Crew through!

Crew move onto Eastern Conference Final by a 4-3 score. Hanging on by a prayer and smart substitutions.

Welcome to Crewture.

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

Wednesday, 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.

7.11.2013: Will The Crew Survive Offensively In July, Without Arrieta


7.11.2013: The Crew will be able to survive offensively, without Arrieta, until August?

Jairo Arrieta scored the second tally for Costa Rica in their 3-0 start to CONCACAF Gold Cup, on Tuesday:

I'm not sure how this will work out for Columbus. I believe that Arrieta is starting to get back his form, on the other side of things perhaps Oduro may cool down a bit. 

I think Oduro has been and will be one of the more productive members of the team, but if he has a run of games without a goal, Columbus is in trouble in July. 

For strikers, it's always a peaks and valley game, unless your Messi or Ronaldo.

Oduro will have to take over completely, but that all depends as well on the service he gets from the Columbus midfield. And lately, you never know where that service is coming from? Who is playing behind you? And, who will be there next week?

In July, the best thing coach Robert Warzycha can do is find the best group in midfield out of what he has at his disposal, and get some consistency out there weekly.

Also, Anor needs to keep getting involved around goal. Perhaps, Wil Trapp, working with Sanchez, can be that link up guy as well for Higuain and Oduro.

Further, I don't know if Federico Higuain is distracted by the ongoing visa impropriety investigations involving him from a few weeks back.

But, he needs to step up and start making his opportunities on the field and in the penalty kick area count. 

Can't be a player that allows personal problems to creep on the field, needs to get back to notching goals and assists for Columbus. 

So, without Arrieta for a month, will the Crew be able to survive offensively? 

I believe the Crew will be okay, especially since they haven't had to rely much on Arrieta for goals so far in 2013. Only 2 goals, 2 assists in 9 starts (12 overall games).

Sure Columbus could use more of what Arrieta did against Kansas City for the goal last week, and I think his form will spike this Summer.

But, at the same time Higuain, and to a lesser degree Oduro, have to kick it up another notch. So, do the Crew players in the starting eleven this past Sunday. 

These are mostly players who haven't been consistently playing for Columbus. They should work hard this next month to stay where there at.  

On the other hand, Higuain is a mainstay and might need to take a week off. He has 5 goals and 6 assists in 19 starts this year, but had 5 goals and 7 assists in 11 starts last year. 

Pipa needs to pick it up a bit, especially since most of his goals have been penalty kicks, and two of those penalty kicks were missed. 

It could be a long month if he doesn't. Nevertheless, I believe Wil Trapp and Bernardo Anor will play bigger roles. I also believe Oduro and Higuain will be smart about their chances. 

Columbus will be .500 or better the next month. Which will be good enough to keep them in the playoff hunt for a fall run.

7.11.2013: Should Crew Fans Stop With The "Fire Warzycha" Protest Signs?

Crew fans (on Sunday's match against Portland Timbers) put a Robert Warzycha pink slip in the hands of a Guillermo Barros Schelotto life size cut out. All section banners were upside down as a sign of distress as well.

7.11.2013: Should Crew fans stop with the "Fire Warzycha" protests?


Since the New Year, there has been 1,477 posts on a Bigsoccer.com "Fire Warzycha, 2013 Edition" thread. I believe there was a 2010, 2011, and 2012 version as well. It's like a Harry Potter series at this point.

In Ex-Arsenal Paul Merson's book, "How Not To Be A Professional Footballer," he said a "manager and a player always know when the writing is on the wall for a manager" and that's when fans start chanting and putting up signs. 

Except if your Steve Kean at Blackburn, then you can take a team down no matter how many signs. 

But, anyway, are the "Fire Warzycha" protests pointless? Yes.

Some have been complaining about Warzycha's management for a long time. Those people should make a shirt that says "complaining about Warzycha since 2010." But, the writing has never been on the wall. GM McCullers has always given Warzycha his "vote of confidence" and the owners are focused on the NFL Chiefs. 

Further, have Columbus ever been a completely results based organization under Hunt Sports Group? Hmm, don't know about that.

And, are the "Fire Warzycha" protests unnecessary at this point in the season? Yes, and here's why.

It would make more sense if we were not in July and 3 points out of the playoffs. Where do Crew fans expect this small market team to be at this point? Did you really expect us to run away with the league, with or without the roster we had on opening day?

At this point in the season, degrading the coach is more hurtful than helpful. 

