Thursday, August 30, 2012


Lampson's second-half performance allowed Crew chance to counter-late, and Lampson outlet kick-started game winner.

8/30/2012: Homegrown Lampson Is MOTM For Game 25
By Ryan Kozlowski
CREWTURE.COM


Matt Lampson was the winning keeper a month ago in a friendly against Stoke City, and last night (because of a Greunebaum hamstring issue) he was given the opportunity and succeeded in picking up his first MLS win as a keeper.

The first half didn't go as smooth as a Hebrew Hammer for Lampson, as a deflection goal made it 1-0 Philadelphia early in the contest.

Then later on in the half, Lampson came out into no man's land twice, for lofted balls, when he shouldn't have done so; but, luckily Philadelphia couldn't make Lampson pay for the rookie's over-eagerness.

Nevertheless, in the second half Lampson calmed down and kept the Crew in the game for most of the half, at a 1-1 score, with brilliant save after brilliant save; until Higuain and Gaven could penalize the Union on the counter late in the game thanks in part to a Lampson outlet.

Here's Lampson's save reel from last night:






And even more impressive was Lampson's pinpoint kicks that kick-started the late counter late in stoppage time, that led to the game-winning goal:


Nice to see that Lampson is a high quality keeper as well, sure beats Noah Palmer.


Gaven slots home game-winner and 3rd goal in four games for Columbus.

8/30/2012: Crew More Resilient, With 2 Straight Comebacks
By Ryan Kozlowski
CREWTURE.COM


Earlier in the season when the Columbus Crew would go down a goal, it was unlikely they would mount a comeback.

I, and all Crew fans, were usually right when it came to that gut feeling..

Especially since the Crew lacked the ideas in the offensive third to unlock defenses.

But, with the New England (down 2-0 at home) and Philadelphia Union (down 1-0 on the road) results the Crew are showing some new-found resiliency.

When the Philadelphia Union scored last night on a Valdes ricochet in the first half; I thought no problem because we have Federico Higuain pulling the strings in midfield.

15 minutes later, the Union gave Federico Higuain a free kick opportunity, which is a no-no, that Higuain spun in there and Williams (who has no fear in the penalty area) 360 spun headed it into the far corner.



1-1 Crew, game on.

Then when Williams got his red card in the 68th minute, the Crew had to be even more resilient.

But, once again, against a Philadelphia Union team, who has been pretty good at squandering opportunities this year, I wasn't that concerned...

As the game went on, you knew the Union were going to throw more bodies forward and if you give Higuain, Gaven, and a speedy, fresh Meram space on a counter they have the ability to steal one.

On top of that, I thought Matt Lampson looked pretty solid in a friendly, a month back, against Stoke City and the homegrown was going to come up big last night, and he did. Nice to see we have three solid keepers.



Anyways, the Crew thanks to Federico Higuain sniffing out opportunities and knowing where the ball was going to drop started two counters in stoppage time, the second leading to a Higuain point and pass to an overlapping Meram, and Gaven waiting far post for a deflection, finishing his third goal in four games.



Leaving the Crew within striking distance of spots 3 through 5 in the East, this weekend, with a win against Montreal this Saturday at home. And if this run continues, not entirely out of the race for the top spot in the East.

Overall, nice to expect the Crew to get the late winner instead of to expect them to give one up late.

Thursday, August 23, 2012


Warzycha saw another lead disappear at Houston, was lucky against Toronto

8/23/2012: When The Crew Lead, They Look Most Likely To Lose
By Ryan Kozlowski
CREWTURE.COM


If the Crew don't make the playoffs at the end of the 2012 season, I know what Crew fans will point to ->

The Crew's, or rather Manager Robert Warzycha's obsession with bunkering whenever the Crew has a lead late in a game.

Or rather not late, but an entire second half when the Crew are winning, inviting the opposing offense to attack at will and to bombard Andy Greunebaum with wave after wave of opportunities.

Once in a while it's worked barely, like the win at Sporting Kansas City... And that's only because Kei Kamara muffed a wide open look, that even he could finish usually 10 times out of 10.

But, at other times the Crew have paid for going into their defensive bunker shell way too early, such as the loss at Montreal and late ties against LA and Houston; both which could've been 3 points if the Crew just decided to attack or play more possession, at least giving the opposing defense something to think about.

Last night against Toronto, things got a little sketchy as well after the Crew went up 2-nil.

