With an extra day to prepare for Sunday's match against Sporting Kansas City, Crew Head Coach Robert Warzycha decided to give his team a break from the daily training regimen on Wednesday morning. In lieu of training, the team went bowling as a team-building activity.
"Everything that we do is based on how we can get better as a team and do what is necessary for us to win the game," Warzycha said Wednesday afternoon.
"Team chemistry is just as important as fitness or anything else," the Head Coach continued. "I think it was a good time to bring everybody to bowling, because the guys that are injured that are not with the team every single day because they're in treatment and everything else, they were there too. To have the entire team together before the final stretch, before the end of the season, it was very important."
The team enjoyed a day without thinking about soccer.
"Sometimes, you need to spend time enjoying your teammates and your coaches," defender Sebastián Miranda explained. "It was avery good opportunity to maybe forget soccer and playing, and bond with your teammates. You can laugh. You can talk with your teammates and not talk about soccer, and try to enjoy [the team atmosphere] a little bit."
So, who was the best bowler on the team?
"After me, Netzo [Nemanja Vukovic] was a very big surprise," Miranda said with a laugh. "He was a big surprise."
The Crew will resume its normal training schedule Thursday morning at Crew Stadium.
(Photo Credit: Tucker Walther)
Conference play resumed around NCAA Division I soccer this week. Here are some highlights from Crew Youth alumni playing around the country:
Akron Zips (6-1-2) This Week: 4-0 W vs. Buffalo
The Zips moved to 2-0-0 in MAC play by beating Buffalo 4-0 on Saturday at Cub Cadet Field. Crew Youth product Eric Stevenson assisted on Akron's third goal in the romp.
Louisville Cardinals (5-4-0) This Week: 2-1 L at Rutgers
After upsetting Notre Dame last week, the Cardinals dropped a 2-1 result on the road to Rutgers. Alex Obbey nearly had the equalizer in the 78th minute, but his attempt was blocked by a Scarlet Knights defender.
Xavier Musketeers (6-0-2) This Week: 5-0 W vs. Thomas More
Xavier wrapped up non-conference play with a 5-0 victory over Thomas More. Matt Walker had a goal and two assists in the win. Next up, the Musketeers put its unbeaten record on the line at home against Saint Louis on Friday.
Ohio State Buckeyes (4-6-1) This Week: 4-1 W vs. Butler, 3-2 L at Michigan
The Buckeyes scored a season-high four goals on Wednesday against Butler. Sage Gardner had the fourth tally of the evening, converting from the penalty spot for his first goal of the season. OSU dropped a heartbreaker in Ann Arbor on Sunday, losing 3-2 in overtime.
UCLA Bruins- (7-1-2) This Week: 3-1 W at Stanford, 3-1 W at California
Matt Wiet captained the No. 6 ranked Bruins to a pair of 3-1 PAC12 victories in Northern California this weekend. UCLA will host Oregon State and Washington in the upcoming weekend.
Also in action, the Crew Jrs. U-16 and U-18 squads swept the weekend with both sides beating Shattuck-Saint Mary's and the Minnesota Thunder.
Photo Credit: GoXavier.com
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.
Join us at Barley’s Brewing Company Ale House No. 1 in Short North (467 N. High St., 43215) for the official post-game party featuring Crew players and fans following Saturday's match! Enter to win great prizes and enjoy specials from Budweiser plus enjoy some of Barley's amazing food.
More info at - www.barleysbrewing.com
To help celebrate the release of EA Sports FIFA 13 and look ahead to the Crew's remaining four matches, I will be playing against a different Crew player each week as one of the team's upcoming opponents. This week, I squared off with rookie midfielder Kevan George playing as the Crew, while I took control of the Philadelphia Union.
Many Crew Youth products began conference play at their respective universiities this week. Here are some highlights from across the country:
Akron Zips- (5-1-2) This Week: 2-0 vs. Bowling Green
The Zips kicked off MAC play with a 2-0 win against in-state rival Bowling Green. Captain Chad Barson, Wil Trapp, Andrew Souders, Eric Stevenson, and Thomas Schmitt all contributed to the shutout.
Louisville Cardinals (5-3-0) This Week: 4-0 W vs. Ohio State, 2-1 W vs. Notre Dame
The University of Louisville responded after a loss to rival Kentucky with a 4-0 dismantling of Ohio State before knocking off No. 4 Notre Dame to open Big East play. Alex Obbey started and registered a shot in each of the victories.
Xavier Musketeers- (5-0-2) This week: 2-0 W at IPFW, 1-0 W vs. Missouri St.
The Musketeers earned back-to-back victories this week with wins over IPFW and Missouri State. Crew Soccer Academy product Will Walker registered an assist in the win against IPFW, while his brother Matt's blast in the 81st minute broke the 0-0 stalemate to lead Xavier to victory over Missouri State.
UCLA Bruins- (5-1-2) This Week: 1-1 D at UCSB, 1-0 W at Cal Poly
Captain Matt Wiet led the Bruins to a 1-1 stalemate with UC Santa Barbara in a nationally televised affair on Friday night before beating Cal Poly on Sunday. Wiet played in every minute of both matches.
Photo Credit: UofLsports.com
Original Crew players Todd Yeagley and Brian Maisonneuve returned to Columbus on Sunday to lead the Indiana Hoosiers to a 2-0 victory over the Ohio State Buckeyes in the teams' Big Ten opener. Yeagley, the Hoosiers' Head Coach, and his assistant, Maisonneuve, were happy to be back in their old stomping grounds.
"Columbus is a great town," Maisonneuve said after the match. "I tell everybody I spent nine years here, and it does feel like a second home at times. Driving through, it's neat to look around and see the changes. It's a great city with some unbelievable people."
"There are a lot of good fans here and we know so many people from when we were here for so many years. We have some pretty close ties. It's just neat to see everybody," the inaugural Crew captain continued.
"It's always fun to see the familiar area," Yeagley added. "We trained here at Ohio State in the early years, over in the general spot by the Horseshoe. It always brings back great memories when we pass the Varsity Club and other spots. It's always good to be back."
Yeagley, Maisonneuve, and the Hoosiers are 6-1-1 this season and currently ranked No. 15 in the NSCAA poll. IU has its sight set on its eighth National Championship, and first since Danny O'Rourke led the Cream and Crimson to back-to-back titles in 2003 and 2004. But Yeagley says his squad has a way to go to reach its full potential.
"We don't quite know what we have with this group right now," the Head Coach explained. "We've been inconsistent in performances and we need to get better with consistency. We're sitting well with results at this point, but we know what it's going to take to make a deep run. We've shown signs that we can, but there have also been signs that we need time."
"We're just looking to get better each week and see where we can go with this."
Photo credit: IU Athletics