An online auction surrounding this weekend’s Kirk Urso Memorial Night features high-value items such as unique experiences and autographed memorabilia with all proceeds going to the Memorial Fund. Kirk Urso Memorial Fund merchandise will be heavily featured throughout the match for fans to purchase, including Urso wristbands and #15 pins with the proceeds benefiting the Kirk Urso Memorial Fund. In addition to those items, any jersey that is personalized with Urso’s name and number will have a portion of the proceeds from the personalization going to the Kirk Urso Memorial Fund.
Urso was originally selected by the Crew in the first round (No. 10 overall) in the 2012 Supplemental Draft, and appeared in six games (five starts) with one assist before being sidelined by injury. He was a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he made four consecutive NCAA Men’s College Cup Final Four appearances and captained the team to the 2011 NCAA National Championship. Urso unexpectedly passed away at the age of 22 from a congenital heart defect on August 5, 2012. He was admired for his unwavering work ethic and steadfast character both on and off the field. In 2013, Crew defender Eric Gehrig was honored with the Kirk Urso Heart Award.
Urso made one career appearance against Toronto FC, a road visit in his third-ever appearance on March 31, 2012. The midfielder went 90 minutes as the Crew defeated the Reds, 1-0, in front of 18,944 fans at BMO Field. The win, at the time, kept the Crew’s perfect run at the Toronto venue and it was the Crew’s first road victory of 2012.
In its first year, the Crew Soccer Foundation’s Kirk Urso Memorial Fund raised $100,000 to develop and support youth heart health research and programming. The funds raised are a core focus of the foundation and a way to honor the late Urso. This accomplishment set a record for funds raised for a single Foundation initiative within in a calendar year and delivered on a pledge made the day the Urso Fund was created two months after his passing in October of 2012.
FINAL LEG OF TRILLIUM CUP PRESENTED BY SCOTTS ...
The Crew and Toronto FC battle on Saturday for the third and final meeting in the Trillium Cup, presented by Scotts ... Toronto secured the trophy with a 3-2 win in Toronto on May 31 and a 2-0 victory at Crew Stadium in April in the first match of the regular-season series ... Trillium is the provincial flower of Ontario and the state wildflower of Ohio and Scotts joined as the presenting sponsor of the award ahead of the 2013 series ... the trophy was first awarded in 2008.
... AND REVENGE IS ON THE LINE
Following Toronto FC’s 3-2 win on May 31 to secure the Trillium Cup, presented by Scotts, the Crew has the ability to play for revenge and crucial Eastern Conference points ... despite the trophy loss this year, the Crew has secured the Trillium Cup five times ... 2008 marked the first year the award was up for grabs and the Crew held the trophy from 2008-2010 before a Toronto regular-season series victory gave the Reds the Cup for 2011 -- Toronto’s only Trillium Cup victory prior to this year ... the Crew regained the award in 2012 with three victories over Toronto and retained it in 2013 with a 2-1-0 record against the Reds ... Saturday is also the first meeting between the Crew and former forward Dominic Oduro, who was traded to Toronto on June 6.
PIPA LOVES THE REDS
Toronto FC got a break from Federico Higuain in the last meeting on May 31 while the Argentine served a one-match suspension for yellow-card accumulation ... Higuain has been lethal against Toronto and has recorded five goals and two assists in just six meetings with Toronto FC ... he recorded a two-goal performance on August 18, 2013, assisted Dominic Oduro on the game-winning goal on May 18, 2013 and the Crew playmaker recorded a brace in the final meeting between the two teams in 2012 on October 28 ... Pipa has been quite efficient against the Reds, as he’s scored all five goals on just seven shots on goal in 525 minutes.
OH THANK HEAVEN, ETHAN FINLAY’S LAST ELEVEN
With his game-tying assist in Chicago last weekend, Ethan Finlay has now recorded a goal or an assist in eight of the last 11 League matches he’s played in dating back to May 17 at Portland ... Finlay scored his first career tally in Oregon before returning home for a second goal against Chicago on May 24 ... on May 31 in Toronto, Finlay added an assist on Justin Meram’s tally to open the scoring before scoring on June 4 ... the Crew was held scoreless in the 0-0 draw on June 7 and Finlay missed action on June 29 after recovering from an appendectomy ... he returned with the team’s lone goal in the 1-1 draw at Colorado on July 4 ... Finlay also assisted Adam Bedell’s goal in the July 12 match at New York and added the game-winning goal on July 26 at New England.
Crew defender Michael Parkhurst started for the MLS All-Stars on Wednesday night in Portland against FC Bayern Munich, playing the first 45 minutes for the League at leftback.
The Crew captain, wearing number 23, went toe-to-toe with FC Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski on numerous occasions.
It was the Black & Gold's first All-Star appearance since 2010, when Chad Marshall and Guillermo Barros Schelotto played in the match.
MLS won the match by a 2-1 final courtesy of second-half goals by the New York Red Bulls' Bradley Wright-Phillips and LA Galaxy's Landon Donovan.
Photo Credit: USA Today Sports Images
Crew midfielder Agustín Viana and his wife Nani welcomed a new member into their family yesterday when their son Álvaro was born.
Álvaro joins his new brother Santiago and his sisters Milagros and Sofía as the fourth child of the Viana family.
"Perfect and healthy! Thanks to God that everything is okay," said Viana. "[Álvaro] has a great mom and she is doing great also. We are happy."
In an odd coincidence, Álvaro was born in Columbus as the Crew was returning home from a road match in Chicago – the identical circumstances under which Sofía was born during last season.
"It's amazing – life, huh? As I said last year or so, it was a sign, because I was born in Chicago," said Viana. "It's incredible. We're happy. The most important thing is that everyone is okay."
Crew loanees Ross Friedman (pictured), Matt Walker and Matt Wiet again all started for the Dayton Dutch Lions in their match on Saturday, August 2 against the Harrisburg City Islanders.
Friedman and Wiet each played 90 minutes in the contest, while Walker played 85. Harrisburg won by a 1-0 final score on an eighth-minute tally by Garret Pettis.
Walker notched two shots in the clash for Dayton, which next plays on both Friday, August 8 and Saturday, August 9.
Photo Credit: Jeremi Blurton