The View from Our Crew

Crew Falls to New York at Giants Stadium

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJAugust 30, 2009 - The Columbus Crew fell to the New York Red Bulls, 1-0, Sunday at Giants Stadium, snapping the club’s five-game MLS win streak.

Red Bulls midfielder Dane Richards scored the game's only goal in the 63rd minute. After a Crew corner kick was cleared out of the area, Richards collected the ball and took off down the field on the counterattack. Richards dribbled to the top of the Crew box, evaded midfielder Brian Carroll and slotted a slow roller inside the left post to give New York the eventual game-winner.

Crew Falls to Cruz Azul in Champions League Play

MEXICO CITY, MEXICOAugust 26, 2009 - The Columbus Crew fell behind early, then saw its hopes dimmed further when defender Eric Brunner was sent off in the 37th minute Wednesday at Estadio Azul, where Jaime Lozano's hat trick ultimately paced Cruz Azul to a 5-0 victory.

The Crew is now 1-1-0 in CONCACAF Champions League Group C play. Its next game in the regional confederation´s club championship tournament is Sept. 16 at Saprissa (Costa Rica). Columbus returns to league action this Sunday, Aug. 30, at New York.

East-Leading Crew Prep for Busy Week

COLUMBUS, OHAugust 25, 2009 - After earning a 2-0 win over the Puerto Rico Islanders at Crew Stadium last Tuesday (Aug. 18) in its opening match of the CONCACAF Champions League (CCL), and a weekend off from MLS action, the Crew prepares for a busy week which includes two road matches. On Wednesday (Aug. 26), the Crew will travel to Estadio Azul in Mexico City, Mex. to face Cruz Azul in its second match of the CCL, before making the trip to New York City Sunday (Aug. 30) to face the New York Red Bulls in MLS action at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Wednesday's Champions League match in Mexico, which kicks off at 10 p.m. (ET), will be televised live nationally on Fox Soccer Channel.

Sunday's MLS match in New York, which kicks off at 6 p.m. ET, will be televised live regionally on ONN-TV with Dwight Burgess and Dante Washington on the call. The match can also be heard in English on News/Talk 610 WTVN and on-line at TheCrew.com and MLSNet.com, with Neil Sika behind the microphone as well as in Spanish on La Que Buena 1550-AM.

Cruz Azul, which is tied with the Crew for first place in the CCL Group C standings with a 1-0-0 record (3 pts.), enters Wednesday’s match after defeating Saprissa, 2-0, in its first match of Group C play last Wednesday (Aug. 19) at Estadio Azul, thanks to goals by Christian Riveros and Joel Hiqui in the match’s first 35 minutes. Cruz Azul is also currently in the opening stages of its campaign in the 2009 Apertura season of the Mexican First Division, and currently sits in 11th place in the standings with a 2-3-0 record (6 pts.). The CONCACAF Champions League is the confederation’s annual club championship which features 24 teams from CONCACAF’s three sub-regions: North America, Central America and the Caribbean. The top two teams from each group qualify for the quarterfinals, with each group winner drawn to face a runner-up from one of the other groups and the winners of the quarterfinal match-ups advancing to the semifinals. Both the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds consist of home-and-away elimination. The final, to be held in late April 2010, will also be two-legged, home-and-away. The eventual champion qualifies for the prestigious seven-team FIFA Club World Cup – which annually pits each continental confederation’s champion against the others – in December 2010.

New York, which is in seventh place in the Eastern Conference standings with a 3-16-4 record (13 pts.), enters Sunday’s MLS match after earning a 3-2 win over FC Dallas at Giants Stadium last Sunday (Aug. 23) in the club’s first match under the guidance of interim head coach Richie Williams, who took over for the recently departed Juan Carlos Osorio after the latter’s resignation on Aug. 21. Red Bull striker Juan Pablo Angel scored twice in the victory over Dallas – including the game-winner in the 88th minute – and Dane Richards added a goal of his own in the 27th minute to give New York its first MLS win since May 8 against San Jose. New York has been paced this season by the aforementioned Angel, who leads the club with nine goals, to go with one assist.

