The View from Our Crew

Andrews McMeel Publishing

Williams Scores in Crew Win

CHESTER, PA - August 29, 2012 - A shorthanded Columbus Crew defeated the Philadelphia Union 2-1 with a late stoppage time goal by Eddie Gaven. Josh Williams responded to a Valdes early goal with his first career tally before being ejected in the 69th minute. Federico Higuaín continued to earn his keep with two assists, while Justin Meram recorded an assist of his own.

It took a little while for the teams to create clear chances but the Union saw its first attempt by Danny Cruz in the 11th minute saved by Matt Lampson who earned his first career start. In the 15th Valdes saw his header, off a corner kick, go high.

The Union goal came in the 29th minute after Chris Birchall was whistled for a foul outside the box. Valdes took the free kick from 30 yards out and the ball took a deflection that tricked Lampson finding the net for the 1-0 lead.

The Crew did not let up and continued to look for the equalizer which came in the 41st minute. Union defender Sheanon Williams pulled Dilly Duka outside the box and referee Yader Reyes awarded the free kick. Higuaín coolly whipped the ball into the middle of the box where it found Williams, who headed it to the right of Philadelphia ‘keeper Zac MacMath.

The Crew almost got another one a few minutes later but Duka’s 45th minute blast was deflected by the Union defense.

In the second half, the Union went on the offensive but couldn’t find the back of the net. A 52nd minute cross by Cruz failed to connect with Jack McInerney, and a 62nd shot by Amobi Okugo was punched out by Lampson, allowing the Crew to counter.

The game took a turn for the worse when Williams was shown red in the 68th minute for a foul off the ball bringing the Black & Gold to 10 men for the last 20 minutes of the match.

The Union took advantage of the situation, inundating Lampson with shots. The onslaught almost paid off in the 81st when Brian Carroll put the ball in the back of the net but Reyes called an offside before the play taking the goal back.

The Union continued to attack but ultimately it would be the Crew who would come out on top. In the final minutes of stoppage time, Lampson sent a goal kick deep into Union territory allowing Higuaín to pick it up. The Argentinean forward sent it left to an oncoming Meram who then generously passed it across the goal mouth to Gaven. The veteran striker finished beautifully to give the Crew its third consecutive win.

Crew on a Roll

COLUMBUS, OH - August 25, 2012 - As the season heads into its final stretch and with the Columbus Crew still just outside of the playoffs, every match means so much more. Fortunately the Crew look to be finding their form at just the right time.

In a match against the struggling New England Revolution Columbus got exactly what they needed, coming back to win 4-3 on Saturday night. It was the first time all season that the Crew had scored more than 2 goals in a match and the first time they scored 4 since June 26, 2011 against Colorado.

Early on fatigue looked to be taking control after a tough 10 day stretch in which they played 4 games. New England took advantage of a tired Columbus squad and scored twice early on.

After threatening a couple of times before that Ryan Guy received a pass from Saer Sene in the 17th minute. The shot deflected off of Carlos Mendes’ leg and went over top of Andy Gruenebaum.

Just 6 minutes later the Revolution capitalized again. Jerry Bengston scored in the 23rd minute when Gruenebuam misplayed a 1 v 1 and left Bengston with no one between him and the goal.

Photo Credit: Graham Ward/ISNSoccer.comThen Columbus turned on the jets.

In the 26th minute Eddie Gaven drew a foul that set up a free kick for Federico Higuain. Higuain sent in a beauty of a kick over the wall and past the diving keeper to bring the Crew back within one. In the 43rd from the opposite side of the box he capitalized again on a free kick and scored his second of the match. It was the 3rd goal in as many games for the young Argentinian.

Not wanting to be left off the headlines Jairo Arrieta followed scored two of his own. The first came in the 32nd minute when Arrieta got a pass from Milovan Mirosevic deep in the box. Without hesitation he rocketed the shot up past the keeper into the top corner of the net and tied the match.

The beauty of the first though was outshone by the timeliness of his second of the match. After New England tied the match 3-3 on a questionable penalty kick in the 81st minute the Crew needed a goal. Arrieta responded quickly, breaking away and scoring in the 86th minute, putting the Crew up for good.

It was a great match for a team that has been struggling with its offense all season with two newer starters each scoring twice. Now just four points out of the playoffs every match is a must win for the Crew. They have an away match against the Philadelphia Union on Wednesday before coming home and facing off against the Montreal Impact at home next Saturday.

Crew Continue Push for Playoffs

COLUMBUS, OH - August 22, 2012 - The Crew picked up a much needed victory tonight on the back of 3 games without a win against a Toronto side that possess the worst record in MLS. For the first half TFC showed exactly why they have that record, starting without a single shot on goal.

New signing Federico Higuaín continued where he left off in Houston, setting up Eddie Gaven for his sixth goal of the season. He received the ball on the left and played it across the edge of the penalty box to Gaven, whose first shot took a wicked deflection to wrong foot Freddy Hall in Toronto’s goal. Columbus were playing the better football, but were unable to create another chance as the rest of the half drifted by without another shot from either side.