Soon after Higuain's goal, the Crew subbed three defenders on (Grossman, O'Rourke, James) for two attack-minded players (Higuain, Mirosevic) and a defender (Miranda).

After those substitutions the Crew couldn't possess enough with just Gaven and Arrieta out there offensively, Birchall usually a destroyer at DM was asked to play more offensively (with two other DM's in, in Grossman and O'Rourke) but Birchall couldn't garner the offensive chances that Higuain could, unsurprisingly.

Instead, Toronto put another attacking option in, in Amarikwa, and scored right away to make it 2-1 and almost tied it up a few minutes after with a shot by Ryan Johnson that missed by about a foot.

If it would of went in, see you later playoff chances.

Luckily for Warzycha, Columbus were playing Toronto F.C. who couldn't take advantage; leaving Columbus with a big three points and some momentum going into two more weaker opponents in New England at home and Philadelphia away.

If the Crew take the lead against the Revolution or the Philly Union in the upcoming two games, I hope Warzycha keeps the pressure on the opposing defense by continuing to play the ball around and by keeping possession.

When we take off a Higuain and Mirosevic and replace them with a Grossman and O'Rourke, instead of a Duka or Meram (for at least one of them), were making it obvious that were not planning to possess the ball.

Any MLS team is good enough to come back and get the tie or the win, if the Crew are going to be like "here's the ball, attack us for 30 minutes" during each second half.

The Crew can add one more defensive player when they have a lead in upcoming games, but they could still possess and play the game, there's no need to bunker and hope for the best.


8/23/2012: Why Higuain Will Likely Score As Much As He Assists
By Ryan Kozlowski
CREWTURE.COM

The Columbus Crew have talked about how Federico Higuain is more of a setup man..

And so far he has been, his vision was brilliant on his first assist to Gaven in Houston, the second assist was a bit more routine against Toronto F.C.

But, I think the more creative freedom Higuain will get in Columbus, compared to at Colon or Godoy in the Argentina Primera, may see not just assists but goals skyrocket for the Argentine.

First off, Higuain has always been credited with more goals than assists in Argentina, now their are plays like Gaven's chip back header, that led to Higuain's goal, where Gaven was not credited with an assist; Higuain may have had similar happen in Argentina...

But, the stats sheet from Higuain's past doesn't really show a prolific setup man, getting a lot of assists, instead the stats show Higuain to be more of a goalscorer than someone setting up goals. Despite what Higuain or Bliss and etc. want to say, Higuain has more goals than assists in his time in Argentina.

Higuain started 33 games last year for Colon de Sante Fe in the Argentina Primera, netting 7 goals and registering 3 assists.

In the previous 2010/2011 season, Higuain played 18 games, netting 3 goals and 4 assists for Colon.. So, Higuain had more assists that season, but nothing to write home about.

For Godoy, also in the Argentina Primera, in the 2009/2010 season- Higuain started 31 games, netting 11 goals and registering 3 assists.. In that year Higuain was a decent goalscorer netting more than 1 goal in every 3 appearances for Godoy Cruz.

Looking at Higuain's Argentine stats, there very similar to that of a Robbie Rogers or Eddie Gaven in a usual year in Columbus. Gaven usually puts in a lot of work, but doesn't blow anyone away with his stat sheet when it comes to goals and assists; Higuain was probably a similar player in Argentina, a role player who works really hard for his goals and assists,  and that's why Federico and Gaven work together so well in Columbus.

Overall, with 21 goals and 10 assists in the last 82 regular season games in the Argentina Primera, Higuain wasn't a big time, setup man in Argentina. He was more of a goalscorer to be honest. But, Higuain could be both here and him being a starter in the Argentina Primera from the age of 24 to 27, could lead to vision for assists that others don't have in MLS.

Higuain may also be playing deeper for Columbus than he was used to in Argentina, where Federico usually sat up top as one of two strikers; with Higuain more in the midfield, behind Arrieta, he has more opportunity to get on the ball and make something happen.

Further, Higuain being used to a more technical, faster paced game where they focus on good balls through could lead to big time assists; and even though he has a self-admitted penchant for trying to set others up (seen at one point in last night's game where Higuain had a possible shot on net, but instead gave it to a teammate in a better position, that led to Birchall's eventual shot on goal that hit the crossbar); Higuain still by his passing making his teammates better will find himself in positions in the box where he to will score, such as last night.

