With Bill Hamid coming off MLS Player of the Week honors, the Crew knew it would be tough to beat the 22-year-old D.C. United goalkeeper in Saturday's match at RFK Stadium. As expected, Hamid made several acrobatic saves to keep United in the game as the Black & Gold peppered him with nine shots on goal throughout the afternoon.
Not to be outdone, Crew backstop Andy Gruenebaum fed off Hamid's play on the other end of the field to make several key stops to help the Crew to the 2-1 victory away from home.
"[Hamid] played out of his mind again," Gruenebaum said after the match. "He’s had a couple back-to-back games where he’s just feeling it and right now he’s on fire.
"Anytime you see someone on the other end make a great save it, you hope – I mean, you obviously don’t want to have to be in that position, but when it happens you hope to be there and it was an interesting game. It was probably one of the weirdest games I’ve ever played in.”
Added Head Coach Robert Warzycha: "[Hamid] did very well on Chad [Marshall]'s save, and following with Tyson Wahl. I think the second half, the goalies did a very good job. They did what they were supposed to do. They made some saves and there were some clear chances, but they stood on their heads and they were very, very good.”
Perhaps the top highlight of Saturday afternoon was Gruenebaum's back-to-back-to-back saves from Lionard Pajoy, Brandon McDonald and Dwayne De Rosario attempts that NBC Sports broadcaster Arlo White could only describe as "a miracle."
The humble Gruenebaum claims some luck was involved.
“It was a shot through traffic from the top, I didn’t see it until the end so I wasn’t able to hold it clean, but I just saw [De Rosario] there wide open so I just got up and just tried to make myself big.
"I kind of got lucky there.”
The Crew's resident Canadian Drew Beckie is looking forward to a weekend trip across the border to face Vancouver Whitecaps FC. The rookie defender is expected to be welcomed by friends, family and fellow Canadians for the match.
"I'm always excited to go back [to Canada]," Beckie said over the phone. "Even though Vancouver isn't home, I love being back and I'm looking forward to seeing friends there."
After playing four years at Denver University, Beckie can't wait to hear "Oh, Canada!" played before kickoff for the first time in his professional career. The Regina, Saskatchewan native has represented his country at the U-17, U-20 and U-23 levels in the past.
"I'm a very proud Canadian," he explained. "I love the National Anthem. I think Americans love theirs too, but it's just something that's in the Canadian spirit. Playing for the National Team, you really feel that pride to represent Canada. I'm really excited to hear 'Oh, Canada!'"
Despite his Saskatchewan roots, Beckie is an avid follower of the NHL Vancouver Canucks. The rookie faces a conundrum as his Canucks face the Columbus Blue Jackets Thursday evening, but the rookie isn't bailing on the team he grew up cheering for.
"I always root for the Canucks, but now Columbus is my hometown team," Beckie said. "I'm kind of torn, but I'm going to go with Vancouver. I don't want to make any enemies, but I'll say it will be a draw and an overtime win for the Canucks. That's the easiest way I can predict the game."
For the first time this preseason, Homegrown forward Aaron Horton trained with the Black & Gold on Tuesday. Horton spent his offseason traveling the globe between a mission trip in South Africa and trials with FK Sarajevo in Bosnia and Hammarby IF in Sweden.
Training with teams in Europe was a valuable experience for the 20-year-old forward.
"It was awesome just being able to get out and travel around the globe, playing with different clubs in Europe," Horton said. "It was a great experience. I had a lot of fun too. I think I gained experience on all levels."
For Horton, the differences in culture and soccer in Bosnia and Sweden took some getting used to compared the lifestyle he is accustomed to in Columbus.
"It's different.That's the best way I can put it," Horton explained. "Sarajevo was different from Sweden, Sweden is different from here. It's all different. The training was all good, but at the same time, it was very different. The style of play in every single country is different. It was just about adapting to the places I was at and how they play, how things work. All-in-all, it was good."
Upon his arrival back at the Crew's training ground in Obetz on Tuesday, Horton was welcomed with open arms by his teammates as he enters his third season with the Black & Gold.
"I'm happy to see everyone," he said. "Everyone here has welcomed me back warmly. I love these guys, I love my teammates. It was good to be around the coaches again, they were happy to see me back. It's good to be back."
TheCrew.com caught-up with the Black & Gold's newest signing, rookie Drew Beckie, who officially joined the club's roster on Friday afternoon.
Crew Designated Player Federico Higuain made the media rounds while in New York this week. Here is an interview Pipa did with CNN Español.
“Espero poder quedarme aquí mucho tiempo” - Federico Higuain
Translation: "I hope to be able to stay here for a long time"
Black & Gold midfielder, Ethan Finlay, talks with TheCrew.com after his two-goal performance against the Philadelphia Union to help the Crew to a 4-0 win in the Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic.
