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 16, 2014

12.16.2014: Gregg Berhalter Year One Journey, What To Expect In Year Two

Gregg Berhalter started 2014 on fire, he was the talk of Major League Soccer with his tactics and attractive style of play; as well as a 3-0 record.

He was anointed tactical king, a guru, perhaps even the great one on this side of the Atlantic.

TopDrawer Soccer announced Berhalter's work as revolutionary three games in:

What Berhalter has done to the Crew over the course of the first three games of the season has been nothing short of revolutionary. 

Most young MLS coaches – especially those in their first year because MLS hires unnaturally young – come upon league gates frowning down upon them, and only men like Peter Vermes and Jason Kreis and Bruce Arena stare back from the other side. Most young coaches opt to scale the craggy earthworks to either side, content to play it safe in lieu of attacking ideas. There are few in the league’s history who’ve had the temerity to take the gates head on. Berhalter appears to be one such man.

Gregg Berhalter's praise machine was in high speed. But, then the Crew tanked in their next eight games, losing four and tying four.

Columbus finally got a 'W' against third division Dayton Dutch Lions the next time out. A team that after this season may no longer exist professionally and who struggled in the standings in their lower division.

Nine outings and only one win against the Dutch Lions. If were talking about breaking gates, Berhalter went from looking like Gene Hackman in The Heist, to Joe Pesci in Home Alone 2.

It was starting to look like that time, for the Crew fans known for their patience, to start the Fire Gregg Berhalter thread on Bigsoccer.

I think every Crew coach has had that honor, some multiple times.

The Dutch Lions win, led to another win the next game against Chicago. Then, the Crew went on to lose four more games and tie four more.

And the thread was officially alive and well.

Since going 3-0, the Crew were 1-8-8 in Major League Soccer in the following 17 games. Ouch.

But, give Berhalter credit for resilience.

Since that low point, the Crew finished the season 10-3-2, rolling into the playoffs.

Talk about a massive turnaround.

In 2015, Berhalter will be looking for more consistency, compared to the roller coaster season his Crew embarked on in 2014.

But, a good sign is that the locker room never turned or gave up belief in Berhalter's plan.

Throughout the season, opposing teams always said "the Crew will play out of the back, they'll play their game, no matter if their down 1-0 early or up 2-0. They're trying to play their game, their system no matter what."

In addition, Berhalter seems to have the right pulse on signing new players.

Crew fans would've perhaps liked more signings, especially up at striker. Yet, have to give Berhalter credit for not signing players that he didn't believe were a.) a fit or b.) would've got the job done.

On the other hand, when Berhalter did make a move, they were 100% percent the right guys.

-Michael Parkhurst, the consummate professional with US National Team experience.

-Steve Clark, who was brought in to replace the popular Andy Greunebaum and was 100% percent the right guy and then some.

-Giancarlo Gonzalez, who wasn't well known but played well for Columbus, exploded onto the scene with Costa Rica in the World Cup, and was signed by Palermo for a nice transfer fee; where he scored the game winner in his first game for Palermo.

-Waylon Francis, Has done well but perhaps can be more attributed to Brian Bliss's work before he left.

-Emmanuel Pogatetz, didn't really get put into the mix as a late signing. But, great experience. Hopefully, he can make a strong partnership with Parkhurst in 2015.

No misfires yet. Which compared to Warzycha, so far so good; as Sergio Herrera (was a complete misfire) and Andres Mendoza (could've been not the best guy for a locker room).

For next season, Berhalter has signed Swedish defensive midfielder Mohammed Saeid, former MLSer' Kei Kamara, and Icelandic winger Kristinn Steind√≥rsson. In addition, he has graduated Ben Swanson to the first team.

Saeid and Steindorsson look like guys who will battle for starting positions and/or depth. In addition, there should still be more space for further key acquisitions.

Overall, I'm excited for the first year of CCSC. I think Berhalter will get the guys that will fit into his system and the Crew will be better overall for it in 2015.

I also think the ability to get over a rocky middle of the season, go 10-3-2 to finish the year, and make the playoffs for the first time since 2011 is something to build on. 2014 could've been a lot worse, Berhalter sticking to his plan turned it around.

Monday, October 13, 2014

10.13.2014: Crewture Fanzine Weekly

Talking about the Crew rebrand, Kei Kamara signing, the electric comeback, and Ethan Finlay. Also, could the Crew lure LD out of retirement with Frankie Hejduk and Gregg Berhalter.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

8.13.2014: NASL Clubs Making Bigger Striker Moves

The New York Cosmos, who play in the NASL to not exactly remarkable crowds at Hofstra University's Soccer Stadium. Can not only reportedly afford to go after Roque Santa-Cruz, offering him from various reports $1 million to $2 million; But, can also afford to pay a transfer fee to get him out of his contract that runs with Malaga until 2016.

Meanwhile, a division higher in Major League Soccer at our club, whose revenue isn't amazing, but has to be better than renting out a mid-level university stadium with over 9,000 less seats... crickets on the forward front.

Not saying Roque Santa-Cruz would make sense at all, the focus isn't likely to ever be on a player that needs two years of a contract bought out. But, identify a target that will work in your system, put a serious offer on the table, attempt to make it into the playoffs. And then role that momentum into next year's re-brand. 

That hopefully will not be going on in the middle of a desert.

Or ride it out with injury-riddled Arrieta, and an inexperienced Bedell, and Schoenfeld. 

If the front office is okay with that route, I see the Crew missing out on the postseason again.

8.13.2014: TV Show Shoutout

I'm sure some have saw this shout out. But, Fox's new show "Red Band Society," a drama about a group of kids in a hospital, has a character that sports a Columbus Crew shirt in the show preview.

Specifically, a Crew Union shirt, which isn't shabby publicity for one of the three core supporter groups of the Nordeck.

In the scene in question, it appears both kids played soccer and one has lost his leg to cancer, and the other is in the process of going through the same thing. 

Anyways, live and in living color at 2:03 in this YouTube video:

Thursday, August 7, 2014

8.7.2014: What A Mix Up.

