Since its debut on March 31 in Toronto, Robert Warzycha has earned style points among the Black & Gold faithful for the sleek black Adidas jacket he's sported on the touchline. Every time the Crew head coach wears the jacket, tweets begin to roll in from fans asking where they can purchase the latest piece of outerwear in Warzycha's wardrobe.
The bad news for Crew fans: Warzycha's jacket is the only one of its kind that exists.
When I asked Warzycha about the jacket's origins, the Crew head coach replied, "It's one of a kind. I can't say."
To learn more of the jacket's mysterious beginnings, I consulted defending MLS Equipment Manager of the Year Rusty Wummel for answers.
"It's a one of a kind jacket," Wummel explained. "When the whole line changed over, because everything goes through a cycle and it will change over again in the next couple of years, that jacket was a prototype presentation suit jacket to be used for travel, appearances, and also for games."
"Somewhere along the way, that jacket was switched to our yellow hoodie jacket," he continued. "It was a prototype jacket that never made it through production"
The Black & Gold is currently undefeated in the five away matches (Toronto, Portland, San Jose, Seattle, and New England) that Warzycha has worn the jacket. Though Warzycha claims he's not superstitious, he admits he'll have the jacket handy during the summer months when it won't be needed due to the 90 degree temperatures currently blanketing Columbus.
"Some of the guys wear scarves even in the summer," Warzycha said with a laugh. "I'm at least going to have (the jacket) in the locker room."
Whether or not the jacket is responsible for the Crew's success doesn't take away from the jacket's flair.
"Superstition or not, we're doing well as a team right now," Wummel said. "But it is a cool jacket."
The editors at MLSSoccer.com have made their picks for this weekend's matches, and yet again, it seems the Crew is the underdog. Five out of six contributors think the Black and Gold will lose this weekend, with editor Andrew Wiebe being the outsider by predicting a draw between the Crew and Revolution.
However, I don't think Crew fans should worry. Let's take a look at these guys' picks from past weeks, shall we?
5/26 vs. Chicago:
Give credit to Nick Firchau and Matt Doyle for going against the trend and picking the home team.
5/23 at Seattle:
5/19 at San Jose:
Just like the editorial staff at MLSSoccer.com, we all make mistakes. I think it's needless to say Robert Warzycha and the Crew enjoy flying under the radar.
Today we celebrate the 35th birthday of Columbus' favorite Kiwi, Duncan Oughton.
Here's Duncan at the 2001 MLS SuperDraft, when he first donned the Black & Gold:
Costa Rican Olman Vargas rejoined the Crew at training in Obetz on Thursday after spending the past week and a half representing his country in CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying. The striker feels he has grown with his experience on the International level.
"It was a really good experience, especially with World Cup Qualifying," Vargas said Thursday through a translator. "The games are different. It made me grow as a player. I hope I can help the team and be called-up for the next qualifying games."
The transition from the Costa Rican national team back to the Crew is a smooth one, Vargas said.
"It's not really difficult, because I know the way that Robert wants me to play," he explained. "The way the team plays is like the way the national team plays. It makes it easy because I was here earlier in the year and adapted to the system and with the group. The transition isn't that complicated."
Vargas came on as a substitute in La Sele's 2-2 draw against El Salvador last Friday, but was unused in Tuesday's win in Guyana.
The striker is fit and says he's ready if called upon by Robert Warzycha on Saturday night.
Following his wedding on Saturday, Crew midfielder Chris Birchall returned to training in Columbus on Wednesday. Birchall traveled to England two weeks ago to help his new wife Lucy help prepare for their nuptials. The Trinidad & Tobago International admits there were some nerves leading up to the big day.
"I was the one that was kind of calm, until the morning and then it really hit me," he said. "(Lucy) was nervous throughout the whole week that I was back, and understandably. She had organized everything so just wanted it to all come together for the day."
"It's quite a blur, because so much happened in the day," he added. "It's a day we'll never forget and that's the way it's probably how it's supposed to be."
