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This Crew Has Work to Do to Be(at) United Again

Image result for columbus crew atlanta rain

The memory of a 2-nil Columbus Crew SC win against the 2018 MLS Cup champion Atlanta United from March 30, 2019, seems like a lifetime ago. Although, given the ‘Waterworld’-level of water from that match (see above), most people who sat through that miserable weather in MAPFRE Stadium probably prefer it stay in the distance memory category of “a lifetime ago.”

Some of these fans are still drying out.

The Crew added a 1-nil victory against the New England Revolution the following week before a 10-game stretch in MLS competition that would see Columbus earn a grand total of four points out of a possible 30 points. This stretch is highlighted by one win, one tie and two particularly embarrassing losses against the worst two teams in MLS.

Unlike in baseball, losing eight games out of 10 is a big deal, particularly since 10 games make up about 1/3 of the MLS regular season.

Perhaps since tonight’s round 2 between Columbus and Atlanta in MAPFRE Stadium is part of the Round of 16 knockout phases of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, the Crew will be able to channel a different kind of dynamic energy to recapture its winning ways from a few months ago.

FYI – Tonight’s forecast, interestingly, is a 30-40% chance of rain.

The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is different than the MLS regular season, especially for Columbus. Because of how Lamar Hunt worked to bring professional soccer to Ohio’s capital city, the team should prioritize this tournament above most in MLS.

And given the horrible 10-game stretch against MLS competition, the Crew has looked discombobulated in nearly all areas of the pitch. Injuries are a factor, yes, but these injuries are absolutely not an excuse for the uninspired performances on the field since early April. There is enough talent for Columbus to be winning at home and on the road. At this point, it would just be nice to see the Crew simplify its tactical objectives to (re)gain confidence.

As my old club soccer coach used to say, “let the ball do the work.”

Cohesion is simply (and surprisingly) not the name of the game for Porter’s Crew thus far in 2019, despite the team’s roster familiarity and success during the past couple of seasons.

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This “Respect Your Roots” painting is located just blocks from MAPFRE Stadium. Ladies and gentlemen, there’s no greater “roots” for the Columbus Crew than Lamar Hunt. We’ll discover tonight whether Porter’s Crew will respect the team’s roots by ensuring a win — no matter the obstacles — in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup game against Atlanta United.

If there’s any year for Columbus Crew SC to respect its roots and shine like never before, you’d think it’d be the season immediately following the remarkable #SavedTheCrew movement. The new Crew stadium being built for the summer of 2021 will be special, but this season unfolding now is a once in a lifetime moment in sports, especially with the backdrop of the USMNT’s humiliating failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup and this massive soccer city specifically.

It’s long past due for the Crew — and its Columbus fans — to embrace a #ForLamarHunt movement for the man who helped put this amazing thing into motion back in the mid-90s, seeing it through with the first soccer-specific stadium in the United States of America built in Columbus, OH back in 1999.

Porter’s Crew needs to unite not only to win against a formidable Atlanta United this evening but also to show (or remind) Columbus that this team is capable of new growth beyond established roots.

Maybe tonight, Columbus Crew SC will begin the necessary process of saving its 2019 season by winning one for Lamar Hunt’s vision of soccer in America.

#ForLamarHunt 

Crew SC Preparing to Run With the Red Bulls

#SavedTheCrew: Check.

2019 MLS Preseason: Check.

2019 MLS Regular Season Kick-off Hype Video for Columbus Crew SC hosting New York Red Bulls on Saturday, March 2: I’m glad you asked…

While it would be fun to hear a certain chant for a certain former owner during tomorrow afternoon’s game, it feels far better knowing the Crew is here to stay in Columbus with a future as bright as the team’s signature banana kits.

MAPFRE Stadium will be electric. And with the fan giveaway being a Crew SC captain’s armband, it’s a fitting gift for the Columbus faithful who were part of and led the #SaveTheCrew movement being able to sport this badge of honor proudly declaring, “Oh captain, we are the captains.”

Be sure to watch Columbus Crew SC vs. New York Red Bulls on SportsTime Ohio at 4:30 p.m. ET.

Go Crew! 

The Columbus Crew’s New 2019 Resolution

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(Photo by Morgan Hughes)

Sports fans in Ohio and around the country:

The Modell Law–decades after it was enacted after former Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell sleazily moved the Browns to Baltimore back in 1996–has succeeded in helping to keep the Columbus Crew in Ohio’s capital city in 2018.

