Welcome to Crewture.

Which stands for Crew and Culture, and follows Crew supporter culture. Created around the Nordecke creation and used to follow the rise of the new supporters section which is now 9 years old.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

12.16.2013: Crew Roster Moves Can Scare Us, But At Least They Show Boldness

Go back to a week ago.. Did you expect the Crew's big move on Re-Entry Draft day to be Chad Marshall out and Daniel Paladini in? For an organization that has been very predictable and safe since 2008, bold may be better (and if it's not what have we really lost?)
Re-Entry Draft Day One

Last Thursday, the day of the re-entry draft, I was hoping for a positive move.

I didn't take my phone with me to work to keep updated that day. Instead, for once I wanted to build up some excitement to check out mlssoccer.com this offseason.

When I got home that day at 5:30 pm, I saw that Chad Marshall was traded for a 2015 3rd Round Superdraft Pick.

It wasn't exactly the excitement I had in mind. It wasn't exactly Zakuani or Franklin (or even Barklage). On paper, losing Chad Marshall had about the defensive sexiness of Noah Palmer in goal.

My mouth was open for a minute. I was confused. My first thought was, "for a third round superdraft pick, what the, are you kidding me?"

What we least expect, can scare us.

Were used to seeing Chad Marshall jumping over strikers and using his titanium headers to send balls back up to midfield.

Without him our defense seems unnatural.

My next thought was, "I'm going to post something."

But, I had nothing. This is something that needs processed, tabled for a few days, my mind just couldn't figure out what to write at that time.

Acceptance came next. It came a lot faster when I saw that parting with Marshall would clear $500,000 dollars (for a defender). Almost 1/5th of our roster space.

$500,000 dollars is a lot of money for anyone on last year's Crew team. Nearly every player looked inconsistent on a inconsistent team, and the whole lineup was  expendable in a way. Marshall (if you can clear your head of all the glory images of 2008) hasn't been nearly as good for that money, has a concussion history, and will be a free agent in 2015.

But, don't take it as a blanket acceptance.

I caution the Crew and Berhalter to get moving quickly on the direction of the club. The Greunebaum rights trade makes sense right away when you have Lampson and now Clark to fill that void. He has someone in mind to fill the void. Fine.

If he has someone great in mind to replace Marshall then he should get moving on that, if he thinks his youth might be able to replace that in a different system then he should say that. If he thinks a defensive void in Marshall can lead to securing multiple voids then he should say that. Berhalter has to have someone great in mind that will get the fans excited. The longer that is unclear the more legitimate it is to think there was someone of value to receive for Marshall, other than a $30,000 dollar Superdraft pick.

But, do I think it is the end of the world that Marshall is gone. No.

Josh Williams may have more upside, more hunger, and may make more sense as our main, defensive leader these next few years.

The 25 year old from Akron, could anchor and lead the defense from here on in if he is up to the challenge. That's fine if Berhalter gives him the challenge.

Also, I believe, our defense could improve overall by playing younger, quicker defenders that can play offensively too (if Berhalter learned anything from playing in Holland that may make sense to him).

Barson, Williams, Francis, and perhaps George and Wiet may end up being an improvement if a good defender could teach them some of that play. Especially if the Crew add in a few cheap, young internationals or MLSer's to battle them in those positions.

I wouldn't be surprised if other Crew defenders in the roster (or that the Crew still hold  rights to) are not really in Berhalter's plans.

I would not be too sad to see Glauber, Viana, and Wahl not be our main plans (because they couldn't be taught to play a up-tempo style). We were slow in defense last year and sometimes got killed because of it.

Of course, I'm grateful for what Chad Marshall has done over his Crew career. Chad Marshall was great at times last season. But, at times Chad Marshall was that comfortable employee.

His career could use a new surrounding and the Crew back line could perhaps use a new leader.

Sure, we need two strong center backs and Marshall is better than what we currently have on this day (with their training and the system that was in place), but is it too crazy to think that someone cheaper in defense (in a new system) will do the same or better than Marshall or Glauber could do in 2014?

This goes for anyone on last season's team. Marshall, Greunebaum, Higuain, Arrieta, etc; There all expendable because the overall effort was not good enough to get into the playoffs. They all may have had the best intentions but either they were gone too much, injured too much, or not consistent enough to make us a good team.

The pessimistic half of Crew fans say "we couldn't make the playoffs last year, how are we going to this year without our core?"

Well, if we don't make the playoffs, without our core, are we any worse off compared to last season?

Instead it makes just as much sense to say, "well that didn't work, let's try something else completely different under a new coach."

Without Gaven (who was the biggest piece), it makes sense just to clear out the rest and try again. A new group of players will respond more to a new coach that brings them in, compared to a group of comfortable players that perhaps believes that the locker room is theirs.

