Week 19 Matchday 19: Impact Take 2

Chicago_470x345 Crew SC vs Chicago Fire Nordecke Tickets July 19th

July 4th certainly provided some fireworks for Crew SC thanks to a total team effort against New York RedBull lead by Ethan Finlay and Kei Kamara.  This was the type of game that a supporter really gets up for.  Two teams, evenly matched, going end to end in a proverbial 6 pointer.  The Black and Gold won the 3 points to propel themselves to 2nd in the East and keep the momentum swinging upward with their second straight home win.  With Wil Trapp getting back after a long injury layoff and Cedrick Mabwati arriving in town to hopefully bolster the attack, one can’t help but feel the second half of the season is going to be special.

In order to keep the party going, the Massive is going to have to do something it hasn’t done by winning a road game as they next head to Montreal July 11th at 8pm.  In their first meeting, the Crew found themselves at their lowest point in a stretch of games where nothing went right.  Montreal came into Columbus and took it to the Black and Gold all night, winning coach Frank Klopas’ first road victory for the Impact since joining the side 2 years ago.  That result has done nothing for the Impact’s season as they continue to sit second to last in the East on 18pts.  The Crew on the other hand as gone 2-0-2 since that game.

This is a game the Crew simply should win and have to win to keep this string of positive results going forward.  It’s not going to be easy, however.  Montreal is a team that always gives Crew SC a hard match especially in Montreal.  Their counterattacking style and team speed is something that just gives the Massive fits.  Still if this team is going to show the caliber of play they are capable of and continue to move up the table, it’s these kinds of teams they have to exploit.

I hope you’ll join Crew Union at 4th Street Bar and Grill for our away watch party.  Remember to bring your membership card for 20% off drinks and 25% off food.  If you’re in the Cincinnati or Cleveland area, check out their bars to watch with other Crew fans. Please go here for details.  Tickets for the July 19th Shitcago match are on sale in the webstore as well.

Congratulations to the Women’s National Team on their 3rd World Cup Championship.  Carli Lloyds 3rd goal is easily 1 of the top 10 goals I’ve ever seen; Men’s or Women’s.  Here all three of them are in all their glory.  Hopefully some of that World Cup magic can be passed on to the Men’s team as they begin Gold Cup play this month.

Glory to Columbus!!!!

Week 18 Matchday 18: The Second Half

NY_470x345 July 4th Crew SC vs NYRB Nordecke Tickets

I took a couple weeks off to recharge and what a two weeks it’s been.  Crew SC tied LA, advanced in the USOC by beating USL side Richmond, got their first win since May beating New England in their first come from behind win, and got a good road point against RSL coming back twice from a goal down.  While the team still is having defensive lapses, the Black and Gold are starting to look like a team coming out of a slump heading into the second half of the 2015 season.

Before the second half of the season can start, the Massive must travel to Orlando to face the expansion side in the Round of 16 of the US Open Cup June 30th at 7:30pm.  The last round was broadcast by USSF on YouTube.  There’s been no word if they plan to do the same with this round, but if they do, we’ll let you know.  The two teams have played twice already this year with the Crew winning at home and drawing on the road.  Orlando will come in the more rested team having not played last week.  Both sides will have league games Saturday, so it should be interesting to see if the managers throw out the first teams or save it for league play.

If the Crew are to improve on their first half standing, the month of July will be a critical stepping stone with 5 games all against Eastern Conference opponents; 3 of which are home games.  The month kicks off on Independence Day against NY Red Bull at Mapfre Stadium at 7:30pm.  NY, which sits at 23pts and 4th in the East, and Columbus last meet in March.  NY dominated the Crew in a 2-1 home defeat.  Since then, the Red Bull have followed somewhat the same path Crew SC has.  Sometimes they show the promise they had early in the season and sometimes not.  Like the Black and Gold, they are starting to show signs of breaking out.  It should be a hell of a good game against two teams evenly matched.