This lawsuit brought by Ohio Attorney General–and Governor-elect–Mike DeWine several months ago against Major League Soccer (MLS) and then sleazy Crew owner Anthony Precourt, was officially dismissed earlier today. In the case of the Crew, the Modell Law gave new owners time to make a legitimate bid for the team. And it worked. This leads us to today with an exciting announcement that was more than a year in making for fans of the original Black & Gold in MLS:

New owners have officially reached a deal (in principle) to keep the Crew in Columbus.

These aforementioned new owners are the Haslam Family of the Cleveland Browns and the Edwards Family of Columbus. The latter was led by now former Crew doctor Pete Edwards. And while these new owners have been known for a while now, it’s a considerable relief to know that legally there are no more hurdles to jump.

While I could post statements from MLS and a certain former owner on this development, I won’t. There are no apologies included and no recognition of the reality of this embarrassing and frustrating ordeal caused by Commissioner Don Garber’s MLS and a certain former owner of the Columbus Crew.

All that matters right now is the fact this special movement just #Lawyered a professional soccer league like Marshall Eriksen from ‘How I Met Your Mother.’

And it was legen-we don’t have to wait for it because the day has finally arrived when we legally #SavedTheCrew-dary!

P.S. The Ohio legislature should draft and pass a Precourt Law, if for no other reason than to make Anthony Precourt even more synonymous with Art Modell’s shameful legacy as a sports team owner.  

#SavingTheCrew and U.S. Soccer

After a year of hell, the state of soccer in Columbus–and the United States–is back on track.

This time, when Crew fans chant that #HellIsReal, it’s a good thing.

We’re ready, FC Cincinnati.

Beginning this morning, reports were pouring in essentially stating the Columbus Crew–the original Black & Gold in MLS–will be #saved.

Actually, my mom tipped me off this morning via text while I was working on an unsuspecting Friday.

A mom who loves soccer and lives in Columbus? The best damn mom in the land! 

In a joint statement, the Columbus Partnership, Jimmy Haslam, and Dr. Pete Edwards, the Crews’ team doctor, stated: “While there are many details to be worked out, our alliance is working diligently and collaboratively with [MLS] to keep the Crew in its community. We are very excited about the quiet but deliberate progress that has been made to date and will keep the community updated as this process moves forward.”

-Jeff Carlisle, ESPN U.S. soccer correspondent

A rumored downtown stadium is also in the mix.

Major props to Ohio Attorney Mike DeWine and Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein for their legal work to #SaveTheCrew. And the major part–well, all of it–for this legal effort by Mr. DeWine and Mr. Klein is the Modell Law, which basically created a window for local investors to make a reasonable offer to keep the Crew in Columbus.

Quite poetic and perfect that the owner of the Cleveland Browns will be keeping the Crew in its hometown, isn’t it?

My favorite reaction today from a Cleveland Browns perspective is that Jimmy Haslam was thinking, “If I can’t find a good kicker, then I’ll just buy a professional soccer team.”

That was well played.

Deep down in my heart, I knew the Columbus Crew would somehow stay in Columbus. What did Joe Dirt say? “You can’t have no in your heart.” And now Columbus is reenergized to reclaim its rightful place as THE soccer capital of the United States, both on the pitch and in the stands (plus on Twitter).

After failing to qualify for the thrilling 2018 World Cup, the USMNT experienced an identity crisis, among other things. With the Crew staying in Columbus–the soccer capital of the United States–American soccer and the under-construction national team has a burgeoning identity rooted in the inspiring passion and relentless dedication of its fans.

Incredible.

The next step is revealing a sophisticated, creative and surprising tactical identity. That is still in the TBD-phase as the pursuit for a new head coach continues.

With the spotlight shining brightly on Columbus, the national media will now be forced to take note that goalkeeper Zack Steffen, defensive midfielder (and frequent USMNT captain) Wil Trapp and forward Gyasi Zardes make up the spine of the new USMNT. They come courtesy of the Columbus Crew. Just to be clear. And let’s also not forget that if an American is chosen as the next USMNT head coach, it will be the detail-minded Columbus Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter.

It’s not surprising that when U.S. soccer started to plot against the Columbus Crew behind closed doors that its national team suffered similarly along a parallel path. It worked in opposite fashion in the early part of this century with Dos-a-Cero when U.S. soccer and MLS celebrated the country’s first soccer-specific stadium and all the talent that Crew Stadium was home to.

Time for the pendulum to swing back in the right direction and for the new Crew front office to be inspired by Lamar Hunt’s winning legacy. Lamar Hunt can rest a little easier in Heaven tonight.

The Crew is being saved. Imagine what could happen to the USMNT if they begin embracing Columbus again with everything–and everyone–its capital city has to offer.

P.S. For good measure: 

C-R-E-W, f*$! you, Precourt, we SAVED THE CREW!