The Mix Up isn't really with the Mix nixing of the deal. But, that Columbus, instead of focusing on real needs, is so desperate to go after US National team players that will likely give us little impact.
So the Columbus Crew offered U.S. National Team player Mix Diskerud $1 million dollars (or close to it), in a contract that hit a snag yesterday.
Mix currently makes around $300,000 dollars playing for Rosenborg in Norway.
The snag was rumored to be that Diskerud's dad/agent Paal Diskerud said his son "needs more money." Which really could be Mix's words too, because if Mix really wants to play in Columbus for $1 Million he would be like, "come on dad, this is what I want."
But, should Columbus of ever put themselves into this position? Seeing that the older Diskerud pulled his son allegedly out of a transfer with the Portland Timbers two years back? Both times Mix would've made exceedingly more money than he makes now.
Which means one of two things? Either the Diskerud's are crazy or Norway is so much better than Columbus, Ohio that one rather make $700,000 less to live there.
Hmm.. Hopefully Diskerud, during his time in Columbus with the US Nats, was able to see some area's away from the stadium; other than the Lowe's, Big Boy's, railroad, and the low income housing around stadia Crew. If he thought he would have to reside there, I would probably choose Norway too.
Either way, why are the Columbus Crew so keen on going after a Mix Diskerud or Sasha Klejistan?  Why can't we just offer $1 Million for some striker, somewhere, that can score goals. I can almost guarantee (if we still have scouts) that there is someone that for $1 million bucks, can come to America (were still the promised land, right?), and give us some goals. And no I'm not talking about Papadopoulous. I'm talking about a million for someone that has an upside, and will blossom here.
Sure, Diskerud would've been a nice look for a while. Maybe Klejistan, too. But, it's not like it's Altidore. It's really not Kaka, Villa, or Lampard. It's not a big name signing. Interest would've faded in a couple of weeks.
What doesn't fade is winning, and a good style of play. We need to insert players that win us games.
Not fawn over every mid-level US National teamer, throwing our script of needs to the way side when they come available, saying "woo, we had someone call us, a big time US National Team player," who didn't even make the World Cup squad. I.e. Sasha Klejistan.
Are we serious?
What's the big draw there? Klejistan has played for Chivas USA and Anderlecht, what's the big news here? What's the reason to leak that unless something comes from it?
It's big news if were attached to Gareth Bale, quite noteworthy even if nothing comes from it. But, Sasha Klejistan or Mix Diskerud inquire about the Crew? Woo. Massive club we are lol.
Look. What we need our a few no name strikers that can put some goals in the back of the net and have us win consistently again. What we don't need is an okay US National Team midfielder, that we try to fit everything around, and yet he isn't a striker nor can score us goals.
To be honest I'm not sure if either is worth $1 million, other than that US National Team by their name that makes them worth that to just MLS.
Sure it's nice that US National Team players are coming back to MLS. But, I hope the league isn't forcing teams to acquire them. The focus should be on playing good soccer and winning for every team, if a US National Teamer fits into that mix for a MLS club so be it. But, it's not going to always be the instant ingredient to success. It's just going to make you feel better for a while, until you miss the playoffs again because you have no one who can score!
When the Portland Timbers missed out on Mix Diskerud, they replaced him with the target of Diego Valeri. I would take a Valeri right now any day.
So hopefully the Crew go in a similar direction.

Monday, July 28, 2014

7.28.2014: Emmanuel Dapaa Should Be Crew Academy Target

Columbus, Ohio area player Emmanuel Dapaa had 8 goals in 4 games at US Youth Soccer Championship
at U16 level this past week.

7.28.2014: Emmanuel Dapaa Should Be Crew Academy Target
By Ryan Kozlowski, Crewture Editor

Here's a signing the Columbus Crew should make in their backyard for the Youth Academy.

16 year old Emmanuel Dapaa, who plays for Ohio Premier out of Dublin, Ohio. A suburb just miles away from Crew Stadium.

Dapaa, a youngster who would be eligible to play for the United States (grew up here since three), Italy (was born there), or Ghana (parents are from there), was the leading goalscorer in the US Youth Soccer Championship (at all levels) with 8 goals. Oh, and he did that without playing the first game!

Eight goals in four games at the U16 National Championship isn't bad for a weeks work.

Also, Dapaa carried his side completely on his back. His impact was displayed the two times OPE matched up with the #1 ranked U16 side Baltimore Celtic.

The game Dapaa missed, A 4-1 loss to Baltimore Celtic to open the tournament for OPE, was a lot closer in the final when the two sides met again with Eman present.

In the rematch Dapaa, tied up the U16 final on a free kick, and kept OPE in the game for 110 minutes for a 1-1 result after extra time; but the Ohio Premier Eagles eventually succumbed 4-2 on PKs to the Celts.

Prior to Dapaa's breakout in this tournament, he had the 2013 Goal of the Year in US Youth Soccer. Also, a ridiculous 38 goals and 15 assists in his Ohio high school season last year, the most goals in 2013 in any Ohio High School Division. Eman also supposedly has had contact with Manchester United.

This past week, I saw Dapaa play twice. I filmed or produced 14 games from the U14 to U19 levels at the US Youth Soccer National Championships in Germantown, Maryland, 2 of Dapaa's. Dapaa was one of two or three players that really stood out for me.
Start at 2:21 (I filmed the flip celebration on his second goal, one of the better goals of this tournament):

Dapaa, and a similar striker for Baltimore Celtic, are who US Soccer should be fast tracking to the National Team. Also, a U-14 Striker Andrew Carleton.

Why go after German-Americans for the future, when there are Americans out there like Dapaa and Carleton (who is with the USMNT U14's) that could be focused on or groomed to be strikers that the National Team is missing.

Hopefully, since this is the US Youth Soccer National Championship, Dapaa is getting a look as well. Kids like this should be in MLS academies, until they can make the next steps to MLS and the USMNT.
Further, if the Crew don't know or care to get this kid in their backyard. They should probably just close their doors. Dapaa is an exciting player. If you're not interested in getting exciting strikers into your academy, and eventually on your first team, what's your business?

But, possibly it's not the Crew who don't want Dapaa, but Dapaa that doesn't want the Crew yet. According to a youth soccer parent, the Crew Academy, despite being free, isn't very attractive in the lower youth levels.
Eman is the real deal as they like to say. I've watched him play against my son's teams since roughly u12. Despite what you think, the best kids in Columbus/Ohio don't play for the Crew DA at the u-16 level. I can't comment on the older u-18 group because I haven't seen the kids over the last few years since my son is u-16 this year. I've watched the last 2 years of the Crew DA team play and know almost all the kids because my son has played or guest played with or against them...even the Crew Challenger ones that were brought in this November after their high school seasons ended. They seem to have made an impact and stabilized the team a bit although they are sitting in 3rd from last place in the table.