The second half started with Columbus again on the ascendancy, and on 52 minutes Emilio Renteria set up Chris Birchalll to drill a 25 yard shot against the upright. It did not take long for the second goal to come and it was from the man of the moment, Federico Higuaín, on 57 minutes.  After some good midfield play from Columbus, a dangerous cross from Renteria found Jairo Arrieta, who set up Higuan to blast a shot high into the goal.

With the game seemingly won Columbus managed to give Toronto hope, allowing Luis Silva to break free on 71 minutes as he coolly dispatched a shot past the onrushing Gruenebaum.  This was an injection of confidence that Toronto needed and they started to create chances, but lacked the quality to score.

Tonight’s win was crucial for Columbus in keeping alive their hopes of a playoff place. After tonight’s game they sit 7 points behind D.C. United, and at this stage of the season they need a run of victories to start moving up the table.

Crew, Dynamo Draw in Higuaín Debut

HOUSTON, TX - August 19, 2012 - The Houston Dynamo and Columbus Crew drew 2-2 on Sunday night at BBVA Compass Stadium. Brad Davis and Adam Moffat scored for Houston and Cole Grossman and Eddie Gaven tallied goals for Columbus as the clubs tied for the second time this season.

The Dynamo extended their home unbeaten streak to 20 regular season home games (21 including playoffs). It is the longest steak in franchise history and the third longest in MLS history. Davis delivered a 1-0 lead for Houston in the 19th minute. The All-Star received a ball from Boniek Garcia outside the top of the box, took a touch, and drilled a shot into the net for an early advantage. It was the sixth goal of the year for Davis, equaling a career high set in 2003 with Dallas. It was Garcia’s fourth assist in just ten games with the Dynamo.

Cole Grossman equalized for Columbus after 33 minutes, taking a pass from Dilly Duka and nailing a shot from a foot inside the edge of the box for a tying goal. In the second half, Columbus debutant Federico Higuain chipped a ball in behind the Dynamo defense, where Gaven collected and fired past Tally Hall for a 2-1 Crew lead. Columbus goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum made several important saves to keep the Crew in front before he was unable to stop a shot from Moffat, who hit a shot from 25 yards that went off Gruenebaum’s hands before rolling over the line for the tying goal. It was the second goal of the season for Moffat, with the vital equalizer coming against his former team.

It was Bobby Boswell’s 136th MLS regular season start with Dynamo, tying Pat Onstad for second on the franchise list. The Dynamo (11-6-8; 41 points) move into third place in the Eastern Conference, five points behind leaders Sporting Kansas City.

Crew Return to the Field to Honor Urso

Photo Credit: Gary L. Moody Sr./ISNSoccer.comCOLUMBUS, OH - August 15, 2012 - The Columbus Crew and LA Galaxy (11-11-4) battled to a 1-1 draw in the Crew's first match since the passing of rookie midfielder Kirk Urso.

"Three points were not the most important thing," Crew head coach Robert Warzycha stated. "There was a bigger thing that we played for."

The entire evening was full of tributes to Urso, thanks to the thoughtfulness of Crew staff and supporters. The emotions of the situation made it hard to focus on the match for all involved, but the Crew players did everything they could to deliver a win in Urso's memory.

"We definitely wanted to get the three points for Kirk," Crew defender Josh Williams commented. "We fought out there, we did what we could, but unfortunately we couldn't pull it off."

There was still a match to be played and the Crew (8-8-5) put in perhaps their best offensive performance of the season. Milovan Mirosevic and Jairo Arrieta were dangerous options moving forward with Chris Birchall, Eddie Gaven, and Dilly Duka supporting the attack from the midfield.

The Crew offense was clicking in the first half, creating loads of opportunities for the home team. The Galaxy, who were without both Landon Donovan and David Beckham, leaned on the exceptional play of Robbie Keane. The Irish international single handedly created scoring opportunities, keeping the Columbus backline busy.

The first half finished with a 0-0 score, but the stats showed the dominance and potency of the Crew attack. Columbus had the advantage on shots (14 to 3), corner kicks (5 to 3), possession (55% to 45%), and passing accuracy (73% to 63.1%). The Galaxy had the edge only in offsides (4 to 1).

All of the opportunities turned into a goal in the 47th minute as Arrieta came away with the unassisted goal to put the Crew ahead 1-0. Further chances mounted for Columbus, who had 7 or 8 legitimate scoring opportunities on the night, but the Galaxy never gave up on their own attack. Keane, with the assist going to Sean Franklin and Michael Stephens, got the equalizer in the 64th minute.

