Last night’s performance of The Columbus Crew was better than the first game in my own personal thoughts. In the first match we all experienced a team that was still new and fresh. This was a team that had been together for about three months and had very little time to actually play together. During the DC United game we saw a team that was still learning where everyone was on the pitch. Granted our midfield needs to learn to communicate with each other but still it’s an improvement. A shocking twist in the lineup was that we didn’t see our star DP Andreas Mendoza. Did we really need him…..uh no. Now putting Ekpo with Rentaria up top wasn’t a bad idea but again we didn’t see much out of either of them. Now let’s talk about the two boys that have been competing for the same position. The Robbie Rogers and Dilly Duka. Was Robert trying to throw Sporting KC a bone? I didn’t think so. Both of these guys did wonderful on either side of the wing. Heck if it wasn’t for them the game might have been scoreless. Who knew putting the two together on the pitch would have made things happen. We all have heard rumors and assumed the departure of Rogers but last night he proved everyone wrong. The kid still has it in him. He might have had some personal dilemma but he scored. To the fans of Columbus that’s all they cared about was a goal. Some might think that Rogers needs to perform if he wants to get out of the fine fair city of Columbus. This could be the case but as of now he is with Columbus. Two players that really haven’t proven themselves to me are Kevin Burns and Emmanuel Ekpo. They might have had good games according to the coaches but so far all I have seen from Burns is a yellow card and from Ekpo a PK. I noticed that Burns was moved in the defense midfield as Gaven was more of an attacking midfield where Schelotto was well known for last year. We all the season isn’t done tomorrow. This team will continue to improve and show the league that They Shall Not Be Moved.
Tonight the Columbus Crew opened the season on the road against D.C. United. The result?! In the words of wise people PATHETIC. Yes the Crew fell to DCU 3-1 but what did they learn from it? Simple answer: Teamwork. The Crew have 14 returning players from last season. So let’s do the math….oh that means half of last season’s team is gone. My personal solution is that they need to take steps for improvement. You could agree or disagree but here is my two cents:
Step 1. Teamwork.
Does the Crew have it? They do but they seem to lack it just a slight bit. Tonight we saw them play as a team but didn’t really work well together. For example, Cunningham and Mendoza did not communicate a lot as forwards should but that is to come. The easy way to resolve this issue is to watch the replay and talk to each other and not go bonkers.
Step 2 Consistency.
This seemed to not be present all over the field tonight. Starting from the back line all the way to the strikers. Honestly I think that the midfield could take a blame on this one. If the ball was better controlled in the midfield then the back line would not have to keep up with Wolfe and Joseph N. This did cost the Crew when Wolfe scored. If the midfield were to keep the ball at a consistent rate then our forwards would have better chances at goal.
Step 3 Reserve League.
This was part of the success to the Columbus Crew in 2008. Although a lot of Crew fans don’t show up for these games but they are beneficial to the team. Do they help? Absolutely. This will help strengthen the team even though they don’t have the extra games to add on from the CCL tournament. Given that the team has mostly new players, it will give the opportunity to the non starters a chance to prove to the coaches they deserve to be on the team. These games are legit. Some fans might say they seem like a “scrimmage” but really they help. The teams could only do so much within a team to improve and be better. How will the coaches know and judge based on practice or a college team scrimmage? They cannot. For example, some key players such as Danny O’Rourke, Shaun Francis and Emilio Rentaria are out with injuries could get at least 50 minutes of a reserve match or even the whole 90 minutes to be game fit.
In the end as Crew supporters we are quick to judge based on one game. Although we all want our home team to win every single game they can’t. All I can say is this…..have faith. I know that we want results now and who doesn’t? I think that this team will be a late bloomer and will shock many people. We can do this!
