Real Madrid forward Gonzalo Higuaín, brother of newly-signed Designated Player Federico Higuaín, took the time to talk to MLSsoccer.com while Los Blancos tour the U.S. ahead of their upcoming La Liga campaign. Skip ahead to the 1:30 mark where Gonzalo is asked about his older brother coming to MLS (translation below).
Have you had the chance to talk to your brother Federico Higuain? He was recently signed by an MLS team, the Columbus Crew. Have you had a chance to talk to him about this chance that he has in the USA? And what is your personal opinion of soccer here?
Yes, I talked to him. He asked me about the US, the city I’m in right now, the team we are playing. He wants to know because it’s a new league for him. I am very happy because it’s a change for good, and I hope he can do things the best way. I saw him very excited, I hope things go well for him because if he’s doing well, so are we (referring to his family).
Love it or hate it, no one can argue that RFK Stadium doesn't hold a special place in Major League Soccer and U.S. Soccer history.
As the League's only stadium that can boast that it's been used since MLS's infancy in 1996, no other site in MLS can boast that it has held World Cup matches for both men and women, 21 U.S. Men's National Team matches, three MLS Cup Finals, and one MLS All-Star Game. Built for football and baseball, RFK stadium has also hosted boxing, bowl games, and various concerts.
RFK Stadium also holds a special place in my heart, because it's where I got my start in MLS as an intern for D.C. United in the summer of 2011. Who knows, without my experience with D.C. United last summer, I might not be writing the article for the Crew right now.
But fear not, Crew fans. In the seven matches in which I worked for D.C. last summer, Ben Olsen's team went 0-4-3 at RFK Stadium. In addition, I traveled to Chicago to see the Black-and-Red draw the Fire 1-1 and drove to my now-home of Crew Stadium to see United's playoff hopes dashed by Eddie Gaven's diving header on October 2, 2011 to go on top of July 21's 1-0 victory. And while the Black & Gold hasn't been wildly successful at RFK-- winning only six times in MLS's 17 year history-- the Crew has taken nine points from its last five matches at the historic stadium in D.C.
Though it is great for MLS that D.C. United may soon get a new stadium in The District within the next few years, you have to appreciate the only stadium that was in use when the league started in 1996 still going strong today. (Even though you may run into cockroaches, raccons, and various other critters in the field-level tunnels.)
The Crew players were greeted with the oppressive Mid-Atlantic heat and humidity on the team walk today through the Dupont Circle area of Washington, D.C.. There was a chorus of resounding "It's so hot..." statements as the team walked to Mitchell Park for a morning stretch. As you can see from Julius James' back in the photo above, many of the players broke a sweat during the stroll. Chris Birchall came prepared however, using napkins to wipe the sweat off his back throughout the walk.
It won't be much cooler at the time of kickoff this evening. Weather.com predicts it will be 89 degrees Fahrenheit with 55-percent humidity, making it feel like 96 degrees. What's more, the concrete structure of RFK Stadium will trap in the heat for tonight's match to make it even more oppressive.
Tonight will be a test of endurance for the Black & Gold, so look for the Crew to come out firing from the opening whistle just as it did two weeks ago against D.C. in search of an early goal in this muggy D.C. weather.
I'll have more from RFK Stadium later as kickoff approaches.
Following the Crew's 2-1 victory in Kansas City on Saturday, the Black & Gold has been racking up the weekly awards around various media outlets. Here's a guide to all the accolades the team has earned this week:
In addition, Arrieta earned Team of the Week honors for by the above outlets and Sports Illustrated. Unfortunately for the Crew, Andy Gruenebaum's five-save effort wasn't enough to edge him past Chicago's Sean Johnson, who was the unanimous selection for the goalkeeper in the above outlets' First XIs.
For the hard-earned road win, Robert Warzycha was honored as Coach of the Week by MLSsoccer.com. It's the second time the Crew skipper has earned that honor this season.
Greetings from Kansas City,
After going their separate ways for breakfast, the players and coaches gathered in the hotel lobby this morning to catch some Olympic action before embarking on the team walk through the city.
Following their Olympic viewing, the players enjoyed the sights of Kansas City on the team walk.
Eventually, the team found a nice shaded are to stretch and mentally prepare for tonight's match against Sporting KC. Eddie Gaven shared his veteran insight with rookies Ethan Finlay and Matt Lampson.
