The View from Our Crew

Crew Lose First Leg of Eastern Conference Semifinal 1-0

COMMERCE CITY, CO - October 28, 2010 - The Crew dropped a 1-0 decision to the Colorado Rapids in the first leg of the Eastern Conference semifinal at Dick Sporting Goods Park on Thursday night. Rapids captain Pablo Mastroeni tallied the lone goal in the 24th minute to give Colorado the advantage going into the second leg of the home-and-away aggregate-score series.

The return match will be played at Crew Stadium on Saturday, November 6. The Crew came out strong in the opening minutes of the game but the Rapids were able to find their rhythm quickly and started creating chances. In the 24th minute Rapids forward Omar Cummings came down the left side and crossed a ball towards Conor Casey who was looming at the near post. Casey let the ball slip through and Rapids midfielder Pablo Mastroeni slotted the ball to the right of Crew goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum for the 1-0 lead.

The Crew turned up the heat in the second half, showing more composure and creating several chances, but was denied by Colorado keeper Matt Pickens. The Black & Gold had the best chance of the night towards the end of the match when Andy Iro headed in a cross by Eddie Gaven only to see it saved by Pickens. The Crew will have a chance to reverse the result of this match on November 6, when the Colorado Rapids visit Crew Stadium. The match, which kicks off at 4 p.m., will be televised nationally on Telefutura and regionally on ONN-TV.

Crew Find Stride, but Lose Hesmer

COLUMBUS, OH - October 24, 2010 - The Crew had technically nothing to play for, but may have lost everything Sunday afternoon with a 3-1 win over the Philadelphia Union at Crew Stadium. 

“We wanted to end on a high note because we are trying to get some momentum, which I think we did,” Crew Head Coach Robert Warzycha said.

The Crew had a 3-0 lead, the spark they needed going into the playoffs, but in the 85th minute Crew goalkeeper Will Hesmer collided with a member of the Union and had to leave the match clutching his shoulder. It would be later diagnosed as a fractured shoulder that will sideline the keeper for the 2010 MLS Cup Playoffs.

“I think (Hesmer) had a solid game today, one of his best this year,” Warzycha said.

The Crew finishes the 2010 regular season with a record of 14-8-8, ending with 50 points, one more than last year, but one behind this year’s Eastern Conference winners, New York Red Bulls. 

As for the game, Hesmer led the troops out to the last home match of the 2010 regular season against the expansion Philadelphia Union.

The Crew had the pressure of the Union early and would be rewarded just 14 minutes into the game.

On a throw in close to the Union goal line, Guillermo Barros Schelotto threw the ball into Eddie Gaven, who passed the ball to Schelotto, who made a cutting run into the side of the box, then was taken down by Eduardo Coudet, who Gaven raced past.

The Union protested that the foul occurred outside of the box, but the referee awarded the Crew the PK. Schelotto took the PK and put the ball in the left hand corner as Union goalkeeper Chris Seitz dove right.

“I think we started the game really well,” Warzycha said. “There was a lot of pressure of Philadelphia. We had a bunch of corner kicks and fouls around the box and that led to the penalty.”

Emilio Renteria gave the Crew their second of the day just four minutes before the break. Again Gaven was the catalysis as he put a beautiful pass ahead of Renteria, who was playing on the edge of the Union defense. The Venezuelan international dribbled down the middle of the field on the break away, took a shot at the top of the box and beat Seitz into the right hand corner of the net.

“I think he showed today that he can be dangerous,” Warzycha said. “He is going to be one of the guys (to use in the playoffs) and hopefully he can score the goals.”

His fifth goal of the year was beautiful, but the celebration was gorgeous. Renteria took his boot off, running to the corner flag, dialed it and made a long distance phone call to his family in Venezuela.

“I have a friend in Venezuela who did the same celebration once and I wanted to do the same celebration at home,” Renteria said through a translator. “I tried to call my family, but nobody answered,” he joked.

