The Crew's resident Canadian Drew Beckie is looking forward to a weekend trip across the border to face Vancouver Whitecaps FC. The rookie defender is expected to be welcomed by friends, family and fellow Canadians for the match.
"I'm always excited to go back [to Canada]," Beckie said over the phone. "Even though Vancouver isn't home, I love being back and I'm looking forward to seeing friends there."
After playing four years at Denver University, Beckie can't wait to hear "Oh, Canada!" played before kickoff for the first time in his professional career. The Regina, Saskatchewan native has represented his country at the U-17, U-20 and U-23 levels in the past.
"I'm a very proud Canadian," he explained. "I love the National Anthem. I think Americans love theirs too, but it's just something that's in the Canadian spirit. Playing for the National Team, you really feel that pride to represent Canada. I'm really excited to hear 'Oh, Canada!'"
Despite his Saskatchewan roots, Beckie is an avid follower of the NHL Vancouver Canucks. The rookie faces a conundrum as his Canucks face the Columbus Blue Jackets Thursday evening, but the rookie isn't bailing on the team he grew up cheering for.
"I always root for the Canucks, but now Columbus is my hometown team," Beckie said. "I'm kind of torn, but I'm going to go with Vancouver. I don't want to make any enemies, but I'll say it will be a draw and an overtime win for the Canucks. That's the easiest way I can predict the game."
Though over 2,200 miles away, the Crew's weekend trip to Los Angeles will be a homecoming of sorts for Southern California natives Chad Marshall and Tyson Wahl. Marshall (Riverside) and Wahl (Newport Beach) played youth soccer together and are expecting plenty of friends and family to be in attendance at the Home Depot Center for the Black & Gold's match against Chivas USA on Saturday.
"There will definitely some family and a couple friends at the game," Wahl said on Thursday. "It's always nice to go to LA and it would be especially nice to come away with a win."
The Crew hasn't played at the Home Depot Center since 2011, and Marshall is looking forward to playing in front of family once again.
"It'll be nice to have a good group of friends and family there," the veteran defender said. "It'll be cool to get to play in front of them, especially because we didn't get to go out there last year."
Kickoff for Saturday's match is slated for 10:30 p.m. ET and can be found on FOX Sports Ohio.
During a busy weekend that consisted of two matches, and travel from Florida to North Carolina and from North Carolina to Columbus, several Crew players took to Twitter to honor their fallen teammate around the inaugural Kirk Urso Memorial Match. Even players who didn't get the chance to play alongside Urso like Dominic Oduro and Drew Beckie showed their respect.
Here are some of the highlights, 140 characters at a time:
— Ethan Finlay (@EthanFinlay13) February 24, 2013
Heading to North Carolina with my brothers to honor a teammate that was taken too soon. #KU15
— Josh Williams (@josh3williams) February 24, 2013
Urso was my roommate in residency, a hard worker, great player, and even better person. Looking forward to playing in his memory #crew96
— Ryan Finley (@Ryan_Finley9) February 24, 2013
— Aaron Schoenfeld (@aaronschoenfeld) February 24, 2013
It's your day bubs. Maybe I can hit a patented Urso bomb. Either way it's an honor 2 play in your memory. Miss u Kirk. Let's have fun 2day.
— Eric Gehrig (@eGehrig16) February 24, 2013
Just know you're not alone @kurso369 . We miss that witty funny humor you always had everyday with that outstanding hair and smile . So glad
— Justin Meram (@JustinMeram) February 24, 2013
I get to play today for you. We all love you and miss you so damn much! #KU15
— Justin Meram (@JustinMeram) February 24, 2013
— Tony Tchani (@TonyTchani23) February 24, 2013
— Dominic Oduro (@Freakyfast8) February 24, 2013
I know I gave up twitter for lent but I think The Lord allows a tweet for Kirk Urso, although I didn't know him, it's an honor to be here
— Drew Beckie (@DrewBeckie) February 24, 2013
Sunday was a regeneration day for the starters from Saturday's 1-0 win over Toronto FC in the Disney Pro Soccer Classic. The tweet below is from Head Athletic Trainer Dave Lagow, showing the players' makeshift recovery setup in Orlando following their weight room session. On Monday the guys will get back into full action.
