Columbus Crew Speak Out on Reports
COLUMBUS, OH - October 24, 2012 - The Columbus Crew today issued the following statement in regard to media reports about the organization’s status within the Hunt Sports Group:
With respect to recent media reports and commentary relating to the future of the Columbus Crew, the Hunt family is firmly committed to the Crew organization in Columbus. In June 2010, Hunt Sports Group announced it would pursue additional investors in the Crew to strengthen the current local investor group that has been part of the club since its inception. HSG also stated that any new investors must align with the Hunts’ long-term vision for Major League Soccer in Columbus.
“The City of Columbus, the Crew and Crew Stadium are extremely important to our family, and that hasn’t changed,” said Clark Hunt, Chairman of Hunt Sports Group. “We continue to believe that additional local investment only serves to strengthen the Crew’s standing in Columbus and Major League Soccer, and over the past two years, we have openly explored the possibility of bringing in minority investors to the club. In an attempt to emphasize the importance of identifying additional investors in the Crew, Commissioner Garber’s recent comments overstated this objective. He has since clarified his statement through a league spokesperson.
As we have said previously, adding local investors, reaching our goal of 10,000 season ticket holders, securing a naming rights partner for Crew Stadium and boosting support from the business community are all critical factors in the long-term success of the Crew in Columbus. From our family’s perspective, our objectives have not changed since we made this original announcement.”
Crew Honor Their Own
COLUMBUS, OH - October 23, 2012 - The Columbus Crew announced the winners of its team awards Tuesday night at its annual Crew Team Awards Ceremony, presented by adidas, held at the Lifestyle Communities Pavilion. For the sixth straight year, the ceremony was followed by a Casino Night, the proceeds of which benefited the Crew’s charitable arm, the Crew Soccer Foundation. Crew goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum and midfielder Eddie Gaven came away with three awards each. This year saw the introduction of the Kirk Urso “Heart” award as well as an opportunity for fans to have a say in the Most Valuable Player and Goal of the Year awards.
Andy Gruenebaum – Barbasol Most Valuable Player, Defender of the Year, Breakout Performance
Following the loss of longtime starting goalkeeper William Hesmer due to injury, the Crew turned to Andy Gruenebaum for leadership on the backline. The 29-year-old hasn’t disappointed, starting 32 total matches as of week 33 of the MLS regular season, logging 2,830 minutes in goal, eight shutouts and leading Major League Soccer’s goalkeepers in total saves with 122.
Jairo Arrieta and Eddie Gaven – Budweiser Golden Boot
This year's Budweiser Golden Boot Award went to two players in Black & Gold. Both Jairo Arrieta and Eddie Gaven are currently even with nine goals each through 33 games. Mid-season newcomer Arrieta has been a revelation in the Crew attack since joining the club from Costa Rican side Deportivo Saprissa in July. One of the League's premier mid-season signings, Arrieta has burst onto the North American scene with nine strikes in only 17 games, including three multi-goal performances to claim his share of the Budweiser Golden Boot award along with Gaven. With more than 200 appearances across all competitions for the Crew in a stellar seven-year club career, Gaven shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon. In his tenth MLS season Gaven has put together his finest offensive performance, notching nine goals to claim a share of the Budweiser Golden Boot.
Kirk Urso – Kirk Urso “Heart” Award
The Kirk Urso Heart Award is a new honor in 2012, named after the Columbus Crew midfielder that passed away earlier this year due to a congenital heart condition. To honor his memory, each season the players will vote on the individual that most embodies Urso’s selflessness and tireless work ethic. Urso was renowned for his willingness to help others, and he was strongly admired for his hard-working attitude on and off the field. For all these reasons and many more, the winner of the inaugural Kirk Urso Heart Award is Urso himself.
Eddie Gaven – MLS W.O.R.K.S. / U.S. Soccer Foundation Humanitarian of the Year
Eddie Gaven has been a visible community ambassador for the Crew throughout his career in Black & Gold. Since joining the organization, Gaven has poured his heart and soul into community initiatives that have impacted the greater Columbus area. He has participated in the Columbus Crew's School Assembly program, speaking to hundreds of elementary-age children. Gaven has been a staple of the Crew's visits to Nationwide Children's Hospital and Easter Seals program. He has been part of the Crew's litter and graffiti clean-up efforts with Keep Columbus Beautiful and the Greater Linden Development Corporation during the Crew's "Massive Makeover" project. Additionally, Gaven has been a long-time supporter of the St. Stephen's House Community Food and Toy Drive. He has also donated his favorite personal items as part of a "player basket" for the Crew Soccer Foundation's sports memorabilia fundraising.
Julius James – OhioHealth Comeback Player of the Year
Julius James is the recipient of the OhioHealth Comeback Player of the Year Award after overcoming multiple obstacles in 2012. Since returning from major shoulder surgery in the offseason, James suffered a collapsed lung in early April during a practice session, sending him to the hospital for emergency treatment. Despite his lengthy recovery, James has worked his way back into the team during the Crew’s end of season run, playing in 12 matches this year on the backline. Additionally, the central defender has battled further shoulder ailments down the stretch. In spite of these difficulties, James continues to be a steady contributor to the club’s defensive efforts, and his recovery has been a welcome sight for the Crew organization and its fans.
