Crew Trounce Dynamo and Move Eight Ahead of NY
COLUMBUS, OH - July 24, 2010 - Only two weeks removed from both the Crew and the Dynamo drawing nil-nil in Houston, the two teams returned for a fixture in Columbus. But, there would be no tie at Crew Stadium as the Crew took out Houston, 3-0 Saturday night in front of 13,585 enthusiastic fans. The Crew (10-3-4, 34 pts) would get a goal gift wrapped to Emilio Renteria (his fourth of the year), and goals from Andy Iro and Léandre Griffit (his first MLS goal). Houston (5-8-4, 19 pts) have not won since their May 22nd clash with D.C. United.
The matchup included Crew forward Emilio Renteria’s first consecutive games in the starting eleven and Shaun Francis making his first ever MLS start in a Crew uniform at left back.
The Crew were the first to score as Dynamo keeper Tally Hall, making only his second career MLS start, should be nominated for ‘Gift of the Year Award.’ Crew midfielder Eddie Gaven played a long ball down the right side over the Dynamo defense. Renteria beat his defender, but Hall should have had no problems booting the ball away as he charged at it at the outside of the box.
However, he tried to dive backwards to land on the ball in the box, but missed, leaving only Renteria and the ball in between the goal. It was 1-0 Crew as Renteria broke out the dance party. The goal in the 34th minute also marked his second goal in his last two games.
“I feel really proud of my second goal (two in two weeks),” the forward said through a translator. “It just says that I can score and I am happy that I can bring a lot to the team.”
The Crew finished the half ahead and looked to have a tight hold around the Dynamo, as the Crew had nine shots, three of which were on goal.
Dynamo defender Bobby Boswell went off in the 72nd minute as he received his second caution for what looked to be a knock to Renteria, as the Crew forward tried to get past Boswell. Renteria, who had been fouled hard and often throughout the game, was immediately subbed off by Crew Head Coach Robert Warzycha with what looked to be a left calf injury.
“My leg is not bothering me right now,” Renteria said after the game. He did add that it may hurt later on in the week.
The Crew added goal number two in the 84’ to seal the deal. A free kick from Guillermo Barros Schelotto from the right corner was placed perfectly to the unmarked Andy Iro in the box and he put it in the back of the net to make it a 2-0 advantage for the Crew.
After Crew midfielder Robbie Rogers was taken off in the 88’, Léandre Griffit made his MLS and Crew debut. The 26 year old did not disappoint as the French international scored his first MLS goal only minutes from coming in. He was able to put away a ball that was scrambling around in the box. Hall made a save, but Griffit got the rebound, dribbled, and put in another goal in stoppage time.
“I have been working really hard. You have to do something in two minutes to let coach know you are here,” he said.
Houston have now only gotten three points out of their last seven games, but Columbus had put in five goals in two games after going three straight games without a tally. The Crew are now eight points ahead of the New York Red Bulls in the East, but New York has a game in hand. Columbus travel for three straight road matches in a row.
Crew Blanks Red Bulls 2-0
COLUMBUS, OH - July 17, 2010 - Perhaps in a response to the cries of Crew supporters across the globe, Robert Warzycha inserted Emilio Renteria into the starting lineup. Renteria did not disappoint, scoring the first Crew goal in the match, the club's first goal in the past 225 minutes. After Juan Pablo Angel lost possession of the ball in midfield, Guillermo Barros Schelloto found a streaking Renteria who calmly chipped RBNY keeper Bouna Coundoul to put the Crew up 1-0.
Shortly after halftime, Brian Carroll made the most of a bouncing ball outside of the penalty area. A few seconds later Carroll was celebrating a brilliant goal that rocketed past the outstretched Coundoul, giving the Crew the insurance goal it desperately was seeking in this Eastern Conference showdown.
The majority of the match was dominated by the Crew, with the Red Bulls having no ability to pressure the Crew into mistakes. RBNY coach Hans Backe stated in the post-match press conference that he was "embarrassed" at his team's performance. Rightly so, Mac Kandji, inserted at halftime, had the game's only real chance for the Red Bulls. In the end, the shot went wide right and the shutout was preserved.
Here are some fun observations from the match:
-- Thierry Henry not only was in attendance, but conducted interviews, signed autographs, and won the hearts of young and old alike all over Crew Stadium. David Beckham....this is how you win over America.
-- Crew defender Shawn Francis made his MLS debut and served a brilliant ball that was mishit by Emilio Renteria. Francis has surpassed expectations and has become a fixture in the 18 man gameday roster.
-- The Gahanna-Lincoln HS Boys Soccer team was honored at halftime for their State Championship in November of 2009. Better late than never.