Just look at Mexico, do you think booing de la Torre and throwing bags of water at him, for nearly a meaningless game against Panama (they still play Canada and Martinque), is going to help them win the Gold Cup? Is a poisonous atmosphere at Estadio Azteca going to help Mexico win the World Cup? 

At some point it just gets annoying, the soccer world gets it Mexico. You don't like how Mexico is playing, shocker. 

Further, I bet at this point Warzycha is immune to this sort of thing. But, the thing is there isn't going to be any changes when were still in the playoff hunt mid-season. So, it's stupid.

Plus, Warzycha, is a former player and has been with the organization forever. 

So, why don't the fans get behind this man that has dedicated so much time at the club. At least for the rest of this season?

Either, he figures it out this year and gets us into and deeper in the playoffs. 
Or, we miss the playoffs, end the season at the bottom with D.C. United, or bow out of the playoffs in the first round again.

If the second couple of scenarios occur, he's either going to leave or McCullers will be forced to go in another direction. 

But, it's better at this time not to stop something in motion, and instead see where it goes. 

Crew fans would be better off supporting the club and the club's manager for the rest of this season.

Turn your banners the right way and get behind the gaffer.

7.11.2013: Will There Be Any New Signings In July



7.11.2013: Columbus won't be getting a Deco, but do they have any new signings in mind in a pivotal July?

Nearly a month ago, there was a suspiciously, delicious rumor that ex-Barca player Deco was making the move to the Columbus Crew. Crew GM Mark McCullers put that baby to bed by emphatically stating the Crew had no talks with Deco, and McCullers "isn't interested in Deco this transfer window."

Likely the ex- Porto, Barcelona, and Chelsea player would share the same feelings. Plus, I don't think Deco's girlfriend would want to be modeling in Central Ohio.

Yet, Deco aside, the Major League Soccer transfer window runs from June 27th to July 27th. That gives the Columbus Crew 17 days to transfer in players. 

We've heard absolutely zero rumors on the transfer front, and I've looked on Google Chile, Argentina, Poland, Italy, England. There is nothing going on.

For unsigned players and MLS trades we have until the roster freeze date of September 15th.

But, July is where things start to happen for MLS clubs. Fans start hearing rumors, trades happen, overseas signings happen, and either you put yourself in a good position or start joining D.C. United and Toronto FC in the basement. 

So, will the Crew make any pivotal moves in July?

The Crew will make a move but it won't be a big move, like Deco, or something that will likely blow fans away. 

McCullers hinted the Crew are always looking to improve the team, always have their "ear to the ground." But, I think there looking closer to home.

So, I see the Crew making a trade or two in MLS, hopefully that work out as well as Dominic Oduro. The player will likely be someone that Brian Bliss and company think can do a job for Columbus, but yet might not be getting full playing time at another MLS club. 

Further, Columbus will rely on players like Wil Trapp, Bernardo Anor, and Matias Sanchez to step to the fore front as well. There capable of filling a void too.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Five Spot Takers (Thursday, July 10th)



1. Columbus won't be getting a Deco, but do they have any new signings in mind in a pivotal July?

Nearly a month ago, there was a suspiciously, delicious rumor that ex-Barca player Deco was making the move to the Columbus Crew. Crew GM Mark McCullers put that baby to bed by emphatically stating the Crew had no talks with Deco, and McCullers "isn't interested in Deco this transfer window."

Likely the ex- Porto, Barcelona, and Chelsea player would share the same feelings. Plus, I don't think Deco's girlfriend would want to be modeling in Central Ohio.

Yet, Deco aside, the Major League Soccer transfer window runs from June 27th to July 27th. That gives the Columbus Crew 17 days to transfer in players. 

We've heard absolutely zero rumors on the transfer front, and I've looked on Google Chile, Argentina, Poland, Italy, England. There is nothing going on.

For unsigned players and MLS trades we have until the roster freeze date of September 15th.

But, July is where things start to happen for MLS clubs. Fans start hearing rumors, trades happen, overseas signings happen, and either you put yourself in a good position or start joining D.C. United and Toronto FC in the basement. 

So, will the Crew make any pivotal moves in July?


The Spot Kick: Will the Crew make new signings in July? It's off the top of the cross bar and in. The Crew will make a move but it won't be a big move, like Deco, or something that will likely blow fans away. 

McCullers hinted the Crew are always looking to improve the team, always have their "ear to the ground." But, I think there looking closer to home.

So, I see the Crew making a trade or two in MLS, hopefully that work out as well as Dominic Oduro. The player will likely be someone that Brian Bliss and company think can do a job for Columbus, but yet might not be getting full playing time at another MLS club. 

