Tyson Wahl's first season with the Crew has been much like his first season as a pro with the Kansas City Wizards back in 2006.
Just as in his rookie season, Wahl's club was sold to new owners by the Hunt Sports Group midseason. Eerily, Brian Bliss has once again taken over a Interim Head Coach of Wahl's team in the middle of the season as he did in Kansas City in 2006.
With the change, Wahl has noticed a new energy in training the past two days.
"I think in general, whenever there is a coaching change, you have an increased level of intensity," the veteran defender said. "Everyone is fighting for new opportunities, believed opportunities. There is definitely a spike in effort and enthusiasm. I think it's something to capitalize on."
Given his prior experience with Bliss, Wahl feels the coaching change is good for the team's psyche.
"Blissy brings a lot of clarity and intensity. Overall, he brings a good mentality to the team," he said.
Wahl is in competition to return to the starting lineup in Bliss' first match as Interim Head Coach on Wednesday against the Houston Dynamo (7:30 p.m. ET / FOX Sports Ohio).
Fresh off his first start in six matches, winger Ben Speas will not be in action on Saturday night when the Crew welcomes Seattle Sounders FC to Columbus. Instead, the 22-year-old will be in his hometown of Stow, Ohio, preparing to get married on Sunday.
"I'm excited to get married, obviously," Speas said Friday. "It's unfortunate that I miss the game, but best of luck to my teammates against Seattle. I'm sure we'll compete and hopefully bring home three points."
Speas will be back in Columbus in time for Wednesday's match against the Houston Dynamo, as he plans on taking a honeymoon in December.
When asked where he was planning on spending vacation with his new wife after the season ends, Speas simply responded, "Somewhere with a beach."
Andy Gruenebaum, Chad Barson and Dominic Oduro joined 97.1 The Fan's Jonathan "T-Bone" Smith at Fourth Street Bar on Thursday night for Celebrity Bartending. The always-competitive Gruenebaum made the most tips on the evening, using signed apparel to convince patrons to fill his bucket with cash. All tips from the event went to the Crew Soccer Foundation, serving under-served youth in Central Ohio.
Before the Crew hosts Seattle Sounders FC in the only meeting between the two sides in 2013 on Saturday (7:30 p.m. ET / FOX Sports Ohio), let's look back at last year's clash in Seattle.
Having never beaten the Sounders, the Crew silenced the 38,000-plus fans at CenturyLink field following Justin Meram's first-half diving header to give the Black & Gold an early advantage. Andy Gruenebaum and the Crew backline fended off an onslaught of attempts from the Seattle attack before Emilio Rentería added some insurance in the 76th minute to secure the victory with a looping shot from outside the box to beat 'keeper Bryan Meredith. Rentería's stunning strike wouldn't be needed, however, as Gruenebaum made six saves to lift the Crew to its first victory over former coach Sigi Schmid.
After netting a brace for the second straight match, Crew Captain Federico Higuaín was named to MLSSoccer.com's Team of the Week for Week 25. With four goals over the last two matches, the Argentine is now tied with Dominic Oduro for the team-scoring lead with nine tallies in 2013. In 37 matches since joining the Crew in August 2012, Higuaín has scored 14 goals and registered 13 assists while donning the Black & Gold.
On the heels of Saturday's Trillium Cup win over Toronto FC, the Crew now prepares for a tough task in facing Supporters' Shield leader Real Salt Lake on the road. Before the Black & Gold take on Real for the first and only time this year, here is a look back at the clubs' only meeting last season.
Delayed two hours after severe thunderstorms ravaged Central Ohio the night before, the Crew came out firing against the Western Conference leaders from the opening whistle as Tony Tchani and Eddie Gaven scored first-half goals to lift the home team to victory. Andy Gruenebaum recorded one of his career-high eight shutouts, making three saves on the evening before the largest crowd of the season at Crew Stadium. Danny O'Rourke returned to the lineup after missing four matches to patrol the midfield in the win for the Black & Gold.
The Crew hosts Toronto FC in the third -- and deciding -- match of the 2013 Trillium Cup presented by Scotts on Saturday (7:30 p.m. ET / TICKETS). Before the Black & Gold welcome their rival to the North, here is a look back at the meeting in Toronto back on July 27.
With a chance to clinch the Trillium Cup, the Crew gained an early lead from Dominic Oduro's strike from outside the box in the 17th minute. That score would hold for most of the match, but late goals from Jonathan Osorio and Andrew Wiedeman would earn Toronto FC its first win on home soil over the Black & Gold. The Reds' 2-1 victory makes Saturday's game all the more important as the Crew aims to retain the Trillium Cup.
Crew Captain Federico Higuaín and veteran defender Chad Marshall were named to MLSSoccer.com's Team of the Week for their roles in the Black & Gold's 2-0 victory against the New York Red Bulls. Higuaín scored both goals in the match, while Marshall anchored the Crew backline to the shutout. The Black & Gold joined the Philadelphia Union and Sporting Kansas City as the only clubs with multiple players on the Team of the Week.
To little surprise, Federico Higuaín's wonderful chip of New York Red Bulls' goalkeeper Luis Robles is nominated for Week 24 AT&T Goal of the Week honors. Higuaín is up against Vancouver Whitecaps FC's Camilo, Montreal Impact midfielder Felipe Martins, Sporting KC winger Kei Kamara and the LA Galaxy's Landon Donovan.
To vote for the Crew Captain text G1 to 22442 or click the link below.
After willing his team to a 2-0 victory over the first-place New York Red Bulls with two goals to his name on Saturday, Crew Captain Federico Higuaín has been nominated for MLSSoccer.com's Top 3 Performers for Week 24. Higuaín also completed nearly 72-percent of his passes, including seven key passes in the attacking third against the Red Bulls.
Higuaín is up against the Philadelphia Union's Conor Casey, FC Dallas' Blas Perez, Sporting Kansas City's Kei Kamara and the LA Galaxy's Landon Donovan -- all of whom scored multiple goals over the weekend -- among others.