbasol Partnership, Crew Fans Adjust Shaving Brand, Crew Front Office Shows Up Mentally To Work This Year

Crew General Manager Mark McCullers (right) talks about new jersey sponsorship with shaving brand giants Barbasol, as injured Crew rookie Ben Speas (far left) gets his biggest workout of the offseason- holding a shaving cream can for seven minutes.

2/16/2012: SHIRT SPONSOR- Crew Gain Barbasol Partnership, Crew Fans Adjust Shaving Brand, Crew Front Office Shows Up Mentally To Work This Year
By Ryan Kozlowski

The Columbus Crew are looking to be more profitable this season, as General Manager Mark McCullers admitted last season that the franchise lost a couple million.

2011 was probably the lowpoint for the Crew financially. The team were without their star- Guillermo Barros Schelotto, who put some butts in the seats. The key acquisitions to make up for that loss were a USL journeyman in Tommy Heinemann and a on his last legs Jeff Cunningham. Both didn't exactly generate the excitement of Guillermo in the Columbus colors.

The Columbus Crew also had their $1 million a year shirt sponsor, Glidden, bail on them last season and were also without a major, local television contract.

So, if a Hudson Street Hooligan could build a time machine and rewind back to this time last year, there wasn't a whole lot to get in a warm, cuddley tizzy about if you were bleeding black and yellow.

That grew worse as preseason discontent transformed into a sort of malcontent after the Crew made a major announcement on their 2011 designated player; As Andres Mendoza who was already a part of the club and showed much of nothing in his 10 or so games in 2010 was given a raise and named to the coveted, designated player role.

That announcement was like Bliss and McCullers saying "we can't find a real DP, so screw it will give Mendoza a raise, say we saw something in his run of the mill performances in 2010, and try to make it a major, positive announcement." Really, I would give them credit if that was the quote last year and the entire announcement for The Columbus Dispatch.

It didn't help that Mendoza was a player that was rather disliked by Crew fans for his laziness. A sort of odd relationship when one factors that Mendoza did score in double digits during the 2011 season, although with more heart he could of scored and done more.

With all these factors, non-surprisingly attendance was at an all-time low as a result of all of this. But, surprisingly the Crew were not all that bad, holding down the top spot in the East for most of the Summer and making their fourth straight playoff appearance.

The only problem with a boring lineup that gets results, but does not score a lot of goals, is that not as many people come to the stadium no matter if it's a playoff team. Further, without a shirt sponsor or stadium naming rights sponsor or a local television contract; the Crew can't make up for the yellow seats.

Well, the Crew front office and scouting has decided this year not to stare at their screensaver or play football manager in the final two hours before work gets out on a Friday. Thankfully.

The Crew scouting is back to unearthing gem-like deals, picking up Chilean national team player Milovan Milosevic, Costa Rican Olman Vargas, and securing the rights to homegrown player and college national champion Ben Speas. That's enough to put some more butts in seats and get Crew fans interested again at least, but the Crew brass isn't stopping there and is stating there still after a designated player (and better yet one that doesn't already play for the team, whattt?! Check the Crew front office for steroids).

Away from the pitch and at the desks, General Manager McCullers has put together an ambitious three-part offseason plan to make the Crew more profitable (hoping to gain millions instead of lose millions). That plan included a jersey sponsorship, a lofty goal for 10,000 season ticket holders, and a stadium naming rights sponsorship.

Yesterday, the Crew announced that there 1/3rd of the way to that goal; As the Crew gained a 5-year jersey sponsorship deal with top shaving cream outfit Barbasol. Better yet, Barbasol is locally headquarted in the Columbus suburb of Dublin, Ohio. Even better yet, the deal is apparently the biggest sponsorship deal in Crew history that means, unless I'm stupid, the ammount of money Barbasol gives to the Crew by the year will be more than the million that Glidden gave.

Well, unless it's a measley half a million for five years which would equate to $2.5 million which is I guess more overall than the $2 million Glidden gave in it's two years as jersey sponsor.

Or it's $1.25 million a year which is nice but not that much bigger than the Glidden deal; either way, who the hell knows since terms weren't disclosed. If it was substantially more than Glidden I'm guessing it would have been disclosed, which makes me wonder if it's less for more years?

But, either way, more than Glidden a year or a bit less, it's better than no jersey sponsorship money coming in.

