The View from Our Crew

Crew Falls to RSL in First Leg of Eastern Conference Semifinals

SANDY, UTOctober 31, 2009 - The Columbus Crew fell to Real Salt Lake, 1-0, Saturday at Rio Tinto Stadium in the first leg of its Eastern Conference semifinal series.

After a closely contested match which saw both sides able to limit the other’s offensive chances, it appeared that Columbus and Salt Lake were destined to play to a scoreless draw. However, in the 88th minute, RSL’s Will Johnson took a quick throw-in to second half substitute Yura Movsisyan, who promptly sent in a low cross in the direction of Robbie Findley at the near post. Findley was just able to sneak in front of the Crew’s Eric Brunner and slid onto Movsisyan's service, pushing it under goalkeeper William Hesmer and into the net for the last minute game-winner.

The Crew now faces a one-goal deficit heading into the second leg of its semifinal series against Salt Lake, to be played next Thursday (Nov. 5) at 8 p.m. ET at Crew Stadium. The match will be televised live nationally on ESPN2.

Crew Receives Awards on Special Night

Columbus, OH - October 27, 2009 - Sometimes it’s ok to mix work with pleasure. The Columbus Crew came together last week after a tough loss to the New England Revolution to celebrate the annual Crew Awards night.

The Crew came together and before the awards were handed out, Crew GM Mark McCullers gave a brief speech, but the highlights included a showing of his ring from last year’s MLS Cup Championship. “This is what it’s all about.”

Photo Credit: Carol Estrella/ISNSoccer.comThat was the basic theme on the night, as each member received their award and gave their speech, they in some way referenced winning their second MLS Cup in a row. If there is one thing that Head Coach Robert Warzycha can look forward to the playoffs, it’s that his club is very confident in winning the Cup, again.

After the awards, the team joined their friends, family, and supporters for a night of fun and games. Fans had the chance to rub elbows at the casino tables with their favorite Crew players with a chance to win great Crew prizes, including a team autographed ball.

But the business of the night was the awards ceremony that led the night off at Lifestyle Communities Pavilion, across from Nationwide Arena.  Here are the winners from the night:

-Best Goal of the Year: Jason Garey. “My teammates did all the work and even Andy Iro could have scored it.” Garey got a chuckle from the crowd, but won the award for a goal that spanned almost the length of the field. But the play was highlighted by an almost no look back heel flip from Steven Lenhart against real Salt Lake on July 18th.

-US Soccer Humanitarian of the Year: Steven Lenhart. Lenhart (in his usual self) jumped on stage and instead of speaking gave a little celebratory dance.

-Fans Favorite: Steve Lenhart and Guillermo Barros Schelotto. The Crew fans could not come to a consensus on their favorite player, so the Floridian and Argentinean received the award together. Lenhart did take the mic this time, and jokingly said before he said his thanks, “I am going to translate.”

-Newcomer of the Year: Eric Brunner. The Dublin, OH native was drafted by the New York Red Bulls, but played with Miami FC of the USL-1 last year.

Photo Credit: Carol Estrella/ISNSoccer.com-Coaches Player of the Year: Eddie Gaven

-Defender of the Year: Chad Marshall. Marshall is up for Defender of the Year in the MLS, so this makes clear sense.

-Comeback Player of the Year: Adam Moffat. The Scottish midfielder had a rough year last year, but has been a big part of the Crew this year. Unfortunately, he was under the weather and could not be present to accept his award. 

-Hardest Working Player: Gino Padula. Padula has been a key to the Crew’s backline. As he received his award, the crowd broke out into a “GINO, GINO” chant that the Nordecke give the back each and every game at Crew Stadium.

-Budweiser Golden Boot: Guillermo Barros Schelotto: Schelotto’s second award of the night was his most significant. Guillermo has been the main offensive threat on the team as well as one of the top scorers in the league.

-Glidden Man of the Year: Brian Carroll

-Most Valuable Player: Danny O’Rourke. The Columbus native has been the shining star of the Crew in 2009. The midfielder logged over 2300 minutes during the MLS season, starting in all 26 games in which he played in.

A Revolution in Columbus

COLUMBUS, OH - October 25, 2010 - It was "do or die" for the New England Revolution Sunday night as they traveled to Crew Stadium. A victory was needed for them to make the MLS Cup playoffs. They would get the goal and the win from an unlikely source.

It sure wouldn't be easy for the Revolution as they were without defender Chris Albright (meniscus tear), midfielder Steve Ralston (ACL tear), and forward Taylor Twellman (concussion). Club officials are still optimistic that Twellman will be ready for the preseason in 2010.