OP U-16 would handle the Crew DA pretty easily in my opinion. We'll never know though. In the U-15 age group Lesh's Blast team is far superior to anything the Crew has as well. You probably find this hard to believe but the top players in Ohio South aren't all clamoring to play DA for the Crew. Lot's of kids want to do multiple sports, play with and in front of friends in HS and maybe have steered clear for other reasons. I know a lot of unhappy Crew Pre-Academy families from the last year or two. Just for the record my son has never played Gold, Pre-Acad or DA but some of his ex-teammates have or still do.
If this comment was a shot on net, it would be right on target.

If Dapaa played for the Crew now he would have to give up high school soccer, high school basketball, and playing with the OP Eagles. All things he currently enjoys doing.

But, around 17 or 18, when he might need a few years of Major League Soccer before possibly jumping over to Europe, maybe then Dapaa makes the switch.

I doubt Eman is anywhere near as good at basketball as he is at soccer. If he also had LeBron potential that would be amusing, but I'm going to just go out on a limb and say he doesn't. So, eventually when it comes to a future, near graduation, he's going to have to seek out either the Columbus Crew or somewhere else.

If I was at Columbus Crew, or even my previous colleagues at Dayton Dutch Lions, where their whole money deal is (or was) trying to eventually sell kids to Europe to make money (and they have some connections overseas) I would be after this kid like Nick Saban after an Alabama blue chip. Hell, the kid was in the Columbus Dispatch for possible tryouts with Manchester United feeder clubs. What do you need to do to say "hello, I'm good over here?"

Does Dapaa need to score 10 goals in the US U16 Club Championship? Before you offer him and his entire family and friends free season tickets and access to anyone he wants. Either club should be bending over backward for this kid, because it's smart for business.

Even DDL, although MLS play is about 50 times more attractive than USL Pro obviously, could try to groom the kid for two more years, give him a year of USL Pro to dominate, then transfer him overseas. Or Columbus can give him a few years of MLS and do the same.

But, if OP Eagles are giving him the ability to be on the biggest stage at the U16 club level, and Columbus or Dayton cannot, then why move?

Either way, it still should be a priority of the Crew at that level.

Smart transfers are a good business model. The unheard of Giancarlo Gonzalez, when the Crew signed him, ended up being a World Cup defensive standout for Costa Rica. That was a smart transfer for Columbus; in for probably $250,000, out for possibly $5 million.

So would a kid like this in another way, as Dapaa has the potential in three or four years of being attractive to someone in Europe.

So, say the Columbus Crew lure him for free, four years down the road they could snag $4 million for him.

Yet, because most of the money goes to MLS MAIN when one of these transfers occur, I feel like there isn't as much of an emphasis on these two type of moves by MLS teams. Even if it helps the club for a couple of years on the field, do MLS teams get enough to do whatever it takes to grab these players? A greater free market economy in MLS, and more benefits for these moves (like getting 100% percent of the transfer) would lead to more growth and more ambitious owners in this league, doing everything in their power to get youth players like Dapaa and making more transfers like Giancarlo.

Either way, Crew or elsewhere, I think you'll hear more from this kid down the road.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

5.1.2014: Player Profile- Not on the Radar, College Student Athlete Becomes Major League Soccer Starter

          Pic by Sam Greene/Columbus Dispatch

Player Profile- Not on the Radar, College Student Athlete Becomes Major League Soccer Starter
By Ryan Kozlowski
Crewture Editor

Josh Williams was very close from never receiving the opportunity to become a professional player.

The right back, who has become the senior member of the 2014 Columbus Crew with over 60 appearances, under normal circumstances would've never received the chance to impress.

An unexpected phone call and a decision to answer in 2010 changed that.

Williams was in a college class at Cleveland State, an unknown number called.

Could've been a telemarketer. A creditor. But, for some reason Williams answered. It was Crew's Coach Brian Bliss.

Bliss called Williams, out of the blue, in 2010.

Bliss was on the phone because he wanted to possibly sign Josh. Bliss wanted the unknown Josh to be ready to be a backup signing in a hour for Major League Soccer's Columbus Crew, if another deal fell through on deadline day.

One could only imagine Williams reaction crouched in his class room.

On most days.. Josh wouldn't have answered an unknown number in the middle of class, could of let it go to voice mail, and continued to listen to his Sport Management lecture that afternoon.

If he did the usual, not answer his phone in class, chances are Josh Williams wouldn't be a Major League Soccer player today.

Josh likely would've instead struggled to get a foot in the door of the management side of sports, where six figure salaries are reserved only for upper management.

But, in a stroke of good fortune a higher profile, overseas signing did fall through on that day.

One Kwaku Nyamekye who never kicked a ball professionally and is now a trade support analyst in oil. 

Appears that one worked out for Williams, the Crew, and perhaps even Kwaku.

Kwaku Nyamekye

Now Williams, who was at the first Crew game in 1996 as an 8 year old fan, has over 60 appearances for the club that he has always followed.

Josh often took the road less traveled to get there.

Josh could've played baseball at Division I colleges. He had full rides to Kentucky and West Virginia.

But, Josh wanted to play soccer and went to the only place that would give him the same opportunity, Cleveland State.

Most would not turn down a Kentucky Wildcat or Mountaineer uniform for a Horizon league one. But, Josh did.

Following a successful career at Cleveland State, Josh played lower division soccer with the Cleveland Internationals and received semi-chances with the Crew in reserve exhibitions.

That is how the Columbus Crew's Brian Bliss became accustomed with the hard working Williams, mainly because he was in the area and persistent.

When those chances occurred with Columbus reserves luck played a role with Williams. Injuries gave Williams an opportunity to get on the field.

At Cleveland State

And apparently that was enough to be a last second signing.

But, Bliss won't take full credit for the discovery of Williams.

"Josh wasn't really on our radar, but we knew him," Bliss recalls. "He did OK in those college games (with the Crew). His geographic location was a big part of it."

For the next four seasons, Josh has been a starter for the Columbus Crew.

Not bad for someone who wasn't on a team's radar.
Was only signed because another deal fell through.
He was geographically close.
And he picked up his phone.