The newlyweds are planning their honeymoon for the offseason and Birchall hopes Lucy and their three-year-old son Ashley will be able to move to Columbus within the next 4-5 weeks.
Sporting his new wedding band at the training grounds in Obetz on Wednesday, Birchall was happy to be back to business as usual.
"For me, this is my bread and butter. It's what I get paid to do," he said. "I'm glad to be back here and now concentrating until the end of the season."
Tonight's USA vs. Guatemala World Cup Qualifier is available to watch only on Pay-Per-View and UStream for $29.95. So, if you want to skip that fee, here are some good options from our local pub partners:
4th Street Patio Bar and Grill- 1810 N. 4th Street Columbus, OH, 43201
4th Street will be hosting the official viewing party for American Outlaws Columbus and all Crew supporters groups. The cover is $10 at the door, but you'll get your money's worth with half-price drinks all night long as well as $1 sliders and fries.
Fado Irish Pub- 4022 Townsfair Way Columbus, OH, 43219
After a long day of showing Euro 2012 action, Fado Irish Pub at Easton will be also hosting a USA vs. Guatemala viewing party tonight. Cover is $10, but fans will recieve a gift card for the same amount to spend this summer. Who knows, you may even run into our own Duncan Oughton while there!
Per USSoccer.com, the match will also be shown at Buffalo Wild Wings in Dublin.
The MLS Digital staff has sung the praises of Crew 'keeper Andy Gruenebaum and defender Sebastián Miranda in their MLS All-Star campaigns, check out the opinions of Armchair Analyst Matt Doyle and MLSSoccer.com Editor Greg Lalas in the videos below.
It was a busy weekend around Crew Nation, here are a few things you may have missed:
- In Reserve League action, The Crew took down the New England Revoulution 1-0 on Sunday behind Bernardo Añor's 84th minute goal. Ben Speas assisted on the strike in his first action as a professional. Jairo Arrieta also made his debut in Black & Gold, starting up top with rookie Ethan Finlay.
- Olman Vargas came on in the 89th minute of Costa Rica's 2-2 draw against El Salvador on Saturday night. La Sele will play in Guyana Tuesday night before Vargas returns to Columbus in time to join the team for its trip to New England.
- Crew midfielder Chris Birchall got married over the weekend in England. Birchall is expected to return to Columbus with his new wife and three-year-old son this week.
- Robert Warzycha was in attendance for the opening match of Euro 2012 on Friday in Warsaw. He will check out the Poland and Russia match on Tuesday before heading back to Columbus on Wednesday.
- Finally, on the Crew Soccer Academy side of things, Gahanna native Wil Trapp and the United States Under-20 National Team fell to Uruguay 2-0 in Montevideo on Friday. The U-20s will play in Chile on Tuesday before heading to Northern Ireland for the 2012 Milk Cup where the team will play Denmark and Turkey on July 21 and July 23.
A pair of Crew Soccer Academy standouts have begun their summer by spending time with their respective youth national teams.
Gahanna native Wil Trapp is currently in South America with the US U-20 National Team for a trio of friendlies. The Akron midfielder assisted on Victor Pineda's strike to put the US onto the scoresheet in Tuesday's 4-2 loss against Uruguay. The US will face Uruguay again today in Montevideo before heading west to face Chile on June 12.
Benny Swanson (Grove City) recently helped the US U-15 National Team to a fifth place finish in the International Marveld Tournament in Holland. The team finished ahead of the likes of Ajax, Olympique Marseille, Liverpool, and Real Madrid academy sides in the tournament.
Wil Trapp - courtesy of TheCrew.com
Benny Swanson - courtesy of Marveld Toernooi
Crew striker Olman Vargas was called into Costa Rican national team camp on Sunday ahead of La Sele's 2012 FIFA World Cup Qualifier on June 8 against El Salvador in San José. Los Ticos will then play its second Group Stage match in Guyana on June 12.
Vargas' lone appearance for his country came in friendly against Honduras on April 11, where he scored Costa Rica's only goal in the 1-1 draw.
The striker is expected to be back and ready to go for the Black & Gold's next match when the Crew travels to New England on June 16.