The View from Our Crew

Crew Take Lead in the Trillium Cup

TORONTO, ON - March 31, 2012 - The Columbus Crew defeated Toronto FC 1-0 behind a second-half goal by Bernardo Anor at BMO Field on Saturday afternoon. Crew keeper Andy Gruenebaum came away with his second consecutive shutout as the Black & Gold took the lead in the Trillium Cup race.

Toronto FC came out very strong in the first half creating chances early on. Gruenebaum was called into action in the 10th minute making a diving save on a point blank shot by Danny Koevermans. Two minutes later TFC midfielder Nick Soolsma took a chance but the ball went wide.

The Crew retaliated in the 28th with a header by Olman Vargas that narrowly missed the goal. In the 40th Vargas drew a penalty after being tripped in the box by Ty Harden. Milovan Mirosevic took the penalty shot but Toronto goalkeeper Milos Kocic guessed the direction and deflected it into corner. The half ended scoreless but not before a blasting shot by Shaun Francis that sailed over the crossbar.

The second half began with the same intensity as the first and with Toronto pressing hard. In the 50th minute Gruenebaum came up strong again saving another Koevermans point blank shot. Then, in the 56th, Anor started a run down the middle of the field and handed the ball off to Vargas at the top of the box. Vargas sent the ball back to Anor but it hit TFC defender Logan Emory who was not able to hold on to it. Anor picked the ball up and sent the shot past Kocic for the 1-0 lead.

Emilio Renteria almost doubled up 10 minutes later when he took a shot from the top of the box, after beating his defender, but the ball narrowly missed the goal.

Toronto tried to mount a comeback and attempted to lay siege to the Black & Gold’s goal but the Crew was able to preserve the result thanks to the impeccable play of its defense.

Crew Open With Win Against 10-Men Montreal

COLUMBUS, OH - March 24, 2012 - With a new sponsor, an overhauled roster, and 18,197 fans on opening night, the Columbus Crew beat the expansion Montreal Impact, 2-0, in the first ever meeting between the two clubs at Crew Stadium.

Montreal/Crew Game Photos Courtesy of Robert Ivory and Derrick Smith/ISNSoccer.comWith the win, the Crew collected their first points of the year and even their record at 1-1-0. After securing their first MLS point last week in Montreal, the Impact suffered their second consecutive road loss and fall to 0-2-1 on the year.

Andy Gruenebaum, in the lineup for the injured Will Hesmer, collected six saves in the shutout and Milovan Mirosevic and Olman Vargas scored the two goals for the Crew.

“I am happy with the three points,” Crew head coach Robert Warzycha said after the match. “The first game at home is always exciting.”

Jeb Brovsky was called for a high elbow going for a ball, catching Crew midfielder Mirosevic in face and referee Mark Geiger drew the red card immediately and within 20 minutes, Montreal was a man down.

Renteria showed in the first half, that he will be the busy bee on top creating chances and opportunities for the Crew for another year. Renteria outmuscled Impact defender Felipe Martins and Martins brought down the Crew forward in the box. Again, referee Geiger gave the call to the Crew and Chilean midfielder Mirosevic knocked home the penalty to give the Crew their first lead of 2012 on the half an hour mark.

“I think we have to improve on how the team works together,” Mirosevic said. “I am happy, though with the two goals we scored and the three or four other chances we had.”

The Impact seemed to lose their cool on their field, as the Impact collected three yellow cards and the red in the match. Impact head coach Jesse Marsch decided to bench his top playmaker, Sanna Nyassi, at the half.

The Crew connected with their second of the night as Olman Vargas was able to get behind the Impact defense and head in the clincher. Shaun Francis perfectly centered the ball into the box and found Vargas in the 66th minute, giving the Crew the 2-0 lead and their first points of the season.

Also of note, Cleveland State graduate Josh Williams made his MLS debut in the 75th minute for the Crew, replacing Sebastian Miranda at right back.

The Crew pack their bags and head to Toronto for a Saturday (March 31) matchup with the Reds and the Impact continue their three-game road trip with a visit to Red Bull Arena on the same date in Harrison, NJ.

Match Photos from Derrick Smith and Robert Ivory

Crew Reserves Fall to Impact 2-1

COLUMBUS, OH - March 24, 2012 - The Columbus Crew reserve team were defeated by their Montreal Impact counterparts 2-1 on Saturday evening in their first MLS Reserve League match of the season. Lamar Neagle and Miguel Montaño scored for Montreal while Aubrey Perry tallied the lone Crew goal.

The match started with both teams sizing each other up. Montreal almost got on the board in the 21st minute when forward Andrew Wenger played a through ball to Mike Fucito who collided with Crew goalkeeper William Hesmer forcing him to deflect the ball into corner. Just two minutes later the Impact took the lead after Wenger squared a ball to Neagle who shot it past Hesmer into the back of the net.

The Crew’s first chance came in the 27th minute with a straight shot by midfielder Cole Grossman saved by Impact net minder Greg Sutton. In the 35th minute Crew forward Aaron Schoenfeld saw his shot from the top of the box hit the post.

Montreal doubled its lead in the 55th minute when Montaño fired a shot from the top of the box to the left of Matt Lampson, who had subbed in for Hesmer at the half. The Crew tried to mount a comeback but shots by Josh Williams in the 66th and by Grossman two minutes later, sailed barely above the crossbar. Columbus’ lone goal came in the 89th minute when Perry fired a shot from 25 yards out to beat Sutton.