Here's the fancy press conference, complete with an intro to die for (a little sarcasm, but nice touch on a picture frame of a bearded Gaven looking terrified):

In other avenues, General McCullers (yeah will just call him that from now on) stated to The Columbus Dispatch that the Crew front office is still a ways off from their 10,000 season tickets a year goal but has made substantial progress.
“We’ve got traction but we’ve got a long way to go. It’s going to be a process. But I can say at this point in time, we will be beyond 2011’s total season ticket numbers with about 40 days to go before our home opener. That’s good progress. That’s a milestone. We’re glad to hit it, but we still have a lot of work to do on that front.”

So, does that mean there already beyond the 6,500 or so mark of season tickets they sold last year with 40 days to go. That's impressive. Or does this statement mean there around 5,000 season tickets and will at least sell 6,700 or so total when the 40 days are up. Not as impressive and nowhere close to 10,000.

That's like me saying I'm going to write soccer articles for ESPN (nice goal), even though I barely wrote one all last year on this Crew website (therefore highly unlikely). Which makes a better goal to actually be able to write an article a day on here (an attainable goal), just like McCullers might have been better off saying, "will sell more season tickets than last year," which would still be good and is an attainable goal.

But, I admire his hutzpah. If he believes in the goal, maybe his staff will, and they'll get it done.

Finally, if the Crew can get the third deal done- A major stadium rights deal on their erector set of a Crew Stadium, then there in the clear on a profit. I will build McCullers a statue myself if he gets that done, because I can't imagine a big company saying man, we want to be associated with that "beautiful" stadium. It's like most men wanting to be associated and driving a toyota prius.

But, could happen if Crew Stadium is guarenteed to get more USA vs. Mexico matchups, because (for example) coming to you live from Barbasol Stadium can help the shaving company get it's name out to Latin America.

However, I'm not sure if "MAJOR CHANGES" to the stadium mentioned in The Columbus Dispatch will make a bit of difference:
Regarding that third goal, I know the Crew is looking at trying to enhance the game-day experience at Crew Stadium and has been exploring a number of ways to do so from changing the music being played in the concourse to upgrading the food options for fans. The hope is that will make the naming rights a more desirable purchase.

WTF? How about building a new stadium, haha. Worked for Kansas City with Livestrong Park. Because I can't imagine some big corporate company saying "you know what if you play Barry White on the concourse and sell pierogies, you got a deal Mr. McCullers."

Change the music on the concourse. Innovative. Brillant!

The only way I see this working is if we hook up with a stadium sponsorship deal with Johnsonville Brauts, since they do Johnsonville Brauts on buck-a-braut nights. Then, it will be coming to you live from Johnsonville Braut Stadium, where we only sell Johnsonville Brauts... And maybe the concourse music will be a continuous repeat from some band that plays at Ruby Tuesday's called "Hey Crew Fan Buy A Braut."

Hey Crew Fan, Buy A Braut,
It's Buck-A-Braut Night,
Don't Get Caught,
Without A Braut,
Why Watch The Game Boo,
Sit In Line For A Hour Wahoo,
And Buy A Nice Cold Brautttttttttttttt!!!

All joking aside, nice start by the front office off-the-field and the coaching staff with offseason transactions. But, still a lot of work to do, hope they keep to it and try to fulfill the other two goals (well three, hopefully with an exciting designated player signing that might help boost 10,000 season tickets).

Monday, February 13, 2012

2/13/2012: Crew & Stadium Generate $384 Million In Direct Spending Since 1996

The House That Lamar (Hunt) Built, Crew Stadium, has generated over $384 million in direct spending in Columbus and the rest of the central Ohio region since 1996. Crew Stadium was the first soccer-specific stadium built in the United States.

2/13/2012: Crew & Stadium Generate $384 Million In Direct Spending Since 1996
By Ryan Kozlowski

The Columbus Crew released a study showing that the Crew and Crew Stadium (with Rock on The Range, country music concerts, high school football championships, and of course MLS and international games) generated more than $384 million since 1996 in direct spending in the Central Ohio region. Further, the study concluded that the Crew produced $23.2 million in tax revenue for Columbus, Franklin County, and the State of Ohio.

