Saturday's 2-0 loss to Toronto FC ended the Crew's perfect record and saw the the Black & Gold slip in this week's Power Rankings. After sitting atop ESPNFC and Sports Illustrated's rankings last week, the Crew still lands in the top five in both outlets' lists and comes in at the number four position in MLSSoccer.com's weekly rankings. See the full Power Rankings below.
MLSSoccer.com: 4 (2)
ESPNFC: 5 (1)
Crew defender Ross Friedman picked up an assist in Dayton Dutch Lions FC's 1-0 win to open USL-PRO play over the weekend against the Charlotte Eagles. Friedman found Dayton forward Brock Granger on a corner kick for the match-winner in the 40th minute. Fellow Crew loanees Kevan George, Matt Walker and Aaron Schoenfeld also saw action for the Dutch Lions in the win. Schoenfeld nearly doubled Dayton's lead, but his shot from outside the box hit the woodwork just ahead of the halftime whistle.
"I'm just really happy."
In the middle of a chilly April downpour in Central Ohio, that's how Crew goalkeeper Steve Clark says he's adjusting to life in Columbus after spending the last four years playing abroad in Norway. Born and raised in Michigan, Clark is happy to back in the warmth of Midwest hospitality.
"I'm really happy, that's all I can really say," he said with a smile. "I keep saying that because it's the truth. I'm just super happy. It's simple, but it's the truth."
For Clark and his fiancee, Carella, it's the simple things like baseball and American television they enjoy about living life back Stateside.
"We're just kind of still happy to be in the States. It's kind of hard to understand, but when you leave you're just kind of happy here. When you leave the country for four years, you don't take for granted just being here. That may seem strange, but everything is good."
He continued: "Watching the news, or just watching American programs -- I haven't had March Madness in years. I haven't had [Major League Baseball] in four years. Those things are very exciting."
Undefeated and averaging less than one goal against in three matches so far this season, the soccer transition has been positive as well -- but not just for Clark.
Carella played collegiately at Appalachian State University and at Clark's alma mater, Oakland University. Now, she's helping out with coaching on the girls' side of the Crew's youth development system.
"She's coaching, she's trying to talk lineups with me, trying to talk strategy," Clark laughs. "We're a soccer house through and through."
Less than four months after moving to Ohio, it seems the future Clark family has found a home in Columbus.
Crew defender Michael Parkhurst earned his 25th cap for the United States on Wednesday in the United States' 2-2 draw with Mexico at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. Parkhurst made his second-straight start at leftback, and played the full 90 minutes in the draw.
The Crew Captain is due back in Columbus ahead of the Black & Gold's Trillum Cup clash with Toronto FC, presented by Scotts, on Saturday.
Crew Soccer Academy midfielders George Braima and Ben Swanson were recently called-up to represent the United States at the U-17 and U-18 levels, respectively.
Braima and the U-17 U.S. Men's National Team head to Bosnia-Herzegovina for the Josip Katalinski International Tournament and two international friendlies in Zagreb, Croatia. In the Katalinski Tournament, the U.S. takes on Montenegro and Sarajevo Select before wrapping up play in the tournament against either the Bosnia U-17 National Team, Belgrade Select or the Macedonia U-17 National Team in a placement match. In Zagreb, the U.S. plays Croatia on April 8 and April 10.
Swanson and the U.S. U-18 squad will stay stateside for a camp that includes a friendly with Canada on April 8 and another against Mexico on April 12. Swanson recently trained with the Crew First Team following the Copa del Atlantico in the Canary Islands.
Following Saturday's dramatic 2-1 victory in Seattle, the Crew is at the top of ESPNFC and Sports Illustrated's Planet Fútbol Power Rankings this week. On MLSsoccer.com's list, Gregg Berhalter's side is in the number two spot just behind FC Dallas. Through three matches this season, the Black & Gold are the only club with a perfect record in MLS.
See the full rankings below.
MLSsoccer.com: 2 (4)
ESPNFC: 1 (7)
SI's Planet Fútbol: 1 (10)
Chad Marshall won't be the only one seeing old friends as oppostion on Saturday when the Crew takes on Seattle Sounders FC. Defender Tyson Wahl was selected by the Sounders in the 2008 MLS Expansion Draft and made 39 appearances in three seasons for the club before being picked up by the Montreal Impact in the 2011 MLS Expansion Draft.
Saturday's match will mark the first time Wahl has returned to CenturyLink Field despite having played for three clubs since his departure in 2011.
"It's definitely one you circle on the schedule," Wahl said of his return. "I have fond memories of being here. It's definitely been a while. Last year, we didn't travel out here. My previous team's just didn't go. It's exciting. It's nice to be around the city and I'm definitely excited to step out on the stadium field again."
Wahl helped Sounders FC to three-straight Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cups during his time in the Emerald City.
Chad Marshall owns nearly all of the Crew's club records win it comes to longevity, having played in more minutes (22,220), matches (253) and seasons (10) than anyone else in the team's 19-year history. For the first time on Saturday, the two-time MLS Defender of the Year will face his former club since being traded to Seattle Sounders FC in December.
"I think a change was needed," Marshall told SoundersFC.com. "I enjoyed my time in Columbus very much. Ten years is a long time. I feel like I grew up there, coming [into MLS] as a teenager. "
Though it will surely be strange for Marshall to see so many of his former teammates as opposition this weekend, the centerback admits it will be "just another soccer game."
"It'll probably be a little different to see the black and yellow on the other side, but there are a lot of players in this League who've played against old teams and teammates." he said. "Once the whistle blows, it's just another soccer game."
The Crew kicks off against the Sounders at 10:00 p.m. ET on Saturday night (Time Warner Cable SportsChannel / 95.5 The Game / 103.1 La Mega).
Wil Trapp was just a high schooler when the Crew claimed its 2008 MLS Cup title anchored in part by Brian Carroll's play in central midfield. While it was Guillermo Barros Schelotto's playmaking magic that caught Trapp's eye at the time, the 21-year-old looks back now at Carroll's presence on the field in admiration as he gets set to face the Black & Gold's former midfield stalwart, now with the Philadelphia Union, for the first time as a pro on Saturday (6:00 p.m. ET / TICKETS).
"I guess I didn't watch him as much as I should've back then, I was more focused on guys like Schelotto," Trapp admitted at the Crew's media day on Thursday. "Now that I look back, I think his leadership qualities and the way he gets the ball, moves it and keeps the tempo and rhythm in the game is huge. He did that for the team that won in 2008.
"I think that's something I can bring to the table, but I can also improve on."
Carroll missed the Union's match against the New England Revolution due to illness; the 32-year-old veteran could be back in Philadelphia's lineup for Saturday's match.
Soon after the Crew's 2014 primary kit was unveiled for Season Ticket Members and media at Bar Louie in the Arena District Tuesday night, club President Mark McCullers shared his excitement for the new jersey. The new kit's homage to the team's identity as "The Yellow Soccer Team" with Crew Gold and a few new features give it a classic, yet modern feel.
"I love the new jersey," McCullers said. "The gradient diamond pattern and our classic Crew Gold with black accents, I think it's just different enough but classic enough also.
"You see the gold you know it's the Crew."
The new primary kit is now available online and at the Crew Gear Store at Crew Stadium.