Also, Columbus may just be a better fit for Higuain. The only previous stop in Higuain's career, where Higuain may have been in a setup role leading to a lot of assists, was with Neuva Chicago to start off the first half of that 2006/2007 season in the Primera. Higuain had 6 assists in 18 games during that first half of the year; In similarity, maybe Columbus is just a better setup (a team who sees him as the main setup man) that will give him the opportunities to make the final pass, instead of making him more of the main man up top (that role falling more on Arrieta).

Either way, based on his stats in Argentina, he should be just as much of a goal scorer as a assist man. His 2009/2010 season with Godoy, over 1 every 3 games isn't bad and now he's 27.. Most players peak between 28 to 32. So the best may be yet to come from Fede', with not just assists but goals.


Could Gaven be a darkhorse that could make some things happen in Brazil 2014? I would say yes and I think most Crew fans would.

8/22/2012: Could Higuain, Help Gaven Onto U.S. Nats Spotlight?
By Ryan Kozlowski
CREWTURE.COM


Eddie Gaven has 6 goals and 3 assists in 23 games this season for the Columbus Crew.

Overall, at the age of 25, Gaven has already made 257 appearances in MLS. The bearded legend has made most of them for Columbus, 184 appearances to be exact for Columbus, notching 30 goals.

Gaven has flirted with the national team before, since 2004 he has 8 appearances, including 5 for the US U-23 team during the Beijing Olympics.

But, a partnership with Higuain over the last two games has really sparked Eddie Gaven into action as well. Gaven has a decent 6 goals and 3 assists over 23 games so far this season, but in his last two outings he has 2 goals and an assist.

I think the difference is when you put talent around Eddie Gaven, he'll score and get assists; Higuain and Arrieta are a lot more to work with offensively than Gaven has had before their arrivals. Likewise, if you put Gaven around the Donovan's, Dempsey's, and Altidore's, I think he could contribute there as well.

With U.S. National Team coach Jurgen Klinsmann always scouring German-Americans for talent, giving Brek Shea a call up, or a few players I don't think could make as much of an impact such as an Alan Gordon or Graham Zusi or even Chris Wondolewski (despite his goal scoring tear); is Klinsmann aware of Eddie Gaven? A guy that has just as much, if not more technical skill then the German-Americans being brought in?

Klinsmann should be aware. Gaven is one of those odd American players that doesn't play like an American. In this case, he's very similiar to Brek Shea, despite playing different games, he'll try things and he has better vision.

He brings something different compared to a lot of American players that get a call up from MLS; Brek Shea may be a little better on taking players on in the one-on-one, but Gaven even has that in his repertoire.

Gaven's game has built up since his last call ups, he's been one of the only consistent players since joining the Crew in 2007.

He also has a lot of good habits that would impress a Dutch or an attack minded German coach like Klinnsmann. He's an up and down the field player, that does the little things right nearly every play:


On this play, Gaven didn't get credit for the assist, but his near perfect head back allowed Higuain and Arrieta to work out the space for a goal and Higuain knew who to give a good deal of the credit too.

A lot of players would've tried to first time that on a bad angle.

Not Eddie. If Gaven keeps playing like he has with the inclusion of Higuain and Arrieta, I think Klinnsmann would be blind not to give him a look.

Monday, August 20, 2012

These are my attempts, can you do better:



Higuain seems to be happy with teammates

8/20/2012: Crew-muda Triangle
By Ryan Kozlowski
CREWTURE.COM

If Arrieta, Gaven, and Higuain were in a band, they would be called the Crew-muda Triangle because opposing defenses and mid fields are going to get lost out there..

Why? Because all three are so technical and understand that the ball moves faster than the player.

For the three, 4 passes in 7 seconds on the second goal to get from midfield to the goal box, eliminating 5 Dynamo players from the play in the process: When I watch this replay I just think of Chris Berman saying woop-woot-woop like a running back making 3 or 4 cut backs.

Dynamo players couldn't help but ball watch.

So, despite a tinge of disappointment about the tie (and dropping two points), Higuain adds that extra kick to the midfield that Duka said was missing.

In the first half the Crew couldn't connect a pass in midfield and were doing a lot of long ball, in the second they looked like Barcelona with the tici-taca passing at times.

But, the Crew need to stop going into a defensive shell every time they get a lead- HAVE SOME CONFIDENCE AND LEARN HOW TO BE UP.

Also, Duka and Meram need to stop trying to do too much; when the two of them try to beat multiple players or try to beat a defender 40 yards from net, they lose the ball.

