MLS Playoffs Week 1: Decision Day

 

 Nordecke Tickets 2nd Leg 11/8/15 Conference Semi-final

Nordecke Tickets 2nd Leg 11/8/15 Conference Semi-final

Crew SC entered the week needing a win to secure 2nd place in the east and a bye to the conference semi-final.  What it got was probably the most impressive performance by the team in the Gregg Berhalter Era.  The Massive missing it’s two best offensive players to yellow card accumulation suspension, hung a 5 nil result on the hated DC United scum.

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Let that sync in for a moment.  Think of all the players that usually don’t get the chance to make an impact in a game and think of what they did to a playoff side in the most important game of the year.  Mohammed Saeid, who has played most of the year as a defensive midfielder in the Wil Trapp role filling in for the incomparable Federico Higuain, playing an amazing through ball to Jack MacInerney for the game winning goal.  The aforementioned McInerney, who joined this team on a trade midseason and has been battling injury the last few weeks on the field for Kei Kamara who has had one of the finest seasons in Crew history, getting the game winning goal and an assist.  Kevan George, who at best is our 4th string central midfielder, coming in to spell Saeid after his injury and locking DC’s midfield down.  All the starters like Ethan Finlay, Justin Merem, Tony Tchani, and Wil Trapp, that elevated their game to make up for the lose of two impact players.  Think of the embattled defense that has had to endure criticism after criticism all year for the amount of goals they have let in, posting their second shutout in a row.  This was a performance for the ages.  It was a true total TEAM win.  The win meant everything to the 2015 regular season, yet now, it means nothing as the team enters the playoffs.

On Wednesday and Thursday, 4 teams will square off in a one match knockout round which will determine the Black and Gold’s next opponent.  The only certainty is that Crew SC can not face Toronto FC in the Conference Semi-Finals as New York Red Bull is assured the lowest seeded pairing.  If Montreal beats TFC, the Crew will face them in the two leg aggregate goal series.  If TFC beats Montreal, the Crew will face the winner of the DC vs New England Revolution match.  Montreal is a team that has been on the rise since Didier Drogba joined them late in the year.  It’s not a team the Black and Gold have had success against this year, even without Drogba, losing both of their games to the Quebec side this year by a combined score of 5-1.  They are a team that likes to sit back and counter at speed and that is the type of team that has given Crew SC fits all year.  NE is a side that has played up and down all year.  They are a very capable team when they are on and clicking as a unit.  The Crew has never won a playoff series against NE, having last been eliminated by them in the previous season on their run to MLS Cup.  Likewise, DC is a team the Crew have never defeated in the playoffs, having lost 3 straight years in the Conference Finals in the early years of MLS.  Should they be matched up, this would be their first playoff meeting since 1999.  The Crew are 2-1 against United this season on a combined 7-3 aggregate goal.  DC is a team on a downward spiral and I would be shocked to see them advance past the knockout round.

The first Leg of the Eastern Conference Semi-Final will be Sunday November 1st.  The time is still to be decided.  As always Crew Union will be hosting a watch party at 4th Street Bar and Grill.  I hope you’ll join us.  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 2nd Leg game Sunday November 8th are currently on sale in the webstore.

Glory to Columbus!!!!

Week 34 Matchday 34: Playoffs

Playoffs!!! Nordecke Tickets

Playoffs!!! Nordecke Tickets

When I last wrote Crew SC was heading into a final four games with Portland on tap then 3 East division opponents with the East and Supporter’s Shield on the line.  Two disastrous losses later against Portland at home and NY Red Bull away put the Black and Gold out of the running for top of the East and the Supporter’s Shield race. Going into Week 33 with a road game against Toronto, who had already clinched their first ever trip to the playoffs, the entire season was in jeopardy.  With the 2-0 victory in Toronto, The Crew turned in a gutsy performance for the ages as good as any in club history.  It was their first shutout since July and was exactly the kind of response one would want to see from a team coming off a bye week after two straight losses.

The win, coupled with a New England loss to Montreal, put the Massive in control of their own destiny.  A win against the hated scum of DC United on the final week means the Crew will finish 2nd in the East and earn a bye to the Eastern conference semi-final round.  A loss could see them finish as low as 5th place with Crew SC having to travel to play a one match play in game.  Make no mistake, this final game is a playoff game as important as any in the actual playoffs.

