When Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy toppled Bay Village Bay 3-0 Wednesday night in the OHSAA DII Boys' Soccer State Semifinal, CVCA alum and Crew forward Ben Speas took to Twitter to express his excitement to see the Royals clinch a berth in the Final on Saturday at Crew Stadium.
— Ben Speas (@BenSpeas18) November 8, 2012
Speas, a 2009 graduate and member of CVCA's 2007 DII State Champion squad, is looking forward to gathering with fellow alumni to cheer on the Royals in their quest for a fourth state championship.
"It's a great program," Speas said Thursday. "I loved my time there. I'm going to be there supporting them for sure.There will be a lot of alumni there. A ton of my friends and everyone will be there. It's really exciting. Hopefully, we'll get our fourth state championship."
CVCA squares off against Dayton Carroll at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday afternoon as part of a tripleheader of all three divisons of boys' State Finals. On Friday, Crew Stadium will host all three girls' State Final matches.
This week's Throwback Thursday comes from the 1996 Tampa Bay Mutiny media guide. Crew legend and Brand Ambassador Frankie Hejduk was an integral part of the Mutiny's Supporters Shield victory in Major League Soccer's inaugural season. As you can see by the photo above Hejduk hasn't seemed to age in the past 16 years.
Perhaps the most entertaining part of Hejduk's bio page is the "Rongen Says" section in which then-Mutiny Head Coach Thomas Rongen describes each of his players:
"Frankie is a young player who has already distinguished himself at the International level while playing for the U.S. Olympic team. He is one of those players that MLS is actively seeking. He should be a star in the future."
Well put, TR. Well put.
The only thing questionable in Hejduk's personal information on his bio page is "favorite actor is Nicolas Cage."
The Crew Soccer Academy hosted Vardar SC Freiburg from Michigan at Crew Stadium over the weekend. The U-16 squad was defeated 2-1 with Nathan Kohl scoring the Black & Gold's lone goal. The CSA U-18s drew Vardar 1-1 in the nightcap, striker William Bayemi supplied the goal. The tally was Bayemi's sixth of the season
The U-16 team currently sits in sixth place in the Mid-America Division of the Central Conference, while the U-18s stand in fourth place after securing 21 points from its first nine games. Next weekend, CSA will travel north to Minnesota to face the Shattuck-Saint Mary's Soccer Academy and the Minnesota Thunder.
On the college front, several Crew Youth alumni were in action this weekend to close out the regular season in NCAA Division I:
Akron Zips (15-1-2) This Week: 1-0 W at Michigan State, 1-0 W vs. Western Michigan
With a pair of 1-0 results last week, Akron finishes the regular season as the top-ranked team in the nation. Chad Barson, Wil Trapp, Andrew Souders, Eric Stevenson and Thomas Schmitt will look to lead the Zips to a conference title as they host the MAC Tournament this upcoming weekend.
Xavier Musketeers (13-1-4) This Week: 6-0 W vs. Rhode Island, 5-0 W vs. Massachusetts
Matt and Will Walker each recorded two goals and an assist in Friday's night's 6-0 drubbing of Rhode Island in Cincinnati. Freshman Rhodes Moore also chipped in an assist in the win. On Sunday, the Musketeers continued their fine form, beating UMass 5-0. Will Walker and Nick Hagglund each contributed an assist to help Xavier to its highest win total in program history.
UCLA Bruins (12-2-3) This Week: 2-1 W vs. Stanford, 1-1 D vs. California
Matt Wiet helped the fourth-ranked Bruins to a pair of overtime results this week. UCLA beat Stanford in two overtime periods on Friday night. However, 120 minutes was not enough on Sunday as the Bruins drew the California Golden Bears 1-1 in Westwood. UCLA closes out its regular season on Friday against San Diego State.
Photo courtesy of Xavier Athletics.
To help raise awareness and funds for men's health issues such as prostate and testicular cancers, the Crew is proud to take part in Movember. Over the course of this month, Crew players and staff will be growing mustaches to get the word out about the Movember campaign.
Though it is undetermined whether or not he will be sporting a lip warmer this month, Crew Head Coach Robert Warzycha may have the best ability to grow a mustache of anyone in MLS as evidenced here in his headshot from Everton FC in the early 1990s.