They have the skill as well. But, if they could play pass, pass, pass, and move like Arrieta, Higuain, and Gaven do, watch out.

Then when the two of them get in the box, they can use that better ball skill to beat someone one on one and finish.

Also, Arrieta should have 10 goals already if some Crew players would pick their head up sooner and find him, finding the space, instead of taking the shot on their own or hitting an errant cross.

The difference between Arrieta and other Crew strikers is he knows how to find the spaces. I can't stand a lazy striker who stands by the defender and makes their job easy.

I wish I could sit my strikers down on my high school team and have them watch a tape of tonight's game and just say watch Arrieta the whole time. EXCELLENT AT FINDING SPACE.

I'm not at all concerned about making the playoffs. If the offense plays like that, our defense has been good enough, that will make the playoffs.

I think Wednesday against Toronto will be a real coming out party for this offense.



Looks like Higuain isn't taking long to bond with his teammates

Some nice offensive moments from the Crew's 2-2 tie against Houston at Houston BBVA Stadium. The Higuain and Arrieta partnership should be enough to get the Crew in the playoffs I believe; as well as Gaven and Higuain both having that freedom to be a libero behind Arrieta.

Thursday, August 16, 2012



Higuain gets out on the practice field for the first training session with his teammates on August 16, 2012 (Pictures via the Crew's facebook). Higuain hopes to be ready for this Sunday's match up away at Houston.

Crew General Manager Mark McCullers hopes that Higuain will be the guy to turn around the Crew's feelings of despair after losing Kirk Urso, by putting smiles back on people's faces in the organization and in the stands.


“We need something good to happen for us. This is something good for the organization and the team on the field. It’s an opportunity for us to start feeling really good about things in the organization after the adversity we’ve faced.” -GM Mark McCullers




Arrieta continuing to be worth his $225,000 salary with his 3rd goal in 4 games, will his tally really spike with the inclusion of Higuain to set the Costa Rican up?

Jairo Arrieta receives Crewture.com's Top Performer Award For Week 23.

Arrieta continues to score goals, his 3rd in four games for the Columbus Crew. This goal, unlike his second at Sporting KC, didn't have a lot of power on it; but Arrieta's movement from the right side of the penalty area, across the box, to find 2 yards of space to get off the shot shows Arrieta can make things happen.

One can only hope that Arrieta will be benefited by Higuain's play on hopefully Sunday. Federico Higuain has been described as a set up man, who will get assists for Columbus as a deep lying forward. Higuain will probably slot in behind Arrieta, and hope to set up the Costa Rican as well as midfielders making the overlapping runs. With Higuain and Arrieta hopefully the Crew can begin to go on a real tear with many games in the next three weeks.

ARRIETA GOAL VS. LA GALAXY:



Here's some pictures from the Kirk Urso tribute, and the game:





“I can’t say enough about what the fans did tonight and have done to honor Kirk Urso. It’s pretty special to look up there and see all the 15’s and KU’s and all the various tributes. At the end of the game, just looking up there almost brought tears to my eyes. The fact that they care so much about one of their own is very special.” - Cole Grossman

From TheCrew.com:


Grief-stricken parents Michael and Sandra Urso and Kirk’s brother, Kyle, came from Lombard, Ill., where they had buried their son on Saturday with the entire Crew team in attendance. “I really appreciate them showing up,” goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum said. “I know how tough it is, but it’s great for everyone to see them because they’re part of our family. They’ll always be.” There was applause from the hushed locker room when the Ursos entered. “For them to watch the team their son played for made me want to win the game that much more for him,” midfielder Eddie Gaven. “If we work with that kind of spirit, if we fight like that throughout the year, not only are we going to win more games than we lose but we’re going to be honoring Kirk’s memory pretty well.”

And the fans:
"Tonight, I had the honor to meet Mr. & Mrs. Urso in their suite. As I handed over the two banners and told them about the tee shirts they instantly broke down into tears while the dad held onto my hand. This is one of those moments that I'll never forget. This is one of those moments that truly exemplifies that soccer is more than just a sport, it's a uniting of all people." -Crew fan Einheit's Daniel Andrews


Higuain is in town and participated in a team announcement press conference at 10 a.m this morning:

Monday, August 13, 2012


Federico Higuain

8/14/2012: Higuain Taking Sweet Time On Passport
By Ryan Kozlowski
CREWTURE.COM


One boost to a downtrodden Columbus Crew, would've been to see what the club's new designated player could add to the side this Wednesday.

