Arrieta Leads Crew Past SKC
KANSAS CITY, KS - July 28, 2012 - The Columbus Crew rallied with a first-half brace by Jairo Arrieta to defeat Sporting Kansas City 2-1 at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park on Saturday night. Arrieta’s first two goals in Black and Gold proved to be enough for the Crew after Kei Kamara opened the scoring for the home team. Crew defender Josh Williams recorded his second career assist.
Both teams came out strong early on but it was the home team who would get on the board first. In the 8th minute Sporting midfielder Graham Zusi whipped a free kick into the middle of the box, finding Kamara who anticipated his defender and headed the ball into the back of the net for the lead.
The Crew did not let the disadvantage affect its play and almost got on the board two minutes later when Chris Birchall sent a ball into the box but Carlos Mendes’ header went high above the crossbar.
The game changed in the 17th minute when Williams received a ball from Chad Marshall and sent it through to an open Arrieta. The Costa Rican forward settled it and took the shot beating Jimmy Nielsen for the 1-1 tie. Marshall almost doubled up in the 19th but his header off a corner went high.
The game-winner came in the 34th minute after Arrieta picked up a Zusi back-pass and sent a rocket to the right of an over-extended Nielsen from 25 yards out.
Not wanting to give up precious points at home Sporting tried to turn the tides in the second half by laying siege to the Crew goal.
In the 51st minute Crew keeper Andy Gruenebaum kept the Black & Gold in the game by deflecting a shot by Zusi. Then, in the 56th, Gruenebaum came up strong again by making back-to-back saves on Teal Bunbury, who had gone one-on-one with the Crew net-minder on a counter.
Things turned physical towards the end of the match and Crew midfielder Cole Grossman was sent off after receiving a straight red card, following a tackle on Zusi, in stoppage time.
With just seconds left in the match Kamara missed an opportunity to equalize sending a ball wide to the left, after finding himself right in front of the goal mouth, allowing the Crew to come away with the coveted three points.
Federico Higuain Joins the Crew as DP
COLUMBUS, OH - July 27, 2012 - The Columbus Crew announced today that it has acquired forward Federico Higuain from Club Atletico Colón of Argentina’s Primera Division. Higuain becomes the third Designated Player in club history and will be available for selection upon receipt of his International Transfer Certificate and work visa. Per club and league rules no further terms of the deal were disclosed.
“On behalf of our club, we are extremely excited to bring another world class player to Crew fans and to the Columbus market,” said Crew President and General Manager Mark McCullers. “Federico is a talented, technical and speedy attacking player who will add another dimension to our offense. I must commend our technical director Brian Bliss and Tim Bezbatchenko from the league staff for their expertise and diligence in seeing this complicated and lengthy negotiation to fruition.”
Higuain comes from a family of renowned soccer players. His father Jorge played at several clubs in Argentina, including Boca Juniors and River Plate, while his younger brother Gonzalo is one of the top strikers at Real Madrid and Argentina’s National Team.
The 27-year-old forward joins the Crew after spending the last two seasons with Colón where he tallied 10 goals in 62 appearances.
“We had our eye on Higuain for quite some time,” said Crew head coach, Robert Warzycha. “He’s a fast forward who played successfully in a very good league. He’s very opportunistic and a good finisher, and he can play as a winger or as a second forward.”
The 5-8, 165 pound native of Capital Federal, Argentina, began his career at famed club River Plate in 2003, at the age of 18, where he made only two appearances. In 2005, he was loaned to Nueva Chicago of the Primera “B” Nacional (Argentina’s second division), where he helped the team reach promotion into the first division. Higuain spent two seasons there, notching 28 goals in 75 appearances, and returned to River Plate in 2007.
Higuain signed with Besiktas of Turkey in the middle of 2007, appearing in nine matches. He was subsequently loaned to Club America of the Mexican Primera where he tallied one goal in 13 appearances to finish out the ‘07-‘08 season.
At the end of 2008 he returned to Argentina with Independiente where he appeared in 18 matches, recording one goal. Following the ‘08-‘09 season, Higuain transferred to Godoy Cruz, also of the Argentinean Primera Division, where he played in 36 matches with 11 goals scored, until he moved to Colón in 2010.
