The Crew is preparing to wrap up its regular season at home this Sunday against the evil and hated DC United. Meanwhile, here are a few tidbits before the playoffs get underway.
New York Red Bulls backup goalkeeper Danny Cepero made history last weekend as the first goalie in MLS to score a goal. Unfortunately for Crew backup keeper Andy Gruenebaum, that makes "The Hebrew Hammer" the first MLS goalie to give up a goal to an opposing keeper. Cepero's free kick from about 80 yards out took a funny bounce on Giants Stadium's perilous artificial turf and caught Gruenebaum off guard. The ball bounced over Gruenebaum's head and into the net, sealing New York's 3-1 win.
Rest the best
Because the Crew had already wrapped up the Supporters' Shield with the best record in MLS, Coach Sigi Schmid chose to rest six starters for the game against New York. William Hesmer, Alejandro Moreno, Frankie Hejduk, Chad Marshall, Robbie Rogers and Eddie Gaven should be back in the starting lineup for Sunday's match against DC, when Schmid hopes to trot out the lineup he'll use for the playoffs.
Since reports surfaced that a group led by L.A. investor Mark Noorzai was trying to buy a minority share of the Crew, Columbus fans have feared that Noorzai hopes to eventually relocate the team to Las Vegas, where he recently dropped a bid for an MLS expansion team. Noorzai and his partners claim they aren't interested in moving the Crew, but it all seems very suspicious.
Dispatch reporter Shawn Mitchell has been doing a good job making sense of the jumble of seemingly contradictory information being batted around. Check back for regular reports at his blog, Covering the Crew, at blog.dispatch.com/crew.
More to worry about
Another source of stress for Crew fans during this otherwise glorious season has been the status of Schmid's contract negotiations. Rumors abound that the coach will leave for a better-paying job, perhaps coaching Seattle's MLS expansion side.
In an interview earlier this month, Schmid made it clear that he wants to stay with the Crew. He wants to have fun with this powerful young squad he's built; he wants to win an MLS Cup, win a U.S. Open Cup and make noise in the CONCACAF Champions League. But he was also clear that the Crew had better be ready to pay up. It's time to open up the checkbook, Hunt family.
Brews with the Crew
Hejduk, Duncan Oughton and Jason Garey will be guest bartenders from 7-9 p.m. tonight at Brewsky's Sports Bar, 4510 Kenny Rd. Those who witnessed Hejduk tailgating with Crew fans before the Galaxy game earlier this month know the Crew captain is quite capable of handling the alcohol. Hejduk's hijinks were so legendary that newspapers as far away as England and France published reports of his revelry.
DC United at
5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 26