The LA game was when Columbus originally expected Federico Higuain breaking down a MLS defense.

Unfortunately, Higuain is still in Argentina and can't play a role until Sunday's match in Houston. If even then; as that's dependent on the real condition Higuain shows up in, when the Argentine striker touches down in Columbus.

Crew manager Robert Warzycha said if Higuain would show up in Columbus on Tuesday, he would start Higuain on Wednesday.

But, outside the land of gum drops and lollipops, usually a new designated player takes two weeks in town, or in the case of almost DP Sergio Herrera- months, before he plays.

Brian Bliss-
"According to what the immigration people have told us, the stamp has been placed into [HiguaĆ­n's] passport. Federico is en route to pick it up either today or early tomorrow morning. Once he gets the passport, Tucker [Walther, the Crew's Director of Team Operations] will book his ticket [to Columbus]."

The Crew FO originally guesstimated that Higuain would play a role on August 11th or the 15th; it's a bummer that the old adage "add a week or two to any player movement announcement" applies but so be it.

7 games in 21 days should be enough for Higuain to get his fitness level and understanding up to speed with his teammates.

The Crew will need the extra body; as 7 games in 21 days also means something else, injuries.


And it's provided in this shot that Eric Gehrig and Justin Meram recently did for Columbus Monthly, where local celebrities posed with their pets for a series called Animal Attractions.

Ava, who the roommates got at Pets Without Parents in Columbus, usually helps herself to their milk glasses.

Purrfect.

Speaking of other attractions, based on these comments, we have some "hot" sisters or cousins of Meram's to add to the "hot female relatives" list, that started with the sisters of Rogers and Duka:


Yea buddy.
Rapid Wien fans:


Now just do the same thing, just have the three fans represent the three main supporter groups:


HSH, CSU, La Turbina 

Think that would be pretty sweet, with all the bar scarves in the background. Do it! Idea and mock up by Mike Stroupe

Crew to memorialize Urso with #15 patch. Other honors will include a wreath on August 15th, in front of Lamar Hunt's Statute, where Crew fans can leave rememberances that will be delivered to Urso's family.

8/12/2012: Trending... Urso, Donovan and LA, USMNT, Boggs
By Ryan Kozlowski
CREWTURE.COM


**The Columbus Crew requested Major League Soccer postpone this past Saturday's game vs. Toronto FC, so that the whole team would have the ability to attend Kirk Urso's funeral in Chicago, Illinois.

Major League Soccer did the right thing by accepting the postponement.

However, we still will have to wait and see if the 11 days off will help the Crew- personally first, and then professionally. There is no manual to these things, nor do I think the Crew cares at the moment or should. But, sometimes it's harder to get back to normal (or some degree of it), the more you have time to reflect and think about things.

I think Saturday's game would of been too much, too soon.

Further, there's no way that the players on this team could say goodbye to Kirk, without being there to give their condolences to his family.

So, I'm glad that Major League Soccer and Toronto F.C. were willing to move the game back to August 22nd, even though the 11th was the only date I could personally make, the Crew needed to go and I think Crew fans, as a collective, are glad that they did.

At the moment the soccer standings are not as important. Results on Wednesday are not important. Just everyone trying to put one foot, in front of the other, is.

I'm really interested to see how the Crew reacts on Wednesday and I believe the whole soccer world will be.


Things to watch: the Boyd- Altidore (straight off a brace) duo up top

**Unfortunately, the Crew will share the spotlight on Wednesday night with the U.S. Men's Soccer team at 7:30 p.m.

The Los Angeles Galaxy at Columbus Crew coverage starts at 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Network; while USA vs. Mexico friendly coverage will begin at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN 2.

I will be taping both games, since I coach high school soccer and that wraps up at 8 p.m., but I'll be hitting the Crew game as soon as I get home at 8 p.m. and the US Mens will come a far second..

**I wish I could be there with my Columbus brethren on Wednesday... I'm interested to see if they will do the Kirk Urso memorial on Wednesday or against Toronto F.C. on August 22nd?

The Nordecke had elaborate plans for about five minutes of different chanting and songs for Urso, and banners, for this past Saturday, August 11th; before the game was postponed.

Initially, the Nordecke was going to memorialize Urso on August 11th with banners and songs; then do their biggest banner (planned weeks in advance) against L.A. on August 15th.

