Radio voice of the Columbus Crew Neil Sika previews Sunday's matchup with Montreal. Neil describes the weather situation in Quebec that caused the match to be pushed back to Sunday and what the mood of the team is like with an extra day on the road.
Catch all of the action on Sunday starting at 11:35 a.m. with the Crew Pre-Game Show on 106.7 FM.
GOALS GONE WILD ON THE ROAD
Headed up against the Eastern Conference-leading Montreal Impact, the Crew does have an advantage when it comes to road success in 2013. The Black & Gold lead MLS in road goals with six through three away matches ... after scoring three goals to open the year at Chivas USA (March 2) the Crew has continued to score on the road with a single goal in the 2-1 loss at Vancouver (March 9) before netting a pair in the 2-1 win at D.C. (March 23).
GRUENEBAUM TESTED AND DELIVERING
Through five games this season, Andy Gruenebaum is one of eight MLS goalkeepers with a goals against average of 1.00 or less ... six of those ‘keepers -- including Gruenebaum -- have started in each of their team’s matches ... not only has the 30-year-old Crew netminder seen the third-most shots of the eight ‘keepers with a 1.00 GAA or less, but Gruenebaum also has recorded 15 saves -- a feat only three others on that list have accomplished ... the list of the six aforementioned ‘keepers is below:
BACK TO CANADA FOR THE CREW
Saturday’s trip to Montreal is the Crew’s second trip to Canada in 2013 and 11th overall regular-season match north of the border ... although the Black & Gold fell 2-1 to Vancouver on March 9, the Crew has secured points in eight of the 10 previous meetings up North and is 3-2-5 in those Canadian-hosted matches ... in addition to the 1-1-0 record at Vancouver, Columbus is unbeaten (2-0-5) in seven matches at Toronto FC ... prior to the early-season loss at Whitecaps FC, the club’s only previous Canadian blemish was a 2-1 loss to Montreal on July 8, 2012 in the inaugural visit to Stade Saputo ... additional Ohio ties to Canada include rookie defender Drew Beckie who was born in Regina, Saskatchewan.
FINDING THE BACK OF THE NET
After being shut out in two of the team’s first five matches in 2012, the Crew has scored in each of its first five matches this season ... the Black & Gold are among five other teams that have not been shut out in 2013 ... that list includes FC Dallas, LA, Philadelphia, Portland and Vancouver ... Chivas USA has not been shut out since the Black & Gold blanked the Goats 3-0 in the season-opener on March 2.
The Crew has provided plenty of second-half excitement thus far in 2013 as the club has scored seven of of its eight goals after halftime ... Josh Williams scored the team’s only first-half goal in the 15th minute at D.C. on March 23 ... as a point of comparison, last season the Black & Gold recorded 21 of their 34 goals after the second-half whistle ... this year, the Crew has seen goals just seconds into the second half (Arrieta, 46’ at VAN on 3/9) as well as an insurance goal in second-half stoppage time (Oduro, 94+’ at CHV on 3/2).
MLSSoccer.com's Nick Firchau counts down the Top 5 Wardrobe Malfunctions in MLS History. A familiar face shows up in the top spot.
Through six weeks of the 2013 season, the Crew remains in the top half of most MLS Power Rankings. See where the Black & Gold rank in the minds of the national media and read what others are saying about the Crew:
Sports Illustrated: 9th
ESPN FC: 11th
Soccer By Ives: 9th
On April 13, 1996, the Crew played its first-ever MLS match. The Black & Gold topped D.C. United 4-0, behind a Brian McBride brace in front of 25, 266 fans at Ohio Stadium. The first tally in Crew history was actually an own-goal commited by the United defense in the 18th minute.
Bo Oshoniyi, Mike Clark, Mark Watson, Janusz Michallik, Billy Thompson, Doctor Khumalo, Shane Batelle, Brian Bliss, Pete Marino, Brian McBride and Adrian Paz formed the first starting XI for the Black & Gold, while Todd Yeagley, Brian Maisonneuve and Mac Cozier came off the bench in the victory.
Grantland.com's Roger Bennett and U.S. Men's National Team legend Alexi Lalas have constructed a guide for fans looking to jump on an MLS club's bandwagon. Here's what the two have to say about Crew supporters:
A toasty glow radiated out from this club whose fans revel in the Crew’s past glories and hard-hat work ethic. Yet, at the center its genuine midwestern goodness lies a complexity: This is a team that has learned to savor and celebrate everything and everyone unabashedly. It's a trait that makes this the perfect rooting interest for those who savor the big hugs and musical comedy stylings of Glee. William McKinley High School may be located about 90 miles away in Lima, Ohio, but the Crew shares its culture of upbeat, tolerant humanism. Witness Frankie Hejduk, a fish-out-of-water Finn Hudson type who arrived as a laid-back Southern California surfer dude yet somehow fit right in. That's proof this is a team even Blaine Anderson could love. In his words, “If we all share musical shame with each other, we could all become a more cohesive team for regionals.”