Brilliant Night for Soccer in Columbus
COLUMBUS, OH - July 24, 2012 - The Columbus Crew got goals from Homegrown Players Aaron Horton and Ben Speas to lift the home team past EPL side Stoke City 2-1 in an international friendly.
Stoke, in the U.S. for a preseason training tour, brought some of the world's best footballers to Crew Stadium and at the same time allowed some of their younger players to get some experience. Peter Crouch and Kenwyne Jones were the biggest names for the Potters and both saw time in the friendly.
The game started off with Stoke exerting some dominance over the Crew. The home fans were holding their breath as the Crew and Stoke City were trading jabs, but the visitors were the first to strike it big with a goal from Jonathan Walters in the 23rd minute.
The Crew continued to put forth opportunities, but a lack of quality finishing in the first half kept them off the scoresheet. The Crew would have to wait until the second half to get some goals from some unlikely sources.
Both sides put in different squads for the second half. The Crew opted for reserve players that included three Homegrown Players: Horton, Speas, and goalkeeper Matt Lampson. Stoke City would substitute one superstar for another, sending in Jones to replace Crouch in the 53rd minute. The second half was clearly an opportunity for young players to gain some experience and for others to improve fitness.
Columbus took advantage of the situation as Horton slammed home a goal in the 71st minutes as the opportunities finally turned into a goal for the Crew. Sixteen minutes later, Speas landed one of his own. Neither player has seen regular first-team action this season, but with more performances like this, that may certainly change.
It was impressive to see the Crew stand strong against Stoke City, the second oldest team in the world behind Notts County. They never backed down, never were sheepish in their play, and were never intimidated by a quality English side that was still finding their preseason form.
The Crew did pick up two injuries to defenders Nemanja Vukovic and Josh Williams. Vukovic will miss some time due to an ankle injury, while Williams could still be available this weekend after tweaking his back.
"I thought we played some good soccer," Williams said. "At the end of the day it was an awesome experience."
Even though it was just a friendly, a win is still a win. The hope is that the Crew will build from this positive moment and make a run up the table and a push to the playoffs.
MLS Reserve League: Columbus Crew Defeats D.C. United 4-1 on Sunday Morning
OBETZ, OH - July 22, 2012 - The Columbus Crew defeated D.C. United 4-1 in MLS Reserve League action on Sunday morning at the Crew Training Center at Obetz. Olman Vargas, Aaron Schoenfeld, Eric Gehrig and Aaron Horton all scored for the Crew while United’s lone goal came from Long Tan. Crew defender Nemanja Vukovic netted three assists, Emilio Renteria tallied one and Danny Cruz assisted on Tan’s goal.
Columbus dominated most of the match creating chances early on. In the fifth minute Gehrig almost opened his account with a header towards goal only to see D.C. goalkeeper Bill Hamid tip the ball over the crossbar.
The first Crew goal came a minute later on the ensuing corner kick. Vukovic crossed the ball into the far side of the box and Vargas easily headed it home for the 1-0 lead.
United had its first clear chance in the 10th minute with a free kick by Josh Wolff but defender Ethan White headed the ball high above the bar. In the 19th Schoenfeld received a low cross from Renteria and volleyed it far post for the second Crew goal.
Columbus almost added a third tally in the 30th when Renteria brought the ball almost to the touchline and sent it to Ben Speas but Hamid deftly handled the young forward’s point blank shot.
Four minutes into the second half D.C. pulled one back when Tan tapped a ball into an open net after Crew goalkeeper Matt Lampson went after Cruz to try and block his cross.
In the 53rd the Crew went up again after Gehrig slotted a low shot to the far post after controlling a cross from Vukovic.
The Crew added the final goal in the 85th minute when Vukovic crossed the ball into the box finding Horton who headed it home fixing the result at 4-1.
With the result, Columbus improves its East Division leading record to 6-2-0, 18 pts., while D.C. drops to 1-1-1, 4 pts. Both teams face each other again in their next MLS Reserve League match on Sunday, August 5, at United’s training field in Washington D.C. at 11 a.m.