The Revolution faced an experimental lineup for the Columbus Crew, one that included goalkeeper Kenny Schoeni. Schoeni was signed on September 16 to replace Andy Gruenebaum, who is still sidelined with a hip injury.

The game started with a quick pace; the Crew's Robbie Rogers was able to break free in both the 4th and 6th minutes. Unfortunately, Rogers was unable to convert these opportunities into goals. The Revolution were able to push forward in the 7th minute, where a errant ball caused Schoeni to make the needed stop in a flash.

The 26th minute brought a handball by Darrius Barnes of New England. A high shot by the Crew's Andy Iro followed shortly after. The Revolution would respond with two shots in the 28th minute; both resulting in saves by Schoeni. The keeper would be called upon yet again in the 31st to make another save.

Emmanuel Ekpo would hobble off the field in the 36th minute, but would return within a minute. A crazy sequence of events would occur in the 38th as an aggressive Schoeni collided with a Crew defender. Shalrie Joseph would wind up for a shot that was just over the crossbar. It was very, very close. The 40th minute would bring yet another shot by Joseph, which was knocked away by the keeper and cleared away by the defense. Two close calls for the Crew in just two minutes.

A Schelotto header would make its way towards the goal in the 42nd minute, but Matt Reis would be able to make the stop. Another shot by Schelotto would go wide left of the goal in the 45th minute. There were a few opportunities, but no goals at the half.

New England would emerge from halftime with the hopes of changing the 0-0 score. A draw would do them no favors. Steve Nicol would make one substitution at the half, bringing in Amaechi Igwe for Emmanuel Osei. Nicol's post game comments revealed that Osei had been stepped on and was unable to continue.

Jay Heaps would receive a yellow card in the 55th minute for a hard tackle on Alejandro Moreno. Iro would follow with one of his own in the 60th. The Crew would soon be on the attack with shots by Brian Carroll and Adam Moffat in the 61st minute.

Jed Zayner would be shown a yellow card in the 63rd as he took down New England striker Kheli Dube with a sliding tackle. Iro would avenge the card with a header in the 71st minute that was just high of the goal. Crowd favorite Steven Lenhart would enter the match in the 74th minute, replacing Alejandro Moreno. The New England keeper took away another good opportunity in the 75th, punching away a shot from Columbus. Robert Warzycha would make further changes in the 77th minute, sending in Eddie Gaven for Emmanuel Ekpo.

The 79th minute brought a goal by the Revolution's Jeff Larentowicz, his first of the season. It was a particularly important one as it sent New England into the playoffs. It all started with a Carroll handball and a free kick for the Revolution. Larentowicz would send his shot over the wall and past a diving Schoeni. Gino Padula (dissent) and Adam Moffat (reckless foul) would both receive yellow cards in the 81st and 88th minutes respectively.

More substitutions would follow soon after. Pat Phelan replaced Kheli Dube (87th), while Jason Garey came in for Jed Zayner (88th). Nicol would even send in Chris Tierney as an insurance policy in the 91st minute in place of Kenny Mansally. The final minutes of the match were extremely tense as the Crew pushed more men forward. The Revs defense held tough to come away with a 1-0 win that pushed them into the playoffs.

The Crew played hard despite the fact there was nothing at stake. Luckily there were no injuries to key players that were in the lineup. It was an incredibly physical match with a total of 31 fouls and 5 yellow cards.

It is important that the Crew's star players are not rusty for the playoffs. They will need to be in top form as they face red-hot Real Salt Lake. The Crew have to feel good about the regular season, one that saw them clinch their second straight Supporters' Shield. "Obviously it is a big achievement. It has only been done once before in the league's history," midfielder Duncan Oughton commented. "To me, it is the real champion. It's the team that through the longevity of the season finished on top."

Crew Clinches Second Straight Supporters' Shield

COLUMBUS, OHOctober 23, 2009 - The Columbus Crew clinched its second consecutive Supporters’ Shield on Thursday night by virtue of Chivas USA’s 1-0 loss to the Chicago Fire. The Crew has a record of 13-6-10 for 49 points and cannot be caught by any clubs. The Supporters’ Shield is awarded annually to the club with the best regular-season record in Major League Soccer, regardless of conference (most overall standings points).