5.1.2014: Player Profile- The Confident, Acrobatic Steve Clark's Soccer Journey

            Pic by Sam Fahmi

Player Profile- The Confident, Acrobatic Steve Clark's Soccer Journey
By Ryan Kozlowski, Crewture Editor

In February 2010, Steve Clark was on his way to Norway with Honefoss BK, after his visa permit was denied to move to League One Bradford City and a Stabaek deal fizzled out.

England International Keeper, turned Bradford City goalkeeper coach Nigel Martyn at the time told Clark to "keep going."

"I believe in your training habits and instinct and ability."

Martyn, with 680 caps at Leeds United, Everton, and Crystal Palace, rated Clark. Clark took confidence from this.

Clark kept going, and found a home in Norway through what he was known for during his stay there, his American determination.

Clark set up, or rather engineered a trial himself.

"On Tuesday, I called Honefoss after hearing a deal with Stabaek's second choice goalkeeper fell through."

Clark was training at the time with Stabaek.

"So, I asked if they needed a goalkeeper and here we are."

England former international Nigel Martyn had 23 caps with the Three Lions.

This inner-confidence to seal a deal with Honefoss wasn't built completely by Martyn's words, but also from Clark's former stops; as Clark signed and didn't forget where he came from.

"I thank my coaches at Oakland University that helped give me the confidence to believe in myself."

Clark, as an All-American, led Oakland to two NCAA appearances.

"I also want to thank the Michigan Bucks ownership and coaches for everything they have done to help me get my first pro contract last year. My four years with the Bucks went a long way to prepare me for what life was going to be like in the real world having to go out and fight for a job in pro soccer.  I will always cherish my experience with the Bucks and will make them proud of me over here."

The Bucks goalkeeper, with over 75 appearances as a PDL regular season and playoff champion, did just that.

He helped Honefoss to promotion, and then his stellar goalkeeping kept Honefoss, expected to go straight back down, in the League.

Clark was named the Tippeligaen Goalkeeper of the Year in 2012.

"I think the way you get league Best XI is to not want to get league Best XI."

Clark's attitude and play has led to him being the best wherever he has played.

"You can't want something so badly or else you'll end up fearing failure on gameday.If you can compartmentalize your thoughts, you can make big gains in your game."

Clark, who played every game for Honefoss from 2011 to 2013, is making big gains in Major League Soccer so far with Columbus.

Will his 2014 lead to another BEST XI? Will a few years in MLS lead to bigger things?

"I've always dreamed of playing in the Bundesliga."

"I'll be the first one to tell you, I'm not at that level yet, but maybe in a couple years. Maybe not, but I'm certainly going to shoot for it."

I wouldn't count against Steve Clark.

But, first let's hope he leads Columbus to some playoff success.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

4.30.2014: Road Games Crucial For Columbus

4.30.2014: Road Games Crucial For Columbus
By Ryan Kozlowski, Crewture Editor

The Columbus Crew started out the season with a surprise three wins. Gregg Berhalter was described as a new genius, an American special one.

Awe, you making me laugh Soccer America.

Since then, the Columbus Crew have puttered to 3 points out of a possible 12.

Surprisingly, in an inept East, that 12 points is good enough for first place. But, it shouldn't be good enough for Berhalter or his charges.

Out of those four games, three were at home.

One was a tactically bad 2-0 loss to a depleted Toronto FC (where most Toronto fans on forums were predicting a 3-nil defeat), one was a last second comeback tie with DC United at home (who Columbus dismantled a month prior away), and one was two points surrendered after a good start against New York Red Bull.

Two points, at home, out of the last nine isn't going to do it this year.

The Crew are surviving on their 9 out of 9 points from their first three outings.

They are in first place, but there's only four teams one point behind them.

And a couple more so-so performances on the road will finally see the Crew start dropping down the standings.

Good news is, so far in 2014 Columbus has been better on the road, picking up 7 out of their 9 road points.

These two road games will show a lot, whether Columbus will be a top team or find themselves just outside of the playoffs again.

Keys for Columbus:

1.) They need to get that crucial second goal, Columbus has won every game once they've put in a second goal.

The defense isn't solid enough yet to win 1-0 and minimize that one lapse in concentration on defense.

2.) Arrieta, Oduro need to get going offensively. Not just with penalty kicks.

3.) Columbus needs to win these two games and then stop saving it for the road. Columbus had the opportunity to give themselves a nice lead in the East at home, now they rely on road games to keep themselves near the top.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

4.6.2014: Hey Michael Bradley

Oh you're the best US National Team player? Well...

Sunday, April 6, 2014


This picture is of Karolina, a beautiful reader of Maxim magazine. Apparently, you should stand at the magazine rack more often flipping through a Maxim. As all these ladies are readers.

4.6.2014: When You're Declared A Legend 3 Games In..

Overall, I love what Berhalter has done here in Columbus, 3 wins and 1 loss is a great start to a season where expectations were not huge.

But, I wonder if declaring Gregg Berhalter as North America's special one jinxed the Crew this past weekend against Toronto F.C.

TopDrawer Soccer announced Berhalter's work as revolutionary in an article earlier this week, and perhaps deservedly so.
What Berhalter has done to the Crew over the course of the first three games of the season has been nothing short of revolutionary.  
Most young MLS coaches – especially those in their first year because MLS hires unnaturally young – come upon league gates frowning down upon them, and only men like Peter Vermes and Jason Kreis and Bruce Arena stare back from the other side. Most young coaches opt to scale the craggy earthworks to either side, content to play it safe in lieu of attacking ideas. There are few in the league’s history who’ve had the temerity to take the gates head on. Berhalter appears to be one such man.
Geesh, high praise. Berhalter must be saying "thanks guys, but I still have 31 games left in my first MLS season!"

That wasn't all. MLSsoccer.com writer's were lauding Berhalter's new system all week, stating how it has given players like Wil Trapp the freedom to flourish and spread their wings or what have you, according to MLS,
Columbus currently lead MLS in possession, passing accuracy and passing accuracy in the final third. In fact, the Crew lead by a wide margin in both passing accuracy benchmarks, more than 3 and 4 percent, respectively.
They also lead in fancy charts.