For more information on Movember and the Crew's effort towards the cause, please visit the Crew's team page.
The Crew Soccer Academy U-16 and U-18 squads were in action in a pair of matches over the weekend. On Saturday, The U-16 team drew St. Louis Scott Gallagher Missouri side 2-2, with Silankonet Bayo and Michael McCloskey providing the tallies in the tie. Against the same club, The U-18s lost 3-0.
Sunday saw William Bayemi's 23rd minute equalizer the U-16s come away with a 1-1 draw against the St. Louis Scott Gallagher Metro U-16 squad. The Crew U-18 team responded from Saturday's loss to beat the Gallagher Metros 5-1. Tommy Harr and newcomer Nic Russo scored two goals apiece, while Rylee Woods chipped in another.
On the International stage, Ben Swanson helped the U.S. U-17 National Team to a 5-1 win against Chile last Tuesday in the Four-Nations Tournament. The Grove City native also saw action in Friday's 3-1 loss to Argentina.
CSA's George Braima was called into U.S. U-15 camp last week in Carson, California. Braima is one of 24 players hailing from U.S. Soccer Development Academy clubs in the training camp.
In the college ranks, several Crew Youth alumni were in action in NCAA Division I this week. Here are some of the highlights:
Akron Zips (13-1-2) This Week: 1-0 W at Ohio State, 4-0 W at Hartwick
Akron Earned a pair of wins last week, first beating Ohio State 1-0 in Columbus last Tuesday. Wil Trapp provided the assist on the match's lone goal. On Saturday the Zips traveled to Hartwick to pick up a 4-0 victory, securing their eighth-straight regular season MAC championship. Chad Barson and Eric Stevenson each scored in the win. For his efforts, Barson was named to College Soccer News and TopDrawerSoccer.com's National Team of the Week.
Xavier Musketeers (10-1-4) This Week: 4-1 L at VCU, 5-1 W at Richmond
The Musketeers suffered their first defeat of the season, losing 4-1 on the road to VCU on Friday. Matt Walker scored Xavier's lone goal in the defeat. On Sunday, Xavier rebounded to top Richmond 5-1. Matt Walker tallied his sixth and seventh goals of the season, while his brother Will provided an assist in the win.
Boston College Golden Eagles (8-4-4) This Week: 0-0 D vs. Virginia
Goalkeeper Justin Luthy recorded two saved on his way to his sixth shutout on the season as Boston College earned a draw against Virginia on Senior Night. The Golden Eagles will close out thei regular season at North Carolina on Thursday.
UCLA Bruins (10-2-2) This Week: 2-1 W at Oregon State
Senior captain Matt Wiet anchored the Bruin defense to a road victory against Oregon State on Friday. UCLA plays Washington Monday night to close out its Pacific Northwest road trip.
Photo courtesy of Akron Athletics.
October 24, 2012 marked the tenth anniversary of the Crew's first championship when it defeated the LA Galaxy 1-0 in the 2002 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open at Crew Stadium.
Club legend Duncan Oughton reflected on the win on Thursday:
"It was our first championship for this club. It was huge at the time. We got to play the final here at Crew Stadium. I remember it being cold and LA had just won MLS Cup. Even though we were at home, they were the favored team at that point in time. We had a great team and dug it out one-nil. It was awesome to win the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, our founder, the guy that did so much here in Crew Stadium, and we won it here in his stadium in front of him and our fans."
The Crew Soccer Academy U-18 and U-16 squads were in action at Crew Stadium over the weekend as they hosted their affiliate program, the CSA Wolves from Michigan. Both teams suffered a 2-1 defeat to the Wolves. Rilee Woods scored for the U-18s, while William Bayemi tallied the U-16s lone goal.
The U-18 squad was missing centerback Alex Crognale (above) this weekend as the Maryland commit traveled to Washington, D.C. with the Crew Reserve squad. Crognale started and played the full 90 minutes on Sunday morning, helping the Crew reserves clinch the 2012 MLS Reserve League championship with a 2-0 victory over the D.C. United reserves.
On the international stage, CSA product Ben Swanson played 25 minutes in the United States U-17 National Team's 3-1 win in a friendly against Uruguay on Sunday. Swanson and the Stars and Stripes play again on Tuesday against Chile to open the Four-Nations Tournament in Santa Fe, Argentina.