Crew SC has played DC twice this year and we should expect nothing different from this group Sunday October 25 at 5pm.  They are a veteran team who play compact and take advantage of any mistake teams make against them.  What hurts is the Black and Gold have to play this crucial game without two of it’s best offensive players as Kei Kamara and Federico Higuain serve yellow card accumulation suspensions.

Tickets as always can be pick up at the Crew Union tent in the megatailgate spot.  Tickets must be picked up by 4pm.  Any tickets not picked up by 4pm will be taken to will call.  The Ole Farts will be back with their final catered tailgate of the season.  All are welcome to come and partake.  North High Brewery will also be back with a keg for all members to enjoy.

Glory to Columbus!!!!

Week 30 Matchday 31: The Stretch Run Part II

2016 Crew SC Season Tickets Membership

2016 Crew SC Season Tickets Membership

Can you believe there was a time when Crew SC couldn’t buy a win on the road?  4 straight road wins latter and that seems like a whole other season.  Thanks to timely defeats across the league, this road win against DC United could be one of the biggest wins of the year.  The win propelled the Black and Gold from 4th to first in the East for a night before dropping to second with NYRB’s win in Portland.  The Crew now find themselves 1pt back of NY for the East with a pivotal 6pt game two weeks from now in the wings and also 1pt back in the Supporter’s Shield race.  While the Red Bull’s and other team’s games in hand make both the East and the Supporter’s Shield race somewhat unlikely, it’s still pretty amazing this team is in this position this late in the year.  To keep themselves in the race, all the Massive need to do is something it’s not done all year, win a 3rd game in a row against Portland at home 9/26.

Portland is sitting in 6th place in the West on 41pts and are coming off a 2-0 home defeat to NYRB.  With a resurgent Real Salt Lake and San Jose making a push for the final playoff spot, they will be hungry for points on the road.  The Timbers are a team that like to keep possession and they have good attacking talent, but they struggle to score goals.  That was apparent in their game against Red Bull as they created chance after chance, but poor finishing and Luis Robles standing on his head turned them away time after time.  Regardless, this is a game the Black and Gold absolutely can win and have to win.  It’s the second to last game at Mapfre Stadium and they just can’t afford to drop any more home points.

Crew Union tickets for this match are sold out, as will the stadium, as Dollar night reigns again in Columbus.  The Crew will have temporary seating available on the stage and the FO has made this link available for members left out to get tickets.  The code is Crew Union.  The Ole Farts return with another catered tailgate for this match.  They will be serving up Shrimp skewers for all to enjoy.  North High Brewery Keg will be back as well this Saturday for Members to enjoy pregame so bring your cups.

I would also like to remind all those out there that 2016 Crew SC Season Ticket Memberships are currently available through Crew Union on our webstore.  Season Tickets are $306 and include 2016 membership in Crew Union.  That’s only $17 dollars a game, $5 less per game then day of game member tickets.  Deposits are only $20 and we offer payment plans from 2 to 6 months.  If you renew/purchase or put a deposit down by 9/25, you will have the option of purchasing Nordecke playoff tickets for $16 each and by 10/9 to secure a really cool Crew SC pint glass.  Season Ticket members are the foundation of everything we are able to accomplish as a supporter’s group so I hope you will join in.

Glory to Columbus!!!!!

Week 29 Matchday 30: The Stretch Run

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Crew SC Vs Portland Timbers Nordecke Tickets

With the 2-1 win against Philadelphia, Crew SC set themselves up for one hell of a good ride for the final 5 games of the 2015 season.  The Crew now find themselves 1pt behind DC and NY RedBull for the top spot in the East and 4pts back in the Supporter’s Shield race.  Of course several teams still in the running have games in hand on the Massive, including NYRB, but the goals the team and fans thought this team were capable of achieving are still a possibility.   With 2 games against DC and 1 against NYRB the East in particular is within the team’s grasp.  As Crew SC also play 5 teams that will all make the playoffs, how the team performs over the course of these games will be a pretty good indication of whether this team is or is not championship caliber, warts and all.