Paladini is cheap and serviceable in midfield.
Steve Clark and Matt Lampson are probably as good and cheaper than Greunebaum.
Marshall was a captain of a defense last year that was not that good.

Gregg Berhalter, ironically, was a defender who as a coach wants to spend the bulk of his money on attacking players. Let's see what he goes out and gets before crying too much over a group that was not good enough in 2013.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

12.12.2013: Former Crew Player Guillermo Barros Schelotto Wins First Coaching Title With Lanus

Guillermo Barros Schelotto (above), former Crew midfield creator and MLS Cup champion, led his Argentina Primera side Lanus to a Copa Sudamerica championship last night.

Lanus defeated Ponte Preta of Brazil 2:0 last night, and 3:1 overall in a home and home series.

With such success in Argentina, it's a surprise to me that Guillermo would be interested in going to some place as dull as FC Dallas. A part of me hopes he stays in Argentina for the time being, another part of me thinks he would be a welcome addition to the league even if it's not with Columbus.

Guillermo is interviewed at 9:10:

12.12.2013: Moment of Zen

Happy Re-entry draft day today. No news until 3 p.m., but here's the moment of zen for today.. Will take you back to 2010 season with,

Excited reporter-

If Ashleigh Ignelzi ever gets her big break, this guy rocks, bring him back please

Footage via Columbus Wired TV

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

12.11.2013: Moment of Zen- Berhalter The Model

JA! Vacker! Piercing blue eyes behind das structure beautiful Berhalty.
Berhalty! Ze looking fierce behind das graffiti!
Ohh now you play with my emotions with your expression.
I'm so chilly but feeling strong..
Ducky face. I like very much.
Your inspiration is a happy boy on Christmas.
Well let's hope it doesn't end the same.

They did let him keep the sweater.

12.10.2013: Dominic Oduro Turns Down Overseas Opportunities, Re-signs, Can He Outpace 2013 Total?

"He wanted to stay in Columbus." "Could of made more money elsewhere, but wanted to stay in Columbus." "Loves the support he gets here in Columbus." Some of the words from new Manager Gregg Berhalter on Dominic Oduro's decision to re-sign with Columbus.

The Columbus Crew reported that Oduro turned down offers from Scandinavian clubs, a team in Greece, and a few additional Arabic countries.

I looked everywhere online, google Greece, google Norway, google Sweden, google United Arab Emirates (which makes some interesting reading), and absolutely nothing. Only some websites stating, without any additional source, that the Greek club was from the top flight.

No leaks on the internet could likely mean that Oduro always saw himself back in Columbus, scoring goals, and didn't want a bunch of information out there about other contract offers.

Either way, I'm glad that Dominic Oduro is back with Columbus.

Returning your leading goal scorer should always be a priority.

Oduro 2013 Highlights:

Does Oduro eclipse his 13 goal mark in 2013? I think he may be close, but won't have to because likely he will be put on the wing and someone else will share the burden.

I believe the Crew will sign another striker or two, and probably trade or release a couple after camp. Waylon Francis likely means the Crew wants to run up and down both wings, anchoring things in the middle with DM's and the CB's who can cover. So, it's likely the Crew will want Oduro's speed out wide. (Vote it in the poll to the right).

Also, Oduro adds another element, entertainment:

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

12.10.2013: Who Should The Crew Pick Up In The Re-Entry Draft


Round 1.)
Round 2.)

The Re-Entry Draft process begins this Thursday at 3 pm. There are two rounds. The first round a club that drafts a player has to pay that players option salary for 2014, or offer an out of contract player drafted a new contract. In the second round (Dec. 18, 3 p.m.) a team can negotiate any sort of contract with any player listed.

Here's the draft order for both rounds.

1.    D.C. United
2.    Chivas USA
3.    Toronto FC
4.    Columbus Crew
5.    FC Dallas

6.    Philadelphia Union
7.    Vancouver Whitecaps FC
8.    Chicago Fire
9.    San Jose Earthquakes
10.  Montreal Impact
11.  Colorado Rapids
12.  New England Revolution
13.  Seattle Sounders FC
14.  LA Galaxy
15.  New York Red Bulls
16.  Houston Dynamo
17.  Portland Timbers
18.  Real Salt Lake
19.  Sporting Kansas City
Since the Re-Entry Draft began in 2010, only 6 players have been selected in the first round. While, most clubs naturally select in the second round (35 players in total since 2010), when a team can re-negotiate with any of the following players.

68 are eligible for 2013's draft and here's the list, with their 2013 pay rates (via here).