— Manchester City FC (@MCFC) January 22, 2013
#Crew96 gets a Brazilian. Pretty smooth, Bliss.
— MassiveCity (@MassiveCityFFC) January 22, 2013
With Glauber paired with Chad Marshall in the central defense, Josh Williams to right back and Danny O'Rourke to d-mid. #crew96
— Adam Jardy (@AdamJardy) January 22, 2013
Crew signs Brazilian defender Gláuber. 29-year-old centerback was playing for Rapid Bucharest of Romania's top division ow.ly/h1rg5
— Hot Time In Old Town (@HotTimeOldTown) January 22, 2013
— Kevin Walter (@walter4dublin) January 22, 2013
Personally, I can't wait to see how Glauber does. I think he could do very well in MLS. #Crew96
— Alex Stanek (@Ratzaroony) January 22, 2013
After seeing #Crew96 sign a new player today, an after the draft last week, I'm so damn excited for March 16 when I get to c the Crew again!
— James Key (@jbkeysportsfan) January 22, 2013
Glaubert Berti once tweaked his Harley to give it 4 wheel drive. #crew96
— Adam Kincaid (@AdamKincaid1) January 22, 2013
FOX: Columbus Crew signs Brazilian defender - The Columbus Crew has signed Brazilian defender Glauber Leandro Honora... ow.ly/2upIu4
— ESPN970WFUN (@ESPN970WFUN) January 22, 2013
*Breaking Transfer News* Columbus Crew have signed an absolute legend in Glauber Berti #legend
— Simon Wood (@simonwood123) January 22, 2013
MLS Ticker: Silvestre on trial with Timbers, Crew sign Glauber, and more: bit.ly/Vo772j
— Ives Galarcep (@SoccerByIves) January 22, 2013
— Matt Goshert (@mattgoshert) January 22, 2013
Glauber Berti's calender goes from March 31st to April 2nd because nobody fools Berti. #Crew96
— Hudson St. Hooligans (@HSHCrew) January 22, 2013
Crew have signed Brazilian defender Gláuber Leandro Honorato Berti. Can't wait for The Thing themed TIFO. #It'sGlauberingTime!
— Yellow Nation Army (@YellowNatArmy) January 22, 2013
Costa Rica kicked off play in the 2013 Copa Centroamericano late Friday night, with Crew striker Jairo Arrieta providing the difference in the host country's 1-0 victory over Belize. Arrieta's 55th minute tally was his first goal for La Sele in five career caps.
The Ticos will resume play in the tournament on Sunday against Nicaragua. Copa Centroamericano runs until January 27 and the top five teams in the seven-team tournament qualify for the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup. However, Arrieta may not report to Crew training camp at that point as La Sele begins the Hexagonal round of 2014 World Cup Qualifying in Panama on February 6.
Match Report: Costa Rica 1 - Belize 0 (in Spanish)
Photo Credit: Imagenesencostarica.com
After signing as the fifth Homegrown player in Crew history, University of Akron standout Chad Barson joined TheCrew.com's Cody Sharrett for a short Q&A.
Cody Sharrett: Congratulations on signing with the Crew. How do you plan on contributing to the Black & Gold as a rookie?
Chad Barson: I think I bring a good work ethic. I have a good mentality in the way I approach things. I'm willing to contribute, and I'm a team guy. I put the team first. I'll put the team's needs above my own and whatever they need, that's what I'm willing to do.
CS: You've been captain for the past two seasons at Akron and as a centerback, you have to be a leader on the field. How do you approach being a leader as a rookie?
CB: You have to be yourself. You can't be shy. As a rookie, you're stepping into uncharted territory and just because you're the young guy or the new guy, it doesn't matter how long you've been around. Obviously guys that have been around have more say, but you still need to be able to lead, to talk and to organize guys because the position I play, you see the whole game from where you play.
CS: Your coach at Akron, Caleb Porter, has moved on to the Portland TImbers in MLS. How did he develop your game over the past four years at Akron.
CB: Basically, I like to say everything about my game is a result of Coach Porter. The way we trained at Akron, the mentality he teaches you how to approach life, how to approach school, how to approach soccer: it's really all from him. I see a lot of him in myself. When I talk, when I play, just everything really.
CS: You were born and raised in Columbus. Do you remember your first Crew game? Which players did you look up to?
CB: I don't remember my first Crew game. But watching guys like [Brian] McBride, [Brian] Maisonneuve and Jeff Cunningham, I remember watching those guys all the time when I was younger.
CS: Over the past few summers, you've spent time training with the First Team. Who is the toughest guy you've had to defend?
CB: Honestly size-wise, Andy Iro and Chad Marshall because they're some pretty big guys. I'd also throw Steve Lenhart in there because he's such a scrappy guy and he likes to be physical, but he's also a great guy.