Tickets are still available in the Nordecke for this match, but they won’t last long.  The tailgate will get going about 4pm for the match at the megatailgate spot.  North High Brewing will be on hand for members.  The Ole Farts will be back for another catered tailgate serving up hamburgers and hot dogs to celebrate America.  Then after the Crew serve up fireworks in the game, they’ll serve up fireworks after the game too.  Should be lots of fun so I hope you’ll join us.

Glory to Columbus!!!!

Week 15 Matchday 15: Redemption

It’s been a rough 4 weeks to be a Crew SC fan to say the least.  What once looked like a team hitting it’s stride in the Seattle game has morphed into a team with a whole lot of question marks and concerns.  To put it quite frankly, the Black and Gold have faced 5 straight opponents that just aren’t in any way good teams and they only came away with 2pts.  That simply isn’t good enough for what this team is capable of accomplishing.

So where exactly are the wheels coming off the CBus?  You have to start with the defense.   The Crew have given up 2 or more goals in the last 7 games; the longest streak in Crew SC history.  The easy thing to do is blame the defenders for defensive mistakes, but overall the team defending has just been lousy.  A lot of the problems has to do with where the team is losing the ball.  Too often the Crew are losing the ball in the back or in the middle, putting undue stress on the defenders that are back.  Berhalter bombs forward with a bend don’t break defensive philosophy, but the defense is being bent beyond recognition thanks to unforced turnovers.  I have to believe part of this is due to the absence of Wil Trapp.  Mohammed Saeid is a fine player that has stepped up and played some very good minutes for the Massive, but he’s not a #6 and he’s not a player that connects the defense to the offense the way that Trapp does.  Trapp is so critical to how Berhalter wants the team to play and he’s proven to be hard to replace in the lineup.

Offensively, Crew fans got what they wanted on their off season wishlist, a 10+ goal center forward.  However, this has seemed to come at the cost of the excellent wing play that made the Crew so hard to defend last year.  Last year the Black and Gold had 27 goals and 20 assists from their wingers as a group.  With almost half the season completed Ethan Finlay and Justin Merem are the only wingers to score and they only have 5 goals and 10 assists between them.  Finlay has become more of a facilitator, feeding Kei Kamara and the darting behind the defense runs to the box have all but disappeared from his game.  Merem, who is at his best when he’s taking players on and taking chances from distance, simply isn’t pulling the trigger.  Neither player is getting to the box like they did last year or how they played against Seattle earlier this year and it’s costing the Crew goals.  It’s critical for how this team plays they get the first goal, but all too often the Crew offense has become just the Kei Kamara show and it’s getting easier to defend for teams.

The Crew can do better and that’s the glorious aspect of mid-season.  Every game is a chance at redemption, a chance for this team to shed the doldrums of mediocrity and become the team they are capable of being.  And so the Crew enters their 15th game of the year at home against reigning MLS Champion Los Angeles Galaxy June 13th at 7:30pm.

The Galaxy haven’t had as good a year as last year sitting in 6th place as they learn to play without Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane has been injured for half their games.  However, LA is starting to show signs of picking itself back up, going 2-0-2 in it’s last four games.  Last year the Crew beat LA 4-1, igniting the team to a late season surge to 3rd place in the East.  Can this game serve the same purpose for the Massive?

There are still about 30 tickets left in the webstore for this game which won’t last long, so get tickets quickly if you want to attend this game.  The tailgate will begin around 4pm and we will have a keg of North High Brewery beer for members to enjoy so bring your cups.  Edit: Tickets for the Nordecke are now sold out.  However, the Crew SC FO is going to be placing temporary stands on the stage for supporters.  Tickets are $25 and you can purchase by going to this link.  The code is csu0613

Glory to Columbus!!!!

Week 14 Matchdays 13 and 14.