Chicago Fire
M Corben Bone ($49,000.00, option declined)
D Shaun Francis ($46,500.00, option declined)
M Joel Lindpere ($205,000.00, option declined)
F Daniel Paladini ($91,103.25, option declined)
M Logan Pause ($197,833.33, option declined)
M Chris Rolfe ($248,333.33, option declined)
F Maicon Santos ($164,433.33, option declined)
M Wells Thompson ($113,125.00, out of contract)
M Michael Videira ($47,125.00, option declined)

Chivas USA
D Ante Jazic ($132,187.50, out of contract)
D Steve Purdy ($80,004.00, option declined)
M Josue Soto ($35,125.00, option declined)

Colorado Rapids
GK Steward Ceus ($70,333.33, option declined)
M Brian Mullan ($170,335.00, option declined)
D Jamie Smith ($46,500.00, option declined)

Columbus Crew
D Danny O’Rourke ($175,000.00, option declined)
M Konrad Warzycha ($46,500.00, option declined)

D.C. United
M Dwayne De Rosario ($645,333.33, option declined)
D James Riley ($145,750.00, option declined)
F Carlos Ruiz ($75,000.00, option declined)
M Marcelo Saragosa ($110,000.00, option declined)
M John Thorrington ($150,000.00, option declined)
D Daniel Woolard (option declined)

FC Dallas
F Kenny Cooper ($342,500.00, option declined)
M David Ferreira ($730,000.00, option declined)
D Ugo Ihemelu ($200,000.00, option declined)

Houston Dynamo
D Bobby Boswell ($220,000.00, out of contract)
M Calen Carr ($94,588.00, out of contract)
D Michael Chabala ($57,508.00, option declined
M Alex Dixon ($54,612.50, option declined)
F Cam Weaver ($108,406.67, option declined)

Los Angeles Galaxy
M Colin Clark ($80,000.00, option declined)
M Laurent Courtois ($46,500.00, option declined)
D Sean Franklin ($248,333.33, option declined)
M Pablo Mastroeni ($200,000.00, out of contract)

 Montréal Impact
M Sinisa Ubiparipovic ($57,750.00, option declined)

New England Revolution
D Kevin Alston ($194,000.00, out of contract)
F Chad Barrett ($110,709.17, option declined)
F Ryan Guy ($48,510.00, option declined)
M Clyde Simms ($90,833.33, option declined)
M Juan Toja ($295,000.00, option declined)

New York Red Bulls
F Andre Akpan ($67,595.00, out of contract)
M Brandon Barklage ($67,595.00, option declined)
F Fabián Espindola ($150,000.00, option declined)
GK Kevin Hartman ($54,000.00, option declined, retiring)
D Heath Pearce ($340,736.00, out of contract)


Philadelphia Union
D Chris Albright ($75,000.00, out of contract, retiring)

 Portland Timbers
D David Horst ($70,000.00, option declined)
D Ryan Miller (option declined)

Real Salt Lake
M Yordany Álvarez ($46,500, option declined)
M Brandon McDonald ($273,250.00, option declined)
GK Josh Saunders ($95,250.00, option declined)
M Khari Stephenson ($81,958.33, option declined)

Seattle Sounders
D Marc Burch ($75,000.00, option declined)
GK Josh Ford ($46,500.00, option declined)
M Blair Gavin ($35,125.00, option declined)
M Mauro Rosales ($225,000.00, option declined)
M Steve Zakuani ($233,000.00, out of contract)

San Jose Earthquakes
D Nana Attakora ($61,665.00, option declined)
M Mehdi Ballouchy ($152,006.00, out of contract)
M Dan Gargan ($88,000.00, option declined)
GK Evan Newton ($46,500.00, option declined)

Toronto FC
F Justin Braun ($114,700.00, out of contract)
M Bobby Convey ($215,000.00, option declined)

Vancouver Whitecaps
GK Joe Cannon ($189,916.67, option declined, likely to retire)
F Tommy Heinemann ($51,975.00, option declined)
F Corey Hertzog ($60,670.67, option declined)
GK Brad Knighton ($68,600.00, option declined)

The only players that a team should plausibly take in the first round are those out of contract, without an option, highlighted in red.

All other players should be picked up usually in the second round, because their current contract, which will raise, isn't their correct current worth usually.

If you pick up a player in either round, you can keep picking up players until you PASS.

So, first round possible choices..
Big statement choice would be Steve Zakuani (or Sean Franklin, despite having an option declined, if you want to take him off the table). Either player is going to go at some point. I don't think either for the price, solves enough of the Crew's problems.

Another is Kenny Cooper, although I don't think he's worth it in either round, by a long shot.

Strong pickup might be Kevin Alston who is out of contract (or Brandon Barklage, whose option increases his contract but is in the sight lines of a lot of teams and perhaps deserves his option).

The Crew cannot afford to do anything else in the first round, except possibly offer Zakuani a cheaper contract, have him deny it, and then PASS. But, likely three other teams will look to do the same before the Crew, and I don't think Zakuani is the route or the fit for Columbus.