The game would take a bad turn for the Crew in the second half, though. Renteria would get a yellow card in the 63rd minute along with Union defender Michael Orozco Fiscal.

While Renteria again beat the Union defense, from a long ball from Schelotto, Renteria dashed down the side of the field, came into the box, and Fiscal made a diving tackle that missed Renteria. Renteria shot the ball, then went out of his way to nudge Fiscal’s face with this shin guard, while the defender was still on the ground from the tackle.

Fiscal retaliated with a shove to Renteria and the two exchanged pleasantries and would be awarded cautions. Warzcha used his second sub and pulled Renteria out for Andres Mendoza, since the Crew did not want Renteria to get another yellow, get a red card and miss the playoffs.

Andy Iro took a bump to his right leg in the 75th miunte and had to be taken out, the last for the Crew.

Mendoza made the most of his appearance, scoring in the 79th minute.

Schelotto took the ball from Stefani Miglioranzi, ran down the field, got the ball to deflect to Mendoza, who fired in a shot to the near post from inside the left hand side of the box.

It is the first time that the Crew go unbeaten in three straight matches since they drew at FC Dallas (on Aug 28), and beat D.C. United twice in four days (Sept 1; US Open Cup, Sept 4, MLS).

Hesmer’s day ended in the 81st minute after he blocked a shot wide by Shea Salinas.

The resulting corner came into the box, Hesmer went out to collect the cross, but the Union’s Danny Califf came in, knocked Hesmer and the Crew goalie looked to land awkwardly on his left shoulder.

Hesmer was in pain as soon as he came down the ground. He was on the ground for a while, stood up and luckily was on the north side of the stadium, so he ran directly into the dressing room.

Since Renteria picked up the yellow and Iro got the knock, the Crew had to rely on Eddie Gaven to man the goal for the last six plus minutes since they had no more subs remaining.

Gaven came out wearing Crew backup ‘keeper Andy Gruenebaum’s gloves and oversized jersey.

“I don’t know why they put me in goal,” Gaven said.

Gaven would give up the first goal as Sebastien Le Toux rocketed a shot from the top of the box, past Gaven, into the top of the net. The marks Le Toux’s 14th goal of the year and has 71.4 per cent of the Union’s scoring.

Gaven would string together two saves after the goal.

The Union end their first year at 8-15-7 (31 points), but finish one spot, and nine points, ahead of dismal D.C. United in the East.

The Crew’s next two matches will be the Eastern Confernce semifinals against Colorado. The first leg is Thursday night (Oct. 28) on the road, while the return leg is Saturday (Nov. 6) at Crew Stadium with a 4:00 p.m. kickoff.

Crew Caps CCL Group Stage with 4-1 Win at Joe Public

MACOYA, TRINIDAD - October 21, 2010 - Emilio Rentería's penalty kick in the 50th minute gave visiting Columbus the lead and he added an insurance tally in the 80th as the Crew defeated Joe Public FC of Trinidad, 4-1, Thursday to cap a successful Group Stage in the 2010/11 CONCACAF Champions League in which it advanced to the quarterfinals for the second straight season.

Forward Andres Mendoza opened the scoring in the 20th minute, off a Jason Garey cross, and midfielder Duncan Oughton capped the night with a goal in the 90th minute, off a nifty Dilly Duka heel pass.

Joe Public evened the game at 1-1 on a dubious penalty converted by Trent Noel in the 27th minute. But Columbus took the lead for good when Leandre Griffit sent a service into the box where rookie defender Josh Williams' snap header hit the hand of a Joe Public player. Renteria, who entered to start the second half for Mendoza, promptly converted the ensuing penalty kick.

Columbus (4-2) had clinched second place and a spot in the quarterfinal round for the second straight season Tuesday courtesy of Santos Laguna's win over Municipal.

