The View from Our Crew

Opportunities Don't Equal Goals for Crew

COLUMBUS, OH - March 26, 2011 - The Columbus Crew (0-1-1) finished with a 0-0 draw against the New York Red Bulls despite a plethora of scoring opportunities. The performances of Robbie Rogers and Chad Marshall were of particular note for the home club.

Photo Credit: Pam MoodyThe Red Bulls (1-0-1) were short on starters thanks to an injury to Thierry Henry and international call-ups (Tim Ream, Juan Agudelo, Dane Richards, and Rafa Marquez). New York also lacked depth, having to cancel the Reserve match for Saturday night due to so few players making the trip to Ohio.

The first half is best described by a single word: possession. The hometown Crew were able to possess the ball and create opportunities, but the Red Bulls did just enough to keep the ball out of the net. Columbus seemed to always be on the verge of something big, but that never materialized. Red Bull goalkeeper Alex Horwath, who made his MLS debut Saturday, was able to come away with four saves in the first half. He was put under pressure on several occasions, but his backline never broke down.

Fans from both clubs were impressed with an attempted bicycle kick by Serbian midfielder Dejan Rusmir in the 34th minute. The Crew faithful hope to see more of this flair and style from their new midfielder.

The best first-half opportunity for the Crew would come just six minutes later as Emmanuel Ekpo forced Horwath to make a stop after a breakaway. The young keeper made a diving stop and was able to get just enough on the ball to deny the Crew a goal. Ekpo typically plays a midfield role, but was paired up top with Andres Mendoza for this match. The hope was that the Nigerian's pace and flashy moves would give Mendoza further striking opportunities.

Halftime would come with a 0-0 score and the feeling that a goal, probably by the Crew, would be coming in the second half. The halftime statistics appeared to favor the home team. Columbus led in corner kicks (2 to 1) and shots on goal (4 to 1), but also led in fouls (7 to 6) and offsides (3 to 1). New York had an edge only in saves (4 to 1).

Things continued to heat up in the second half. Rogers was again on the loose, creating opportunities from the wings. He used his superior speed to make several nice runs along the left, but didn't get much help up front as Crew attackers made their way to the box, but failed to pull the trigger. He would be subbed out in the 64th for Crew rookie Bernardo Anor, one of the sleepers in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft.

Mendoza continued to find numerous opportunities along with Tommy Heinemann, who entered the game in the 73rd in place of Eddie Gaven. The physical Heinemann, who resembles former Crew striker Steven Lenhart in terms of playing style, worked hard and tried to bust through the Red Bulls D to no avail.

Out of nowhere, New York midfielder Joel Lindpere put up a shot that threatened Crew keeper Will Hesmer in stoppage time. Hesmer made the save, only his second of the night, and kept the draw and clean sheet in place. The match finished moments later with little drama. The Crew defense, led by captain Chad Marshall, handled the New York attack with relative ease.

"This is a new team; we need some time to figure out who we are," Marshall declared in postgame interviews. "It is a 34 game season. In 09 we started the first seven games without a win so it's not the end of the world."

Many believed the Crew had the opportunities to win, but just lacked the finishing touch. Eleven shots and zero goals is certainly not what the home team was looking for. Columbus was also marred with 6 offsides penalties.

"Playing against a team like we did today, I think we should have taken three points," Crew Head Coach Robert Warzycha commented in the postgame press conference. "We should have three points."

The hometown Crew do have all week to rest and prepare for FC Dallas (0-1-1), who come to Crew Stadium on Friday night.

Crew Starting XI: GK Will Hesmer, DEF Rich Balchan, DEF Julius James, DEF Chad Marshall (C), DEF Sebastian Miranda, MID Kevin Burns, MID Dejan Rusmir, MID Robbie Rogers, MID Eddie Gaven, FWD Emmanuel Ekpo, FWD Andres Mendoza

RBNY Starting XI: GK Alex Horwath, DEF Jan Gunnar Solli, DEF Stephen Keel, DEF Carlos Mendes (C), DEF Roy Miller, MID Tony Tchani, MID Teemu Tainio, MID Joel Lindpere, MID Danleigh Borman, FWD Mehdi Ballouchy, FWD Luke Rodgers

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Davies Causes Fits for the Crew

WASHINGTON, DC - March 19, 2011 - A heroic performance by Charlie Davies pushed D.C. United to a 3-1 victory over the new look Columbus Crew on Saturday night.