But, then you lose to Toronto F.C. at home, and create little attacking chances, and then fans say this:
The game plan in the first half failed miserably. The team created zero chances and struggled to even put two consecutive passes together. In the second half, the only idea was to cross, which was just dumb. The players were poor, and the tactics were poorer.

The media is always looking for that next legendary coach, and Berhalter hopefully is that for us.

But, just like the U.S. needed to realize there is two halves to a game vs. Mexico.  Some commentators might need to realize there are 34 games to a Major League Soccer season.

4.6.2014: #CREWTURE BIN- New Wingers The Crew Are Scouting

4.6.2014: #CREWTURE BIN- Urruti Goal

In a game that was a perfect advertisement for Major League Soccer, this highlight is really all MLS should play on their commercials.

Nice atmosphere, some smoke bombs in the background, great goal, good dancing.. Perfect.

I wish there was a city with a big stadium between Portland and Seattle. I would love a neutral site game with about 40,000 fans of both teams on each side.

Rarely do you see a 50/50 crowd in soccer, like you see in college sports. Think that would be a lot of fun.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

2.20.2014: Major League Soccer's Preseason Streaming Is An Embarrassment

Nice Sightline in That Pic, Glad that Wil Trapp's Grandmother allowed MLS to borrow her Sony Camcorder

Would It Kill MLS To Get a Preseason Stream Right?

I would stop bringing it up if it wasn't a problem. But, the people Major League Soccer has hired in video production cannot figure out how to live stream.

The Malmo game I could only watch about 60 minutes, this one 37 minutes. Why? This is supposed to be a professional league right? And, the specs at these facilities should be top notch (high speed internet, decent press box, decent to great conditions).

And, I get perhaps if it was outside, and there were torrential rain storms, and you're trying to protect the league's (or your production companies) equipment. So, you went offline until conditions improved. But, that wasn't the case and I have still streamed in those conditions with limited problems all the way through (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7kJKTr_TwnM&feature=share&t=2m24s; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LxFNkclfVXo&feature=share&t=1m13s).

Instead, it's sunny out and Disney should have a pretty good upload speed. So, what would throw the stream offline?

Nothing should, other than terrible equipment, or someone running it that doesn't know how to keep the stream up on that equipment. I have produced several soccer games (some turned out well, some could've been a lot better), some in great conditions like PPL Park or UC Santa Barbara, and some in crap conditions with about 8 feet of space for like three monitors, a camera, and four people. But, I never had an issue with keeping a stream up with decent equipment in decent weather.

Maybe it's the facility? Well, I would consider Disney Challenge to have if not great, at least a good facility to stream from. With Disney money and what they try to bring in to play at their facility, they have to be running at top notch speeds. So, I can't figure out a reason why the stream would temporarily be unavailable multiple times except if the equipment is outdated by five years, or the producer has no idea what there doing.

You would almost have to be trying to mess up the stream in today's conditions. I have streamed a full game live from a D3 school with better success from a Verizon Jet Pack. With a hot spot speed of 6 mbps (almost too slow) and MLS can't pull it off with a 75 mbps upload (really fast)?

And, it's so easy to live stream anything to YouTube (you could teach a computer illiterate how to stream in a few hours, someone that's tech savvy in twenty minutes). The only thing that should make it impossible to stream is if it's something on YouTube's end, such as their live streaming capability being down (that's happened once to me due to YouTube making improvements to their system and that sucks because there's nothing you can do). That wasn't what happened here.

But, even if the streaming was working, the production level is so low.

The Disney Classic cameras are what a dad would use to film his son's soccer games (see above pic). At times there is no audio. There is no B Roll, no interviews, no look at the commentators.

Why not take a few HD cameras down there and a few inspired people, for cheap, trust me there are a few of them in the business- I would like to think of myself as one-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfFhpMSCS_s, and there's a ton I've run into across the U.S. in video production that focus on sporting events in general and soccer in particular. And have those people try to get a uniformed preseason broadcast that might bring in some sponsors for MLS?

Or throw down a little cash and give all the preseason games to a mid-level production company. Anything compared to the current "oh well, who cares, it's preseason."

Because whoever produces or is in charge of these live streams obviously doesn't give a shit. I've made dumb mistakes in my broadcasts, but I've always tried to make them better next time. But, for MLS, every year it's the same, "hey Orlando kid walking down the street, do you film for the high school year book? Want to film a Major League Soccer game at Disneyland!"

I wouldn't usually go to a Toronto F.C. fan, but this one hit the nail on the head (Loconet on Red Patch Boys Forum):
It's the year 2014. We are on the cusp of having self driving cars, we have eye wear that act as powerful computers connected to the internet, we watched a robot land on mars in almost real-time (speed of communication with a remote planet limited).

... but yet MLS/teams cannot sort out a simple video feed from Florida.

The destruction of the league will not be spending or over spending in players. It will be their goddamn potatoes for cameras and zucchinis for modems in pre-seasons.
Believe it or not MLS, the preseason is important. It's where a championship season begins, it's where fans can start formulating opinions on the offseason moves that were made. MLS fans, as well as people all over the world want to view it. But, they can't in 2014.

Or well any year.

It's amateur and MLS needs to fix it.

2.20.2014: 5 Things To Takeaway From The Crew's Good Start at Disney

Higuain hits another free kick to set the tone in 3-1 thrashing of big money Toronto.

1. The Movement, Passing Was Strong: From what the Major League Soccer group of streams allowed us to see, the Crew looked the stronger and better club when it came to moving the ball around the field, and well everything.

The buildup at 1:20 for Williams goal was excellent all around. Also, good for Williams, who for a defender always seems to have goals in him:

2. Crank Up The Toronto F.C. Excuse Machine: Duane Rollins tweeted to Toronto F.C. fans that the Reds are a week behind other Major League Soccer clubs, so no need to worry.

Toronto F.C. may start their season a week later than most MLS clubs.

But, this was still the second preseason game for both clubs, so it's not like the Crew are in midseason form.

Also, you may think those high salaries would make up for a week of fitness.

Still, it's early and TFC were debuting Cesar, Gilberto, and Jackson. I would not be surprised if Leiweke's shopping spree eleven are a lot better in a few months time.

3. Not Messing With The Core: A couple of weeks back, I kind of got annoyed that the Crew has refused to spend their money on anyone, including Laba.