Hesmer Makes History in Draw with Toronto

TORONTO, ON - October 16, 2010 - The Columbus Crew came away from BMO Field in Toronto, Ontario with a thrilling 2-2 draw on Saturday afternoon. Defender Chad Marshall (2) and goalkeeper William Hesmer (1) tallied goals for the Crew while Guillermo Barros Schelotto (9) and Chad Marshall (2) both recorded assists.

The Crew are still in the hunt for the lead of the Eastern Conference just one point behind the New York Red Bulls who lost to the Philadelphia Union 2-1 later in the evening. Columbus took the lead early when Chad Marshall headed in a corner kick by Guillermo Barros Schelotto. Midfielder Eddie Gaven earned the kick with a run down the left side of the field and a cross deflected by a Toronto defender. 14 minutes later Toronto would equalize with a blast by forward Maicon Santos from about 30 yards out that ended to the left of Crew keeper William Hesmer and into the back of the net. Toronto would find another goal before the end of the half with midfielder Jacob Peterson who tapped in a cross by midfielder Nicholas Lindsay to fix the result at 2-1 at the half.

The second half turned phisycal very quickly with the Black & Gold creating chances and outshooting Toronto FC seven to three. The Crew's Steven Lenhart and TFC's Conway were both ejected for an altercation in front of the Toronto goal with 20 minutes left in the match. Both players will miss their season finales next weekend, when TFC hosts D.C. United and the Crew hosts the Philadelphia Union. The equalizing goal finally came in stoppage time when Crew goalkeeper William Hesmer slotted the ball in the back of the net on a header by Chad Marshall fixing the result at 2-2 and allowing the Crew to retain the Trillium Cup for the third consecutive year.

The Crew now travels to Trinidad and Tobago to face Joe Public in the final match of CONCACAF Champions league on Thursday, October 28. The Balck & Gold returns to MLS play on Sunday, Oct. 24 at 4 p.m. for the final match of the regular season as it welcomes expansion team Philadelphia Union to Crew Stadium.

Crew Find No Relief on the Road

BRIDGEVIEW, IL- October 8, 2010- It may have been the 129th anniversary of the ignition of the great Chicago Fire Friday night at Toyota Park, but the Columbus Crew‘s chances of winning the Eastern Conference title may have been extinguished.

The Crew lost 2-0 to the Fire and drop to 13-8-7, still fourth in the MLS playoffs and a point behind the New York Red Bulls, who host Real Salt Lake on Saturday, for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.

“We tired right now,” Crew Head Coach Robert Warzycha said. “With all these games we know that we will be better.”

Cleveland native and Fire defender Dasan Robinson was substituted in just the 15th minute with a leg injury. Just a minute later, Freddie Ljungberg appealed for a penalty, after he had been taken down in the box by a Crew defender.

The Crew had much trouble in the first half finding their forwards. The team would push up, but could not find the pass it needed in the final third. That reoccurring theme hurt the Crew and could not make a dent into the Fire defense.

Adam Moffat did not help the cause in the opening half as he was given a yellow card in the 25th minute for a late challenge to Logan Pause. On the play that came from the free kick, Moffat again had a late foul, just seconds after the previous foul. He did not receive his second yellow, but made his name known to referee Edvin Jurisevic and Warzycha, who pulled Moffat at the half.

The Fire finally broke through a half an hour in as Peter Lowry beat the Crew defense and banged it past Columbus goalkeeper Will Hesmer.

The play started from Patrick Nyarko, who made a great short pass to Lowry. Lowry dribbled in on Chad Marshall, turned Marshall around in the box and fired the ball off the outside of his right foot and into the left side of the net. Hesmer had no chance on the brilliant shot.

The Fire led 1-0, as Lowry scored the 600th in Chicago Fire history.

Columbus again had to deal with a yellow card as Eric Brunner was the guilty party for a rough tackle close to the Crew’s 18-yard box. Despite a few chances in the attacking zone, the Crew could not get a good chance on net and were down 1-0 at the half.