Photo Credit: Derrick Smith/ISNSoccer.comThe Crew, clearly deflated by the Galaxy's goal, continued to push forward in hopes of scoring the game-winner. It never came, but it wasn't for a lack of effort as many players, including Eddie Gaven in stoppage, launched shots that nearly became goals. The Crew came away with a single point despite an incredible 20 shots and 9 corner kicks. The Crew dominated possession thanks to a strong game on both sides of the ball, but the Galaxy did just enough for the draw. Keane is a proven goalscorer at the highest level of world football and he found a way to get the road point.

But the game was secondary in many respects as the Crew tried to deal with the death of a friend and teammate. Losing a promising player at such a young age was devastating to the entire Columbus community, but people came together to preserve his legacy and life's work.

"I went out there and tried my best," Williams added. "I played for Kirk and I think we all did that."

Urso's hard work and passion for the game clearly represents the values of the entire Crew organization and there is no doubt he will be missed for years to come.

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Crew's Plans to Honor Urso Revealed

COLUMBUS, OH - August 8, 2012 - The Columbus Crew released plans today to pay tribute to Kirk Urso, the 22-year-old rookie midfielder who tragically passed away on Aug. 5.

Prior to the Crew’s 7:30 p.m.match against Toronto FC this Saturday, Aug. 11, a floral wreath featuring Kirk's image will be displayed in front of the Lamar Hunt statue at Founder’s Park located on the Crew Stadium plaza. Fans are encouraged to pay respects and leave remembrances, which will then be delivered to the Urso family.

“The entire Columbus Crew family remains deeply saddened by the sudden and tragic loss of Kirk Urso, and our thoughts and prayers continue to be with his family during this extremely difficult time,” Hunt Sports Group Chairman Clark Hunt said. “As his coaches, teammates and friends have recalled in the days since his passing, Kirk was a special young man whose passion for soccer was only exceeded by his consistent commitment to giving his very best to the team. Beginning with the tributes this Saturday, we will dedicate the rest of this season to Kirk and continue to honor his memory as an organization by working together with the same passion and commitment he showed throughout his life.”

During a pre-game ceremony, a video tribute honoring Urso and his accomplishments will run on the video board, followed by a moment of silence. Additionally, Crew players and coaches will wear a number 15 arm band, which will be replaced by a commemorative uniform patch for the remainder of the season. The Crew Stadium pitch will also feature a number 15 insignia, and the official Match Day program will include a special poster celebrating Urso’s career with the team.

“We think these elements are a worthy tribute to a special person and member of the Crew family,” said Crew President and General Manager Mark McCullers. “We are continuing to support the Urso family through these tough times, and are working with them to identify other concepts to ensure that Kirk's memory and legacy live on indefinitely.”

In the near future, a memorial plaque affixed to one of Crew Stadium's signature boulders will be placed next to a newly planted maple tree and unveiled during a ceremony at Founder’s Park.

Tragedy Strikes the Crew

COLUMBUS, OH - August 5, 2012 - The Columbus Crew has learned that midfielder Kirk Urso has passed away on Saturday night.

While the circumstances of Urso’s passing are still being determined, no further comments will be made at this time.

The thoughts and prayers of the entire Columbus Crew and Hunt Sports Group are with the Urso family in this time of need.

Pontius Leads United Past Crew

WASHINGTON, DC - August 4, 2012 - The Columbus Crew suffered a 1-0 loss at the hands of D.C. United on Saturday night at RFK Stadium. A second half tally by United midfielder Chris Pontius proved to be enough for the home team despite a strong effort by the Black & Gold.

Both teams created chances early on with D.C. attempting to draw first blood in the second minute with a 25 yard shot by Dwayne De Rosario saved by an impeccable Andy Gruenebaum.

The Crew responded right away with a shot by Dilly Duka that got deflected by United’s Brandon McDonald and cleared by Bill Hamid in the fifth minute.

In the 13th minute Gruenebaum came up strong again kick-saving a close range shot by Long Tan. The Black & Gold came close to finding the back of the net in the 28th minute after a corner kick from Chris Birchall found the head of Chad Marshall, but the ball went narrowly to the right of the goal.

Then in the 39th minute it was Justin Meram’s turn to take his chance but his shot was deflected by Hamid into corner. Birchall took the corner kick towards Josh Williams who attempted a bicycle kick that went above the crossbar just a minute later.

D.C.’s goal came early in the second half with Nick DeLeon taking the ball up the right side and into the box. After beating his defender, DeLeon, sent the ball across the goal mouth to Tan who took a shot, deflected by Gruenebaum. The ball took a bounce towards an oncoming Pontius, who took advantage of the situation and tapped the ball in for the lead.

The All-Star MVP almost doubled up in the 58th minute running up the middle of the field and beating the Crew’s back line but his shot was deflected back to him and his rebound sailed high above the goal.

The Crew continued to attack Hamid’s goal, looking for the equalizer, but attempts by Duka in the 73rd and by Renteria and Marshall late into stoppage time were all deflected by United’s defense to preserve the win.

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