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."
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.
Newest Crew signee is on his way to Columbus! Jairo Arrieta will join the Black & Gold for a week of training this week then head back to Costa Rica before joining the club later in the Month to help bolster the attack. Welcome Jairo!
— FutbolConsultants (@Futbolconsultan) June 1, 2012
Robert Warzycha gave the Crew a break on Thursday and Friday, let's take a look at how some of the players enjoyed their day off with some help from Twitter:
Center back Josh Williams took a drive up I-71 to his hometown of Copley, Ohio to enjoy some downtime:
So good to be back home!!!
— Josh Williams (@josh3williams) May 31, 2012
His partner in central defense Eric Gehrig also made a trip home to Northwest Indiana, or as the locals affectionately call it: "The Region."
Out for lunch with my familyyyyy, maybe some shopping and then hittin Chicago tonight :) #yippeee
— Eric Gehrig (@eGehrig16) May 31, 2012
The pride of New Jersey, Dilly Duka, headed home to the Garden State, but not without a trip to the Big Apple.
— Dilly Duka (@D_Duka11) May 31, 2012
With the Memorial Tournament happening this weekend in Columbus, a few members of the team decided to cheer on the likes of Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, and Rickie Fowler.
Great day and beautiful weather out at the @MemorialGolf tournament!
— Aaron Schoenfeld (@aaronschoenfeld) May 31, 2012
— Duncan Oughton (@Oughton8) May 31, 2012
In this edition of Throwback Thursday, we pay homage to the most infamous jersey in US National Team history: the denim kit. Here is Crew assistant coach Mike Lapper's head shot wearing the star-laden uniform. Lapper represented the United States in the 1994 World Cup on home soil.
The Black & Gold won two games in week 12, and Emilio Renteria was a big factor, scoring two goals in the process. He takes home top honors in MLSsoccer.com's Top 3 performers this week, joined by Kei Kamara and Alvaro Saborio.