The Crew, which is tied for first place in the CCL Group C standings with a 1-0-0 record (3 pts.) and sits alone atop the MLS Eastern Conference standings with a 10-3-9 record (39 pts.), enters its slate of matches this week after earning a 2-0 victory over the Puerto Rico Islanders of USL-1 in its first Champions League Group C match last Tuesday (Aug. 18) at Crew Stadium. After a scoreless first half, with Puerto Rico playing extremely defensively, Crew coach Robert Warzycha switched from four in the back to three at halftime, replacing defender Jed Zayner with forward Steven Lenhart. The opening goal involved six Crew players, starting with a free kick from 30 yards by Guillermo Barros Schelotto, in his first extensive action after recovering from a hamstring strain, and finishing with Lenhart charging through the box to finish Chad Marshall's cross. Robbie Rogers iced the win after Eddie Gaven, another substitute, fed Alejandro Moreno in the goal area. He got a heel on the ball to send it to the far side where Rogers had an easy tap-in as the Crew continued its run of superb play in Crew Stadium.

Fans can check out both Wednesday’s Champions League match and Sunday’s MLS match at Claddagh Irish Pub (585 South Front Street in the Brewery District), which features each Crew away game on numerous televisions throughout the bar, and also airs live audio from the telecast. Fans in attendance will have the opportunity to win prizes and merchandise, courtesy of the Crew and away game viewing party partner, Budweiser.

Crew Continue Their Winning Ways

By , Guest Correspondent from "An American Game"

COLUMBUS, OH - August 18, 2009 - The Columbus Crew came away with a 2-0 win and an important three points at home against the Puerto Rico Islanders in the opening game of the CONCACAF Champions League Group C. Goals by Steven Lenhart and Robbie Rogers powered the Crew past an Islander team bent on coming out of Crew Stadium with a point.

Crew Head Coach Robert Warzycha was quick to make a change as he heightened the pressure by switching tactics by dropping defender Jed Zayner and bringing in bruising forward Lenhart at the halftime break. Puerto Rico’s defensive tactics had given the Crew plenty of possession, but little in the way of goal scoring opportunities in the first half.

The switch paid dividends just 12 minutes later as Lenhart would score off a Chad Marshall pass in the 6 yard box that the big forward powered past Islanders goalkeeper Bill Gaudette.

The sequence started with free kick service from scored Guillermo Barros Schelotto returning after a long injury absence. His service found Marshall at the back post, whose header popped out to Brian Carroll. Carroll’s one touch pass was redirected by Rogers to Eric Brunner, who laid it off to Marshall to set up the goal.

Robbie Rogers would add an insurance goal in the 78th minute to make it 2-0. 2nd half sub, Eddie Gaven set up the goal, racing down the left wing. His low pass found Moreno in the box. Moreno’s backheel pass found a wide-open Rogers for the tap in, sealing the win.

In the first half, the Islanders defensive game plan frustrated the Crew. Columbus was unable to find and cracks in the stout Puerto Rican defense. The Islanders would often play 9 players behind the ball and utilize one striker. The Crew would only test the Islanders goal from long range for the first 30 minutes.

Crew fortunes did turn just before halftime as they did force Gaudette to make two phenomenal saves is quick succession. Emmanuel Ekpo drove into open space in front of the goal and ripped a shot from 20 yards out that Gaudette pushed past the post in the 35th minute. Just two minutes later, Alejandro Moreno’s powerful shot from the right side of the penalty area was parried over the bar to keep the score level.

The Crew would be denied their final first half chance to breakthrough when Cristian Arrieta would tackle Schelotto in the penalty area, appearing to swipe the Argentinian’s leg and grab his shoulder in the process. Match referee, Roberto Moreno waved off any penalty call and the score remained 0-0 at halftime.

The Crew continued their strong home play as they brushed aside an Islanders team that had recently beaten Toronto at BMO field to make the group stage. Relying on a defense that has now recorded six shutouts in their last ten games and an offense that has 17 goals in the same stretch, the Crew was never challenged.

Both teams resume Champions League play next week. Puerto Rico now prepares for another road game to Costa Rica to face Deportivo Sapressa next Tuesday. Columbus has a full week to get ready for a stern test, heading to Mexico City to play Cruz Azul next Wednesday.

Crew Signs Forward Emilio Renteria

COLUMBUS, OHAugust 17, 2009 - The Columbus Crew announced today that it has signed Venezuelan forward Emilio Renteria, who will be added to the club’s roster upon approval of his P-1 visa work permit. Per club and league policy, no further terms of the deal were disclosed.