I now wonder if they will go ahead with both on August 15th? Or one or the other? Or neither?

I believe they should do both, just make it a night to remember for Urso and everyone reeling over his loss; because it would be odd not to memorialize Urso on the 15th and just act like nothing happened. I also think the Nordecke should do their originally planned banner, at the same time..

On August 22nd, it will likely be a sparse crowd, on a Wednesday against Toronto F.C., for either idea.



**One good thing about the U.S. Men's Soccer Team being in action at the same time as the Columbus Crew vs. LA, is that this means no Landon Donovan for L.A.

List of all call-ups, including Donovan, who will be down in Mexico on Wednesday..

Since Landon had 4 assists tonight in a 4-0 rout of Chivas USA, the Crew should have an easier time of isolating and dealing with Robbie Keane, with Donovan in Mexico.



**The New England Revolution's Zak Boggs was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study medical sciences at England’s Leicester University starting this fall. Subsequently, the third-year midfielder has retired from his pro soccer career.

Boggs, while playing with the NE Revolution, completed voluntary research at Boston's Children's Hospital and wants to specialize in cancer research.

Boggs completed his undergraduate degree in Biomedical sciences early wiith a 4.0 average at the University of South Florida and a post-graduate program in Economics and Marketing. He is an Eagle Scout, a second degree Black Belt in Taekwondo, and a member of the USA Jump Rope Association.

Oh, and made 29 professional appearances, scoring two goals (both on May 8th, 2010 here in Columbus)..

Makes me think I should do a bit more in my 24/365 :-).

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


Kirk Urso #15

8/8/2012: Were A Family
By Ryan Kozlowski
CREWTURE.COM


Columbus Crew needs to stick together through tough times.

Were in the smallest market, were usually the last place people want to go, and then when they get here they realize how much everyone wants to help everyone, and stay.

I bet Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Gino Padula, Frankie Hejduk, Duncan Oughton, Dante Washington, even Robert Warzycha's first choice wasn't Columbus..

When the fate of which jersey they would put on was decided by MLS or Columbus, I bet nearly all of them had dreams of Los Angeles or at least a more well-known town like Washington, D.C. or Chicago.

I bet Kirk Urso was probably thinking the same.. Or he was just excited to finally be picked and to prove Robert Warzycha right by showing faith in him.

But, all the Crew legends in the end either stay, coach, commentate, or open an academy here in Columbus. Would Kirk of done the same?

It absolutely hurts to ask such questions. But, the more I listen to videos of the kid and hear others talk about him I believe he would've been right up there with the Frankie Hejduk's. You don't just become captain of UNC or any team because your the best looking guy or the best player. It's your character.

Kirk Urso had a lot of character.

This team and town also has a lot of character and we will get through this together.

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I think an example of that character is how players, that might not have chosen Columbus over other towns, have come here and fallen in love with this place and stayed.


Frankie Hejduk

Frankie Hejduk was born in California, lived there most of his life, and loves surfing. But, when he retired, it took the surfer dude (or rather Heydude) all of three minutes to fly back to Columbus, Ohio and take a job with the Crew's front office.

Your probably thinking who in their right mind picks Columbus, OH over California and you may be right.. But, Frankie did; Even when the former U.S. National teamer, who is well liked, could've accepted plenty of gigs elsewhere.


Robert Warzycha

Crew Manager Robert Warzycha played in Columbus, coming over from distant Poland. You would think that a guy that played for Everton in the EPL would snub his nose at a small town like Columbus..

Or hailing from Poland, prefer Chicago for it's larger Polish community.

But, Warzycha loved Columbus so much it became home for his family since 1996, his son Konrad played college soccer at Ohio State, and Robert eventually worked his way up to manager of the club that represented his family's new adopted home.


Duncan Oughton

Duncan Oughton, the kiwi, announces all of the Fox Sports Ohio games (with Dwight Burgess) and also works with the club, and resides in Columbus. All you have to say about him staying at the club, is how many non-Crew fans would pick coming to (the not exactly beautiful) Crew Stadium, every day, over the beautiful country side of New Zealand (watch a Lord of the Rings movie).

But, Oughton loves Columbus.


Gino Padula

Gino Padula, an Argentine international who played for Queens Park Rangers, Bristol Rovers, River Plate, among others- ended his career in Columbus, from 2008 to 2010, with 56 appearances and stayed.

