On a beautiful morning in the Nation's Capital, the Crew began its day with breakfast followed by a team walk through Washington's Dupont Circle neighborhood. The Black & Gold finished their walk with a stretch at a nearby park.
Now, the players will spend the afternoon preparing at the team hotel before heading to RFK Stadium for tonight's pivotal Eastern Conference showdown with D.C. United. The team feels fully prepared for tonight's match, which holds major playoff implications for both sides.
"[Preparation] started Monday for me. It starts early in the week. If you prepare during the week, then the game comes easy," veteran Danny O'Rourke said.
"It's time to relax, and then it's like riding a bike. It all comes naturally."
Photos from this morning's walk can be found below.
With both President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney hitting the swing state of Ohio hard as Election Day nears, Columbus has been in the national media spotlight. Out on his morning coffee run, CNN's John King tweeted this picture of the digital billboards at the corner of Broad and High:
Times Square??? No- Columbus, OH. Coffee run!instagr.am/p/Qmml5GsLSb/
— John King (@JohnKingCNN) October 10, 2012
Luckily for the Crew, ads for season ticket renewals were in rotation when he snapped his photo.
Speaking of season tickets, purchase or renew yours today.
Crew Head Coach Robert Warzycha, TV Analyst Duncan Oughton, and Brand Ambassador Frankie Hejduk took part in the C Magazine celebrity golf outing at The Medallion Club in Westerville Monday afternoon to help promote the Crew brand.
"This is a great time and an opportunity to meet good people and spread Crew love," Oughton said in a text message.
While no scores were reported, it's probable that Warzycha beat Oughton and Hejduk handily as "The Polish Rifle" is an avid golfer in his down-time.
A special thank you to C Magazine for inviting the Black & Gold to participate in this special event.
With an extra day to prepare for Sunday's match against Sporting Kansas City, Crew Head Coach Robert Warzycha decided to give his team a break from the daily training regimen on Wednesday morning. In lieu of training, the team went bowling as a team-building activity.
"Everything that we do is based on how we can get better as a team and do what is necessary for us to win the game," Warzycha said Wednesday afternoon.
"Team chemistry is just as important as fitness or anything else," the Head Coach continued. "I think it was a good time to bring everybody to bowling, because the guys that are injured that are not with the team every single day because they're in treatment and everything else, they were there too. To have the entire team together before the final stretch, before the end of the season, it was very important."
The team enjoyed a day without thinking about soccer.
"Sometimes, you need to spend time enjoying your teammates and your coaches," defender Sebastián Miranda explained. "It was avery good opportunity to maybe forget soccer and playing, and bond with your teammates. You can laugh. You can talk with your teammates and not talk about soccer, and try to enjoy [the team atmosphere] a little bit."
So, who was the best bowler on the team?
"After me, Netzo [Nemanja Vukovic] was a very big surprise," Miranda said with a laugh. "He was a big surprise."
The Crew will resume its normal training schedule Thursday morning at Crew Stadium.
(Photo Credit: Tucker Walther)
To help celebrate the release of EA Sports FIFA 13 and look ahead to the Crew's remaining four matches, I will be playing against a different Crew player each week as one of the team's upcoming opponents. This week, I squared off with rookie midfielder Kevan George playing as the Crew, while I took control of the Philadelphia Union.
Admittedly, Houston hasn't been my favorite city I've visited with the Crew this season. It's extremely hot and humid, there's nothing to do around the team hotel, and nearly every restraunt downtown is closed on Sunday.
However, the Dynamo's new BBVA Compass Stadium has made up for the misfortunes mentioned above.
The first thing I noticed when I walked into the stadium: there's a lot of orange in this place.
Outside the press box, images of various Houston Chronicle front pages over the past few years pay homage to Dynamo's short time in Houston.
A Dynamo legend overlooks the entrance to every lower-level section. For example, here's Brian Ching at the entryway to Section 125.
Here's the view from the north end of the stadium, looking toward the stage area. The dimensions of the field at BBVA Compass Stadium are 70 yards x 115 yards to suit the Dynamo's style of play and execution on set pieces. The MLS preference for pitch size is 75 yards x 120 yards.
In the southwest corner of the stadium is where the Dynamo supporters groups sit. No, Crew fans, it's not as big as the Nordecke.
Finally, and most importantly, the Crew's Equipment Manager Rusty Wummel was a happy camper with the spacey visiting locker room.
The Urso family has decided to have Kirk’s legacy live on off the field, by giving the gift of tissue. Columbus Crew sponsor Lifeline of Ohio, the local nonprofit that promotes and coordinates organ and tissue donation, is giving fans an opportunity to honor Kirk's gift at upcoming games.
Statement from Lifeline of Ohio:
Kirk Urso was truly a hero on and off the field. He not only touched lives as a member of the Columbus Crew, but he will continue to impact others through his gift of tissue donation. Help us honor Kirk's legacy as a tissue donor by wearing a green Donate Life bracelet. Stop by the Donate Life booth before any Columbus Crew home game to pick up your free bracelet and honor our hero, Kirk Urso.
Stop by the Donate Life booth on the Crew Kicker Plaza before the game on Wednesday to pick up one of 4,000 green Donate Life bracelets to support Kirk's gift of life.
To learn more about organ and tissue donation, or to register as a donor, visit: www.lifelineofohio.org/crew
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.
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:
Crew rookie Ethan Finlay was recently honored with the Omaha World-Herald's prestigious Fred Ware Award for his accomplishments playing for Creighton University. According to the World-Herald's website, "The Ware Award is given annually to the four-year college athlete in Nebraska who, in the judgment of the newspaper's editors, made the most significant achievement in sports while representing the best traditions of his or her institution. The late Fred Ware organized The World-Herald's sports department and served as sports editor from 1924 to 1942, and later was managing editor and a member of the newspaper's board of directors."
Past winners of the Ware Award include current Detroit Lions star Ndamukong Suh, Kansas City Royals outfielder Alex Gordon, Atlanta Hawks sharpshooter Kyle Korver, and Heisman Trophy winner Eric Crouch.
For the full article, check out the World-Herald's feature on the Crew rookie.
Photo courtesy of Creighton Athletics.