Crew Downs United for Huge 3 Points
and Sam Stephens
COLUMBUS, OH - July 21, 2012 - After a run of three defeats from their last four games, Columbus managed a 1-0 victory as they overcame what has been a strong D.C. United side. Columbus started brightly, Duka being the standout performer of the first half, with everything good that Columbus did going through him.
The major talking point of the half happened on 43 minutes when a Chris Birchall free kick was headed in by Josh Williams. It appeared to everyone that he had opened the scoring for the Crew, including the stadium director who had set off fireworks. But at the last moment, the referee's assistant raised his flag for offside. Replays showed there was nothing in it and Columbus were unlucky not to be leading at halftime.
The disappointment of the first half did not play on their minds as Columbus started the second half quickly and took the lead immediately. Jairo Arrieta held up a ball from the back, and sent a flying Birchall free, who cooly slotted the ball home past the onrushing D.C. keeper.
Columbus were starting to dominate the game now, but were unable to find a second goal that would have put the game to bed. As the half continued D.C. started to get more of the possession and assert themselves into dangerous positions.
D.C. might have equalized in the 75 minute when a poor clearence nearly looped over Andy Gruenebaum, but he managed to scramble back for the clearance. As it was, United’s best chance of the game came in the 88th mintute when a fiercely struck shot from 18 yards hit the outside of thr Crew’s left post.
Played under the pall of a short losing streak, tonight’s game was a refreshing departure for club and fans alike. Though a lack of patience is still evident, the offense did not get frustrated as they headed into halftime without a goal despite dominating posession for the first half hour of the match. The early second half goal was well-timed to bolster confidence, though the teams’ nerves were palpable throughout much of the second half as D.C. racheted up the pressure. However, the defense held well throughout the game.
What this means for Columbus going forward is yet to be seen, but there is some hope. The win against 3rd place United is strong, and even better when you consider Emilio Renteria’s suspension. When asked his opinion of Jairo Arrieta, who was filling in for Renteria, Warzycha expressed confidence in his new player, despite a good-but-not-great performance. This support can help give Arrieta the confidence he needs to adapt to his new club, while giving the Crew more depth up front.
Crew Attack Stalls in Loss to Sporting KC
COLUMBUS, OH - July 15, 2012 - The Crew’s struggles in front of goal continued tonight, allowing Kansas City to come away with a 2-0 victory at Crew Stadium. With only 17 goals all season, the Crew currently have the worst scoring record in the Eastern Conference.
Kansas City started the game quickly and caught the Crew’s defense sleeping in the 6th minute. With their defense static, a through ball set up Jacob Peterson to coolly place the ball beyond the onrushing Andy Gruenebaum.
Columbus started to get back in the game as the half continued, but their direct approach was becoming predictable and easy for Kansas City to defend. Their best chance of the half came from a free kick which fell to Justin Meram, who shot narrowly wide.
Columbus started the second half strongly and should have been level on 47 minutes when a right wing cross found Meram with a free header from 5 yards, but he could only manage to direct it at the crossbar. As the game went on, Columbus started to play better football and were starting to creat chances, the best fell to Renteria who wiggled free of two defenders, but could only direct his shot straight at the keeper.
Renteria then found himself lucky to be on the pitch in the 67th minute, after being fouled while running free towards goal, he squared up and pushed his head towards the player and received only a yellow card for the offense.
With the Crew pressing for the equalizer, Bernardo Anor got caught out of position and the quick breakaway found Teal Bunbary free in the Crew’s box and he placed the ball pass the approaching keeper.
Former Zip, Sporting KC Blank Crew
COLUMBUS, OH - July 14, 2012 - In Teal Bunbury’s return to the Buckeye state, the former University of Akron star gave Sporting Kansas City their second goal of the night in a 2-0 victory over the Columbus Crew in front of 17,588 at Crew Stadium.
“It feels good to be back in Ohio,” Bunbury said. “I love Akron and Ohio.”
It must seem even nicer, now that the three deserved points Sporting Kansas City earned in Ohio puts them on 36 points, undefeated in their last three MLS matches, and atop the Eastern Confernce.