Padula liked Columbus so much, he currently resides here and runs the Schelotto and Padula Academy in Columbus as the main director.


Gino teaching U-4's and U-6 kids in Columbus

Gino's goal is to teach Columbus kids soccer from professionals:
"We decide to stay here in Columbus because it's beautiful city, very quiet, great for kids growing up here. We definitely stay here," said Padula of why he and Schelotto picked Central Ohio over anywhere else in the world. "We know, for the people, it was very important when we won the MLS cup. We have a good reputation here, we feel, with the fans and we would like to say, in our way, thank you."

Gino co-directs with former Crew pal Guillermo Barros Schelotto, who currently coaches Lanus in the Argentina Primera Division; but Guillermo will likely come back someday to Columbus permanently to direct the academy with Padula, who has been based in Columbus since 2008, and likely accept some role with the Crew coaching staff sometime in his future.

The point is that if this organization and city didn't have the passion and strength; guys that are larger than life, with great playing careers, and future excellent careers in this sport (in front office and coaching aspects) wouldn't pick Columbus as the place to develop their post-playing day talents.

But they have.

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Not only do we have guys from Los Angeles, California; Siemkowice, Poland; and Lanus, Argentina who have fallen in love with this club, and the city of Columbus, and stayed; but we also have local guys that have that hometown passion for this club as well.

The Crew's senior lineup includes locals Danny O'Rourke (Columbus, Ohio), Aaron Horton (Lewis Center, OH), Ben Speas (Stow, OH), Josh Williams (Akron, Ohio), and Matt Lampson who was goalkeeper at Ohio State.

This list of locals is bound to double in the upcoming seasons with the inclusion of college standouts like Wil Trapp (Gahanna, Ohio), Matt Wiet (Columbus, Ohio), Justin Luthy (Dublin, Ohio), Chad Barson (Lewis Center, Ohio), and Andy Lubahn (Erie, PA)- which I consider still our local club because it's where I grew up and live currently as well.

This club is strong because it has a lot of local boys in the system who will likely play in front of the Nordecke someday.


Crew U-19's win 2012 McGuire Cup

All of these guys grew up in or, in the case of Lubahn, came to Columbus and trained with the award winning Crew academy, who has won two of the last three McGuire cups in the last three years.

Known as one of the top soccer academies in America, the Crew Academy in Columbus is likely to have many more youth players from the Columbus area graduate to the senior side in the next 5, 10, 15, 20, 50 years as well; such as Benny Swanson (Grove City, Ohio) who is an insane talent that is a mainstay on the US National U-17 team at the age of 14.

I think this club will get stronger, and will have much more support from greater Columbus in the future; because it's likely someday the starting eleven could all be from the Columbus area.

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Like the Andy Lubahn's who came across state to play for Columbus's academy, there are plenty of Crew fans that trek far and wide to Crew games weekly. From Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, and Michigan.

But, there are also many locals who love this club.

Together there are many people, that although diverse-stand as one, and who are stand up people that do stand up things.

One example, was when the Columbus Crew's fans honored beloved security guard Mike Havely (Grandview Heights, OH) who unexpectedly passed away in 2009; The Columbus Crew's Nordecke honored him with a banner.



Mike was a good guy who always had a smile on his face and interacted with the fans, when most other security guards just yell or kick fans out.


Mike on the right

Although, he had no choice but to kick out this streaker :-):


Security guards are even family to those in the Nordecke..
And because of this the Nordecke feels like a family to me.

Whenever I've been gone and came back I still see the same smiling faces offering me a beer.

I was most active in the section and supporting the team in person between 2006-2009; but even when I came back for the first time in over two years, for the Chicago Fire game earlier this year, I still see the same characters, same people that love this team.. happy.

World could be falling around, around them; Could not have an extra dime to spend on anything but Crew tickets, some of them. But, they all are happy for four or five hours on a Saturday chanting "We Love You.. We Love You."

And even those that move on... keep connected like the Michael Blakely's (in Nebraska) or Michael Saad's (in Washington, D.C.- who coordinates Crew away trips to RFK).
Or even the few that don't, are replaced by the next group of great fans that pick up the torch.

There are fans like Rick Thomas, who just about made every Crew banner in that section..





And got fan of the year in 2009, a tough act to follow..

There are also other fan's that go other routes to dedicate time on the team they love. Such as Sameh Fahmi:


Who has taken brillant pictures of the section since 2008:




You can find more of Sam's work here.