"Emilio has been on our radar for some time now and we’re pleased to get him signed,” said Crew technical director Brian Bliss. “He possesses good speed, quickness and long-range shooting ability and we’re excited to incorporate him into the team.”

Renteria, 24, began his professional career in Spain, where he competed in the Spanish second division with Levante UD from 2001-04. He then returned to his homeland to compete in the Venezuelan first division, first with Deportivo Italia, where scored 12 goals during the 2004-05 season. Renteria then joined UA Maracaibo, where he totaled 14 goals in two seasons (2005-07), while also helping lead his side to two appearances in the Copa Libertadores, the most prestigious club competition in South America.

Most recently, Renteria played for Caracas FC of the Venezuelan top flight from 2007-09. He tallied 16 goals in that span, while once again helping his club to two appearances in Copa Libertadores, including a run to the quarterfinals in 2009, the club’s best-ever finish in that competition.

Renteria has also represented the Venezuelan National Team at the Under-17, U-20, U-23 and Senior levels, totaling 19 total goals at the youth levels and three goals with the senior team in friendly matches.

Not So Dangerous Dallas

COLUMBUS, OH - August 15, 2009 - The Crew were back to their winning ways as they put an Dallas squad under enormous pressure. Both sides would see the absences of key players, but the action on the field was second to none. Columbus would be without defender Frankie Hejduk (quad strain) and midfielder Brian Carroll (card accumulation), while Dallas would miss the play of midfielder Alvaro Sanchez (ankle injury) and defender George John (hamstring injury). The Crew's Guillermo Barros Schelotto would start the game on the substitute bench before making a surprise appearance in the 91st minute.

The statistics from the first half didn't accurately tell the story. Fouls, shots, corner kicks, and offsides penalties were relatively even for both clubs. It appeared that Columbus made the most of their opportunities in the first 45 minutes, while Dallas garnered just a few half-hearted chances.

The Crew scored quickly, posting a 1-0 lead in just the 10th minute. Midfielder Robbie Rogers delivered a lofty cross to a waiting Chad Marshall, who hit the back of the net with an impressive header. Marshall's size and strength was a clear advantage here and throughout the game. Another opportunity would come in the 21st minute as midfielder Emmanuel Ekpo connected with forward/captain Alejandro Moreno, who was unable to finish at the last moment.

Crew fans were thrilled to see their star striker emerge from the bench very late in the game. When asked why he made such a move, Head Coach Robert Warzycha responded by saying, "I like to introduce him again to the fans because you will see more of him in the future." The fans chanted his Schelotto's name all night and the coach gave them what they asked for.

The first half would end with the Crew still maintaining a 1-0 lead. More opportunities would be had in the next 45 minutes. The 72nd minute would bring the best chance of the night for FC Dallas. Fortunately for the Crew, keeper Will Hesmer would deflect a precise header from Cunningham, sending it over the the top of the net.

A controversyl would come in the 83rd minute as a Chad Marshall goal was disallowed by a late offside call. Fans had already begun to celebrate when they saw the dreaded flag. The Crew did get it right in the 87th minute with a goal by midfielder Eddie Gaven, who came in for Steven Lenhart in the 75th minute. This was perhaps the shining moment of the evening for the 19,115 passionate fans at Crew Stadium. Gaven started a fantastic run from about 40 yards out before making a strong move to his left, sealing a 2-0 victory for the Crew with a solid strike. Many said that this was the goal of the week in MLS; it was quite impressive to see Gaven shed two defenders and make a move out of the goalkeeper's reach. This incredible goal would make him our "Man of the Match".

FC Dallas is still reeling from the transfer of star striker Kenny Cooper, but Jeff Cunningham and Dave van den Bergh have stepped up their leadership roles within their club. Cunningham can be an electrifying striker at times, while van den Bergh is known for his precise crosses. FC Dallas Head Coach Schellas Hyndman described Cunningham's play as "okay," but stated that not enough opportunities were created offensively. It was understandable for the Dallas offense to struggle as Columbus executed their defensive game plan to perfection.