— Dave Lagow (@DaveLagow) February 10, 2013
In some post-training banter on Monday, Crew captain Chad Marshall jokingly asked Tony Tchani to talk in his best American accent.
"Hey mate!" Tchani exclaimed jokingly with his distinct French inflection.
While Tchani's accent sets him appart, the Cameroonian-born midfielder is now an official American citizen. Tchani moved to the U.S. with his mother as a teenager and recently passed his citizenship exam to officially attain a United States passport last week.
Tchani was given studying materials beforehand, but the test to become a U.S. citizen came easy to the 23-year-old midfielder.
"They gave me a book of like 100 practice questions and I was supposed to get six out of 10 right," Tchani said. "I got the first six right and they told me it was over. I got a sheet saying 'Congratulations.' "
It is official!! #ThankGod
— Tony Tchani (@TonyTchani23) January 15, 2013
Tchani is in his second full season with the Crew and his fourth in MLS.
Columbus' favorite Kiwi Duncan Oughton took some time in the offseason to visit fellow New Zealanders in Europe as well as take in some footy action. So far in his journey, Oughton has visited West Ham United to observe training, watched Arsenal take care of business against Reading before seeing long-time friend, Queens Park Rangers' captain Ryan Nelsen, lead the Hoops in a 2-1 win over Fulham. It was QPR's first win of 2012, so obviously Oughton is a good luck charm at Loftus Road.
Duncan was kind enough to snap a few photos from abroad. Enjoy!
(He apologizes for the blurry ones.)
Arrival at the West Ham training facility to catch some training.
Arsenal vs. Reading at the Majeski Stadium.
Kiwi friend David (Goose) Metherell and I outside Loftus Road soaking up the atmosphere in anticipation of the match!
With Adel Taarabat after his brace goals in QPR's first win of the season (I am standing on a step which is why I look massive).
With fellow Kiwi and QPR captain Ryan Nelsen after the 2-1 win vs. Fulham on the Loftus Road pitch.
The Hudson Street Hooligans, Crew Union and Arch City Army Present: Massive Support – A Hurricane Sandy Fundraiser.
Saturday night at Hendoc’s bar Columbus pro sports supporters will come together to help do good for the American Red Cross. The event starts at 7pm and will feature celebrity guest appearances, raffle items provided by the Columbus Crew, Columbus Blue Jackets and local businesses and plenty of surprises all night long. Hendoc’s will be helping as well, for each $2 pint of Coors Light, $3 shot of Fireball and $4 Long Island iced tea sold $1 will be donated to the American Red Cross. Besides that raffle tickets will be available to win prizes with 100% of the proceeds going to the American Red Cross.
Hendoc’s is located at 2375 North High Street in North Campus
On a beautiful morning in the Nation's Capital, the Crew began its day with breakfast followed by a team walk through Washington's Dupont Circle neighborhood. The Black & Gold finished their walk with a stretch at a nearby park.
Now, the players will spend the afternoon preparing at the team hotel before heading to RFK Stadium for tonight's pivotal Eastern Conference showdown with D.C. United. The team feels fully prepared for tonight's match, which holds major playoff implications for both sides.
"[Preparation] started Monday for me. It starts early in the week. If you prepare during the week, then the game comes easy," veteran Danny O'Rourke said.
"It's time to relax, and then it's like riding a bike. It all comes naturally."
Photos from this morning's walk can be found below.
With both President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney hitting the swing state of Ohio hard as Election Day nears, Columbus has been in the national media spotlight. Out on his morning coffee run, CNN's John King tweeted this picture of the digital billboards at the corner of Broad and High:
Times Square??? No- Columbus, OH. Coffee run!instagr.am/p/Qmml5GsLSb/
— John King (@JohnKingCNN) October 10, 2012
Luckily for the Crew, ads for season ticket renewals were in rotation when he snapped his photo.
Speaking of season tickets, purchase or renew yours today.