Instead, I would think about picking up an out of contract Kevin Alston, 121 appearances in Major League Soccer at only 25. Pretty decent speed that makes sense with another speed winger in Francis.

Then consider using your ability to pick up another player in the first round by not PASSing, perhaps a Barklage, who has 56 appearances in MLS (28 last year) and I believe deserves his option increase.

Then in the Second round where you can negotiate any contract with any player selected.

By pick four, Sean Franklin and Steve Zakuani are unlikely to be still available in Re-Entry.

But, a player I would pick and try to negotiate down because of injury is Mauro Rosales, who might enjoy playing next to another Argentine in Higuain. If they could get him for around $175,000, wouldn't be bad for a former Ajax, Argentine national.

Rosales usually played in the center for Seattle. Yet played right midfield most of his career and wouldn't be a bad, yet different, replacement for Gaven. Rosales may not be as fast, but is a good choice defensively and creatively. Also, if the Crew would get another speed option at RB like Alston (to match Waylon Francis at LB), that player could overlap.

After picking up those two, if for any reason Brandon Barklage, Chris Rolfe, Joel Lindpere, or James Riley make it to the second round of Round Two, I would try to offer them a much lesser contract. Josue Soto might be a good backup plan for Francis as well. If not then PASS.

-----------------Oduro------------------Sign Striker*-------------

*Or best of current.

Overall, the Crew should look at players like Alston, Barklage, Rosales with experience in MLS and with solid heads on their shoulders. Guys that are not bigger than the team. T
he Crew have enough projects on their 2014 roster, and would do well to get some solid guys with MLS experience in this Re-Entry Draft then looking abroad.

This draft is definitely the place to get MLS veterans (with success in the league) and the Crew could use some.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

11.27.2013: Sanchez Back In Argentina, Williams Signed But No Oduro, Etc.

**According to El-Dia, Matias Sanchez (left) has already been back in Argentina for over a week, after receiving permission to train with former club Estudiantes to work on his fitness as he looks for a new club.

From all inclinations online, it doesn't look like Matias Sanchez is looking for a lowered offer from the Columbus Crew. It's most likely Sanchez could work his way back up with a Primera B side in Argentina. 

**Jairo Arrieta is up in the air as well, could not find anything in depth on where he stands back in Costa Rica. 

One would think Waylon Francis could use the help of Jairo Arrieta to get settled in Columbus, and therefore Arrieta may be still in the picture under a restructured deal.

One thing is for sure, I don't think the Crew can afford to enter 2014 without either of their top strikers in 2013, as Arrieta and Oduro are unsigned and unaccounted for recently.

**What's even more disconcerting as far as Oduro and Greunebaum are concerned is that only Williams was announced, with a pair of other new signings, today

Plus, the Crew picked up a fourth goalie, which means there likely to stake their future on Matt Lampson. 

Whereas that might make sense financially (especially considering Greunebaum's recent fitness), can the Crew not do their all to sign Dominic Oduro? Their leading goalscorer last year?

Dom's 13 goals outpaced any Crew striker/attacker in a season including Higuain, Arrieta, Mendoza, and every other target in recent years. 

Plus his goal scoring is comparable to GBS. 13 goals for his price tag is a steal and he isn't one of the issues that needs fixed.

Oduro would be the perfect second striker, and the Crew (with this extra money from all these cuts) should go out and find themselves a world class striker to pair him with. 

Schoenfeld and Finley are not up to the task yet, like Oduro, other then as subs.

**Matt Wiet was signed as a homegrown player by the Columbus Crew. The defender had a solid collegiate career, finished college, and then went on to sign last season with USL Pro club Dayton Dutch Lions F.C., where he made four appearances.

Only four appearances with a 3rd division club may mean Wiet won't be ready for professional ball at the MLS level for a good while yet. Definitely looking at a depth project, but good to see another homegrown player after Horton left.

11.27.2013: In Depth- Waylon Francis Signing

Waylon Francis, 23, takes the next step in his career at Columbus. 
Waylon Francis is a left back, speedster highly regarded by the vast majority of CS Herediano and Costa Rican fans as a future national teamer.

One Costa Rican fan, Ronald Obaldia, wrote about Francis's move to the Columbus Crew "W. Francis, I admire the talent of this young player, in addition to his sense and spirit of excellence. Great for him, even for our selection."

That sentiment was echoed by some on Costa Rican websites after the news broke, even though another distinct group of CS Herediano fans insulted Francis for leaving.

But, he has stated that he will look to play out the season, including being submitted to the CS Herediano club list in January, should they make the final stages of their Championship after the new year.

It's a goal that I always wanted, I proposed it since I came to Herediano, since I started my first tournament. wanted to be champion as the first target and then play outside. For this, it gives me the opportunity, "

The Costa Rican player looks to make his next step in his career "by playing outside" Costa Rica with the Columbus Crew, because in his opinion MLS is a higher level.