-- The Red Bull locker room had an unusually quiet, somber atmosphere. A quiet locker room is the norm after a loss, but few players even made eye contact while being interviewed. The exception being "The Ambassador" TH14. My assumption is that Hans Backe has some choice words for his under-performing team immediately following the match.
-- The rumors in the grandstands were that Crew front office staff member Brad Kessler and Chris Wilson are no longer with the club. I hope that all is well with them and they will be missed. It's a shame two of the hardest working staff members are not with the club anymore.
-- To the 6'6” Englishman who spent 10 minutes talking about fan culture in America and England, that was one of the funniest conversations I've had in a while. Thank you.
Crew Gutted by Loss to Kansas City
COLUMBUS, OH - July 14, 2010 - On a day that began with such hope and promise, many of the Black and Gold faithful left Crew Stadium in silence. Not even the Buck-A-Brat and $1 dollar drafts could cheer them up after seeing the Crew lose 1-0 to the lowly Kansas City Wizards. With just 12 points taken in the first half of the season, the Wizards grinded out the victory for a much needed three points.
Rookie Teal Bunbury scored his first MLS goal with a well placed shot through the legs of Crew keeper William Hesmer. Bunbury, who went to college in nearby Akron, Ohio, ran to the Nordecke and sarcastically saluted the crowd in celebration of his 16th minute goal.
The Crew did put up a fight however, but every chance was swallowed up by Wizards keeper Jimmy Nielsen. At least 3 times, Nielsen saved sure goals from the Crew attackers. After the game, Nielsen and the rest of the Wizards locker room were in good spirits, looking forward to their next game against the Colorado Rapids.
-- As Crew keeper William Hesmer left the field, he said to the fans that they (The Crew) will win on Saturday against the Red Bulls.
-- 11,000 + fans did make it out to Crew Stadium, disappointing given all of the promotions (or lack thereof) for this game.
-- OT Yanez (aka Othanieal Yanez) has got to be one of the nicest guys that you probably don't know. Here's to hoping the kid gets in a match later this year.
-- Le'andre Griffit was once again left off the 18 man roster for the game. Let's hope he doesn't go down the road of Sergio Herrera.
-- Once Lenhart and Rentereia were subbed into the game around the 65th minute, the game opened up. Will Coach Warzycha look to start on of the two on saturday against the Red Bulls?
-- Check that, Lenhart could have a possible broken nose given out (accidentally) by his own brother-in-law. In the waning moments the two collided as Adam Moffat connected on a cross putting a shot on goal and his bro in the hands of Paco and the rest of the training staff.
-- The Crew played well, but Jimmy Nielsen was just that much better. I would say he was so hot he was smoking.
-- No matter how good a World Cup match looks on TV, nothing beats walking into Crew Stadium and seeing the hometown team live and in person. Wherever you may be reading this article, be sure to catch your local side's match every once in a while, even if it's a PDL or USL club.
Crew Stays atop Eastern Conference Saturday with Scoreless Draw at Houston
HOUSTON, TX - July 10, 2010 - The Columbus Crew maintained their lead atop the Eastern Conference and extended the Houston Dynamo’s winless streak to six league games as both teams played to a defensive stalemate that ended scoreless at Robertson Stadium on Saturday night.
The first half was a physical affair with Crew center backs Chad Marshall and Andy Iro battling Houston forwards Brian Ching and Cam Weaver. Both teams failed to create many first half opportunities with only one shot on goal each.
The defensive struggle continued into the second half with the best opportunities for both sides falling in a two-minute span. Houston substitute Brian Mullan laid a ball into the path of Weaver in the 80th minute, but the forward’s blast went mere inches wide of goal.
Just two minutes later, the Crew almost took the lead itself. Robbie Rogers fed the ball across the Houston box and found second half substitute forward Steven Lenhart open at the far post. As Lenhart lined up an open shot on goal, Dynamo defender Mike Chabala came out of nowhere and made a sprawling block on Lenhart’s effort.
The Crew now returns to friendly confines of Crew Stadium as it prepares to host a pair of MLS matches this week. The Black & Gold first welcomes Kansas City to town on Wednesday (July 14) at 7:30 p.m. on Bob Evans Buck-a-Brat night. The Crew will then host the New York Red Bulls on Saturday (July 17), also at 7:30 p.m., in a match-up of the Eastern Conference’s top two teams. Both matches will be broadcast live regionally on ONN-TV.
Crew Win Handily over Battery
COLUMBUS, OH - July 6, 2010 - A dominating performance propelled the Crew to a 3-0 victory with goals from Emilio Renteria, Steven Lehnart and second-half sub Eddie Gaven. The game was controlled by the Crew with few shots landing on target from the Battery attackers. A penalty was awarded to the Crew in the 37th minute as Steven Lehnart was upended by Battery midfielder Stephen Armstrong, changing the complexion of the game with less than 10 minutes to halftime.