Two goals by Davies, just 17 months removed from a horrific and deadly car accident, put the game's momentum in United's corner. But it was Josh Wolff who got it all started in the 51st minute, slotting a shot past Crew keeper Will Hesmer to put D.C. up 1-0. Davies would then convert a penalty kick less than 15 minutes after entering the game as a substitute, followed by a wonder strike in the 77th minute to put the game out of reach for the visitors.

Robbie Rogers would be called on to convert a PK of his own in the 79th and he did just that to at least make a game of it. The Crew continued to mount a second half comeback, but the scoreline didn't reflect the extra effort.

The Crew now head back to the fortress known as Crew Stadium where they will face the New York Red Bulls on March 26th. The Red Bulls, fresh off a 1-0 victory over Seattle Sounders FC, are certainly a formidable opponent. However, the Crew do have time to make adjustments and get back to the drawing board to avoid going 0-2 to start the 2011 season.

Crew Win Final Preseason Match

KENNESAW, GAMarch 11, 2011 - The Crew ended its preseason exhibition schedule with its second consecutive win by edging the Houston Dynamo 1-0 in the second match of the Atlanta Pro Soccer Challenge at KSU Soccer Stadium in Kennesaw, Ga. on Friday night. Forward Andres Mendoza tallied the lone goal assisted by Sebastian Miranda while goalkeeper William Hesmer was able to come away with a shutout.

The Crew began the match the same way it left off against the Revolution last Wednesday (March 9), creating chances and playing an exciting brand of soccer.  The Jeff Cunningham – Andres Mendoza combination proved to be dangerous on several occasions with scoring opportunities in the 8th and 11th minutes. The Crew had a clear opportunity in the 22nd minute, when referee Hilario Grajeda pointed to the penalty spot after Dynamo midfielder Lovel Palmer swatted down the ball inside the 18-yard box. Cunningham stepped up to take the penalty but Houston’s goalkeeper Tally Hall was able to deflect the shot into a corner kick.

The Black & Gold continued to attack and found the back of the net in the 34th minute when Mendoza received a ball from Miranda and ran up-field with it beating his defender and slotting the ball through the Dynamo ‘keeper’s legs sending the teams to the halftime break with the 1-0 lead. 

The Crew came back for the second half defending its advantage as the Dynamo picked up its pace. Hesmer and the Crew’s backline were able to defend the flurry of attacks by the Dynamo preserving the 1-0 score and leaving KSU Soccer Stadium with the second consecutive win of the 2011 preseason. 

The Black & Gold returns  to Columbus on March 12 for one final week of preparation, in advance of FirstKick 2011 vs. D.C. United at RFK Stadium on Saturday, March 19, at 7:30 p.m. The Black & Gold will open its home season at Crew Stadium on Saturday, March 26, when it hosts the New York Red Bulls at 4 p.m.

Crew Sign Serbian Midfielder

COLUMBUS, OH - March 9, 2011 - The Columbus Crew announced today that it has signed Serbian midfielder Dejan Rusmir, who will occupy one of the team’s international roster spots pending receipt of his International Transfer Clearance. Rusmir agreed to terms prior to the roster compliance date, but was in Serbia awaiting approval of his P-1 Visa, which has now been granted. Per club and league policy no further terms of the deal were disclosed. 

A versatile midfielder, Rusmir comes to the Crew after spending the last two seasons (2008-10) in Romania with Farul Constanta, where he appeared in 37 matches and scored six goals. He was on trial with the Crew in Arizona, where he appeared in three preseason matches. 

"Rusmir is a good player with experience," said Crew head coach Robert Warzycha. "He is a good passer and reads the game very well. He covers a lot of ground and has composure, which is what we look for in a player." 