"I always looked out for my interests as well as my families as a traditional family person and for my future, without harming Herediano." 

But, will he succeed where teammate Olman Vargas could not and where Jairo Arrieta had above average, but perhaps inconsistent results? 

Francis, during the first leg of the Costa Rican semifinals, has most recently dealt with racial slurs from rival fans.  

Seen as an integral part of CS Herediano, he has received one national team cap. More than likely good results at Columbus Crew could lead to more caps for the speedster.

Waylon Francis is valued at $300,000 Euro by transfer markt. But, likely came to the Crew for half of that because Francis needs the opportunity as well and there is no guarantee that he will win the left back position outright.

Monday, November 18, 2013

11.18.2013: Did Columbus Misevaluate Bright Dike

Selected by the Columbus Crew in the 2010 draft, 12th overall from Notre Dame. 

To months later, not even being good enough to make the 28 man Columbus Crew roster; According to Robert Warzycha's evaluation.

To scoring against Italy today in a Friendly for World Cup bound Nigeria..

It's been an interesting road for Bright Dike. 

The strange thing is Dike hasn't even blown away MLS circles since then. Only grabbing 7 goals in 30 MLS appearances since being let go by Columbus.

In contrast, things have been much brighter for Dike with Nigeria, with 2 goals in 3 appearances for the Super Eagles. Nigeria is World Cup bound and Dike may now be in the picture.

Could it be that some players don't have success in MLS but shine and do better on a higher stage (think Herculez Gomez)? Or did the Columbus Crew miss out on a genuine striker that flew under the radar for the last three years?

Either way, it is pretty amazing that someone that just scored for Nigeria, that the Crew drafted in the first round, couldn't make the roster.

Especially when compared to some of the other strikers the Columbus Crew have given a chance and paid money to since then.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

11.14.2013: Doesn't A Crew Need A Demolition Man?

The Columbus Crew have said they have no cap space.

No Matias Sanchez, no Eddie Gaven, still no cap space? 

I think the Crew will have $300,000 to $400,000 to play with; after all the waivers and player movement in the upcoming weeks.

Should just have enough room to make Eddie Johnson a designated player. 

Whoa.. Why would we ever do such a thing?

Perhaps because the Columbus Crew could use a relevant US National Team player, in their starting lineup, on a weekly basis.

It's smart for business. Eddie Johnson is a player that is recognizable to US soccer fans. 

What better thing to have in a very important year for US Soccer, a player that could possibly be in or around Klinnsmann's starting eleven. What better way to be relevant in MLS Soccer?

It's also good for Eddie Johnson. A smaller (Dempsey-less) market is where Eddie Johnson could be the star. 

A move to Columbus hasn't been bad for Dominic Oduro. I think it would help Eddie Johnson in a similar way.

In Columbus, Eddie Johnson could just focus on his soccer and that's probably what he needs before possibly his last World Cup.

New Crew Head Coach, Gregg Berhalter,  hinted that the Crew have some good pieces and there might not be as much tweaking as people expect. 

Maybe the Crew just needs that one big signing to pull it all together.

Players like Wil Trapp, Ben Speas, and Kevan George will be much improved. Arrieta and Oduro could play some midfield, on the wings, as well.

Put Higuain, Arrieta, and Oduro, either behind or around Johnson and I think good things would happen.

Saying that will it happen? No.

11.14.2013: Crew Making Room For Another Ghanaian, Asiedu Attobrah?

Dominic Oduro is trying to re-up for another season with the Columbus Crew, under new manager Gregg Berhalter. 

Could he be joined by a young Ghanaian talent? a U20 attacking player in Asiedu Attobrah? 

According to Goal.com Ghana, in August, a loan move to Columbus was a done deal for Attobrah.. For next January 2014 that is. 

But, since that report, the Columbus Crew has a new owner in Anthony Precourt, a new coach in Gregg Berhalter, a new scout (since Bliss is the guy who scouted and is now fired), and a new guy to sign off on deals, once again, Berhalter.

As of today, Attobrah is still throwing around the Columbus Crew name, along with Scandinavian top clubs; to hopefully up the price tag of Ghanian powers Hearts of Oak and Asante Kotoko, who are in a transfer battle for the young speedster.

With that in mind,

Chances of seeing Attobrah: 1%, Put this rumor to bed. 

More than likely this was a Brian Bliss move, and the Crew brain-trust left will want to prove that they are smarter than Brian Bliss at acquisition moves (which no offense, in terms of man hours, there probably not). 

Bliss has been evaluating talent, both academy and senior side, more than all the rest combined by a lot

But, all the bru-ha-ha over Attobrah and his loan rumor was probably either Attobrah's agents move (trying to get a client more money domestically) or Bliss's move. A new owner stops all business on that end until the next offseason. A new coach is going to look onto other targets, that are his targets.