Further, Columbus will rely on players like Wil Trapp, Bernardo Anor, and Matias Sanchez to step to the fore front as well. There capable of filling a void too.

Crew fans (on Sunday's match against Portland Timbers) put a Robert Warzycha pink slip in the hands of a Guillermo Barros Schelotto life size cut out. All section banners were upside down as a sign of distress as well.


2. Should Crew fans stop with the "Fire Warzycha" protests?


Since the New Year, there has been 1,477 posts on a Bigsoccer.com "Fire Warzycha, 2013 Edition" thread. I believe there was a 2010, 2011, and 2012 version as well. It's like a Harry Potter series at this point.

In Ex-Arsenal Paul Merson's book, "How Not To Be A Professional Footballer," he said a "manager and a player always know when the writing is on the wall for a manager" and that's when fans start chanting and putting up signs. 

Except if your Steve Kean at Blackburn, then you can take a team down no matter how many signs. 

But, anyway, are the "Fire Warzycha" protests pointless? Yes.

Some have been complaining about Warzycha's management for a long time. Those people should make a shirt that says "complaining about Warzycha since 2010." But, the writing has never been on the wall. GM McCullers has always given Warzycha his "vote of confidence" and the owners are focused on the NFL Chiefs. 

Further, have Columbus ever been a completely results based organization under Hunt Sports Group? Hmm, don't know about that.

And, are the "Fire Warzycha" protests unnecessary at this point in the season? Yes, and here's why.

It would make more sense if we were not in July and 3 points out of the playoffs. Where do Crew fans expect this small market team to be at this point? Did you really expect us to run away with the league, with or without the roster we had on opening day?

At this point in the season, degrading the coach is more hurtful than helpful. 

Just look at Mexico, do you think booing de la Torre and throwing bags of water at him, for nearly a meaningless game against Panama (they still play Canada and Martinque), is going to help them win the Gold Cup? Is a poisonous atmosphere at Estadio Azteca going to help Mexico win the World Cup? 

At some point it just gets annoying, the soccer world gets it Mexico. You don't like how Mexico is playing, shocker. 

Further, I bet at this point Warzycha is immune to this sort of thing. But, the thing is there isn't going to be any changes when were still in the playoff hunt mid-season. So, it's stupid.

Plus, Warzycha, is a former player and has been with the organization forever. 

So, why don't the fans get behind this man that has dedicated so much time at the club. At least for the rest of this season?

Either, he figures it out this year and gets us into and deeper in the playoffs. 
Or, we miss the playoffs, end the season at the bottom with D.C. United, or bow out of the playoffs in the first round again.

If the second couple of scenarios occur, he's either going to leave or McCullers will be forced to go in another direction. 

But, it's better at this time not to stop something in motion, and instead see where it goes. 

Crew fans would be better off supporting the club and the club's manager for the rest of this season.



The Spot Kick: Should Crew fans stop protesting? Yes, the rifle scores. Turn your banners the right way and get behind the gaffer.


3. The Crew will be able to survive offensively, without Arrieta, until August?

Jairo Arrieta scored the second tally for Costa Rica in their 3-0 start to CONCACAF Gold Cup, on Tuesday:


I'm not sure how this will work out for Columbus. I believe that Arrieta is starting to get back his form, on the other side of things perhaps Oduro may cool down a bit. 

I think Oduro has been and will be one of the more productive members of the team, but if he has a run of games without a goal, Columbus is in trouble in July. 

For strikers, it's always a peaks and valley game, unless your Messi or Ronaldo.

Oduro will have to take over completely, but that all depends as well on the service he gets from the Columbus midfield. And lately, you never know where that service is coming from? Who is playing behind you? And, who will be there next week?

In July, the best thing coach Robert Warzycha can do is find the best group in midfield out of what he has at his disposal, and get some consistency out there weekly.

Also, Anor needs to keep getting involved around goal. Perhaps, Wil Trapp, working with Sanchez, can be that link up guy as well for Higuain and Oduro.

Further, I don't know if Federico Higuain is distracted by the ongoing visa impropriety investigations involving him from a few weeks back.

But, he needs to step up and start making his opportunities on the field and in the penalty kick area count. 

Can't be a player that allows personal problems to creep on the field, needs to get back to notching goals and assists for Columbus. 



Spot kick: Without Arrieta for a month, the Crew will be able to survive offensively? Oduro steps up and hits it in. I believe the Crew will be okay, especially since they haven't had to rely much on Arrieta for goals so far in 2013. Only 2 goals, 2 assists in 9 starts (12 overall games).