Ekpo and Rogers were particularly impressive as they put enormous pressure on FC Dallas from the wings. Marshall would finish the match with a goal and an assist and was equally disruptive on the defensive side. The squad's solid defensive performance and loads of movement forward were key ingredients in the recipe of success for the Columbus Crew.

The Crew's focus turns to the CONCACAF Champions League as they face the Puerto Rico Islanders on August 18. The Islanders of the USL's First Division were surprise semifinalists in last year's tournament and should be a formidable foe for Columbus. However, Warzycha assured fans that the tournament is a major priority for the Crew and all will be taken seriously. "Against Puerto Rico, we are going to put the best team possible that can win the game for us." Simply put, expect to see both Schelotto and Hejduk to be in the starting lineup on Tuesday.

Crew Defeats San Jose 3-0

SAN FRANCISCO, CAAugust 8, 2009 - The Columbus Crew defeated the San Jose Earthquakes, 3-0, Saturday night at Candlestick Park to maintain first place in the Eastern Conference.

The Crew ran its winning streak to four games, as its solid defense and second-half goals from Alejandro Moreno, Robbie Rogers and Adam Moffat lifted the Black & Gold past the ‘Quakes. It was the second consecutive shutout, and fifth in the last 10 games for the Crew.

The MLS match was the first half of a “Night of Champions” doubleheader featuring an FC Barcelona vs. CD Guadalajara exhibition.

First-Place Crew Travels to California to Face Earthquakers

COLUMBUS, OHAugust 7, 2009 - After earning a gritty win over Colorado last Saturday (Aug. 1) to maintain its hold on first place in the Eastern Conference, the Crew travels to San Francisco Saturday (Aug. 8) to face the San Jose Earthquakes in the first game of a special international doubleheader at Candlestick Park.

Saturday's match, which kicks off at 8:30 p.m. (ET), will be televised live nationally on Fox Soccer Channel. The match can also be heard in English on News/Talk 610 WTVN and on-line at TheCrew.com and MLSNet.com, with Neil Sika behind the microphone, as well as in Spanish on La Que Buena 1550-AM.

San Jose, which sits in eighth place in the Western Conference with at 4-10-5 record (17 pts.) enters the match after earning an emphatic 4-0 win over Seattle last Sunday (Aug. 2) at Buck Shaw Stadium. An Osvaldo Alonso own goal opened the scoring with the game less than two minutes old. Sounders FC was then reduced to 10 men after James Riley's 33rd-minute ejection, and San Jose put the game away with second-half goals from Cornell Glen, Darren Huckerby and substitute Chris Wondolowski, giving the ‘Quakes their first win in their last five MLS games. San Jose had been paced this season by the forward tandem of Ryan Johnson and Arturo Alvarez. Johnson leads the club with seven goals, along with two assists, while Alvarez is second on the team in goals with five tallies, to go with two assists.

The Crew, which sits in first place in the Eastern Conference with a 8-3-9 record (33 pts.), enters Saturday’s match after earning a hard-fought 1-0 win over Colorado on Saturday at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Following a Rapids foul from about 25 yards out in the 39th minute, midfielder Robbie Rogers touched the re-start over to Chad Marshall, and the reigning MLS Defender of the Year tucked his blast inside the right post and past Colorado goalkeeper Matt Pickens for the match’s lone goal. The victory gave Columbus its fourth shutout of the season as goalkeeper William Hesmer kept the Rapids off the scoreboard with six saves.

The Crew was without reigning MLS MVP and 2009 MLS All-Star First XI selection Guillermo Barros Schelotto and MLS All-Star defender Frankie Hejduk in last Saturday’s match. Schelotto missed the match due to a hamstring injury, while Hejduk sat out due to a quad strain.

The Crew’s match vs. the Earthquakes Saturday will be part of San Jose’s international doubleheader at Candlestick Park entitled the “Night of Champions.” After the evening’s MLS match between defending MLS Cup Champion Columbus and San Jose, UEFA Champions League winner FC Barcelona will take on powerhouse Chivas Guadalajara in an international friendly.

Fans can check out Saturday’s match vs. San Jose at Claddagh Irish Pub (585 South Front Street in the Brewery District), which features each Crew away game on numerous televisions throughout the bar, and also airs live audio from the telecast. Fans in attendance will have the opportunity to win prizes and merchandise, courtesy of the Crew and away game viewing party partner, Budweiser.

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