With our luck, watch Attobrah become the next Gyan or Essien.
If we sign him, watch him be more inconsistent than Emmanuel Ekpo.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

7.31.2013: Advice For Precourt, PSV Sports As Our New Owners

7.31.2013: Advice For Precourt, PSV Sports As Our New Owners

1.) A MLS Franchise Can Succeed Anywhere If Done Correctly. But, Winning Ain't Easy.

A MLS soccer franchise, absolutely everywhere in the United States, will have trouble attracting 20,000 fans weekly, let alone double that, by just being in existence.. 

Or by putting in place a positive initiative or two. Perhaps two hundred organizational initiatives of doing all the little things right, yearly.

The Seattle Sounders organization most likely is what all owners aspire too. The Major League Soccer owner water mark.

But, I bet Seattle didn't rest on, "hey some of you guys like soccer, more than most of America." 

They promoted, they aggressively marketed on the internet, they attracted curiosity through their media, they made the right partnerships, they worked with the supporter groups, and the list goes on and on. 

They spent a little money to make money. They took risk to make reward.

Columbus Crew needs a risk taker, someone that rolls the dice.

MLS obviously remains a tougher sell compared to more established leagues. 

A MLS team doesn't have a 50 year history to rest on. 

Yet, a talented ownership can build something where it wasn't, can connect history, can enhance a 17 year history to make the local community feel it more.

And, each year the MLS road gets just that little bit easier. 

The road will be easier in 2014 than it was in 2013, and much easier than it was in 2005, or 1999 when Crew Stadium was the first soccer stadium ever built on American soil.

But, an owner can make that road easier or harder, can make positive results easier or more difficult to attain.

An organization can be there for 17 or 50 years. But, any organization that rests on it's history does not grow.

A organization that is happy where there at, is already in decline. 

What are the Crew doing currently in 2013? What have they been doing since their own high point of 2008?

And what will Precourt do? What will his message be, compared to his predecessor?

It's got to be more than it is now. It's got to be more than MLS Soccer in FC Dallas, Chicago, New England, Chivas, etc. 

It's got to be more than "hey were America's hardest working team" in every advert, when we can't beat one of the worst teams (from Canada).

As a Columbus Crew fan, I want more clarity in the team's direction. I also want to see new ideas.

Soccer is the second most favorite sport from 8-24 in the United States; but like anything, if you take no risks and don't try new innovations to attract that demographic and all demographics, you'll never entertain 20,000. They will not show.

Picture I took from Pirates game tonight: A team that was lucky to attract 5,000 fans on a Tuesday this time last year. Things can change quick.

What attracts for all is passion and pride, a team that cares about the community, a whole organization where each week it's obvious that someone gives a damn. 

It's all about personal connections. That can bring anyone to a game and get them hooked. That get people thinking about the team weekly, itching for the next kickoff.

The Columbus Crew were that passion and pride team in 2008 and the early parts of 2009
You had players like Frankie Hejduk doing this and relating it to other players to try to play for the fans. You had players do more than a few claps and a head nod on the way to the locker, that wasn't acceptable

Now the Columbus Crew's passion best resembles an old steel mill, where the breadwinners punch a time clock at a organization about to be outsourced.

Being a part of something attracted people to the Nordecke, and if things were to occur a bit differently, that could grow in the future throughout a renovated and renamed Columbus Crew Stadium.

The Crew currently talk about their 10 K season ticket goal. 

You can throw me a fancy chart. But, I unofficially coined the Nordecke name, ran this here (once popular) Crew fan website, and used to spend a cool grand painting Crew banners in my basement, had season tickets in the Nordecke in 2008 and 2009. 

But, since then I have been to one game in 2010 and one game in 2012. 

That's probably not a good sign. 

Well, maybe I'm a half ass lazy soccer fan?

Let's see... Currently I'm reading English soccer player biographies about Paul Merson and Tony Cascarino, I risk viruses on my computer to watch Gold Cup illegally since I don't get Fox Soccer, I dream about the changes I'll make to my Forest Green club on Football Manager during work, I've coached high school boys soccer (which you have to be nuts for, try it), oh and I watch the Columbus Crew at my gym off their directTV (which if you saw the Toronto FC game means your bonkers).

There is passion here in the fans. Just some things lately make me say meh, and are making other former diehards say "meh." 

Warzycha, he tries but does he inspire? McCullers, seems to have some goals but never gets to them, partly because he is handicapped by HSG, partly because of something else difficult to pinpoint. Lamar Hunt's son, I can't even remember his name at this hour, which tells you what you need to know about our previous owner. The team, has given up on whatever Warzycha's script for the season was. "Omg were shocked we keep giving up all these late leads," that screams a team not on board. meh. 