Once the second half began, the Crew carried the play and were quite effective at creating chances on goal. The insertion of Eddie Gaven and the long awaited debut of LeAndre Griffit added to the Crew's creativity. Griffit's patience on the ball opened the door for Ekpo to feed a perfect ball that Gaven struck home for the third and final goal of the night.
Griffit seemed content to not do too much. Having been given just 15 minutes so far this season (all during last night's game against the Battery), Griffit seemed timid to some, but patient in my eyes. I look for Griffit to open up as the minutes increase.
The Crew look poised to advance to the final, the only thing that stands in their way is the winner of the Harrisburg City/D.C. United match to be played later this month.
The rest of the stuff.....
-Although small in number, the home crowd was boisterous and lively. At times, the Nordecke were "blowing" fake vuvuzellas, perhaps in homage to ex-Crew player Stephen Armstrong, a South African. But more than likely just for the sake of getting on the nerves of the Battery players.
-At one point the Nordecke shouted "show no mercy" over and over again. Good stuff.
-I love the U.S. Open Cup competition. A lot of fans and media members do not give this tournament enough credit. But when I see the opposing coaching staff walking through the tunnel, taking pictures with their phones, or players bending over to pet the grass and arise with a big smile, you have to love what this tournament means.
-The Crew are two wins away from hardware, no matter how you spin it, that's a good place to be.
Crew Grabs Win over Rivals
COLUMBUS, OH - July 3, 2010 - Three goals in a span of five minutes at the end of the first half would be the deciding factor in Saturday night's match between the Columbus Crew and the visiting Chicago Fire (4-4-5). The Crew (8-2-3) would emerge with a 2-1 victory over the rivals, giving up only an own goal to the Fire.
There were no injury concerns for the Crew and only two for the Fire (FWD Calen Carr and MID John Thorrington). It was an active week for both clubs with the U.S. Open Cup in full swing for MLS clubs. The Crew advanced with a 2-1 win over the Rochester Rhinos, while the Fire were eliminated in a penalty shootout after a scoreless draw with the Charleston Battery. The Crew also were busy on the personnel front, releasing striker Sergio Herrera.
The first half was characterized by physical play and possession changing hands early and often. The Fire had some success getting behind the Crew backline, but several scoring opportunities weren't finished by Chicago.
The final minutes of the first half got rather interesting. Adam Moffat would put the Crew up 1-0 in the 43rd, taking advantage of a loose ball near the goal. Jason Garey set the play up by charging at the Fire keeper, who lost control of the ball. Moffat was able to connect with a short strike for the lead.
The excitement for the Crew didn't last long as the Fire got on the board just a minute later thanks to an own goal by Frankie Hejduk.
All was not lost as a Jason Garey header would find the back of the net minutes later. The potential nominee for MLS Goal of the Week was assisted by Eddie Gaven, who delivered a precise cross between two Fire defenders to the head of Garey.
"There was great emotions just before halftime," Adam Moffat said in a postgame interview. "We showed great character, going straight back up there and getting the lead back."
As Moffat suggested, the 2-1 halftime score would give the Crew some serious momentum going into the second half. Playing at home in "the fortress" called Crew Stadium doesn't hurt either.
The physicality and fast pace continued as the teams returned to the field. Both clubs would find themselves often in the attack, but opportunities were just that as defenses bent but didn't break. Both coaches used substitutes to keep the energy going. Emilio Renteria, Danny O'Rourke, and Steven Lenhart came in for Columbus, while Kwame Watson-Siriboe and Stefan Dimitrov tried to be difference-makers for Chicago. The game ended with little drama and no change to the 2-1 score.
The Crew look to continue their winning ways at home on Tuesday as they face the Charleston Battery in the U.S. Open Cup. The Fire have a game Thursday night against defending champs Real Salt Lake.
Columbus Crew Starting Lineup: GK William Hesmer, DEF Frankie Hejduk (C), DEF Chad MArshall, DEF Andy Iro, DEF Gino Padula, MID Eddie Gaven, MID Brian Carroll, MID Adam Moffat, MID Robbie Rogers, FWD Guillermo Barros Schelotto, FWD Jason Garey
Chicago Fire Starting Lineup: GK Andrew Dykstra, DEF Dasan Robinson, DEF C.J. Brown, DEF Wilman Conde, DEF Krzysztof Krol, MID Marco Pappa, MID Logan Pause, MID Mike Banner, MID Baggio Husidic, FWD Patrick Nyarko, FWD Brian McBride (C)