Crew News & Notes - October 28

Crew opens MLS Cup 2010 Playoffs campaign Thursday at Colorado

Jason Garey

Photo Credit: 
Jamie Sabau (Getty Images)

The Crew begins its 2010 playoff quest in Colorado Thursday night, when it takes on the Rapids in the first leg of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Denver, Colo.

The match kicks off at 9 p.m. ET and will be televised nationally on ESPN2 with JP Dellacamera and John Harkes calling all the action. It can also be heard in on News/Talk 610 WTVN, with Neil Sika behind the microphone. Claddagh Irish Pub, the Official Away Game Headquarters of the Crew, will host a viewing party at its 585 S. Front Street location.

The Crew finished the season second in the Eastern conference, closing with a convincing 3-1 win over the Philadelphia Union on Sunday (Oct. 24). Guillermo Barros Schelotto (9), Emilio Renteria (5) and Andres Mendoza (2) all scored for the Black & Gold while Eddie Gaven (5) recorded and assist on Renteria’s game-winner. Crew goalkeeper William Hesmer, however, was forced to leave the match late in the game with a fractured (glenoid) shoulder.

This is the third consecutive trip to the playoffs for the Black & Gold, who won the MLS Cup in 2008 then fell to eventual champion Real Salt Lake in the Eastern Conference Semifinals last year.

The Rapids capped the regular season with a 2-2 draw against Real Salt Lake, finishing fifth in the Western Conference with a record of 12-8-10. Colorado enters the playoffs for the first time since 2006 when it lost 3-1 on aggregate to eventual MLS Cup champion Houston Dynamo in the Conference finals.

The Rapids and the Crew have never met in postseason action and Colorado holds the all-time regular-season advantage over the Black & Gold with a record of 15-10-8. The two teams split the series this year with the Rapids taking the first match at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park 1-0 on June 5 and the Crew defeating the Rapids at Crew Stadium 3-1 on Aug. 17 with goals by Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Jason Garey and Steven Lenhart.

The Crew will host the second leg of the Eastern Conference semifinals on Saturday, Nov. 6, at 4 p.m. at Crew Stadium. Should the Black & Gold advance as the higher seed, it would host the Conference final between Nov. 11-14.

COLUMBUS CREW at COLORADO RAPIDS
Eastern Conference Semifinals – First Leg
Thursday, Oct. 28 – 9 p.m. ET – Dick’s Sporting Goods Park
National Television: ESPN2
Radio: News/Talk 610 WTVN (English)

SECOND LEG OF THE EASTERN CONFERENCE SEMIS IS NOV. 6 AT CREW STADIUM
With the Crew holding the higher seed in this home-and-away series, the second leg of the Eastern Conference semifinal will be played at Crew Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 6, at 4 p.m. Should the Black & Gold be the higher remaining seed, it would host the Eastern Conference Championship between Nov. 11-14. Individual tickets as well as two-game packages are available at the Crew Stadium Box Office and all central Ohio Ticketmaster retail locations, via Ticketmaster phone at 800-745-3000 and on-line at TheCrew.com and Ticketmaster.com. 

MLS CUP 2010 PLAYOFFS FORMAT
Conference Semifinal series are conducted in a home-and-home, aggregate-goal format. The lower seeded team in the Conference Semifinal hosts the first game. The winners of those four series advance to single-game Conference Championships that will determine the MLS Cup Finalists. The team that scores the most goals in the home-and-home series advances to the single elimination Conference Championship. If the teams are tied after 180 minutes in the Conference Semifinal series, a 30-minute extra time period (divided into two 15-minute periods) will be played followed by kicks from the penalty mark, if necessary. The team with the higher seed between the two Conference finalists will host the Conference Championship game. In the case of ties after 90 minutes of regulation in the Eastern and Western Conference Championship games and MLS Cup, 30 minutes of extra time (divided into two 15-minute periods) would be played followed by kicks from the penalty mark, if necessary, to determine the winners.
 
FINAL GAME OF REGULAR SEASON BITTERSWEET
Sunday’s (Oct. 24) regular-season finale against the Philadelphia Union was bittersweet for the Crew, as it lost starting goalkeeper William Hesmer to a fractured shoulder while defeating the Union 3-1. Just a week earlier, Hesmer had stunned the crowd at BMO Field with a game-tying stoppage time goal against Toronto FC that was named Goal of the Year at Monday night’s Team Awards Ceremony. Hesmer was replaced by 2010 team MVP and Fan Choice Award recipient Eddie Gaven who recorded two saves in his five minutes between the posts.

PLAYOFF RALLY AT LA MICHOACANA MARKETS THIS SATURDAY
The Crew will hold a playoff rally at La Michoacana Mexican Markets (2175 Morse Rd. Columbus, OH 43229) on Saturday, Oct. 30, from 3 to 5 p.m. Fans are encouraged to stop by and enjoy $1 beer and taco specials while creating Crew Playoff banners with La Turbina Amarilla (the Crew’s Hispanic supporter’s group). And have the kids dress up in Crew gear to get some Halloween and Dia de Los Muertos treats.

ONE MORE FOR THE RECORD BOOKS
The Crew added one more milestone to its record books in 2010. The Black & Gold is the only team in Major League Soccer to qualify for the playoffs and advance to both the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions League and the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final. The Crew finished the season with a 14-8-8 record (50 pts.), marking just the second time in club history it has reached the 50-point plateau. It actually finished with more one point than last year, when it won its second successive Supporters’ Shield, and advanced in the CCL with four more points than last season (12-8).  

ANDY GRUENEBAUM CALLED INTO ACTION
With William Hesmer out for the rest of the season, the Crew will rely on backup goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum to take over between the posts. Gruenebaum did not see Major League Soccer regular-season action but he was instrumental in both the CONCACAF Champions League and U.S. Open Cup tournaments. Gruenebaum started every game of both competitions and has posted a 7-3-0 record while recording 0.80 GAA. Chase Harrison has been signed to a short-term contract to back-up Gruenebaum during the playoffs.

AUTOGRAPH ALLEY POSTER AUCTION IN FULL SWING
For the fifth straight year, the Crew is auctioning off the signed posters used at Autograph Alley via an on-line auction at TheCrew.com. The auctions are now live and close this Friday afternoon, Oct. 29. All proceeds benefit the club’s charitable arm, the Crew Soccer Foundation. Bid Now!

JOSH WILLIAMS ON CREW EXTRA THIS WEDNESDAY AT 8 AND 11 P.M. ON ONN-TV
This week on CrewXtra, the Crew’s weekly show on ONN-TV, host Beau Bishop will be joined by Crew defender Josh Williams and the "Voice of the Crew," Dwight Burgess, at 8 and 11 p.m. CrewXtra is broadcast every Wednesday and provides viewers with in-depth coverage and access to the team every week, including game recaps, breakdowns and previews of the upcoming matches, while interspersing other news, interviews, discussion and features.