Sure Columbus could use more of what Arrieta did against Kansas City for the goal last week, and I think his form will spike this Summer.

But, at the same time Higuain, and to a lesser degree Oduro, have to kick it up another notch. So, do the Crew players in the starting eleven this past Sunday. 

These are mostly players who haven't been consistently playing for Columbus. They should work hard this next month to stay where there at.  

On the other hand, Higuain is a mainstay and might need to take a week off. He has 5 goals and 6 assists in 19 starts this year, but had 5 goals and 7 assists in 11 starts last year. 

Pipa needs to pick it up a bit, especially since most of his goals have been penalty kicks, and two of those penalty kicks were missed. 

It could be a long month if he doesn't. Nevertheless, I believe Wil Trapp and Bernardo Anor will play bigger roles. I also believe Oduro and Higuain will be smart about their chances. 

Columbus will be .500 or better the next month. Which will be good enough to keep them in the playoff hunt for a fall run.

4. 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. 




Spot kick: Did the Columbus Reserves come back on Wednesday help kick the Dutch Lions out of the playoffs? No, wide right. 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.


5. Wil Trapp will 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. 




Spot Kick: Can Wil Trapp become a starter this Summer? Yes, scooped the keeper. 

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.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

7.9.2013: Just When The Arrieta Was Getting Good

The Crew's swashbuckling Costa Rican, Jairo, tore threw the Sporting Kansas City back-line last week like a striker possessed:



Arrieta's wundergoal matched a similar jaw dropping golazo he had last year visiting Kansas City's Livestrong Park. In the middle of some nice form.

I'm guessing Jairo Arrieta loves playing there.

The question is did Columbus lose the real Arrieta for the second time this season because he's off with Costa Rica in the Gold Cup?

For Arrieta, he lost the number one striker status earlier in the season because of Costa Rican duty.

For Columbus, it's a double-edge sword.

It's great to see your players succeeding internationally.

But, July is an important month in MLS and one of your top strikers is gone again.

Columbus is going to have to do the business without a Jairo that is starting to show signs of his old self.

And if Costa Rica and Arrieta don't have an excellent Gold Cup is his confidence ruined? Along with the Crew's goal scoring chances in the second half of the season?

The Crew Academy and Reserves are going to have to do the business in July.

Hopefully, Arrieta tears it up for Costa Rica and then comes back to Columbus and shows the great form we all know he's consistently capable of.

When he does, it usually makes Pipa happy

Monday, July 8, 2013

7.9.2013: Columbus Crew, All About The 614 In 1-0 Homegrown Win



Chad Barson is from Columbus, Danny O'Rourke is from Columbus, Konrad Warzycha is from Columbus, Wil Trapp is from Gahanna, OH, Josh Williams is from Copley, OH, and Matt Lampson grew up in the Crew's Columbus Academy and went to Ohio State. Ben Speas from Stow, OH was on the bench.

On Sunday they nearly all contributed in a 1-0 win and played well.

Chivas USA wants to play with mostly all Hispanic players.

The way towards success for Columbus is to eventually play with a squad bolstered by all Crew, Ohio area academy players.

The Columbus Crew may have had good attendances recently based on excellent weather; yet one day it should be about going and seeing the guy that played at your high school and was your buddy.

Wil Trapp is the true future of Crew soccer, living 10 minutes from Crew Stadium and eventually donning the jersey on Black & Gold Boulevard:
"I think I underestimated the feeling you would get when you step on the field in front of your friends and family. It was awesome."

That could be a better selling point, someday, than seeing a guy play hockey from Russia (I love me some hockey once in a while, but take note Blue Jackets).

I mean really, who doesn't want to support local athletes in a professional setting? A town that cannot get behind a bunch of locals is a town of people that don't respect their area code.

Luckily, I lived in Columbus for a year and it's not one of those places.

So, Columbus may be on the verge of something rare, special in professional sports. 

Yes, there's likely to always be a need to bring in a few special overseas players like Federico Higuain or Guillermo Barros Schelotto. No one has qualms about that.

But, what if it was 8 Columbus area players surrounded by some special, exciting players like Higuain, Arrieta, Oduro. Chances are your always going to have a team then that can relate to the community and be exciting.

Chances are there will always be someone in the locker room that is going to make sure  everyone that comes to the club knows what it means to wear the jersey.

This could be the Crew's direction; if it's not completely; it should be.