As the NCAA Division I men's soccer season heats up, several Crew Youth products contributed to their universities this weekend. Here are some of the highlights:
Akron Zips (11-1-2) This Week: 1-0 W vs. Michigan, 2-1 W vs. West Virginia
Akron picked up two wins at home this week, first shutting out Michigan 1-0 on Tuesday before beating West Virginia 2-1 on Saturday. Wil Trapp, Chad Barson, Andrew Souders, Eric Stevenson, and Thomas Schmitt all contributed in the victories for the No. 3 ranked Zips. Akron takes on Ohio State on Tuesday in Columbus. The match will be aired on Big Ten Network.
Xavier Musketeers (9-0-4) This Week: 0-0 D at Duquesne, 2-1 W at St. Bonaventure
Will Walker, Matt Walker, and Rhodes Moore all saw significant minutes this week as Xavier drew Duquesne and beat St. Bonaventure on the road. The Musketeers, along with Maryland, are the only two undefeated teams in the country remaining.
Boston College Golden Eagles (8-4-3) This Week: 1-0 L vs. Brown, 1-0 W at Duke
Goalkeeper Justin Luthy had his 485 minute goalless streak snapped in Tuesday's 1-0 loss to Brown. The senior net minder rebounded on Friday to make four saves against Duke on his way to his fourth shutout in five games in the 1-0 win. The Golden Eagles host Virginia on Friday in their home finale.
Unlike the last time the Crew visited the Nation's Capital, the Black & Gold will be squaring-off with D.C. United under near-perfect weather conditions instead of temperatures in the upper-90s with 55-percent humidity tonight. A comfortable 61-degrees is expected at kickoff.
Different from most road matches, Robert Warzycha will have his entire roster to choose from tonight as the reserves arrived in Washington this morning for tomorrow's Reserve League finale.
Centerback Julius James did not make the trip after suffering a hamstring injury this week in training, forcing Warzycha to shuffle his back line against United. James had started the last five matches alongside Chad Marshall in central defense. Danny O'Rourke, Josh Williams, Eric Gehrig, and the newly-healthy Carlos Mendes are all viable options to replace the injured Trinidad & Tobago defender.
The Crew and D.C. United have split 1-0 results in their previous two matches in 2012, with the home team prevailing in both fixtures.
What are your predictions for tonight's match? Can the Black & Gold pick up a crucial three points on the road to stay in the playoff hunt?
On a beautiful morning in the Nation's Capital, the Crew began its day with breakfast followed by a team walk through Washington's Dupont Circle neighborhood. The Black & Gold finished their walk with a stretch at a nearby park.
Now, the players will spend the afternoon preparing at the team hotel before heading to RFK Stadium for tonight's pivotal Eastern Conference showdown with D.C. United. The team feels fully prepared for tonight's match, which holds major playoff implications for both sides.
"[Preparation] started Monday for me. It starts early in the week. If you prepare during the week, then the game comes easy," veteran Danny O'Rourke said.
"It's time to relax, and then it's like riding a bike. It all comes naturally."
Photos from this morning's walk can be found below.
Following the Crew's pivotal Eastern Conference clash with D.C. United on Saturday night, the Black & Gold reserves will look to secure their second-consecutive MLS Reserve League East Division title on Sunday morning against United's reserves. It is sure to be a massive weekend for all 28 active players on the Crew roster.
"It's a big deal," rookie Ethan Finlay said. "In all honesty, I think our whole team is very focused. Guys that aren't even maybe close to the gameday 18 or haven't been all season, are very focused this week. We're excited. We want to win the League and be back-to-back champions. The older guys have made sure we know it's important."
Last year, the Crew's Reserve League success was anchored by Josh Williams in central defense and Andy Gruenebaum in goal. Both have been key contributors in the Black & Gold's push for the 2012 MLS Cup Playoffs.
Head Coach Robert Warzycha says his team's Reserve League accomplishments demonstrate how deep of a team he has at his disposal.
"We can see in the First Team how many guys have actually started a game for us this season, it's a lot. It means we can count on everybody," Warzycha explained. "Everybody is bringing something different to the table. When they're called upon, they perform."
The Crew reserves kick off against D.C. United at 10:00 a.m. ET at D.C. United's training grounds at RFK Stadium.