The stadium, meh. The promotions, meh. The video/media/website production, meh. The scoreboard, not meh, that was probably our biggest story of the season. 

2.) I Know You Said You're Going to Wait, But... Do Something! Anything.

It's good to assess over a period of time, but you also have to do something right away to let everyone know that you're the owner and not an absentee one, that you mean business. 

You got to fire someone. You have to do something crazy to get the fans attention. It doesn't have to be awesome, it could even be stupid, just something to say "what the hell? This guy is different, he's doing something." 

Maybe wake the club up from it's three to four year hibernation.

Promote Hejduk, bring Schelotto back in some role, get a media department that can put some stuff on the interweb that might excite, bring in a controversial new coach to stir the pot (Eric Wynalda for example would make everyone interested, give him until the end of the season to turn it around). I don't know I'm aching for some story line.

Part of the reason I write less these past few seasons is because nothing terrifyingly interesting happens; or gets to the press; or is taken from the mouth's of the players and put on a video or on the internet. 

It doesn't have to be scandalous, no not at all but you could try something new to at least make things interesting, a little more exciting.

Do anything to make the rest of 2013 have a little more zip to it, other than this collective until the end of the season. 

If Precourt sits on this team (with probably a big losing streak) until November, that won't make the best impression either. This franchise has been playing it safe for a little while too long.

Do anything.

3.) We Don't Need Moved For You To Profit. Review Sporting Kansas City, were at a better starting point than they were a few years back.

Sporting Kansas City, a team rebranded, now has a beautiful new soccer stadium, filled to capacity.

A few years back their colors, their logo, their minor league baseball stadium used to be the laughing stock of MLS.

There is passion here, just like there is there. 

I've seen it in the Nordecke.  For example, who the hell wouldn't want to be in there->

Mr. Precourt, if your intentions are to eventually try to move my team, our team. You're going to have a hard time creating the above scenes in Miami, San Francisco, or Las Vegas.

This is the reaction of working class fans going nuts for their local team, seems to match the Columbus Crew "hard hat" mantra.

But, when you start to wonder if the players, coaches, owners, managers, ticket people share that same passion day in, day out as the fans; it's trouble. When you have the above, there are ways to grow it more, and I think the ball was dropped a bit.

Sure, some have stepped in and picked up the pieces but I would have imagined more when it grew out of nowhere five years back.

And, sure, Mr. Precourt you could flip Columbus to Miami in 3-5 years down the road, sell the franchise outright to Beckham or do a co-ownership? But how exactly will that lead to more sells or passionate fans? The first Miami wasn't a success. They have gorgeous sun and beaches and hot ladies in bikini's, I don't even think I would go to a MLS game if I was in Miami. 

See Miami Marlins. Beach and bikinis --> 4 hrs of (in the case of the Marlins) questionably talented professionals holding bats.

All joking aside, a talented owner with a talented group could even make soccer a sell out there, anywhere. 

So, make the Crew the biggest headline success here. A story again. Now that you bought the Columbus Crew, which is a risk, now isn't the time to play it safe. 

There is passion for the Columbus Crew, just a better job has to be done of conveying that passion on a weekly basis from the organization to the current fan base; as well as conveying that passion to greater Columbus to expand that fan base.

4.) Can't Stop At A Rebrand. A rebrand is fine. I'm extremely content/would prefer just sticking with Columbus Crew. But, wouldn't mind a few cosmetic changes to the badge. 

Except not the awful robo cop, Crew badge from a few years back.

Also, I wouldn't mind Columbus 96', where as another fan mentioned on Bigsoccer, Columbus could be fan nicknamed the Crew as Arsenal is the Gunners. As long as the colors stay the same and the history stays, the badge isn't my number one concern. 

A packed soccer stadium that enjoys the history, colors, team is.

I don't think anyone today would name a team Cleveland Browns, and make them brown and orange, but hey works for Cleveland.

So, just because you change the outside look of the organization, won't floor people. It's the inside of the organization that counts even more.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

7.11.2013: Bernardo Anor Taking His Chances With Another Opportunity

7.11.2013: Bernardo Anor Taking His Chances With Another Opportunity

Bernardo Anor, 25, was drafted by the Columbus Crew in 2011. 

The Caracas FC youth player, whose dad also played soccer professionally in Venezuela, has been on the edges of a much better Venezuelan national team setup.

Anor, for that matter, has also been perennially on the edges of the Columbus Crew starting eleven. 

For the Columbus Crew, the USF player has had his peaks and valleys.

He scored a goal in 2011 and 2012, and has started on average 5-6 games a year, making an appearance as a substitute in another 14 games. 

This year, mainly this Summer, Anor has matched his usual 5-6 starting appearances. 

But, the good news is the Venezuelan has a whole other half of the season to pick up starts and score goals. 

