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Crew Roster Begins to Take Shape

The Columbus Crew announced today that it has exercised the contract options on 14 players from its 2013 roster, while four others were already under contract for next season, giving the club a roster that currently features 18 players.

The Crew picked-up the options of goalkeepers Matt Lampson and Daniel Withrow; defenders Chad Barson, Eric Gehrig and Tyson Wahl; midfielders Bernardo Anor, Ethan Finlay, Kevan George, Justin Meram, Shawn Sloan, Ben Speas and Tony Tchani; and forwards Ryan Finley and Aaron Schoenfeld.

The Black & Gold simultaneously announced that it has declined the contract options of defenders Drew Beckie, Glauber, Kyle Hyland; defender/midfielder Danny O’Rourke; midfielder Konrad Warzycha; and forward Jairo Arrieta. Contract options were also declined on midfielder Matias Sanchez and forward Aaron Horton, a move that was previously announced in October. Both players are eligible for next week’s MLS Waiver Draft, taking place on Monday, November 25.

“The process of building our 2014 roster is now underway,” said Crew Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter. “Unfortunately, as part of that process difficult decisions are required. While we’ve declined options on certain players, we will continue conversations with those individuals to potentially return to the club next season. We look forward to shaping the team in the weeks ahead of preseason training camp.”

O’Rourke is eligible for the MLS Re-Entry Process, which begins after MLS Cup on December 7. A full list of players eligible for the Re-Entry Process will be announced by MLS at a later date.

Goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum, forward Dominic Oduro and defender Josh Williams are out of contract. The Crew is currently in discussions with all three players, and future roster announcements will be made in the coming weeks.

The Crew’s current roster follows:

Goalkeepers (2): Matt Lampson, Daniel Withrow

Defenders (5): Chad Barson, Eric Gehrig, Chad Marshall, Agustin Viana, Tyson Wahl

Midfielders (8): Bernardo Anor, Ethan Finlay, Kevan George, Justin Meram, Shawn Sloan, Ben Speas, Tony Tchani, Wil Trapp

Forwards (3): Federico Higuain, Ryan Finley, Aaron Schoenfeld

Crew’s Postseason Hopes Diminish in Loss to SKC

Photo Credit: Jeff Gossel/

The Columbus Crew’s playoff surge of late looks to have ended with a disappointing 1-0 loss to Sporting Kansas City. After Philadelphia’s win over Toronto, the Crew now sit 4 points off the final playoff spot, having played a game more than the 3 teams above them.

Kansas City were the better team throughout the first half and the key to this was the lineup of 5 central midfielders, enabling them to win the midfield battle. The Crew were playing a 4-4-2 formation, but with Dominic Oduro and Bernardo Anor both pushing high up the pitch, it left the midfield duo of Wil Trapp and Tony Tchani outnumbered and unable to have time to find their passes.

The deciding goal came in the 17th minute and in controversial circumstances with Agustin Viana on the ground with a suspected head injury. He fell after an initial challenge with Ike Opara from a corner kick. The ball was recycled and sent in again and this time Opara was free to head in at the far post.

Photo Credit: Jeff Gossel/

The other main talking point of the 1st half was a suspected injury to Federico Higuain early in the half. After falling awkwardly challenging for a ball, he spent most of the half holding his hip, though Crew head coach Brian Bliss was reluctant to remove his talismanic captain.

The second half did not bring a change to the pattern of the game and the Crew were relying on long balls to their front men. The Crew duo of Jairo Arrieta and Oduro were lacking discipline to wait in making their forward runs and were caught offside 5 times between them. The second half introduction of Ryan Finley only increased this number to a total of 8 times between them.

A couple of half chances came and went for the Crew with the best coming from the head of Marshall on 62 minutes, but his header was just wide. A final push for the equalizer finally came in stoppage time with a great play from the substitute Ben Speas as he set Finley free, but the ball did not settle and Sporting’s defense cleared.