So we all have seen the Crew schedule has come out by now. Granted it’s a comfortable and workable schedule minus the extra CCL games they have this year. They still haven’t heard anything about Super Liga but that’s not the case here. The league also posted the TV schedule for the 2011 year. So how many games will the Crew play on ESPN? The answer: ZERO! If you don’t believe me here it is:
Tue, March 15 9:30 pm Seattle Sounders vs. LA Galaxy ESPN/Deportes
Sat, April 9 7:00 pm Philadelphia Union vs. New York Red Bulls ESPN2/Deportes
Thu, April 14 11:00 pm Portland Timbers vs. Chicago Fire ESPN2/Deportes
Thu, April 21 8:00 pm D.C. United vs. New York Red Bulls ESPN2/Deportes
Sat, May 7 11:00 pm LA Galaxy vs. New York Red Bulls ESPN2/Deportes
Sat, May 14 11:00 pm Seattle Sounders vs. Portland Timbers ESPN2/Deportes
Sat, May 21 10:00 pm Chivas USA vs. LA Galaxy ESPN2/Deportes
Thu, June 9 10:00 pm Sporting Kansas City vs. Chicago Fire ESPN2/Deportes
Thu, June 23 10:00 pm Seattle Sounders vs. New York Red Bulls ESPN2/Deportes
Sun, June 26 2:00 pm Chicago Fire vs. New York Red Bulls ESPN/Deportes
Sat, July 2 10:30 pm San Jose Earthquakes vs. New York Red Bulls ESPN2/Deportes
Sun, July 3 9:00 pm Colorado Rapids vs. Houston Dynamo ESPN2/Deportes
Mon, July 4 8:30 pm Real Salt Lake vs. New England Revolution ESPN2/Deportes
Mon, July 4 10:30 pm LA Galaxy vs. Seattle Sounders ESPN2/Deportes
Sun, July 10 5:00 pm Portland Timbers vs. Seattle Sounders ESPN/Deportes
Wed, July 27 8:30 pm MLS All-Star Game TBD
Thu, August 18 9:00 pm Chicago Fire vs. D.C. United ESPN2/Deportes
Sun, August 28 7:00 pm New York Red Bulls vs. LA Galaxy ESPN2/Deportes
Thu, September 29 8:00 pm Philadelphia Union vs. D.C. United ESPN2/Deportes
Fri, October 14 10:30 pm Colorado Rapids vs. Real Salt Lake ESPN2/Deportes
Sun, October 16 9:00 pm LA Galaxy vs. Chivas USA ESPN/Deportes
Thu, October 20 8:00 pm New York Red Bulls vs. Philadelphia Union ESPN2/Deportes
YES you saw it The Crew was the ONLY TEAM NOT TO BE ON ESPN! Why shut out The Crew? My answer: NO ONE CARES. Everyone knows by now this the only club that Garber and the rest of the shmucks in the MLS really don’t give a crap about the Crew. Yes the Crew did good in the CCL but they are not RBNY, LA Galaxy nor Seattle Sounders. 2008 was the most impressive year for the Crew and they even won the Cup. Did Garber get the captain right?! No. Did he even go to the Nordecke to shake hands with Crew fans and thank them? No. Every time something goes wrong Columbus gets blamed for it. Why punish the team and the fans who don’t live in the Columbus area the opportunity to watch their beloved Black and Gold on national television?! Not everyone could afford the Direct Kick package and not everyone carries ONN. So to the fans who support the Crew in other cites I am sorry. So Mr Garber, MLS Headquarters and ESPN all I gotta say is you sCREWed a lot of fans. Thanks for shutting us out and especially for not caring about us. All I have to say is bring it a-holes but the Nordecke along with others will never stop loving and supporting the team. Fans will still travel and make MASSIVE noise and pride. They will show how it is really done without the hype and Glory you and your national TV load of BS will bring. As always COLUMBUS TIL I DIE!!!!!!
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We just heard that Forward Jason Garey’s contract was not picked up as well. He made the choice to opt out of renewal. So what forward do we have left? Only 3. Mendoza, Rentaria and Lenhart as of now. But who will be protected? Today Commissioner Don Garber made the announcement that the roster will be expanded to 30 players with 10 Reserve League matches. So Robert what are you doing?! We just have to wait and see. Let’s just hope we don’t turn into DCU or NER.