The stretch run kicks off this weekend in DC against the hated United.  DC started off the year on fire which included a 2-0 victory in RFK over the Black and Gold in May. However, the team has cooled off as of late gaining only 1pt in their last 4 games and they will be coming off a mid-week CCL game on Tuesday.  DC is still a smart disciplined team that will look to clog the middle and capitalize on any Crew SC mistakes.  This of course makes them a considerable challenge as that’s the very strategy that does the Crew in every time.  This will be a game to see if Crew SC learned anything from their latest loss against Dallas.

If you would like to go to DC to support the team, you can get tickets in the away section by following this link.  The Code is “Crew”.  For those staying in Columbus, I hope you’ll join Crew Union at 4th Street Bar and Grill for our away watch party at 4pm.  Remember to bring your membership card for 20% off drinks and 25% off food.  Please don’t worry about the OSU football game before hand.  Yes there will be a lot of students there for the game and after, but 4th Street did an amazing job for us during the Philly game and will do the same for this game.  If you’re in the Cincinnati or Cleveland area, check out their bars to watch with other Crew fans. Please go here for details.

Glory to Columbus!!!

Week 26 Matchday 27: 2015 Crew SC or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Offensive Soccer

crewsc

2016 Crew SC Season Ticket Membership

I wrote last week that week 25 was a test for the Black and Gold as they went up against two very different opponents.  If I had to grade last week, I’d put it at a solid B.  The defending, especially in transition and on set pieces, has a long way to go to get to championship caliber.  Still, 4 pts from a two game week is a good result.

What’s easy to miss in worrying about the defense is the Massive are on a roll.  Since July, Crew SC are 5-2-2.  Now they have scored 18 goals and given up 18 goals in that stretch, but a lot of the goals against (8 total) were given up in the two loses.  For Columbus fans who for 19 years grew up with the Hardest Working Team mantra, it’s hard for us to take.  The emphasis Gregg Berhalter places on free flowing attacking soccer is just something we have never seen here.  You think back to all the great seasons the Crew have had and for the most part it’s been with stout defensive performances and somewhat of a middling offense; 2008, of course, being an exception to that.  3-2 is a score line that frankly scares us to our very core.  Yes it’s unnerving to lose a 3 goal lead at home or give up by 5 on the road, but maybe we should just go with it.  For the most part, it’s working.  The players understand the system and that chances will be given up in it, but for every mistake there is going to be 2 or 3 more opportunities for the offense to score.  To Berhalter’s credit, he’s sticking with his players through the mistakes which give them the confidence to keep going forward and fight.  If they can get it done with offense, maybe we should stop worrying and just enjoy the ride.  Maybe it will take us farther then we think.

How about our mid-season additions?  Cedrick Mabwati, Jack McInerney, and Harrison Afful have made their presence known since being added to the roster.  Mabwati added the tying goal against NYCFC in a beautiful give and go play with Kei Kamara and his quick footwork lead to the foul for the tying goal against Sporting KC.  McInerney supplied the game winning goal against KC with a classic JackMac goal.  Jack is a true #9 and offers a change of style to that of Kamara off the bench.  Afful has solidified the right back spot in his two starts and offers a mirror image of Waylon Francis for defenses to worry about.  For a team that went close to 2/3rds of the season without a goal from the bench, they’ve gotten 2 in the last 2 games all from players they brought in mid-season.  I’d say our Sporting Director deserves a round of applause and we haven’t even seen Gaston Sauro yet.

So now the Crew head into week 26 August 29th at 4pm with a second chance against NYCFC.  In the first game against the expansion side Wednesday, a lot of focus was placed on the big names coming to town, but it was Kwadwo Poku they just couldn’t stop.  After coming back from two unanswered Poku goals to tie it up, the lightning came and the delay killed the momentum of the game, ending it at a 2-2 tie.  This game starts a stretch where the Crew find themselves on the road for 5 of their last 8 games. Road points are going to be critical for this team as they move toward the post season.

NorOnTour will be taking a Bus and we expect to have a pretty solid group of traveling supporters at the game.  If you would like to get a ticket in the away supporters section please contact Mike Lennon at mike.lennon@nycfc or 1(212)738-5844.  For those staying in Columbus, I hope you’ll join Crew Union at 4th Street Bar and Grill for our away watch party at 4pm.  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.

Glory to Columbus!!!