If the decision to bring no one substantial in was Berhalter's then it's fine. If he wants to work with his base and see what he has, and then re-evaluate what he needs midseason, fine. So far Berhalter looks like he knows what he is doing and is getting more out of Warzycha's core team.

The people he did bring in were incorporated early. And according to some, this Summer may perhaps be even bigger in incoming transfers, "March To The Match" speculated that Lukas Podolski might be on his way over to MLS.

Although their sources are likely what came to them in a dream.

4. Would It Kill MLS To Get a Preseason Stream Right? I would stop bringing it up if it wasn't a problem. But, the people Major League Soccer has hired in office cannot figure out how to live stream.

The Malmo game I could only watch about 60 minutes, this one 37 minutes.

It's so easy to live stream from YouTube. The only thing that should make it impossible to stream is if it's something on YouTube's end, such as their live streaming capability being down.

But, even if the streaming was working, the production level is so low.

The Disney Classic cameras are what a dad would use to film his son's soccer games. At times there is no audio. There is no B Roll, no interviews, no look at the commentators.

Why not take a few HD cameras down there and a few inspired people, for cheap, trust me there are a few of them in the business- I would like to think of myself as one-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfFhpMSCS_s; and have them try to get a uniformed preseason broadcast that might bring in some sponsors for MLS?

I wouldn't usually go to a Toronto F.C. fan, but this one hit the nail on the head (Loconet on Red Patch Boys Forum):
It's the year 2014. We are on the cusp of having self driving cars, we have eye wear that act as powerful computers connected to the internet, we watched a robot land on mars in almost real-time (speed of communication with a remote planet limited).

... but yet MLS/teams cannot sort out a simple video feed from Florida.

The destruction of the league will not be spending or over spending in players. It will be their goddamn potatoes for cameras and zucchinis for modems in pre-seasons.

Believe it or not MLS, the preseason is important. It's where a championship season begins, it's where fans can start formulating opinions on the offseason moves that were made. MLS fans, as well as people all over the world want to view it. But, they can't in 2014.

5. Being In Good Preseason Form, Doesn't Necessarily Relate To The Regular Season (Shocking): Toronto F.C. won the Disney Classic a few years back and went on to lose their first nine games of that season..

So, good step by Berhalter and crew, but still just a step.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

2.13.2014: Columbus Bypassing of Laba, Continues Offseason Chain of Boring

2.13.2014: Columbus Bypassing of Laba, Continues Offseason Chain of Boring
By Ryan Kozlowski, Crewture Editor

Jermaine Defoe, Michael Bradley, and Julio Cesar to Toronto F.C., Bofo Bautista and Mauro Rosales to Chivas USA, Benji Joya to Chicago Fire, Eddie Johnson and Conor Doyle to D.C. United, Vincent Noguiera to Philadelphia Union, Gaston Fernandez to Portland Timbers..

Meanwhile in Columbus here's the big news,

Oduro, Wahl make it a point to be more vocal this year.. NO WAY!


Tell me more thecrew.com, actually can you just put up a story about Beckham's Miami Vice?

I'm not trying to be rude because I do love this team. But, for the love of Lamar Hunt could the Crew do something interesting?

At least make up a fake transfer story? Or perhaps sign a new striker just for fun?

Columbus Crew owner Anthony Precourt should look to keep up in MLS, or do something, anything newsworthy to push the club.

He keeps talking about changing the logo, then change it or stop talking about it.

Here's a tip. The logo isn't the big issue, the logo at the very least is different in soccer. Different is good, different is an identity, compared to the new logo which will likely be a European knock off.

And most likely designed by some crap company that doesn't get the club.

At least Columbus Crew is an American name.

The real issue at this moment is that Columbus has failed to do anything remotely interesting this offseason.

Michael Parkhurst isn't bad but everyone is aware that it would've been more interesting a few years ago.

Even Toronto F.C., this past week, tried to pawn off one of their better players from last year in Matias Laba on the Crew. They threw the Columbus Crew a softball pitch and the Crew whiffed.

Gregg Berhalter said Laba "had an average season and was in and out of the lineup." Despite most Toronto and MLS fans being impressed with Laba's play, and Laba being out of the lineup for an injury.

The Crew could've played it off as a "we stole TFC's designated player with the most potential."

Laba could've had a pretty good connection with Higuain in the middle of the park, he could've been mentored by Pipa.

Laba and Trapp could've built together as young players in the two defensive midfield positions and covered a back line that is going to be suspect.

Laba perhaps wasn't what everyone has described as one of the Crew's most pressing needs, but is he an improvement in that position? Yes. Is he better than doing nothing? Yes. Does he give us a chance to win more games? Sure.

But, he's not worth the money.

Or perhaps the Crew doesn't want to spend the money on anything?

I'm used to 7-10 players at least being connected with the Crew through an overseas rumor in the offseason. So, I wonder are they even trying? And why did we get rid of some of our better players to clear all of that cap space if there is no plan to use it?

Laba only had 62 appearances in the Argentina Primera and Argentine youth experience at 22. Who needs that? Apparently we don't.

If Columbus has something in mind instead great.

But, what is the plan?

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

2.5.2014: Columbus Crew vs. Malmo, Crewture Minute-by-Minute Recap

The Minute-by Minute Pulsating Preseason Recap of the Crew vs. Malmo
By Ryan Kozlowski
Crewture Editor

Today, the Columbus Crew received their first test to prove themselves in 2014, facing off against Ibrahimovic's former side Malmo FF.

There were a couple Crew winners in game one, such as;
-Rookie Fifi Baiden,
-the front four attackers in the second half, that were playing a bit harder,
-Steve Clark who impressed and has a commanding presence in the box,
-and also Matt Lampson, who showed that the number one goalkeeper position isn't yet predestined for Clark.

There were also some newcomers and veteran faces that could've debuted 2014 a bit more impressively, with a bit more footballing grace.

However, it's game one, and all-in-all there are positives to take from this first preseason kick.

Mainly, A clean sheet. A win.

But, also a thankfulness. A thankfulness that no one on the current Malmo squad can jump on a mistake like Zlatan can.

Without checking out the score, here are my thoughts from the action.

Pre-game Lineup: Gregg Berhalter is mixing veterans with younger players to start off this pre-season game. Not exactly unheard of or different from Warzycha.

A "everyone show me what you have and let's not worry about starters yet" approach. Or maybe a "let's have some balance and not get blown out" approach. Whichever, nothing really revolutionary for the start of MLS preseason, unless perhaps if you write for a MLS club.