Chivas USA entered Week 32, the final week of the regular season, with a record of 13-9-6 and 45 points and was the only team that could have caught Columbus. The Crew had previously clinched the top spot in the Eastern Conference and is guaranteed home field advantage throughout the playoffs. The Crew has one regular season game remaining, this Sunday vs. New England at 6 p.m. at Crew Stadium (ESPN2, ESPN Deportes).

Columbus followed its 2008 MLS Cup championship season by posting the best regular-season record for the third time in club history. The Crew won its first Supporters' Shield in 2004 and is now one of two clubs to have won it three times (D.C. has 4). This marks the second time in the League’s 14-year history that a club has won consecutive Supporters’ Shield trophies. D.C. United accomplished the feat in 2006 and 2007. Last season marked the fourth time that the Supporters’ Shield winner went on to capture MLS Cup. 

Both two-game Crew playoff ticket packages and individual-game tickets are currently on sale at the Crew Stadium Box Office and all central Ohio Ticketmaster retail locations, via Ticketmaster phone at 800-745-3000 and on-line at TheCrew.com and Ticketmaster.com. Each package includes both of the Crew’s potential playoff games – the one guaranteed game in the first round and the Eastern Conference Championship, which it would host if it advances out of the first round.

Playoff pairings, dates and times have not yet been determined, but the Crew will have home-field advantage through the first two rounds of play – meaning it will host Game 2 of the first round, the weekend of Nov. 5-8, and the Eastern Conference Championship, the weekend of Nov. 12-15, should it advance. 

Crew Advance in Champions League with 1-1 Draw in Puerto Rico

BAYAMÓN, PR - October 20, 2010 - The Columbus Crew became the first team from Major League Soccer to reach the quarterfinals of the 2009-10 CONCACAF Champions League tonight, getting a 74th-minute goal by second-half substitute Emilio Renteria to earn a 1-1 draw with the Puerto Rico Islanders at Estadio Juan Ramón Loubriel.

The draw gave Columbus eight points in Group C, three better than Costa Rica's Saprissa, who lost to Cruz Azul, 2-1, later Tuesday night.

Renteria, who entered the game two minutes earlier for Emmanuel Ekpo, capitalized on the work of Steven Lenhart, who replaced Frankie Hejduk in the 61st minute. Lenhart won a ball outside the area and closed on Puerto Rico goalkeeper Justin Myers, who raced off his line to challenge the advancing forward.

Myers blocked Lenhart's initial shot, but the rebound bounced back to Renteria, who shot over the out-of-position keeper to equalize the match and eventually send the Black & Gold on to a quarterfinal berth.

Columbus joins Mexican sides Pumas, Pachuca, Cruz Azul and Toluca in the knockout round and will learn its quarterfinal opponent in the November 17 draw at CONCACAF's New York headquarters.

Crew Drops 1-0 Decision at D.C. United

WASHINGTON, D.C. - October 17, 2009 - The Columbus Crew fell to D.C. United, 1-0, Saturday on a soggy night at RFK Stadium, delaying its bid to earn a second-consecutive MLS Supporters' Shield.

The Crew gave up an early Luciano Emilio tally and limited United to nary a look at goal in the second half but, could not pierce the United defense and solid play of Steve Cronin, United's recently acquired goalkeeper.

The night's lone tally came in the 17th minute when D.C.'s Thabiso Khumalo evaded the challenge of defender Danny O'Rourke and sent a pass in to a streaking Emilio. The striker ran on into the Crew penalty box and flicked the ball over the charging William Hesmer, but with barely enough pace to get over the goal line ahead of O'Rourke's valiant clearance attempt.

Crew Defeats Revolution 1-0 to Clinch East, Home Field Advantage

FOXBOROUGH,  MA - October 10, 2009 - On the strength of Gino Padula's first MLS goal, the Columbus Crew clinched its second consecutive Eastern Conference regular-season crown with a 1-0 victory against the New England Revolution Saturday at Gillette Stadium. The Black & Gold also inched closer to its second straight MLS Supporters' Shield, which is awarded to the team with the most overall points.

Columbus grabbed the opening goal after 36 minutes as Padula's long distance free kick somehow made its way through traffic in the box and past Revs keeper Matt Reis. The Crew then survived Emmanuel Ekpo's harsh 65th-minute dismissal for an arm to Kevin Alston's face to ensure they wouldn't have to wait another week to seal top spot in the East and home-field advantage throughout the MLS Cup Playoffs.

Six regular starters weren't in the Crew lineup for the first meeting between the two teams this season. Chad Marshall (left MCL sprain) missed out through injury, Frankie Hejduk, Robbie Rogers (both United States) and Alejandro Moreno (Venezuela) were away on international duty and Danny O'Rourke had to watch due to suspension. Crew head coach Robert Warzycha also left leading scorer and reigning league MVP Guillermo Barros Schelotto on the bench.