What are you doing? As a supporter of the club for a good while I think mistakes are being made. It’s understandable if you don’t want to resign Hejduk or Padula but GBS? Come on are you for real?! If it wasn’t for his experience that he brought I don’t think this team was even close to being where they are today. Granted it was a team effort but still at least let him play one more freaking year and let the guy retire! Have you not heard him say he loves the city and fans?! Maybe you need to make another coaching change instead. Don’t give me the crap about how the team is in “rebuild” stage. That’s the same excuse we have heard over and over again. So now it comes out that the coaches didn’t like GBS from the start. Umm hello he was the Leagues MVP in 2008 along with the MVP of MLS Cup 2008. I understand it’s all about the money and roster spots. Work something out damnit. These younger guys need to look upon the Vets for advice so that when the Vets decide to retire they can take the ranks. In true honesty no one can rank where GBS does. You can throw all your strikers in there but no one will perform and shine. We learned the lesson in 2009 during the playoffs. 2010 he was a huge playmaker. So if you decide to let him go it will be a big mistake.
Ah the Conference Finals. The most shocking and entertaining matches of the post season. No one would have predicted that two Western teams would face in the EASTERN Conference final. In the Western Conference was a slight give that LA Galaxy would make it to the final, but no one could predict the outcome. So let’s review…
The Eastern Conference final match. It was a cold and windy night in Colorado who was the host to the San Jose Earthquakes. In the first half San Jose were dominating until a cross that was made by Kimura. Even though it wasn’t intentionally suppose to go in, it still did. Some said it went off of Cummings, but the credit was given to Kimura. San Jose just became unlucky. Every shot they took was saved or misdirected. Maybe the freezing temperatures played a factor to the California boys. In the end Colorado came on top and won with the final score of 1-0.
Now, for the entertaining Western Conference final. The powerhouse vs. the underdogs. LA came out attacking and holding possession in the Dallas half for the most part. The shots were taken to goal, but Kevin Hartman came out on top. Save after save LA didn’t give up. In the 26th minute on a quick breakaway FC Dallas scored. 1-0 at the half. Shot after shot once again didn’t help. About 28 minutes after the first goal FC Dallas scores again. At this point there was no hope for LA even though plenty of time was left. Once more FC Dallas became lucky and sealed the deal with the 3rd and final goal. LA was done. The powerhouse was taken down by the underdogs FC Dallas. The Galaxy team was stunned. In true honesty the better team won FC Dallas.
So what should we expect from the final? We have seen a similar scenario. Let’s go back to 2008 where the better team came on top. It was the brother club of FC Dallas. Yes the Columbus Crew. Will Dallas be like their brother club and outplay Colorado like they did to LA? Now what about Colorado? They represent RBNY because they were the last team to make the playoffs. They just got lucky against the Columbus and San Jose. They would have to thank the soccer gods for getting to the Cup. Will they bring their “A” game?
My final prediction will be FC Dallas winning the whole thing. They have had an unbelievable season and even outplayed both the defending MLS Cup Champs and now the Supporters Shield winners. I guess we have to tune in and see who will be the first time champions. The game will be on ESPN at 8:30pm EST live from BMO Field in Toronto, Canada.
Last week no one predicted that the final would consists of FC Dallas and Colorado Rapids. How did it happen? Well let’s review….
First, let’s begin with The Eastern Conference playoff series debacle. Who would of predicted that the all mighty “powerhouse” RBNY would lose at home to the underdog San Jose? Oh that’s right RBNY didn’t take things as serious. For starters their “superstar” Henry didn’t even play the whole match. He was subbed in the 84th minute even though SJ was leading the 3-2 on goal aggregates. Memo to Don Garber 3 DP’s don’t equal a “superstar MLS Championship Team”.