6'6 center back Patrick Slogic could add some massive height to the defense, interesting to see him get a go to start the preseason; Especially next to Parkhurst, who just got off of World Cup camp.

Baiden and Sweat are interesting to me, especially Baiden who impressed in the game I saw at UC Santa Barbara. Seen both in person as a Producer of college games this Fall.

Malmo, defending Swedish champions, going with mostly starters (according to announcer) as they prepare for the second half of their season. My first thoughts going into this was uhh-oh.

Who produced this game? Producer of this game should've move the scoreboard a bit further up (perhaps out of the center of the action). Also, if you can have a scoreboard like that, it's a tricaster livetext or similiar program and it's rather easy to add a clock to your scoreboard. So, on both accounts, pretty amateur MLS.

MLS also rocking the not so good SD camera. It's not too much for one used HD Panasonic camera. They couldn't find one in Florida?

A lot of these non-televised online feeds, that goes for Columbus's Open Cup feeds (which often go offline), could be better from MLS.

MLS needs to step up their preseason production by a lot (and it could be done easily and more consistently). A lot of overseas people check these out and I could barely make out what was going on this game (just would look more first class with some consistency). Yes, it was foggy, but with some HD cameras, it wouldn't have been that awful.

Anyway, to the action.

4': Ben Sweat showing some speed and footskills early on, on the left. Still trying to earn a contract per announcer. But, may have more attack to him, perhaps a little less confidence defensively compared to left back Tyson Wahl. But, good move there to start.

6': If Baiden can continue to show his promise, might have an improvement at DM if you wanted to stick him in their as a duo with Trapp.

8': Finley and Anor trying to get some nice combination play going, but fizzles out as quickly as it was thought about.

9': Sweat got burned by Rosenborg on the right side, not a good angle, caught out of place early on.

11': Nice job by Ricardinho of Malmo working a one two on the Crew's right back Barson and right midfielder Jimenez. Crew looking a bit slow in defense, and Jimenez a bit sluggish, first game habits hopefully don't continue defensively for some.

13': When talking about being aggressive offensively, not sure what the point of playing Finley alone up top, on an island, is?

If the Crew scores a goal it's going to obviously be in the second half with more creative forces such as Oduro, Arrieta, and even Meram.

14': Crew defense getting burned again on Malmo dummy play in front of 18. If Malmo cared to score they could have a couple.

15': Baiden is looking like a player who can be useful this year. I like his center of gravity, speed, fast decisions so far.

18': Baiden with a great ball over the top. Doing what a good DM does, not holding too long. In and out, and switching the attack.

21': Bad mistake there from Baiden, bad place to give up the ball and have a foul created. An example of why it's way too early to formulate opinions of rookie greatness.

23': Nice save by Lampson, could we get a replay? no, ok.

25': Sweat and Slogic participating in about 15 seconds of defensive comedy, finally clear it out for a corner.

27': Finley with a smart run down the right side, not sure why he is over there as the one striker, but good ball to Baiden creates free kick opportunity.

30': Crew not looking so bright creatively up top.

31': Nice feet and switch by Federico Higuain to Ben Sweat. Instead of doing what a good left back does and trying to beat a defender and get down the line. Does a Simon Elliot-back pass, receives the ball back from Baiden, and on his second attempt passes it to Malmo's right back. Totally wastes Higuain's chance by failing to get up the line fast when there was still some surprise there.

33': Jimenez with a stupid foul at midfield. Not a very impressive opening so far from him, looks out of sorts.

34': Higuain and Trapp try to get something going in the midfield. First time I've seen some life in the midfield, some pass and move.

35': Lampson was looking good until that throw went right to a Malmo midfielder for an uncontested shot for the Malmo player from 30 out. Malmo kind of sucks up top with finishing, or don't really care to. Not making the most of some sloppy plays in the back from Columbus.

This first half lineup from Berhalter doesn't make a ton of sense, not much cohesion, but guess Gregg didn't want it to get away from them second half by having a top heavy first half lineup.

36': Jimenez with a nice win, and then transferring it into a Crew attack. Hopefully he can build something with that play. As a player after a bad start, it's all about trying to do one thing right, and build it into five good plays, then ten.

36': Crew do nothing with Jimenez's win, way way way too slow in transition. Would like to see some of these guys on the bubble to start or to make the team, to take some chances when there 70 yards from their own goal.

38': Ben Sweat has space down the left and is afraid to attack it as this first half goes on. I guess he doesn't want to make a mistake.

38': Slogic almost gets killed with his pace over the top. Barson with a nice cover. Perhaps they could convert Slogic into a Jan Koller.

39': I like that Baiden is willing to try things, compared to what Sweat has done in this first half.

41': Nice tackle by Wil Trapp, quietly doing some good things, looking obviously more confident than a lot of the rest of this eleven.

42': Nice work by Anor, Jimenez, and Higuain. Finley finally gets a touch and falls down.. Ugh, make a move, make something happen. A big striker like that shouldn't fall down with such ease.

43': Nice clear by Lampson to Barson. Despite one distribution, solid start for his battle with Clark.