SHOP: 6/6 MONTREAL NORDECKE TICKETS

Orlando didn’t go as planned.  For the second week in a row Crew SC leaves 2pts on the table after the 89th minute.  Don’t get me wrong, 2-2 away down a man for over 60 minutes is not a bad result.  Overall the team performed much better in the same circumstance they found themselves in the last road game where they gave up 2 goals against San Jose.  I think Berhalter certainly made better choices this game for the Black and Gold to handle the challenge of being down a man.  Still those 4pts certainly could have come in handy later in the season.

The good news is there’s no time to dwell on what could have been for the team as they have a two match week.  The team travels to Philadelphia Wednesday June 3rd at 7pm and then heads home to face Montreal June 6th at 7:30pm.

This will be the Crew’s second meeting with Philly, beating them at home 4-1.  The Union just aren’t a good team offensively or defensively. Baring another red card this really should be the game the Black and Gold get their first road victory.  Anything less couldn’t be called anything but a disappointment.  Fourth Street will have the game as always.

The June 6th home match is the first meeting with Montreal this year.  They’ve played less games then any other MLS team as they were given a lighter early schedule for their CONCACAF Champions League run.  They made it all the way to the final and were 30′ from being the first MLS team to claim the region’s club title before subcumbing to the MXL side.  Their MLS campaign hasn’t gone as well so far at just 2-4-2.  The Impact is a talented group that is capable of giving the Crew problems defensively. Their biggest problem is they leak goals in the back.  Despite how bad they’ve been, Montreal has always been a side that gives the Crew problems, so expect a good match.  Still this is also a game that if the Massive doesn’t get the full 3pts from it will be a disappointment. Match tickets for the game are on sale in the webstore as always.

The tailgate will begin about 4pm.  The Ole Farts will be back for another catered tailgate serving up pulled pork. Also there will be a keg of wonderful North High Brewery Beer for members to enjoy so bring your cups.

Glory to Columbus!!!!

Week 13 Game Day 12: Heigh-Ho Heigh-Ho It’s on the Road We Go.

Games like last Friday show the cruelty of this game and why it’s so compelling. A team can dominate another and lose, play poorly and win.  A tie can feel like a great win or a crushing defeat.  Above all else, a match can be turned on it’s head in an instant.  So went the 2-2 tie against Sh!tcago.  Up 2-0 and looking everything like another Mapfre Stadium victory, a fluke bounce right after the 2nd goal gave the F!re a goal and the confidence to push forward for the equalizer.  Ultimately, the Black and Gold couldn’t get the third goal or stop the wave of attackers from a 94′ goal to tie it up.

What’s most concerning is this is the fourth game in a row where the Crew have given up two goals.  A defense which was once one of the tops in the league has now fallen to one of the worst.  For Crew SC to move up the table, it will need to get back to the stout defensive performances we’ve become accustomed to seeing since Berhalter’s arrival.  And there’s no time like now as the Massive move into June with a couple of winnable road games followed by 3 straight home matches.

It all starts Saturday May 30th in the Crew’s first trip to Orlando.  In order to get back on the right foot the Crew is going to have to do something it hasn’t done all year; win a road game.  The first encounter for the sides at Mapfre resulted in a 3-0 win for the Crew. However, after a couple good results, Orlando is showing signs of shaking off the expansion tag as they learn to play together.  The Crew SC defense was able to hold Kaka to zero shots in their first encounter and it’s going to take another team effort like that to hold Orlando at bay at home.  The Black and Gold will also have to do something it’s only done in one of five road games this year to win, score goals.  It’s going to be a challenge, but this is a game a good team finds a way to get 3 points from.

There’s going to be a good contingent of Crew SC supporters at the match in Orlando, including yours truly.  If you want to make last second plans to attend the game with us, this link was made available to Crew fans.  The code is CREW.  If your staying in Columbus, Crew Union will of course be at 4th Street Bar and Grill for the game.  Remember to bring your membership card for 20% off drinks and 25% off food.  If you’re in the Cincinnati or Cleveland area, check out their bars to watch with other Crew fans.  Please go here for details.

Also tickets are still available for the Valencia match tomorrow and all of June’s home games are now available in the webstore as well.

Glory to Columbus!!!