Match Photos

Crew Get Three Points on the Road

The Columbus Crew capped an exciting afternoon in the Nation’s Capital with a 2-1 victory over MLS Eastern Conference rival D.C. United at RFK Stadium.

Defender Josh Williams and Homegrown forward Ben Speas supplied the goals in front of a nationally televised audience (NBC Sports Network), as goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum made a series of spectacular saves to preserve the Black & Gold’s lead late in the match.

“I thought everyone fought all 90 minutes,” Speas commented. “It was a good performance from a lot of the guys. I think we had some mistakes in the past couple of games, but I feel like we’re learning from them and we’re getting better as the season goes. So that’s a positive.”

With the victory, the Crew moves to 2-1-1 on the season (seven points), ending D.C. United’s home unbeaten run of 19 consecutive matches dating back to March 10, 2012. Saturday’s victory is only the Crew’s seventh all-time win at RFK, and the club will ride that momentum into its bye weekend.

The Black & Gold return to action at home against the Philadelphia Union on Saturday, April 6 at 5:00 p.m. ET.

The View from Our Crew – March 10, 2013

Photo Credit: Kevin Cross/

So the first road trip for the Columbus Crew is in the books.  3 points from two away matches is not a bad way to start the season.

In a matter of days, Crew Stadium will be come alive with the sights and sounds of Major League Soccer.  Columbus represents something important in the league: a legacy, tradition,  and real supporters.  The Crew have a legacy unlike any other team.  Because of the Hunt Family, the team was a founding member of MLS and the tenant of the first soccer-specific stadium.  The Crew have a tradition of excellence in players and coaching since the very beginning.  Take your pick: Brian McBride, Frankie Hejduk, Guillermo Barros Schelotto, just to name a few.

And who can forget the supporters that grace the Nordecke each and every week.

Photo Credit: Kevin Cross/

But the best part may be what happens on the pitch this season. Many believe this squad represents the city’s best chance at bringing home another championship in the near future.  This is a team with stars and depth, youth and experience, a little bit of everything.

Take the defense for example.  You have veteran Chad Marshall paired with Brazilian Glauber and rising star Josh Williams.  In the midfield you have a grizzled veteran in Eddie Gaven (even though he is only 26), attacking punch from newcomers Agustin Viana and Matias Sanchez, and some serious speed on the wing from Dominic Oduro.  Columbus is stacked up top with Federico Higuain and Jairo Arrieta and with depth from youngsters Ryan Finley and Ben Speas, two players with massive upside.

You won’t find a better keeper between the posts than Andy Gruenebaum. There’s depth there with Matt Lampson and now Daniel Withrow.

It’s going to be a banner year for the Columbus Crew.  We can’t wait until Saturday.  It is an exciting team for American soccer fans.  And an even more exciting to be a supporter of America’s Hardest Working Team, the Columbus Crew.

Crew Falls to Whitecaps on the Road

The Columbus Crew leveled the game at 1-1 moments after the start of the second half, but Vancouver Whitecaps FC responded 11 minutes later and the Black & Gold fell 2-1 at BC place Saturday evening.

Six minutes into the match, the Crew fell behind early for the first time this season as Vancouver’s Daigo Kobayashi opened the scoring with a strike from nearly 40 yards out. Jairo Arrrieta tallied for the first time in 2013 and leveled the game seconds into the second half. The Crew’s Josh Williams inbounded quickly to Ben Speas, who earned his first career assist on Arrieta’s goal – his 10th career tally — near low post to beat Vancouver goalkeeper Joe Cannon.

Kenny Miller gave Whitecaps FC the lead again for the final time in the 57th minute after a turnover in the Crew’s own end was finished unassisted near-post. The Crew returns home with three points following the two-game road swing to open the campaign.

The home portion of the Crew’s season opens next weekend on March 16 in a fixture against last year’s Supporters’ Shield winner, the San Jose Earthquakes.