The Serbia native began his professional career with FK Partizan of Belgrade, Serbia in 2001, appearing in 10 matches over two seasons. In 2003 he transferred to Belgrade rival FK Rad, where he saw action in 12 matches. After three seasons with FK Rad, Rusmir traveled to Romanian first division club Cealhaul where he spent two seasons (2006-08) and scored 10 goals in 53 matches.

Crew Suffers 2-1 Loss to New England Revolution in Chattanooga

Chattanooga, TN - March 6, 2011 - The Crew dropped a 2-1 decision to the New England Revolution in an exhibition match at Finley Stadium in Chattanooga, Tenn., on Sunday afternoon. Crew forward Tommy Heinemann scored the lone goal for the Black and Gold in stoppage time while Sainey Nyassi and Zack Schilawski scored one goal in each half for the Revolution.

The Crew began the match controlling the play and setting the tempo early, creating chances with forwards Andres Mendoza and Emilio Renteria. New England was able to keep up with the pressure for most of the half and turned it around in the 43rd minute when midfielder Sainey Nyassi buried a deflected clearance by Crew defender Sebastian Miranda for the 1-0 lead.

Crew head coach Robert Warzycha made wholesale changes at the half leaving only starters William Hesmer and Julius James in the match for a little while longer. The Black and Gold continued to search for the equalizer but was unable to get through the New England defense. In the 81st minute Revolution forward Zack Schilawski increased the advantage by scoring on the rebound off a saved header.

The Crew continued to attack until the end and was able to avoid a shutout when forward Tommy Heinemann, on a breakaway, beat Revs defender Darrius Barnes and pulled goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth off his line for the 2-1 final in stoppage time.

The Crew and the Revolution will meet again in the first match of the Atlanta Pro Soccer Challenge on Wednesday, March 9 at Kennesaw State University Soccer Stadium at 7:30 p.m. The Black and Gold will conclude its preseason preparation with a match against the Houston Dynamo on Friday, March 11 in the same tournament. The Crew returns to Columbus the following day in advance of the beginning of the 2011 MLS season at RFK Stadium against D.C. United on Saturday, March 19 at 7:30 p.m.

Reflections from Training

COLUMBUS, OH - March 4, 2011 - The Columbus Crew was out practicing in the rain Friday afternoon after its 4-1 loss to Real Salt Lake in the CONCACAF quarterfinals. The players were focused on a 5 v 5 half-field scrimmage (several players lined the sidelines and the goal lines and could only make and receive passes) and seemed a bit subdued. Whether that's due to the weather or the CONCACAF loss is hard to tell.

When asked about the CONCACAF game, players said that early losses are to be expected and they're more focused on being in peak form by the end of the season.

Crew Fall to RSL to End Run in CCL

SANDY, UT - March 1, 2011 - The Crew suffered a 4-1 loss at the hands of Real Salt Lake in the second leg of the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah on Tuesday night. Real Salt Lake's Alvaro Saborio, Andy Williams, and Javier Morales (2) all scored for the home side, while Andres Mendoza tallied the lone Crew goal. Real Salt Lake became the first MLS team to advance to the semifinal round and will play the winner of the Olimpia (Honduras)-Saprissa (Costa Rica) series.

Real Salt Lake tallied its first goal midway through the first half when forward Alvaro Saborio received a through-ball from Javier Morales and slotted it to the right of Crew keeper Ray Burse in the 23rd minute. Thirteen minutes later RSL found the back of the net again with a shot by Javier Morales into the bottom left corner of the net sending the teams to the locker room with the home side leading 2-0 at the half.

The Crew came out strong in the second half and immediately got on the scoreboard after a chip by Crew midfielder Eddie Gaven found an open Andres Mendoza who proceeded to shoot the ball into the left side of the net in the 49th minute. Javier Morales talied his second goal of the evening in the 77th minute when he fired a low shot bringing the lead to 3-1. A late stoppage time free kick by midfielder Andy Williams in the 95th minute increased Real Salt Lake's advantage for a final score for 4-1.

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