Crew News & Notes - March 16

Regular season opens Saturday at D.C.

Crew vs. DC United

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The Columbus Crew is set to travel to RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., for MLS FirstKick 2011 presented by Dick’s Sporting Goods, against D.C. United this Saturday, March 19, at 7:30 p.m.

The match will be televised live regionally on ONN with Dwight Burgess and Duncan Oughton calling all the action. The game can also be heard in English on News/Talk 610 WTVN and on-line at TheCrew.com, with Neil Sika behind the microphone, and in Spanish on La Mega 103.1, with Carlos Cordova and Benny Pietrangelo on the call.

Both teams made significant moves in the offseason, with D.C. picking up former U.S. National Team stalwart Charlie Davies on loan from Sochaux of France’s Ligue 1. Among the Crew’s moves was re-signing veteran forward Jeff Cunningham, who spent his first seven MLS seasons in Black & Gold. Cunningham enters Saturday’s match tied for the Crew’s all-time goal scoring lead (62 with Brian McBride) and just one goal behind the league’s all-time scoring record held by longtime United stalwart Jaime Moreno.

The Crew defeated D.C. three times in 2010, twice in the regular season and once the U.S. Open Cup semifinals. Most recently, the Black & Gold won back-to-back matches at RFK Stadium on Sept. 1 (2-1 in OT in the Open Cup) and Sept. 4 (1-0).

The Crew enters the match with momentum after winning the Atlanta Pro Soccer Challenge in Kennesaw, Ga., with wins over New England and Houston. The Black & Gold convincingly defeated the Revs, 3-1, last Wednesday (March 9), behind goals by Tommy Heinemann (2) and Bernardo Anor. Then on Friday (March 11) it shut out the Dynamo, 1-0, behind a goal from forward Andres Mendoza.

The Black & Gold will open its 13th season at Crew Stadium on Saturday, March 26, at 4 p.m. as it hosts Thierry Henry and the New York Red Bulls. Tickets for that match – and single-game tickets for all 17 regular-season matches – are on sale now, at the Crew Stadium Box Office, all central Ohio Ticketmaster retail locations, via Ticketmaster phone at 1-800-745-3000 and on-line at TheCrew.com. For complete promotional schedule, please visit: http://www.thecrew.com/tickets/2011-promotional-schedule.

COLUMBUS CREW at D.C. United
MLS FirstKick 2011
Saturday, March 19 – 7:30 p.m. – RFK Stadium, Washington, D.C.
National Television: N/A; Regional Television: ONN
Crew Radio: News/Talk 610 WTVN (English); La Mega 103.1 (Spanish)
Crew Webcasts: TheCrew.com (English)

FIRST AWAY GAME VIEWING PARTY AT 4TH STREET BAR AND GRILL THIS SATURDAY
The Crew will host its first viewing party of the season this Saturday (March 19) at 4th Street Patio Bar and Grill (1810 N. 4th Street Columbus, OH 43201). It will be the first stop in the Crew’s new Pub Watch Party Tour presented by Budweiser. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m., as the Crew takes on D.C. United on ONN. There will be drink specials on Budweiser products, a raffle for an autographed Crew jersey, an appearance from members of the Crewzers Professional Dance Team and opportunities to win First Kick 2011 tickets.  

CREW PRESIDENT MARK McCULLERS TO CHAT WITH FANS ONLINE THURSDAY
The Crew will host a live chat with President & General Manager Mark McCullers on TheCrew.com this Thursday, March 17, at 11:30 a.m. McCullers will answer questions from fans about the upcoming MLS season and all things Crew.

CREW SOCCER ACADEMY RETURNS TO ACTION IN DETROIT, HEADS TO CLEVELAND NEXT
The Crew Soccer Academy 17/18 and 15/16 boys returned to action in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy League over the weekend in Detroit. On Saturday, March 12, the 15/16s tied the Derby County Wolves, 2-2, with goals by Alexander Crognale and David Witkoff, and on Sunday, March 13, they defeated Vardar, 2-0, with goals by Alexander Ranalli and Charlie Noll Reymann. The 17/18s fell by identical 2-0 scores in both games. Next up for the 15/16s is a match in Cleveland against Internationals this Saturday (March 19) at 4:30 p.m. at the Pinnacle Sports Complex.

TECHNICAL DIRECTOR BRIAN BLISS ON CREW XTRA THIS WEDNESDAY
After a week’s hiatus, CrewXtra returns on ONN this Wednesday at 8, 8:30, 11 and 11:30 p.m. Crew Technical Director Brian Bliss will be joining host Beau Bishop, the Dispatch’s Shawn Mitchell and the “Voice of the Crew,” Dwight Burgess, as they discuss Saturday’s opener at D.C. and the upcoming 2011 season.