Crew general manager Mark McCullers had a boilerplate statement about the numbers for Columbus BizJournals:
“We have always known that the Crew delivers both tangible and intangible benefits for the Central Ohio community. This in-depth study allows us to quantify those financial benefits and the significant economic impact.”
Overall, yes Crew Stadium and the Crew have attracted money and fans to Columbus for both the Crew and different events. But, have they done as well as they could? Overall, No. Season tickets need to be higher, the stadium needs a sponsor, the team shirt needs a replacement for Glidden, and etc.

At least the Crew recognizes the issues and look to change negatives into positives with their new "Dare to be Massive" campaign that's main goal is to get 10,000 season tickets sales.

Yet, sharing and flashing numbers like $384 million may help get the Crew more corporate exposure with Columbus sponsors, which may lead to more benefits from sponsorship money, which may lead to more events, more advertising money, better designated players, and less empty seats.

No matter the attendance numbers in comparison to some other MLS teams, it is true that the Crew and it's stadium have brought money into Columbus over the last fifteen years that wouldn't have been there otherwise.

$384 Million is a nice chunk of change; and because it's a nice endeavour corporate Columbus should get behind the Crew franchise more to let that change grow into a nestegg for the entire Central Ohio community.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

2/13/2012: Crew's Bernardo Anor Disappointed Not To Be Included In Venezuelan National Team Selection

2/13/2012: Crew's Bernardo Anor Disappointed Not To Be Included In Venezuelan National Team Selection
By Ryan Kozlowski

Drafted 48th overall by the Columbus Crew in the final stages of the 2011 MLS Superdraft, the University of South Florida prospect- Bernardo Anor, probably did not expect to have a major role in Robert Warzycha's system in 2011.

That wasn't exactly the case, as the 2011 season went on Anor was thrusted into the Crew starting lineup and played well enough with Columbus to make 13 appearances.

As a result, Anor, 23, has set himself up for a nice sophomore season as the Venezuelan can be relied upon as a spot starter, a solid backup during injuries, or a first choice if he continues to improve as rapidly as he did in 2011- for Warzycha.

Anor stated to La Vino Tinto that he feels much more comfortable in the Columbus setup this time around, as Anor has been through the preseason run through before and now knows his teammates tendencies.

Anor should have a much bigger role to fill in 2012. Nevertheless, with everything looking up for the Venezuelan clubside, he still yearns and expected to at least be on the national team coach's (Cesar Farias) radar during recent friendies (against the USA and Mexico) in the United States.

As Anor finished the La Vino Tinto interview, he voiced a little disappointment in not being taken into account by Cesar Farias to join the Venezuelan national team:

"To be honest I expected a chance when the selection came to America where he tried several young people wanted to join the team but unfortunately I never received any calls and I have left to do is keep doing what I do and strive even more to see if my chance comes. "

Anor's Columbus teammate Emilio Renteria (with nearly 50 MLS appearances) was selected by Farias.

Anor should not get disappointed, once he solidfies himself more on the Columbus Crew and his appearances get up there with Renteria, Farias should eventually find the Crew youngster's cell phone digits.

2/12/2012: Renteria Says He Is In Best Physical Shape of Career

Emilio Renteria stated to Venezuelan website/magazine El Nacional that he is in the best physical condition of his career going into this 2012 season with the Columbus Crew. "El Venado " Renteria stated that his offseason training with the Venezuelan national team and Caracas F.C. has him primed hopefully for the best season and goal tally of his career.
"I never felt so good, this is influenced much these days by going through the selection and [working out with] Caracas, helped me to be so fit now."

"That was the mission. I want to last longer than 90 minutes and
cut the rest between matches."
In the article, Renteria admitted to having physical problems and discomfort throughout his career from his injuries; but mentioned that he has never felt better before coming into this 2012 MLS season.

Renteria also stated that Columbus Crew manager Robert Warzycha and the rest of the staff has been very pleased with how "El Venado" has reported to camp this season.

Renteria is fitter and much slimer which has Warzycha pleased; Further, so far in this offseason, a fitter Renteria has reaped rewards by scoring against top Swedish side Malmo FF in a friendly.

The Crew lost 2-1 in the friendly but Renteria's tally against European competition should continue to boost the Venezuelan's confidence.

From a fans perspective, Renteria has always been a fan favorite and to know the best is yet to come from Renteria, makes his future in yellow and black even more of an exciting prospect.