The Houston Dynamo announced Thursday that the Crew's Danny O'Rourke and Frankie Hejduk have been added to the star-studded list of players that will be attending in The Brian Ching Testimonial Match at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston on December 13. Other stars that will be sending Ching off in style include Landon Donovan, Dwayne de Rosario, Chris Wondolowski and Jimmy Conrad.
As a rookie, O'Rourke played alongside Ching with the San Jose Earthquakes during the 2005 season before the first MLS incarnation of the 'Quakes moved to Houston in 2006. Hejduk and Ching represented the United States on several occassions together, including the 2009 edition of "Dos a Cero" against Mexico at Crew Stadium.
Ching's testimonial will benefit the Dynamo legend's charitable initiative, The House That Ching Built, and Habitat for Humanity.
Though MLS Cup has yet to be played for, the silly season of trade rumors has already begun. According to a report from Sports Illustrated's Grant Wahl on Wednesday, Seattle Sounders FC is shopping U.S. Men's National Team forward Eddie Johnson. Since returning to MLS following a three-year stint in Europe, the 29-year-old Johnson scored 14 goals in 2012 and nine in 2013 and has seen a resurgence in his international career under Jürgen Klinsmann.
However, Johnson has shown he's not pleased with his salary situation, as evidenced by his "pay me" celebration following his game-winning goal against the Crew on August 31 in Columbus.
Would Johnson be a good fit for the Black & Gold? Like Dominic Oduro, Johnson can play either up top or on the wing to stretch defenses with his speed. Johnson will likely require a high price tag upon departing Seattle, probably more than the Crew would be willing to spend if new Sporting Director Gregg Berhalter hopes to retain Oduro, who is coming off a career year with the Black & Gold after scoring 13 goals.
Johnson scored at Crew Stadium twice in 2013, both with the Sounders and the U.S. National Team, and the charismatic forward has been complimentary of Columbus in the past.
What do you think, Crew fans? Despite the salary cap hurdles. do you want to see Johnson in Black & Gold next season? Comment below.
On Veterans Day, the Crew and its players took to Twitter to honor the sacrifice of those serving in the United States military.
— Columbus Crew (@ColumbusCrew) November 11, 2013
Happy Veterans Day to all the men and women who served our great country & ones who presently defend our freedom each day. #truesacrifice
— Ethan Finlay (@EthanFinlay13) November 11, 2013
Forever grateful and many thanks to our veterans. Can't be stressed enough. ❤
— Eric Gehrig (@eGehrig16) November 11, 2013
Happy Veterans Day! Thanks too all the people who risk their lives for our freedom! #Respect
— Kyle Hyland (@KyleHyland31) November 11, 2013
Voting for the 2013 Latino del Año award began Monday on MLSSoccer.com. The Crew's Federico Higuaín and Jairo Arrieta are each up for the award this year. Higuaín is placed alongside the New England Revolution's Juan Agudelo, Portland Timbers' Diego Chará and Real Salt Lake's Joao Plata in Group B. Arrieta competes in Group E against Real Salt Lake playmaker Javier Morales, FC Dallas striker Blas Pérez and LA Galaxy midfielder Junhinho.
Voting for in the Group Stage of the annual competition through Wednesday, November 6.
Dominic Oduro's left-footed volley against the Montreal Impact on April 14 has been nominated for AT&T Goal of the Year. Among the first groups unveiled, Oduro's strike has been placed in Group C against Vancouver Whitecaps FC's Diago Kobayashi, Real Salt Lake's Yordany Alvarez and LA Galaxy's Landon Donovan.
Voting for Groups A-D is open until 11:59 pm PT, Thursday, October 31.
For his left-footed beauty against the New England Revolution, Crew forward Aaron Schoenfeld has been nominated for AT&T Goal of the Week on MLSSoccer.com. The second-year striker was a driving force in the Black & Gold attack in the 3-2 loss, providing his first career goal and an assist as a halftime substitute.
Schoenfeld faces stiff competition this week from Gaby Torres' winner in Colorado and Tim Cahill's fastest goal in MLS history, so be sure to vote early and often.
Following his team-leading 13th goal of the season on Saturday, Crew forward Dominic Oduro has been nominated by MLSSoccer.com as a Top 3 Performer for Week 34. The Ghanaian speedster registered a goal and an assist in the weekend's 3-2 loss to the New England Revolution after being named MLS Player of the Month for September.
Due to a nagging hip injury suffered in the Crew's 1-0 loss to Sporting Kansas City on October 5, Federico Higuaín will miss Saturday night's Eastern Conference clash against the New England Revolution. Though the Argentine playmaker began jogging once again during the week, Interim Head Coach Brian Bliss and the team's medical staff ruled Higuaín was not fit for game action.
Ethan Finlay will replace Higuaín in the lineup as Dominic Oduro will join Jairo Arrieta on the Crew frontline.
"We said it yesterday that the decision regarding Federico traveling would be a flight-time call," Bliss explained. "After consulting with Federico and the medical staff, we determined that he would be unable to go tonight and so it made sense that he would not travel with us yesterday."
Following the Montreal Impact's 2-1 win over the Philadelphia Union, the Crew needs a win in New England tonight coupled with a Toronto FC win or draw against the Chicago Fire. Higuaín will be re-evaluated and could return with a berth a chance to clinch an MLS Cup Playoff berth next week against the Revolution in Columbus.
"We'll re-evaluate his availability next week, but for now, we believe we have what it takes to get three crucial points tonight," Bliss said.