First half lineup:
Lampson (6.5)- Solid saves, some nice distributions, but one very bad one. All in all showing he isn't going quietly in the night for that starting spot.
Barson (5.5)- Wasn't noticeable with his mistakes, except being caught out once. But, that was more of Jimenez covering and them both getting beat on a one two, with Barson more inside. Was crucial covering for Slogic on a couple of occasions. Had some other nice decisions to start attacks as the half went on. Not a bad start.
Slogic (3.5)- Slow, almost beat a few times. Not terrible for an undrafted rookie, but Malmo should've been able to take advantage of him a bit more.
Parkhurst (5.5)- Had some nice decisions to start attacks, like a good ground ball that went 30 yards and Higuain muffed early on. Didn't catch my attention much one way or the other. But, gets credit for a first half clean sheet stuck between Slogic and Sweat. Would actually like to see his class at left back, Parkhurst might be more of an attack option out there compared to anyone else we have. He is a smaller guy, has good feet, wouldn't be averse to take MLS guys on out there.
Sweat (3.5)- He's afraid he's going to make a mistake. Would like to see him attack the space he received on the left side multiple times, instead he kept passing it back to Baiden. Make some moves out there offensively and let Baiden and Parkhurst cover you. Finally got down there and got a cross off in the last minute.
Baiden (6.5)- For a rookie a solid first half for Columbus. Has confidence, willing to take people on, thread a needle with a ball. Doesn't hold onto it for too long, in and out, doing what a DM should do.  But, on the other hand, terrible giveaway and foul, that gave Malmo a real chance. Overall though promising for Columbus, they could use a few more new guys like this.
Trapp (6)- Did some things well, made some good defensive tackles, got some attacks going and knew when to join into attack. Nothing remarkable, but a good first run out. Trapp seemed to have a good understanding with Baiden for a first game. They covered decently well for the backline.
Jimenez (4.5)- Just kind of sloppy and out of sorts. Got burned on a one two that Malmo should've took better advantage of. Had a couple unnecessary fouls at midfield. Started slow. Had a nice tackle later on, and then got more involved with Higuain and Anor.
Anor (5)- Did some nice things with Higuain, but all in all didn't get enough touches in the first half. Fed Finley well, but the few things Anor and Higuain created died with Finley, Sweat, or others.
Higuain (5.5)- Had some great flashes, and conducted most of the limited combination play in the Crew midfield. But, sometimes needs to take it more upon himself to change a game, or Berhalter needs to give Higuain more of an ability to change things in game because a lot was not working offensively in that first half.

Could've done more to connect with Finley.

Finley (3.5)- Got one significant touch all first half, after some nice play by Anor and Higuain. On his one touch, one on one with a defender in the box, just fell down and hoped for a penalty with very limited contact. If he's not getting involved, either he needs to collect the ball deeper in midfield and hold it up to connect more with Higuain. Or Higuain needs to move further up into the attack and Baiden/Trapp could push up a bit more. Instead neither him or Higuain did anything to remedy the lack of yellow in the opponents 18, nor did they seem to do much communicating (partly because they were so far away from each other).

I understand that Berhalter was probably using Finley as the one striker to hold things up, while Jimenez, Higuain, and Anor joined the attack. But, if the Crew ever play with one striker there better off with someone who can creatively hold onto the ball like Meram or even Oduro (in a different way). Finley has more of a use in a two striker system, where he can be that striker to create havoc and pounce on chances with his strength in a more congested box. Not a great idea offensively for the first half.

Not entirely Finley's fault, the top four just wasn't the greatest mix and a lot of strikers work better in a two man system.

47': A lot more going on already between Meram, Speas, Oduro, and Arrieta. If anyone is surprised.

49': Producer forgot the scoreboard this half, oh well, tough thing to remember.

50': Nice outlet by Steve Clark to Dominic Oduro, trying to make a good first impression. And Oduro not missing a step from last season it seems, nice turn, run, and cross to Arrieta. Malmo's defense has just a bit more to deal with this half.

52': Nice cross by Meram, nice start by Arrieta, getting a goal in his first minutes after a stop/start 2013.

Formation makes a lot more sense with this second half group up top.

55': Clark with another solid distribution to Meram. Before that not bad hold'em up play by Friedman, but a lackadaisical giveaway by George.

56': Friedman with a nice header back to Clark.

58': Meram doing an excellent job tracking back defensively. As a fourth year guy he deserves more of a chance than he received under Warzycha.

59': Nice job by Ben Speas in midfield, this whole group is looking a lot more confident and on the same page with what they're doing. Not surprising with all being much more familiar with each other.

And, well, that's all I have for the second half as the saved feed on youtube skips from 60th minute mark to stoppage time, but Clark looks impressive and so does the front four of that second half formation.

I would be almost tempted with putting that front four as is, and then perhaps putting Higuain next to Trapp behind them, putting Parkhurst and Francis on the outside, and signing someone at center defense to pair up next to Williams.

The Crew may be alright in midfield, but still think they could use one more central defender and striker from overseas. If they could just get those two things, with there cap space that there not looking to use, there more of a playoff contender then. Hope I'm wrong, just not overwhelmed with some of our defensive options.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

1.9.2014: Where Player Moves Have Lacked Inspiration; Maaskant Assistant Hire, Other Coach Hires Show Some Promise

Where the player signings have lacked the panache of Toronto F.C. and a lot of other MLS clubs; The Columbus Crew are stockpiling on a group of coaches well known in MLS and U.S. National team circles.

Gregg Berhalter, Josh Wolff, and Pat Onstad are big names to most American fans (even if Onstad is, well, Canadian).

To be fair, they're all more well-known than the former staff of Warzycha, Lapper, Iribarren, and Bliss.

Whether that leads to something other than being interesting, is yet to be seen.

But, either way, all the stars seem to be oddly on the Crew's coaching bench.

That impressive list of names now includes a lesser known in Dutch coach, former midfielder Robert Maaskant.

Maaskant, a former teammate of Berhalter, has 15 years of overall coaching experience.

Maaskant has mostly made his living in the total footballing of the Netherlands. But, lately has branched out into Eastern Europe and the U.S.; with Wisla Krakow, Dinamo Minsk, and the Texas Dutch Lions.

The Texas Dutch Lions connection is interesting, if it may mean nothing or is just by coincidence.

Either way, it probably didn't hurt Maaskant.

Dutch seem to like to deal with Dutch, so I wouldn't be surprised if Maaskant is involved with the communication end of the Crew-Dutch Lions partnership in some way.

Maaskant was on the payroll of Dutch Lions F.C. owner Mike Mossel in 2012, who the Crew just inked a partnership with (snuggled here in between Berhalter and McCullers).

Maaskant's Houston Dutch Lions of the PDL finished with 5 wins, 9 losses, and 2 ties in 2012.

Maaskant's Dutch Lion stint (in the soccer wilderness of PDL) probably wasn't the highlight of his coaching career; which included a Polish title with Wisla Krakow and UEFA Cup appearances with NAC Breda and Dinamo Minsk.

Yet, to be honest Maaskant has a much more extensive (and well impressive) managerial career than Gregg Berhalter, wonder how that plays out? 

Either way, it's good to have someone in the club with a longer resume on the coaching side of things. Maybe that longer resume, with more stops, will lead to some Crew signings?

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

1.8.2013: (Video) Falling In Love With You

With how super slow this offseason has been lately, just cut together old clips into a new video. Hopefully, we can get back to championship ways shortly all around. Cheers: