Following the announcement from U.S. Soccer that Columbus Crew Stadium will host the USA vs. Mexico 2014 World Cup Qualifier on September 10, Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman expressed his sentiments on the fixture’s positive impact on the city of Columbus.
"This is fantastic news for our soccer fans and for our entire community,” Mayor Coleman said. “This will not only be an exciting soccer match, but an outstanding opportunity to showcase the City of Columbus to the entire world.”
The best way to make sure Crew fans are geared-up for Saturday’s Opening Match is to take advantage of the Crew Gear Store Massive Sale, which will be held on Friday, March 15, from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. ET at Crew Stadium. Frankie Hejduk will be signing autographs inside the Crew Gear Store from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. The sale includes up to 40% off on select jerseys, hats, t-shirts, sweatshirts, ladies and kids merchandise throughout the store. All of the newest Crew gear selections that just arrived will be available.
Those that buy a 2013 Crew jersey can receive personalization for $15 (regularly $25), and all personalization orders placed before 4:00 p.m. ET will be ready that day. Orders placed after 4:00 p.m. ET on the day of the Massive Sale can be picked-up at the Crew’s opening match on Saturday, March 16 or during the store’s regular business hours, Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. ET.
CREW GEAR STORE MASSIVE SALE FRIDAY
WHAT: A Black & Gold Week special sale that includes up to 40% off on select jerseys, hats, t-shirts, sweatshirts, ladies and kids merchandise throughout the store. All of the newest gear selections that just arrived will be available.
WHEN: Friday, March 15 from 11 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. ET, Frankie Hejduk to sign autographs from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. ET
WHERE: Crew Stadium – One Black & Gold Blvd., Columbus, OH 43211
** Fans may be redirected by guest attendants to alternate entrances adjacent to the south Crew Stadium parking lot due to Opening Match preparations in the south plaza **
With Saturday's MLS Cup Final between the LA Galaxy and Houston Dynamo looming, it only feels appropriate to revisit the only time Crew Stadium has hosted an MLS Cup Final.
On October 21, 2001, the San Jose Earthquakes outlasted Sigi Schmid's LA Galaxy 2-1 to win MLS Cup behind eventual Cup MVP Dwayne De Rosario's golden goal six minutes into the first overtime period. Landon Donovan also scored for Frank Yallop's Earthquakes, while Luis Hernández tallied for the Galaxy. The victory marked the first of four MLS Cups wins for De Rosario and Donovan. Donovan will be competing for his fifth title on Saturday.
Others who were involved in this historic that will take part in the Final on Saturday include Houston Dynamo Head Coach and then-San Jose assistant Dominic Kinnear (seen hoisting Frank Yallop onto his shoulders in the photo above) and Houston assistant Wade Barrett, who was an Earthquake defender in 2001 (#24 above).
On Saturday, be sure to tune into the Final between the Galaxy and Dynamo at 4:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.
Crew games, International friendlies, sell-out concerts, OHSAA FInals -- Crew Stadium has hosted it all, but Friday will mark the first-ever NCAA Division I football game in the "House that Lamar Built" when Bowling Green squares off against Mid-American Conference rival Buffalo.
Hosting college football has long been a goal for the stadium operations staff.
"On the operations side, we've been trying for a few years to get a MAC game and it's very exciting to bring this level of football to Crew Stadium for the first time," Crew Stadium Senior Director of Stadium Business Development Ryan Smith said. "It's definitely going to be an exciting game. I think the matchup is exciting, and it will be very good for our stadium to expand on on the diverse style of events that we host. This is just an extension of the diverse calendar we try to bring to Crew Stadium."
With a 7-4 record, a win on Friday over Buffalo would further Bowling Green's chances of a bowl bid. Kickoff is slated for 2:00 p.m. ET.
Friday night, Crew Stadium played host to the Zac Brown Band before the Black & Gold's match against the Philadelphia Union on Saturday night. The Crew Stadium groundscrew worked tirelessly around the clock to return the playing surface to its match-ready condition.
"We started last night at 11 o'clock doing work, and we ended just now at 3:45 p.m.," head grounskeeper Weston Appelfeller said Saturday afternoon. "It took 15 hours to get the field turned around. I think we're ready. It looks good, and hopefully it plays well."
Appelfeller has taken pride in having Major League Soccer's top playing surface all season long, and tonight's match shouldn't be any different.
The Crew kicks off against the Union at 7:30 p.m. ET, and plenty of tickets still remain at the Crew Stadium box office.
It's going to be a busy weekend around Crew Stadium. Tonight, Major League Soccer's first soccer-specific stadium will host the Grammy-award winning Zac Brown Band in the stadium's third concert event of 2012. And of course on Saturday night, the tiles shown above will be taken away, and MLS's best kept field will play host to the Crew taking on the Philadelphia Union in a pivotal Eastern Conference matchup.
Tickets still remain for both events.
Admittedly, Houston hasn't been my favorite city I've visited with the Crew this season. It's extremely hot and humid, there's nothing to do around the team hotel, and nearly every restraunt downtown is closed on Sunday.
However, the Dynamo's new BBVA Compass Stadium has made up for the misfortunes mentioned above.
The first thing I noticed when I walked into the stadium: there's a lot of orange in this place.
Outside the press box, images of various Houston Chronicle front pages over the past few years pay homage to Dynamo's short time in Houston.
A Dynamo legend overlooks the entrance to every lower-level section. For example, here's Brian Ching at the entryway to Section 125.
Here's the view from the north end of the stadium, looking toward the stage area. The dimensions of the field at BBVA Compass Stadium are 70 yards x 115 yards to suit the Dynamo's style of play and execution on set pieces. The MLS preference for pitch size is 75 yards x 120 yards.
In the southwest corner of the stadium is where the Dynamo supporters groups sit. No, Crew fans, it's not as big as the Nordecke.
Finally, and most importantly, the Crew's Equipment Manager Rusty Wummel was a happy camper with the spacey visiting locker room.
Love it or hate it, no one can argue that RFK Stadium doesn't hold a special place in Major League Soccer and U.S. Soccer history.
As the League's only stadium that can boast that it's been used since MLS's infancy in 1996, no other site in MLS can boast that it has held World Cup matches for both men and women, 21 U.S. Men's National Team matches, three MLS Cup Finals, and one MLS All-Star Game. Built for football and baseball, RFK stadium has also hosted boxing, bowl games, and various concerts.
RFK Stadium also holds a special place in my heart, because it's where I got my start in MLS as an intern for D.C. United in the summer of 2011. Who knows, without my experience with D.C. United last summer, I might not be writing the article for the Crew right now.
But fear not, Crew fans. In the seven matches in which I worked for D.C. last summer, Ben Olsen's team went 0-4-3 at RFK Stadium. In addition, I traveled to Chicago to see the Black-and-Red draw the Fire 1-1 and drove to my now-home of Crew Stadium to see United's playoff hopes dashed by Eddie Gaven's diving header on October 2, 2011 to go on top of July 21's 1-0 victory. And while the Black & Gold hasn't been wildly successful at RFK-- winning only six times in MLS's 17 year history-- the Crew has taken nine points from its last five matches at the historic stadium in D.C.
Though it is great for MLS that D.C. United may soon get a new stadium in The District within the next few years, you have to appreciate the only stadium that was in use when the league started in 1996 still going strong today. (Even though you may run into cockroaches, raccons, and various other critters in the field-level tunnels.)