Next, the beloved Columbus Crew vs. Colorado Rapids. This team had no time to rest for their first matchup against the Rapids. They had traveled from Columbus to T&T for a CCL match, came home for a season finale, and then went to Colorado. All in one week. The game vs. Colorado at CCS was intense. The Crew scored 2 goals and was leading the series. A slight miscommunication between the keeper and Brunner evened the series at 2-2. After a long and hard fought battle it came down to Penalty Kicks. These could be either a soccer player’s worst nightmare or an easy goal. Some love the intense moments and others could care less. I guess it depends on how you view them in your own personal way. Anyhow, back to the game….both keepers from each team were coming up unlucky on the saves of the PKs. Andy Gruenebaum had made a save but it still went it. Then there was Brian Carroll. The most hardworking, bummed shoulder and all took the shot that went high. I as a Crew supporter do not blame Carroll. The team prior to the PKs had so many chances but came up short. In the end Colorado secured the match and advanced.
The outcome turned out to be the Colorado Rapids vs. San Jose Earthquakes in the EASTERN Conference final. That match review a little later.
Now, onto the Western Conference playoff series debacle. The defending MLS Cup champs Real Salt Lake were matched up with the underdogs FC Dallas. In the first game FC Dallas came out on top beating RSL 2-1 and led the series. On the return trip to Salt Lake, Dallas scored first. At this point they led the series 3-1. In the 75th minute RSL scored to make the series 3-2. It wasn’t enough for RSL. The score stood at 1-1 but FC Dallas advanced to the conference final with the goal aggregate of 3-2. Once again another underdog team comes on top.
Finally the two elite powerhouses in the West meet. LA Galaxy vs. Seattle Sounders. The first match Seattle had all the right tools to win. They had home field advantage, loud and supportive crowd and a solid team. The visitors from the southern state of California silenced the Sounders. They had scored first and held the lead. Seattle had chances but came up short. LA led the series 1-0. Next up, the Home Depot Center. Seattle needed to score to bring them back into the game. Didn’t happen quickly enough. LA had scored in the 19th minute to lead the series 2-0. They weren’t done yet. In the 37th minute they scored again to bring the series to 3-0. Seattle fought a tough battle but scored in the 86th minute. Not enough. LA won the series 3-1.
The Western Conference final would consists of the underdogs FC Dallas with powerhouse and 2010 Supporter Shield winners LA Galaxy. Read more on this in the next post.
Just like any other American sport, the playoffs are the most exiting. We all have heard by now the Giants beat the Rangers in the World Series. Now who knew that would of happened? I sure didn’t predict that. Switching back to soccer. Last night San Jose Earthquakes beat the New York Red Bulls 3-1 on aggregate goals. They came back and beat a team that has 3 DPs and had a one goal lead from the week before. Although NY took the Eastern Conference top spot. That doesn’t mean a thing. The Columbus Crew was the surprising yet classified as the underdogs in the MLS Playoffs and Cup run in 2008 but they were crowned the Champions. This coming Saturday The Columbus Crew will face the Colorado Rapids. The match is scheduled to kick off at 4pm EST at Crew Stadium. So what does this mean to the Crew? They need to win. As of right now Colorado has a one goal lead based on aggregates. The Crew needs to step it up and as the supporters say “Be Massive.” This is what the team has been focused on since day 1 of preseason. All the blood, sweat, injuries, stress and any other form of errors is what it boils down to. The focus is to win the MLS Cup and be crowed the best team in the league The American Way. Mistakes are not allowed in times like this. One mistake will cost the match. The winner of Saturday’s match will go on to face the San Jose Earthquakes on Nov 13th. The location will be determined based on the winner from Saturday’s match. If you live in the Columbus area or within the any mile radius go to match and experience the excitement.
It’s sad to see professional athletes end their careers on an injury they cannot over come. It just hits you day in and day out that you never know when the last day is. Be grateful for most of them who heal and came back to play in the sport we love to watch and support. Yes as fans we all get upset when the team or players don’t do well but in the end don’t forget they are human. I am grateful and thankful for all the players who put blood, sweat, tears, and time into their hard work. To those who had to retire due to injuries that will never heal I thank you as well. Some might play for opposing teams but in the end we are all One Sport. One love. So to all the Professional Soccer, Football, Baseball, Hockey, and Basketball players I Thank You!