There are many fans that have done a lot of work for the section such as the Kevin McCullough's, John Clem's, Steve Sirk's, Blake Compton's, Bill Archer's, Grant Thurmond's, Johnathon Smith's, Craig McConville's, Matt Goshert's, Chris LaMacchia's, Manuel Zambrano's, Pat Guldan's, Aaron Katzemann's, Jeromi Roger's, the Andrews, and a bunch of others I'm missing but too tired to remember right now.

Despite differences, I have respect for anyone that puts a little extra effort into putting the word out on this club.

Or even anyone that shows up at Crew Stadium on a regular basis; because your support for your local club is important and does matter.

This club is strong because of their supporters and we need you more than ever right now.

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There's also many Crew fans that never got to see the Crew win it all in 2008, like the Jim Nelson's, Marlane's, or my own dad (who drove me three hours to games when I didn't have a license or couldn't drive alone).

Or even big figures in this club like Crew owner, and stadium builder, Lamar Hunt or former Crew manager Tom Fitzgerald.


Lamar Hunt statue outside Crew Stadium

Lamar Hunt was a huge factor in the Columbus Crew's history. He put his own money into building the first soccer-specific stadium in the United States in Columbus, Ohio.

Many expensive imitations have followed, but without Columbus Crew Stadium in 1999, it's unlikely we would have soccer-specific stadiums in the United States or maybe even a professional soccer league.

That's how big Columbus Crew Stadium was at the time.
The first soccer-specific stadium was built here for the Columbus Crew.

There's also many in the front office of the Columbus Crew that make good things happen.

I'm sure that Mark McCullers has had offers elsewhere; but he's stayed with Columbus, brought Sigi Schmid here, a MLS Championship, and is starting to get the right people in the front office to bring the attendance numbers up.

There are also many in the coaching staff that have made things happen with less tools than other clubs.

Such as Brian Bliss, who's been able to attract a lot of local and Midwestern talent to the Crew Academy; and Warzycha, who has kept a team, who have been injury-prone over the past two-three years, a playoff side.

Overall, were a family. Sure, we fight, bicker, point fingers sometimes. But, when it all comes down to it were Columbus Crew.

Some people don't like the Crew logo:


But Crew fans love it and I think the three construction workers can stand for the front office, the coaches and players, and the fans; who when they come together do work for the Columbus Crew, and represent the city of Columbus in a positive manner.

It may not always be 2008, but we all love this club and everyone is trying to get this club to where we all want it.

We can also lean on each other in tough times.

We've done it before. Will do it again. Even if this may be the toughest.

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Were all really hurt by the loss of Kirk Urso.

A 22 year old player, excited to get his first professional opportunity at the Columbus Crew.

Urso was an excited, young dude, with a good personality who just wanted to know what there was to do in Columbus and wanted to prove people wrong that doubted him.

Urso came to Columbus with a chip on his shoulder. He was picked not in the SuperDraft, but in the Supplemental Draft by Columbus, despite captaining the UNC Tar Heels to a collegiate championship just months before.

But, with hard work in preseason, he proved his worth to Warzycha; he made the first five starts of the season, on a deep Crew roster,  before an injury set him back.

He was destined to do big things here.

From what I've learned of him over these past three or four days, he was a determined kid that would of made that happen. No one should doubt that he could've been Captain Kirk for this club as well.

His destiny should live on somehow here. Just as I think it should for the Jim Nelson's, Mike Havely's, to the Lamar Hunt's.

The game must go on. The party must go on.

Let's support each other and support Kirk Urso's family.

Let's have a big party this Saturday in memory of Kirk.

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This club did a lot for me in getting over my own sadness in 2008, after losing my grandma in June of 2008 and my dad in July of 2008, by winning the MLS Cup that year. That season, I just got sucked into the Crew and put all my energy into that to distract me from everything else.


My absolute favorite picture. Dad and sister in 2007

An MLS Cup could never replace them or any lost ones. But, it was a positive distraction and continues to be on tough days for myself and a lot of Crew fans. So, we must play on.
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I sincerely hope that the Nordecke and Columbus Crew can remember Urso, in a positive light, on Saturday and in the future to put a smile back on Urso's families face... Along with those on the team that were really close to Kirk like Finlay, Speas, Gehrig, and Balchan.

It never gets easier.

But, were all a family and need to stay strong.

We miss you Kirk


Columbus Til' I Die.