The Streak is Over

COLUMBUS, OH - October 3, 2009 - All good things come to an end. A very good one came to an end Saturday night as the Columbus Crew were defeated by the Seattle Sounders by a score of 1-0. The Crew's record home unbeaten streak was now a thing of the past. It was not the end of the world by any means; Crew fans agree it is better to lose now than in the playoffs.

Photo Credit: Gary L. Moody Sr./ISNSoccer.com"It was disappointing; I know it's something we took a lot of pride in," Crew goalkeeper Will Hesmer stated after the loss. "I am really disappointed for the fans. We've made this place a fortress."

It was a time for reuniting with old friends and new foes Saturday night. The Columbus Crew welcomed back three important figures from the Crew's past. Last year Sigi Schmid coached the Crew to a Cinderella season as they won both the MLS Cup and the Supporters' Shield. Brad Evans started 18 games with the Crew in 2008, scoring 5 goals. Ezra Hendrickson, an assistant coach with the Sounders, spent three with Columbus as a defender. All would be welcomed back in the right way by Crew supporters.

Evans would have an impact on the match in the 36th minute as he delivered a short pass to striker Fredy Montero. Montero and Crew keeper Will Hesmer reached the ball at almost the same moment. Hesmer deflected the ball, but it landed at the feet of Roger Levesque. A shot by Levesque followed and it struck the back of the net before Hesmer was able to get to his feet. It would be the first MLS goal in Levesque's career and it would be an important one as Seattle makes a push for the playoffs.

However, this wasn't the first big moment of the match. The Sounders narrowly missed disaster in the 24th minute as defender Tyrone Marshall nearly converted an own goal. Robbie Rogers delivered a pass to Guillermo Barros Schelotto, who connected with Eddie Gaven with a nice backheel pass. Gaven would take the shot and it looked to narrowly miss the right post. The ball would change its course towards the goal as it deflected off Marshall's head. The Crew were literally a few inches away from scoring their first goal.

Halftime would come with no change in score as the Sounders entered the locker room with a 1-0 lead over the Crew. Opponents leading at halftime is not a common occurrence at the fortress known as Crew Stadium.

The Crew would come out firing and would have a shot on goal, only their second of the match, in the 47th minute. Schelotto would launch a header towards the Seattle goal, narrowly missing the right post. It was as they say very,very,very close indeed.

Tempers began to flare in the 51st minute as the referee, Ricardo Salazar, missed both a handball outside the box and a possible penalty in the box. Eddie Gaven was taken down hard near the Seattle goal and there was no call. Alejandro Moreno (simulation) and Danny O'Rourke (reckless foul) would earn yellow cards in the 55th and 62nd minutes respectively.

Crew Coach Robert Warzycha would bring in Steven Lenhart in the 64th minute in place of Jed Zayner. Zayner had played a solid game, but a spark was needed. As expected, Lenhart would quickly create some opportunities on the offensive side. In the 70th minute, a cross from Rogers made its way to Gaven and then onto Lenhart, who connected with a header. It was headed over the line before it was narrowly cleared away with a bicycle kick from Tyrone Marshall.

Seattle would come close to their own goal with a shot by Osvaldo Alonso in the 75th minute. Alonso's shot hit the right post before taking a weird reverse spin out of the goal. The Crew's Brian Carroll would create a chance of his own in the 80th with a hard strike that was saved by a diving Kasey Keller.

The biggest moment of the game would come in the 83rd minute as Columbus was awarded a penalty kick after a ruthless tackle of Eddie Gaven in the box. Schelotto would be the obvious choice as he is 8 for 8 on PKs over the past two seasons. The unthinkable would be a reality as Schelotto would miss the goal entirely as the shot sailed wide left. Even Superman has his kryptonite. "You know how many has Guillermo has taken for us and nailed it. You can't help

"It was kinda strange. You know it was strange when Guillermo misses a PK," Rogers added from the locker room.

The game would end with intense play from both sides. The Crew continued to push forward as they went for the draw in the closing minutes. It wasn't meant to be as Columbus just couldn't catch a break. All is not lost as the Crew have already qualified for the playoffs and are still the favorites for the Supporters' Shield. The Sounders have two decisive games left with Kansas City (away) and FC Dallas (home). Columbus has two road games with New England and D.C. United before coming home to face the Revolution once again.

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