Sporting KC started the evening off in fine fashion with a six minute goal from Jacob Peterson.
“We defended really well and grinded the game out,” KC manager Peter Vermes said after the match. “We talked about finding some seams behind them and it was a great goal from Jacob. This team knows how to get themselves into a game and be successful.”
Peterson Joseph bounced a perfect ball through the Crew defense and Peterson easily beat Crew goalie Andy Gruenebaum for the early 1-0 SKC lead.
Sporting Kansas City used their time with the ball proficiently, as they had the ball for less than 40% of possession on the night, but their two shots on target were the only two goals of the matchup.
As for Bunbury, the Canadian came in early in the second half and was the key forward for SKC. His only shot was his third goal of the year, as Kei Kemara stole a Crew pass and slid a nice pass to Bunbury on the counterattack to put the game away with only ten minutes left to play.
“Kei got the ball wide and spread the defense out and found me; I put myself into position and it was great to score,” the former Zip said.
Kansas City now heads back with their fifth road victory of the year (six at home) only to go back on the road as they face Houston Wednesday in Texas.
Win Slips Away from Crew in Final Moments
MONTREAL, QC - July 7, 2012 - The Columbus Crew dropped a 2-1 decision to Montreal at Stade Saputo on Sunday night. A Zarek Valentin goal and a late penalty by Patrice Bernier proved to be enough for the home team after the Black & Gold took the advantage with Milovan Mirosevic.
After a scoreless first half, in which the most dangerous opportunity for the Crew came in the 25th minute by way of an Emilio Renteria volley that sailed above the crossbar, the Black & Gold tried to limit Montreal’s chances in the second with a high defensive line.
The draw was broken in the 64th minute when Mirosevic headed home a corner from Nemanja Vukovic to give the Crew the temporary 1-0 lead.
In the 78th minute Crew midfielder Tony Tchani almost doubled the score but his powerful shot flew above the upper-right corner of the goal.
The Impact responded almost immediately laying siege to the Crew’s goal and got rewarded right away when Sanna Nyassi sprung an overlapping Valentin who sent a low shot into the bottom left corner of the net for the 1-1 tie.
In the last few minutes of regulation, Montreal was awarded a penalty shot after midfielder Chris Birchall was called for a foul in the box on Justin Mapp. Bernier coolly took the shot to record his fifth goal on the season and to seal the 2-1 win for the home team.
Arrieta Scores for Crew in Reserve Action
MONTCLAIR, NJ - July 2, 2012 - The New York Red Bulls Reserves fell to the Columbus Crew Reserves, 3-1, on Monday morning at Montclair State University Soccer Park at Pittser Field in Montclair, NJ.
During the first half, the Crew applied pressure to the Red Bulls defense and the first goal came in the 34th minute. An open Jairo Arrieta dribbled into the box, after receiving a layoff from Cole Grossman, and fired a left-footed shot that beat goalkeeper Jeremy Vuolo and found the bottom corner of the net.
The Black & Gold continued its strong start in the second half with another goal in the 59th minute by Olman Vargas. Justin Meram was free on the right side of the field and cut to his left foot, before finding Vargas, who tucked it home to double the Crew’s lead. But the Red Bulls responded in kind with a goal in the 67th minute off of a free kick by Mehdi Ballouchy. Ballouchy’s in-swinger from the left wing evaded every player, including Crew goalkeeper Matt Lampson, and nestled into the net.
Columbus though, added another goal, solidifying its lead to 3-1, in the 77th minute with a Meram header off a cross from the left wing by Ben Speas. The Red Bulls came close to closing the gap with a one-time shot by Ballouchy in the 81st minute, but the ball zipped just by the right post.
The Crew (5-2-0, 15 pts.), strengthens its lead atop the Eastern Division of the Reserve League and will face D.C. United on Sunday, July 22, at 10:15 a.m. at the Crew Training Center at Obetz (4153 Alum Creek Dr., Obetz, OH, 43207), while the Red Bulls (1-2-1, 4 pts.) travel to Foxborough, Mass. for a tilt against the New England Revolution on Sunday, July 8 at 9:30 p.m.