What do you think of the duo's description of the Crew fanbase?
Comment below and read the whole article on Grantland.
With Louisville's appearance in the National Championship game, Drew Beckie jumped from third to first to win the 2013 Crew Bracket Challenge. It's the second year in a row that a rookie has won the challenge as the Canadian joins Ethan Finlay, who took the crown last year.
- Drew Beckie - 219 pts.
- Wil Trapp - 183
- Aaron Schoenfeld - 176
- Eric Gehrig - 159
The Scoring System:
- 3 points for each team correctly picked to advance to the Round of 32.
- 5 points for each team picked in the Sweet 16.
- 10 points for each team in the Elite 8.
- 25 points for each team in the Final 4.
- 50 points for each team in the National Championship.
- 100 points for correctly picking the National Champion.
After a break in play during Easter weekend, the Crew Soccer Academy returned to action to take on their brethren to the North, the CSA Wolves in Michigan. The weekend clash was the only match for the U-16 and U-18 squads. The U-16s fell to CSA Wolves 3-1 while the U-18s played to a 1-1 draw.
Crew Soccer Academy striker Ahinga Selemani showcased the Academy on the international stage on Sunday, as the CSA Wolves product added the final tally in the United States' 3-0 victory over Haiti in group play of the CONCACAF U-17 Championship in Panama. The U.S. U-17s are back in action Thursday as they take on Guatemala at 7:00 p.m. ET (FOX Soccer).
On the youth levels, Crew Juniors kicked-off their Crew Youth 2013 Spring Season with the Crew Youth Friendlies, with nearly 100 games played across three days. In addition to the soccer action, a used-gear swap was hosted featuring donated soccer cleats, shin guards, soccer balls and soccer clothing exchanged amongst younger players, with surplus items donated to donated to the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department.
CREW YOUTH UPDATE ROUND-UP
Carter Richardson returned to net for the Black & Gold after spending the past few months in Bradenton, Fla. with the U.S. U-17 Residency Program as CSA fell to the Wolves 3-1. Hunter Barone netted a first half brace for the Wolves, while Kalenga Selemani added a third in the 65th minute. Devyn Etling scored CSA's only goal of the match. With the win, the Wolves clinched a playoff spot as they sit atop the Central Conference table in U.S. Soccer Development Academy play. CSA is currently in sixth-place after 18 matches.
The CSA and CSA Wolves U-18 squads played to a 1-1 draw as Nate Kohl and Ben Swanson returned to the Black & Gold. Ali Jawad gave the Wolves a 1-0 lead in the 31st minute before Charlie Reymann equalized for CSA five minutes later. CSA is currently in fifth place of the USSDA U-18 Central Conference, while the Wolves trail in ninth-place.
The CSA U-16s and U-18s return to action on April 20 when the squad travels to St. Louis to face the Scott Gallagher Metro and Missouri teams. The CSA Wolves U-16 and U-18s are in action this weekend as they travel to face Milwaukee FC on Saturday at 11:00 a.m. ET and Sockers FC in Chicago on Sunday at 10:00 a.m. ET
Jared Montz, former MLS player and founder of OnlineSoccerAcademy.com, visited Columbus for his series “Soccer Walking America.” The 45-day, 15-city video series tour promotes World Malaria Day and hits every MLS city in the U.S.
Check out his visit to Crew Stadium and club training as he juggles with Black & Gold players Dominic Oduro, Ben Speas, Konrad Warzycha and Wil Trapp.
For more information on Soccer Walking America click here.
The Crew travels to Montreal for the first of three matches with the Impact in 2013 this Saturday. Before the Black & Gold head north of the border, let's look back at the three meetings between the two sides in 2012.
A 16th minute red card to Impact defender Jeb Brovsky, followed by a Milovan Mirosevic penalty kick at the half-hour mark lifted the Crew its first win of 2012 in last year's home opener. A second half goal from Olman Vargas on the end of a Shaun Francis cross put the icing on the cake in the first-ever meeting between the two sides.
In its first trip to Stade Saputo, the Crew saw its 1-0 lead vanish in the final 12 minutes of the match after Zarek Valentin's 78th minute tally drew the Impact level. An 89th minute penalty surrendered by Chris Birchall spelled doom for the Black & Gold as Patrice Bernier converted from the spot to lead the home team to victory.
Battling back from a 1-0 deficit at home, Federico Higuaín provided assists to Chad Marshall and Emilio Rentería to lift the Crew to its fourth-straight victory. Rentería's stoppage time tally was the Black & Gold's third-straight winner to come in the final 10 minutes of play.