Crew's Brunner and Moffat Selected in MLS Expansion Draft
NEW YORK, NY - November 24, 2010 - Major League Soccer held its 2010 Expansion Draft Wednesday for the League’s 17th and 18th teams, the Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps. The two teams selected 10 players each, from 12 of the 16 MLS teams, to begin constructing their roster for the 2011 season including defender Eric Brunner and midfielder Adam Moffat who were selected by Portland.
The Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps will both be members of the Western Conference. The Timbers will play in the newly renovated PGE Park slated to re-open in time for their inaugural MLS season to begin while the Whitecaps will begin play at Empire Field, a temporary stadium erected while their new soccer-specific BC Field is being built. BC Field is slated to open in the summer of 2011
The 24-year-old Brunner was originally signed by the Crew on May 18, 2009, after acquiring his rights from the New York Red Bulls. The Dublin, Ohio native made 39 appearances, 36 of them starts, in his two seasons with the Black & Gold, recording two goals and one assist in that time. Adam Moffat was signed by the Crew via discovery on Sept. 18, 2007. A native of Glasgow, Scotland, Moffat saw action in 44 games 36 of them starts. During his tenure in Black & Gold he scored five goals, recorded one assist and was instrumental in helping the Crew win two Supporters Shields and the 2008 MLS Cup.
“We are sorry to see both Adam and Eric go in the expansion draft,” said Crew technical director Brian Bliss. “Moffat was a very important part of a team that won three major trophies while Brunner was extremely helpful in the back line these past couple of years. Both players are great professionals and we wish them all the best in Portland.”
Four teams did not have a player selected – Houston Dynamo, Los Angeles Galaxy, New England Revolution and New York Red Bulls. Each of the League’s 16 teams was allowed to protect 11 players, leaving all others unprotected and available for selection by Portland and Vancouver. No more than two players were allowed to be selected from each team and once the first player was selected, each team was able to protect one additional player. For a complete list of selections for Portland and Vancouver click here.
Crew Fall on PKs as Rapids Advance in Playoffs
COLUMBUS, OH - November 6, 2010 - Soccer is a game full of irony and twists of fate. The Columbus defeated the Colorado Rapids 2-1 on Saturday afternoon, but the Rapids advanced 5-4 on penalty kicks as the teams were tied 2-2 on aggregate.
10,322 fans certainly got their money's worth after 159 minutes and a set of penalty kicks that sent Colorado on to face the San Jose Earthquakes for the MLS Eastern Division crown. The Rapids won the first leg 1-0 at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on October 28th, which put the pressure on Columbus.
It all started off well for the Crew, who began with three shots on goal in the first 10 minutes and were having success pushing forward. Columbus Head Coach Robert Warzycha hoped the addition of Peruvian international Andres Mendoza to the Crew starting lineup would provide a spark on the offensive end. Warzycha has used a variety of players (Steven Lenhart, Jason Garey, Emilio Renteria) in the slot opposite Guillermo Barros Schelotto with Mendoza being a strong option on the attack.
The Crew brought things even on aggregate with a goal by Eddie Gaven in the 22nd. The play started with a cross by Brian Carroll, which took a bounce to Schelotto. The Argentine striker then headed it to the front of the goal, where Gaven struck it into the goal past Colorado goalkeeper Matt Pickens.
Colorado got their first scoring opportunity of the afternoon when a shot by Jeff Larentowicz rattled off the crossbar in the 28th minute. Schelotto would receive a yellow card in the 30th for a hard challenge on Drew Moor. Several Colorado players pleaded for red, but referee Michael Kennedy would hear none of it. Rapids midfielder Brian Mullan would get a yellow of his own 8 minutes later.
The Rapids would threaten just before halftime with shots by Larentowicz and Jamie Smith. Greuenbaum handled the situation with the hopes of a clean sheet for the match.
Statistics from the first half showed fairly even play as both sides had 8 shots, 4 on goal. Columbus led in corner kicks (4), saves (4), and offsides (4). The Rapids committed more fouls (10) than the Crew (5).
The second half would start with a flurry of activity as both sides turned up the intensity and continued to push forward. Colorado's Conor Casey received a yellow card in the 48th, followed by a yellow in the 52nd for the Crew's Emmanuel Ekpo.
The 58th minute would bring a scary moment for the hometown Crew as they struggled to clear the Rapids from the box. The Rapids appeared to have some momentum and were pushing forward with a sense of urgency.
The Crew went up 2-1 on aggregate with a goal by Robbie Rogers in the 70th. The young midfielder saved his best for last, scoring only his second goal of the season. Rogers owes Ekpo a thank you for a perfectly placed pass that allowed him to get past the Colorado defense for the score. He would earn a yellow for his "shirt off" celebration, but it was worth the price. The match would end with a surprising seven yellow cards.
Kevin Burns went on for Ekpo in the 81st, hoping to bolster the defense for the remainder of the match. Things didn't go quite as planned as Casey scored in the 84th minute to put things even on aggregate. Cummings was a thorn in the side of the Crew again, this time setting up Casey with a pinpoint cross.
Things got particularly tense from there and into 4 minutes of stoppage time. Neither side could get the magic goal so it would go into extra time.
A weak shot by defender Frankie Hejduk couldn't get the job done in the 96th minute even though the captain was wide open and got good service from Schelotto. Burns would worry Pickens with a shot moments before the end of the 1st overtime period. but it rolled wide right.
The second overtime period would show Gruenebaum in command, making yet another solid save in the 109th minute. Shaun Francis and Schelotto both looked to be down with injuries in the final 15 minutes, but both reentered the game shortly after stepping off the pitch. Both sides used all three subs in a very physical and demanding match.
There was an overwhelming sense that the match was headed for PKs and that it was simply inevitable. Things would be even on PKs until Brian Carroll's attempt went high on the fifth attempt, prompting a celebration on the field by Colorado players and coaches. The Crew players, led by Carroll, immediately went to the Crew's most devout supporters to show their appreciation.
It was unfortunate that the defeat would fall at the feet of Carroll, who was a first-class leader the entire season.
"It's a penalty," Warzycha commented in the postgame press conference. "The best players sometimes don't score. You have Maradona. You have Platini. You have all of these names. At some point they did not score, but you have got to move on."
"The guys have been great in helping me out, saying how good it is to step up and be the one to want to take that," Carroll said in postgame locker room interviews. "The staff had confidence in me, going in and taking it. I just didn't hit it like I normally do."
Falling 5-4 on PKs and winning the game itself is an awkward situation, but the season has to be considered a massive success for Columbus. It was a shame that more people couldn't come out tonight to see their hometown Crew in what looks to be an instant classic in Major League Soccer.
Hopefully it won't be the last time we see the one and only Guillermo Barros Schelotto take the field at Crew Stadium.
"I want to keep playing here," Schelotto commented. "I hope to stay here. They have the option for the next year. If they don't pick up the option I don't know what can happen."