Brian McBride set up and scored the second goal for the Fire in the 53rd minute. After a pass to Nyarko going towards the goal line, Nyarko slid the pass between the legs of Brian Carroll right to McBride who slid and kicked the ball into the back of the net.

Absent from the match was both Emilio Renteria (Venezuela) and Shaun Francis (Jamaica) who were called up to national team duties.

The Crew got their first shot on goal in the 65th minute when Frankie Hejduk put a low liner into the box that was easily kicked away by a diving Andrew Dykstra. They would finish with four, but all were easily grabbed by Dykstra.

Even when Kevin Burns beat Dykstra in the 89th minute, Fire defender Bratislav Ristic was there to clear the ball off the line.

The Crew next head to Toronto next Saturday (Oct. 16) for a 4:00 p.m. kickoff. They finish the regular season the following Sunday (Oct. 24) at home against the expansion Philadelphia Union after facing Joe Public on the road on Oct. 21.

Crew Fall in Open Cup Final

SEATTLE, WA - October 5, 2010 - Sanna Nyassi scored twice as Seattle Sounders FC defended their Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup title with a 2-1 win over the Columbus Crew Tuesday before a crowd of 31,311 at Qwest Field, which is largest ever for a final in the tournament's history. The Sounders become the first MLS team to win two straight Open Cup crowns, and the first team to win consecutive titles since the New York Pancyprian Freedoms won in 1982-83.

The Crew opened the scoring with a goal from Kevin Burns, on a classy finish in the 24th minute, but couldn't hold on. Nyassi was ultimately the hero, scoring in the 38th and 66th minutes to help Seattle rally from the early 1-0 hole. The Crew nearly equalized in the 85th minute when Robbie Rogers - playing in just his second game back from nearly two months sidelined with a knee injury - rattled a shot off the crossbar after a cross from Hejduk.

Andy Gruenebaum started in goal for the Crew, as he has for every one of the club's Open Cup and Champions League matches. William Hesmer, meanwhile, has started every one of the Crew's league games. The Crew was playing in its third Open Cup Final, joining the 2002 squad that defeated L.A. to win the tournament and the 1998 team that fell to Chicago in overtime.

The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is an annual competition open to all amateur and professional soccer teams affiliated with U.S. Soccer and is recognized as the federation's National Championship. The tournament has now crowned a champion for 97 consecutive years dating back to 1914. It is the oldest annual team tournament in U.S. sports history and among the oldest soccer tournaments of its type in the world. In 1999, the competition was renamed to honor long-time soccer pioneer and Crew Founder Lamar Hunt. Tuesday's attendance smashed the previous finals record involving an MLS team, set in 2000 when Chicago beat the Miami Fusion in front of 19,164 fans at Soldier Field. The previous attendance high for a USOC final was set back in 1929, when 21,583 fans attended the final played at Dexter Park in Brooklyn, N.Y.

The Crew returns to league action this Friday (Oct. 8) at Chicago's TOYOTA Park, in a match that will kick off at 9 p.m. ET and be televised live regionally on ONN-TV.

Crew Draw, but Clinch Playoff Spot

COLUMBUS, OH - October 2, 2010 - Superb goalkeeping for both the Columbus Crew and San Jose Earthquakes caused their match to end in a 0-0 draw on a rainy and slippery pitch at Crew Stadium. The Crew had the bulk of scoring chances, but were unable to put one in the back of the net. The draw combined with a loss by Kansas City guaranteed the Crew a spot in the MLS Cup playoffs so the night had to be considered a success.

The Crew were hoping to make a statement during Saturday's match, putting the recent run of poor form to an end. Losses to Seattle and Municipal have caused a little doubt in what has been a spectacular season for Columbus. It would also be an important matchup for the San Jose Earthquakes, who are currently in the 8th and final playoff position.