Sebastian Miranda – Goal of the Year
While there were many options for Goal of the Year, including Justin Meram’s stunning curler over the head of Jon Busch in San Jose, Emilio Rentería’s 25-yard chip in Seattle, Jairo Arrieta’s blast against Sporting Kansas City, and Federico Higuaín’s free kick strike in the Crew’s victory over the New England Revolution, fans voted and the choice was clear: Sebastián Miranda’s 20-yard header to help the Crew to victory over FC Dallas was the most Massive of them all.
Eddie Gaven and Chad Marshall - Special Recognition, The 200 Club
Few players have exemplified the pride and tradition of the Crew organization as much as Chad Marshall and Eddie Gaven. The two longest-tenured field players on the current roster, Marshall and Gaven are now over the 200 games-played mark for the Crew in Major League Soccer competitions, putting them in rare company in franchise history. Currently in his ninth season in Black & Gold, Marshall has logged more than 20,000 minutes for the Crew throughout his career en route to becoming team captain and a defensive mainstay. Fellow iron man Gaven has 51 regular season goals and 33 assists to his name in more than 16,000 minutes. Only four players in club history have reached the 200-game plateau, the other two being Jeff Cunningham and Mike Clark.
Ben Swanson – Crew Soccer Academy 15/16s Player of the Year
Ben Swanson’s performances on the field for the Black & Gold over the past two years have earned him a spot as one of the youngest players in the United States U-17 National Team Residency Program in Bradenton, Florida. The Grove City native will play an integral part in the team’s attempt to qualify for the 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates.
Zach Mason – Crew Soccer Academy 17/18s Player of the Year
Zach Mason’s tireless work rate, ability to play his best in crucial matches, and outstanding leadership qualities have made him only the second repeat MVP in Crew Soccer Academy history. Mason is currently a freshman starter at Ohio State and will be a critical part of the group that will defend the Crew’s U-19 National Championship next summer.
Sage Gardner – Crew Soccer Academy 19/20s Player of the Year
A steady, skillful defender, Sage Gardner captained the U-19 National Champions and U-20 National Finalists over last summer. A three-year starter at Ohio State, Gardner will be a key leader as the U-20s seek to win their third National Championship in four years next summer.
Alex Thomas – Jim Nelson Fan of the Year Award
Alex has been with the Crew since day one. Many have gotten to know him over the years for the energy and rhythm he helps provide the Nordecke on game days while banging the drums in Section 142. Alex has always been passionate about the Crew, a fact made clear by his unwavering support of the Black & Gold over the years. His devotion is on display not just on match days, but every day of the year. One simply needs to visit Café del Mondo in Italian Village to see Alex's love of the Crew on display. Upon entering the parking lot, you are greeted by Crew flags waving above the patio and as you continue into the dining area memorabilia adorns the walls.
This year, Alex brought his commitment to a whole new level. The chef had become obsessed with feeding "his boys" to the point that he convinced his mother Bruna and step-father Bill to become official team partners of the Crew in 2012. Alex is truly 'Columbus 'til he dies' and has been a MASSIVE part of Crew Soccer Nation for many years.
Crew Repeats as Reserve League East Division Champion
WASHINGTON, DC - October 21, 2012 - The Columbus Crew reserves defeated D.C. United reserves 2-0 at United's training complex at RFK Stadium to clinch the East Division title for the second consecutive year. The Black & Gold finished tied with the Montreal Impact on points with 22, but owned the first tie-breaker of goals scored to give the Crew the best record among all MLS teams. Dilly Duka and Ethan Finlay tallied a goal per half, while Matt Lampson recorded his third shutout.
The first half was a back-and-forth affair between the two Eastern Conference rivals. The first big chance of the match came in the 22nd minute on a through ball from Tony Tchani to Finlay. United goalkeeper Joe Willis rushed off his line to close the gap to Finlay and block the young midfielder's shot. Just four minutes later, United midfielder Stephen King weaved through multiple Crew defenders and had a powerful shot stopped by Crew goalkeeper Matt Lampson at point-blank range.
The Crew had the momentum at the end of the first half and capitalized on it during a counterattack lead by Emilio Renteria. The Crew forward slipped a nice pass to Duka who fired his shot into the right corner of the goal.
The second half opened up with a chance for the Black-and-Red, when United defender Robbie Russell headed a cross in just wide of the Crew goal. Less than ten minutes later, in the 56th minute, Finlay put away a loose ball inside the box after a poor clearance from United's backline.
The Columbus Crew continued to press throughout the second half with numerous chances created by Renteria, Duka, and Finlay. United defender Conor Shanosky did well on multiple occasions to bail United's defense out, saving two Crew shots off the line.