Finally, before heading back to the hotel to rest, these guys insisted on posing for a buddy pic:
The Crew Juniors U-19 advanced to the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championship game with 2-1 victory over Empire United SA Syracuse on Thursday morning behind goals from Mike Walker and Cole Denormandie. The 2012 National Championship game will be televised on Fox Soccer Channel at 8pm Saturday night live from Rock Hill, SC. Midfielder Wil Trapp will join the U-19s for the National Championship, fresh off a fourth-place finish with the United States U-20 Men's National Team at the Milk Cup in Northern Ireland.
Captained by Crew Soccer Academy product and Akron standout Wil Trapp, the United States U-20 Men's National Team beat Turkey 1-0 on Monday to advance to the third place match on Thursday against Chile. The U-20s rebounded from a 2-1 defeat to defending champion Denmark in their opening match on July 21.
The U-20 National Team's assistant coach Brian Bliss will return to Columbus following Thursday's match to resume his duties as Technical Director for the Crew. Soon after, Trapp will return to Akron to begin training for the 2012 season.
Major League Soccer announced its inactive All-Stars on Wednesday afternoon, with one obvious snub: Crew goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum. Gruenebaum should have been at least a reserve--if not a starter-- in tonight's MLS All-Star game in Philadelphia. To not even include the Hebrew Hammer on the inactive list is just downright mindboggling.
Here's how Gruenebaum stacks up against the four goalkeepers selected to the All-Star team:
The numbers speak for themselves.
The Crew will look to improve on its 9-4-2 record in international friendlies as the club hosts Stoke City F.C. of the Barclays Premier League Tuesday night at Crew Stadium. The Black & Gold has hosted teams from various countries around the world, including England, Germany, Mexico, Guatemala, Argentina, and Chile. Against the Premier League specifically, the Crew holds a 2-3-1 with its most recent match coming last season against Newcastle United, resulting in a 3-0 defeat.
Here is a look at the results of the 15 past Crew friendlies:
|05/14/1997||Leeds United (Premier League)||2-1 W|
|05/24/2000||Hamburg SV (Bundesliga)||4-2 W|
|07/26/2000||Newcastle United (Premier League)||2-2 D|
|05/29/2001||Bayer Leverkusen (Bundesliga)||4-3 W|
|05/15/2002||FC Nurnberg (Bundesliga)||7-2 W|
|06/26/2002||Tigres UANL (Mexican Primera)||2-1 L|
|06/04/2005||CD Universidad Catolica (Chilean Primera)||4-1 W|
|07/27/2005||Fulham FC (Premier League)||2-1 W|
|07/26/2006||Everton FC (Premier League)||1-1 D|
|11/08/2006||CSD Municipal (Liga Nacional)||2-0 W|
|07/28/2007||Aston Villa (Premier League)||3-1 L|
|11/13/2007||Estudiantes Tecos (Mexican Primera)||2-0 W|
|07/9/2008||Club Atletico Independiente (Argentine Primera)||2-1 W|
|07/20/2008||West Ham United (Premier League)||3-1 L|
|07/26/2011||Newcastle United (Premier League)||3-0 L|
Crew midfielder Chris Birchall was like a little kid on Christmas when he found out he'd be playing against his hometown club Stoke City on his first day of training with the Black & Gold.
"That just made my day," Birchall expressed with laughter upon learning the news back in May. "I just can't believe what you just said, really."
"Stoke is exactly where I lived. I know a lot of the Stoke players," he continued. "I get to share the field with my best friend."
Birchall's best friend is Stoke defender Andy Wilkinson. The Potters' right back seved as Birchall's best man at his wedding back in June and is godfather to Birchall's son, Ashley.
"The chances of (Birchall) coming from the other side of the world to play for a team, then for us through a preseason tour that we've never done before to come and play against him-- the chances are unreal," Wilkinson said after Stoke's Monday training session in Obetz.
The two have know each other since they were six, and have been best friends ever since. Wilkinson says they're both looking forward to getting the best of each other on the field Tuesday night.
"We've only played each other a couple of times," the Potter said.
"If there's a chance for a tackle, I'm sure neither of us will back out," Wilkinson said laughing.
The Crew and Stoke City kick off at 7:30PM EST from Crew Stadium.
For Birchall's take on the match, listen to the latest edition of the Sideline Sit Down.