Crew View: Dark Kits?

Crew don't fare well when they wear their alternate uniforms

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Although wearing black is supposed to be a slimming technique, the only thin-looking thing about the Crew when they wear their dark kits is the win column.

Columbus have been linked with their all-yellow attire since debuting in 2000, and the club has favored the sunny outfit almost exclusively in recent years. So, when Columbus unveiled their new pinstriped black kit in the 14th game of the season at Houston on Saturday, the soccer gods were already in the Dynamo's corner.

That the Crew managed a scoreless draw at Robertson Stadium was somewhat of a moral victory, since they are now 1-2-4 in MLS play while wearing black over the past three seasons. It should be noted, though, that only one of those games – a 1-0 win vs. D.C. United in the 2008 regular-season finale – was at home.

Not only did Columbus have to showcase the cursed black duds, but they did so at one of the worst possible times – in the 90-degree heat of Houston in July.

“The sun went down early, so it wasn’t that much of a factor, but it was definitely hotter in the black uniforms,” Robbie Rogers said.

If the league was concerned that the yellow would clash with the Dynamo’s bright orange shirts, Rogers offered a possible solution for the Crew.

“All whites should be optional, especially in the summer,” he said. “If I had a little more power, I’d work on it.”

There have been variations to Columbus’ uncharacteristic away uniform with mixed results. In 2002, a dark gray third kit was used for the US Open Cup matches, but it was retired after the Columbus won the championship.

Earlier, on Aug. 25, 2001, a yellow top-black shorts-yellow socks scheme was unveiled by coach Greg Andrulis in a match against D.C. United. The Crew went into the match on a 7-0-2 streak but lost 2-1 at RFK Stadium and the combination was never used again until Andrulis was fired four years later.

STEADY SHIP – The Crew went into the World Cup break with two losses and a tie, and have, unsurprisingly, come out with two wins and a tie.

“This team is very even keel,” goalkeeper William Hesmer said. “We never get too high, we never get too low. We never read too much into where somebody ranks us or predicts the MLS Cup champion in June or July. We keep going about our business and we keep trying to get points.”

UP AHEAD – Kansas City visit on Wednesday to kick off Columbus’ three-game homestand.

New York come to Crew Stadium on Saturday, trailing the first place Crew by two points in the Eastern Conference. The Red Bulls will have announced their second designated player signing by then, but it is unlikely that he will play.

The key decision for Crew coach Robert Warzycha is whether to use star forward Guillermo Barros Schelotto, 37, in both matches. The answer is probably yes, based on the Argentine’s starts against San Jose on June 2 and and Colorado three days later.

A NUMBER OF THINGS – Last week, Warzycha employed 21 different starters for a US Open Cup match and the game at Houston. The two-time starter was defender Chad Marshall.

The only ones not in the starting XI were midfielders Kevin Burns, Leandre Griffit and rookie Othaniel Yanez. The latter is the lone player not to have at least a minute in either MLS or the Open Cup.