Crew fans said that Bernardo Anor was one of the best players, in Sunday's win, against the 15 game unbeaten Portland Timbers. The same result came from Craig Merz over at thecrew.com. 

Further, Anor has doubled his goal tally in the last two games, taking his total from 2 to 4 during his three year span with Columbus: 

Not bad with the headers from a 5'8 guy.

Hopefully, this past week helps Anor's confidence and he can be the replacement for Gaven during the rest of this season.

If he can keep up this scoring touch it will definitely help Columbus pick up some points.

7.11.2013: Can Wil Trapp Become A Starter This Summer?

7.11.2013: Can Wil Trapp become a starter for the Columbus Crew this Summer?

The Crew's Technical Director Brian Bliss stated earlier this season that Trapp has a lot of potential but they want to bring him along slowly.

Columbus really hasn't had a choice, Trapp has been gone twice with the U.S. National U-20's this season, most recently in the televised U-20 World Cup in Turkey. 

But, now back with Columbus, the Gahanna, OH native Trapp looks to improve on an impressive debut last Sunday.

Most Crew fans stated that Wil Trapp, Bernardo Anor, and Matt Lampson were the most impressive players on the pitch against the Portland Timbers

If Trapp can continue that form, then why should he not start? 

Trapp has an impressive intelligence and a professionalism for a young player, when it comes to how he goes about the game. 

So, can Wil Trapp become a starter this Summer? Yes.

Trapp is definitely a talent and why can't he become a starter, if he can do the business? Trapp is perhaps the most impressive homegrown we have had; he has the highest ceiling on what he can do in the future with his career as well.

7.11.2013: Did Crew Boot Their Dutch Lion Neighbors Out Of USL Pro Playoffs?

USL Pro veteran, former J-League player Shintaro Harada should keep the Dutch Lions on playoff path despite loss to Crew.

7.11.2013: Did Columbus kick their Dayton Dutch Lion neighbors out of the USL Pro Playoffs, on Wednesday?

The Dayton Dutch Lions were in good shape playoff-wise. But, after dropping two straight results to Richmond and the Columbus Crew Reserves (which in a weird way counts for USL Pro's standings in 2013), Dayton is having a bad week and may be in trouble.

In tonight's game, Dayton Dutch Lions manager Patrick Bal was red carded, and soon after the Crew slinked away with a 3-1 win late, off the toes of Tyson Wahl and Tony Tchani. 

The Dutch Lions stand in 7th place, the top 8 teams out of 13 make the USL Pro playoffs. Currently, the Dutch Lions are 5 points ahead of the 9th place Wilmington Hammerheads.

Before this week, Dutch Lions management and coach Patrick Bal were on a 10 game unbeaten streak. 

Now with two defeats, DDLFC are staring down a tough road in the schedule, and may be going on a little bit of a less desirable run. 

The Dutch Lions now play league leaders Orlando City in a pivotal game at home on Sunday, then they play Wigan Athletic on Tuesday (which for pride reasons may force them to play starters, I've worked with DDL and I'm sure they'll play mostly starters), then three days later there away to 6th place Charleston, then the next day they play 5th place Charlotte away, and 3rd place Harrisburg away four days after that. 

How the Dutch Lions play against Orlando City on Sunday will determine their playoff fate. A big win over the league leaders will get them going again, a loss and it may be curtains (or on the outside looking in) after the three game road trip. 

If they can go .500, they play Antiqua at home on July 26th, Antiqua has no wins and is -53 in goal differential this season. So, .500 the next few weeks and then an Antiqua win should be enough for the Dutch Lions to make their first playoff appearance ever, in any sort of league.

By the way, think the Crew had it rough last August when they were playing Saturday, Wednesday, Saturday, Wednesday ever week? 

The Dutch Lions from July 14th to July 26th, will play 6 games in 12 days. On average, that's a professional game every two days.

USL Pro has to be fun on the legs, especially when they're traveling to Charleston, SC by mini bus. 

So, did the Columbus Reserves come back on Wednesday help kick the Dutch Lions out of the playoffs? No. The Dutch Lions will step up and win over league leaders Orlando City at home in a big win Sunday. Then they'll at least win one of the three on the road, and will definitely beat Antiqua; that should be enough to give them some distance from 9th place.

Sure, the Dutch Lions have to be disappointed not to pick up some points this week.

Dutch Lions Manager Patrick Bal got kicked out of the game, and twice out of two portions of the stands tonight; so dropping the lead against the Crew Reserves got the Dutch manager feeling some pressure and acting a little loopy.

But, even though there 5 points away from missing the playoffs. There also only 8 points away from winning the league, which could be five with a win against Orlando City on Sunday.

I like following what's going on in USL Pro, should be an interesting run-in to the end of that league's season.