Sutton was tested again in the dying seconds of the match when he made a game-saving dive to stop a booming shot by Crew defender Eric Gehrig.

Both teams return to MLS Reserve League action next week as the Crew faces Toronto FC at BMO field on Saturday March 31, at 4:30 p.m., while the Impact travels to New York to face the Red Bulls on Sunday, April 1 at 11 a.m.

Crew Defeats Michigan State and West Virginia

COLUMBUS, OH - March 17, 2012 - The Columbus Crew defeated both Michigan State and West Virginia in a pair of friendly matches at Crew Stadium on Saturday. After routing Michigan State 5-1, the Black & Gold edged West Virginia 1-0 in matches scheduled to give all players significant minutes and to better prepare for the home opener against MLS expansion Montreal.

The Crew had most of its first team in the match against Michigan State with only a few changes being made at halftime. Midfielder Milovan Mirosevic opened the scoring in the 4th minute with a well placed low shot from 20 yards out beating the Spartans keeper. In the 33rd minute Olman Vargas headed home a perfect cross by Shaun Francis for the second goal of the match. In the second half Mirosevic scored again on a free kick at the top of the box and in the 63rd Vargas notched his second of the day after he back-heeled a low cross from Sebastian Miranda tapping the ball into the back of the net. Midfielder Kirk Urso followed suit a minute later blasting a rocket from distance to give the Black & Gold its five goals of the match. Michigan State pulled one back in the 85th when Adam Montague took a diagonal shot from the top of the box beating Crew keeper William Hesmer, who played 90 minutes split between the two matches.

The lineup for the match against West Virginia was similar to the one that played against Notre Dame on Monday with most of the reserves playing and Hesmer in goal for the first half. The Black & Gold created several chances but the lone goal came early in the second half when Aaron Horton received a cross from Tony Tchani and, after beating his defender, blasted a shot past Mountaineer keeper Pat Eavanson in the 48th minute.

The Crew will now have one more week of training ahead of its home opener against Montreal on Saturday, March 24 at 4 p.m. The match will be followed by a reserve game as the Crew seeks to defend its MLS Reserve League title earned last season.

Game 1 Lineups:

Columbus Crew - Andy Gruenebaum (William Hesmer, 46), Sebastian Miranda, Eric Gehrig, Chad Marshall, Shaun Francis, Ethan Finlay (Justin Meram 46), Kirk Urso, Milovan Mirosevic, Eddie Gaven (Bernardo Anor, 46), Olman Vargas, Emilio Renteria

Michigan State - Bryce Dobbins, Kevin Cope, Tim Kreutz, Josh Barens, Ryan Keener, Tyler White, Luke Norman, Kyle Rutz, Adam Montague, Wesley Curtis, Fatai Alashe

Game 2 Lineups:

Columbus Crew - William Hesmer, Aubrey Perry, Josh Williams, Korey Veeder, Jamie Finch, Ethan Finlay (Blas Iribarren, 46), Tony Tchani, Cole Grossman, Justin Meram (Aaron Horton, 46), Tommy Heinemann, Aaron Schoenfeld

West Virginia - Pat Eavenson, Paul Ehrenworth, Eric Schoenle, Matt Drake, Nick Raskasky, Francis Molasoko, Travis Pittman, Uwem Etuk, James Williams, Nick Breitsameter, Franck Tayou

Unlucky Start for Crew

COMMERCE CITY, CO - March 10, 2012 - The Columbus Crew suffered a 2-0 loss in its season opener at the hands of the Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Saturday afternoon. Drew Moor and Quincy Amarikwa tallied a goal in each half to give the win to the home team. Midfielders Milovan Mirosevic and Kirk Urso both earned their first starts in Black & Gold while midfielder Ethan Finlay and forward Olman Vargas made their Crew debut as substitutes.

The first shot of the game came in the fourth minute when Mirosevic received a ball from Tony Tchani and took a shot from 30 yards out only to see it saved by Rapids goalkeeper Matt Pickens. Colorado responded in the 18th with a shot by forward Omar Cummings that sailed high above the crossbar. Two minutes later, Andy Gruenebaum came up strong deflecting a point blank shot by Cummings who found himself alone in front of the Crew keeper.

n the 29th Finlay, who had entered the game in the 12th minute for an injured Dilly Duka, received a pass from Tchani and took a shot just outside the 18-yard box forcing Pickens to deflect the ball into corner. Gruenebaum was tested again in the 37th on a cross by defender Kosuke Kimura but was able to make a diving save and hold on to the ball.

In the 43rd minute Kimura picked up a loose clearance and crossed the ball back into the box finding an oncoming Moor who headed it in the back of the net for the 1-0 lead.

The second half started with the Crew looking for an equalizer and trying to break down the Rapids defense. In the 51st minute Danny O’Rourke lobbed a ball to Finlay who headed it into the box for Emilio Renteria, but the Venezuelan forward was called offside.

As the Crew continued to look for a tally, Finlay took another shot from outside the box in the 70th only to see the ball roll to the left of the goal post. The Black & Gold came close to scoring in the 78th minute after Olman Vargas earned a free kick on the left side of the field. Urso whipped the ball into the box and Chad Marshall headed it towards goal only to see Pickens react quickly and push it over the crossbar.

The Rapids sealed the score in the 89th minute when Kimura passed the ball to Amarikwa who dribbled it towards the middle of the field and blasted a shot from the top of the box into the top-right corner of the net, fixing the score at 2-0.

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