Photo Credit: Gary L. Moody, Sr.The Crew put together several nice runs in the first fifteen minutes, putting Quakes keeper Jon Busch under a little pressure. San Jose would threaten in the 18th, but the Crew defense responded with a clearance from Andy Iro. Steven Lenhart and Eddie Gaven would provide much excitement for Crew fans as they continue to push and pull their way into Quakes territory. There was a feeling that there had been quite a few close calls and something big was about to happen, but nothing came of it.

The final minutes of the first half were full of tension and apprehension. Ryan Johnson got a yellow card in the 37th minute and continued to argue the call with head referee Jorge Gonzalez. Moments later Guillermo Barros Schelotto had some words with the linesman about a call. The first half came to an end with a 0-0 score and a lack of momentum for either side.

The second half would be one of opportunity for the Crew attack. It began with a scare as defender Chad Marshall went down hard in the 52nd minute after being tripped up by a San Jose player. Marshall had struggled with an assortment of injuries this season, but he returned to the field a few minutes later.

The 63rd brought about what looked to be a sure goal for Columbus, but Lenhart was unable to get a hold of a brilliant pass. Three minutes later the Crew would make their first substitution with Emilio Renteria taking the place of Emmanuel Ekpo. Renteria has been this season's version of Alejandro Moreno, getting things done with physical play and lots of persistence.

The Earthquakes would make a change as well, sending in their Designated Player, Giovanni, for Eduardo in the 69th minute of play. Crew keeper Will Hesmer came away with a solid save a minute later after a pinpoint cross reached the head of Chris Wondolowski. Hesmer was able to get an outstretched hand on the ball, getting it out of play and over the crossbar. This was the only genuine scoring chance of the night for the Quakes.

Lenhart would get yet another opportunity in the 72nd, but an awkward bounce had it miss the right corner of the goal by just an inch or two. Busch would have his own moment of brilliance, knocking a Marshall header just over the bar in the 75th.

"I think Busch was Man of the Match today," Crew Head Coach Robert Warzycha stated. "He saved Stevie's chance and saved Chad Marshall's chance."

Busch's post-game comments showed similar praise for Warzycha. "Honestly he has done a great job," Busch continued. "When I played with him here and then he retired I knew he would be a great head coach one day. You can see what he has done since Sigi left. He is a tremendous player and a tremendous coach."

Three minutes later midfielder Robbie Rogers would take the field, making his first appearance since knee surgery knocked him out of the Crew starting XI. Gaven would head to the bench, leaving Columbus with just one remaining substitution. Warzycha would use that in the 84th sending in Peruvian international Andres Mendoza for Lenhart, who provided some offensive punch for 80+ minutes.

Sam Cronin would make an appearance for San Jose in the 87th, coming in for Scott Sealy. Renteria would send a header inches wide left in the 90th, which proved to be the final chance of a Crew score.

Earthquakes Head Coach Frank Yallop was satisfied with the his team's effort and the final score. "I think a draw is a fair result to be honest," Yallop commented. "We're happy with the point, another point toward our playoff push."

The Crew must now turn their attention to the U.S. Open Cup Championship in Seattle on October 5, while San Jose returns to the West Coast before heading east again to face D.C. United on October 9.

Earthquakes Starting XI: GK Jon Busch, DEF Brandon McDonald, DEF Tim Ward, DEF Jason Hernandez (C), MID Chris Wondolowski, MID Khari Stephenson, MID Brad Ring, MID Bobby Convey, FWD Scott Sealy, FWD Ryan Johnson, FWD Eduardo

Crew Starting XI: GK William Hesmer, DEF Frankie Hejduk (C), DEF Chad Marshall, DEF Shaun Francis, DEF Andy Iro, MID Eddie Gaven, MID Brian Carroll, MID Kevin Burns, MID Emmanuel Ekpo, FWD Guillermo Barros Schelotto, FWD Steven Lenhart

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