United didn’t go quietly, though, with Russell, D.C. United U-16 Academy player Michael Seaton, and midfielder Stephen King all creating chances in the final ten minutes. Seaton missed a cross from Russell by inches while Lampson came up big on a one-on-one chance with Stephen King.
Crew's Postseason Hopes Crumble
WASHINGTON, DC - October 20, 2012 - The Columbus Crew’s 2012 MLS Cup Playoff push came to an end in the Nation’s Capital on Saturday night. A capacity crowd of 19,647 watched several lead changes at RFK Stadium as the Crew fell 3-2 to D.C. United on the penultimate weekend of the MLS regular season. First half goals from Eddie Gaven and Jairo Arrieta had the Black & Gold ahead at the break by a score of 2-1, but two unanswered second half strikes from D.C. United’s Marcelo Saragosa and Lewis Neal sealed things for the home side.
The Columbus loss, combined with a Houston win over Philadelphia, prevents the Crew from advancing to its fifth consecutive postseason. The club finishes the regular season campaign on Sunday, October 28 at Crew Stadium (4:00 p.m. ET) with Fan Appreciation Day.
Dramatic Draw Keeps Crew Alive
COLUMBUS, OH - October 7, 2012 - A stoppage time goal from Eddie Gaven kept the Crew in the playoff hunt as they drew 1-1 with Sporting Kansas City.
"When you're chasing a few other teams in the playoff hunt, every point is important," Crew keeper Andy Gruenebaum stated. "Especially when you are getting down to the last three games."
The match started with both sides in attack mode, but it was Sporting that struck first with a 10th minute goal from C.J. Sapong. Graham Zusi got the assist on the play that saw Sapong's shot get past both Gruenebaum and Chad Marshall.
The visitors didn't let up in the attack as the Crew fought to stay alive in the race for the playoffs. The game was very much back and forth with KC having an advantage in possession (55.4% to 44.6%) and passing accuracy (85.3% to 75.3%) in the first half.
Columbus needed a spark to stay in this game and that came in the form of an Eddie Gaven goal in the 94th minute. Gaven took a cross from Emilio Renteria, who entered the match in the 68th minute, and snuck it past Jimmy Nielsen by the near post.
"I never think that we are out of a game," Gruenebaum added. "You always feel these things coming late and you just hope and sure enough."
This single play gave the Crew life and a chance for the postseason, but still put the final two matches into the "must win" category. The late game heroics of the Crew are great for the highlight reels, but fans hope the goals come earlier to save them some stress and worries.
Physical play dominated the match as 28 fouls accumulated, yet only one yellow card was handed out to the Crew's Julius James in the 67th minute. Crew defender Josh Williams left the match in the 69th minute after taking several knocks to the head, while Kansas City midfielder Roger Espinoza had to be stretchered off in the 94th minute.
When asked about the next game on the road at D.C. United, Crew head coach Robert Warzycha responded, "It's huge. We have to win that game and hope for the best."
Subside Sports Man of the Match: Eddie Gaven, Columbus Crew
SKC Settles for Draw with Crew
COLUMBUS, OH - October 7, 2012 - Despite stretching their unbeaten streak to 10 games with a 1-1 tie against the Columbus Crew Sunday afternoon, Sporting Kansas City is coming away with a bad taste in their mouths.
Leading for 80 minutes on the back of a 10th minute goal from C.J. Sapong, Sporting allowed Columbus to steal a point with Eddie Gaven’s 90th minute header.
The draw is a blow to Sporting Kansas City, who now sit 5 points back of the San Jose Earthquakes in the race for the league’s best record with just two matches remaining.
The late goal by Columbus put them just 1 point out of the final playoff spot in the east, behind the Houston Dynamo.
Giving Kansas City it’s only goal of the match, Sapong was consistently the most threatening player on the pitch.
In the 10th minute Graham Zusi sent a cross into the uncovered Sapong. His first header bounced off the woodwork, but in a stroke of luck came directly back to the striker whose 2nd chance didn’t miss putting Kansas City up 1-0.
Almost scoring a 2nd time in the 19th minute, Sapong’s header was saved by Andy Gruenebaum to keep the game within reach for Columbus.
Both teams traded chances for the remained of the match, but the Crew finally broke through in the 91st minute. An Emilio Renteria cross in the first minute of stoppage time was headed by Eddie Gaven and snuck past keeper Jimmy Nielsen. Nielsen did well in getting a hand on the ball, but couldn’t quite stop the ball as it rolled just over the line to tie the match.
"They got lucky," Sporting KC striker Kei Kamara stated. "We got unlucky. We were the better team all around."
Leaving just two matches left to make up 5 points on San Jose, Kansas City looks to have lost its chance at potential home field advantage in the final of the MLS Cup. Having locked up a playoff spot Sporting will have to be content to try and clinch the top seed in the East.
Next Kansas City heads to New York to take on the 4thplace New York Red Bulls and end the season at home with a match against the Philadelphia Union.