Crew News & Notes - March 8

Crew opens 2012 MLS season at Colorado Rapids on Saturday

The Columbus Crew travels to Commerce City, Colo., this Saturday, March 10, to face the Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park as part of MLS First Kick 2012 weekend, presented by Dick’s Sporting Goods. It will be the lone meeting of the season between the Crew and the Rapids.
 
Saturday’s match will kick off at 6 p.m. (ET) and be televised live regionally on FOX Sports Ohio, with Dwight Burgess and Duncan Oughton calling all the action. The game can be heard in English on News/Talk 610 WTVN and on-line at TheCrew.com, and in Spanish on La Mega 103.1, with Neil Sika and Carlos Cordova handling play-by-play responsibilities, respectively.  

The Crew has an all-time record of 11-17-8 against the Rapids in all competitions. Last year, the teams split regular-season results, with the Black & Gold winning 4-1 on June 26, behind goals by Eddie Gaven, Andres Mendoza (2) and Tommy Heinemann. The Rapids responded on Aug. 5 with a 2-0 win at DSG Park. The teams met again in the MLS Cup Playoffs on Oct. 26, with the Rapids edging the Crew, 1-0, in a single-elimination Wild Card game behind a goal from University of Cincinnati product Omar Cummings.
 
The Crew made some significant changes in the off-season. The Black & Gold signed Chilean midfielder Milovan Mirosevic and Costa Rican forward Olman Vargas, and selected veteran defender Carlos Mendes from New York in the MLS Re-Entry Draft. The Crew also signed two more Homegrown Players, goalkeeper Matt Lampson and 2012 NCCA Men’s College Cup MVP Ben Speas.
 
After winning MLS Cup in 2010, Colorado finished last season fifth in the Western Conference with a 12-9-13 record. The Rapids made some moves of their own in the offseason, beginning with the appointment of new head coach Oscar Pareja. They have parted ways with forward Caleb Folan and traded forward Mac Kandji to Houston, but are bringing back a core of players including charismatic captain Pablo Mastroeni and forwards Cummings and Conor Casey.
 
Casey, the Rapids’ all-time leading scorer will be unavailable as he is still recovering from a season-ending torn achilles tendon injury suffered last July 16. Defender Anthony Wallace will also be unavailable, having suffered a similar injury in training this week.
 
After a bye week, the Crew will play host to the expansion Montreal Impact on Saturday, March 24, at 4 p.m. 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.
 

COLUMBUS CREW at Colorado Rapids
Saturday, March 10 – 6 p.m. (ET) – Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, Commerce City, CO
Regional Television: FOX Sports Ohio
Crew Radio: News/Talk 610 WTVN (English); La Mega 103.1 (Spanish)
Crew Webcast: TheCrew.com (English)

CREW KICKS OFF PUB TOUR AT THREE-LEGGED MARE IN ARENA DISTRICT
The Crew is kicking off its 2012 Pub Tour with a viewing party at The Three-Legged Mare, a brand new pub in the Arena District (401 North Front Street), this Saturday, March 10, as the Black & Gold opens its 17th MLS season at Colorado. The match kicks off at 6 p.m. (ET) and there will be prizes and giveaways, including autographed memorabilia.
 
CREW SOCCER ACADEMY FINISHES WEEKEND UNDEFEATED
The Crew Soccer Academy resumed its U.S. Soccer Development Academy Schedule last weekend with a pair of wins against Andromeda FC of Texas and a pair of draws against Solar Chelsea SC, also from the Lone Star state, at Ohio Dominican University. On Saturday, March 3, the U18s convincingly defeated Andromeda 5-0 behind goals by Brett Elder, Gavin Craig, Zachary Leedom, Zachary Mason and Nicholas Parianos. The U16s also dispatched their Texan counterparts, by a 2-0 score, with goals from Nathan Kohl and Jared Robinson. On Sunday, March 4, both the U16’s and U18’s matches ended in scoreless draws against Solar. The CSA U16s and U18s now travel to Indianapolis to face the Indiana United Fire Academy on Saturday, March 10, at the University of Indianapolis fields. The U18s match will kick off at 11 a.m. followed by the 16s at 1:30 p.m.
 
KEVAN GEORGE CALLED INTO TRINIDAD & TOBAGO U-23 CAMP

Crew draftee Kevan George has been called into Trinidad & Tobago’s Under-23 National Team camp in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., in advance of the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament, which they kick off against Mexico on March 23 at The Home Depot Center in Carson Calif. The Soca Warriors will play five tune-up matches in Florida over two weeks before the Olympic qualifying roster is announced.