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08 July 11:22 am
 
Columbus Monthly has released its annual “Best of Columbus” issue, and Crew SC has been recognized.
 
The editors have selected us for “Best New Attitude” featured in the City Life category. Here's what they said:
 
The Columbus Crew SC’s new look has jump-started the team and the city alike. “We wanted to continue to be original, authentically Columbus and energetic,” says Andy Loughnane, president of business operations. “We wanted to be unapologetically a soccer club. [The redesigned badge] honors our heritage and identifies the city we’re proud to call home and recognizes our supporter culture,” and the striking new black and gold are “unmistakably Columbus—a mark of civic pride.” Columbus Crew SC has also improved the fan experience, making Hot Chicken Takeover, Jeni’s and local beers available at MAPFRE Stadium. But, most importantly, the new attitude is reflected in the team’s playing. “We’re playing a really competitive, fun and interesting brand of soccer on the pitch,” Loughnane says.
 
The Black & Gold currently sit in second place in Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference. With six home wins through the first half of the regular season, MAPFRE Stadium has been a fortress thanks to our supporters. With our new look having been inspired by the city and the people of Columbus, it’s an honor to receive this award.
 
In addition to the "Best New Attitude" award, Columbus Monthly’s "Readers' Picks" also featured their favorite players. Wil Trapp took home the “Best Crew SC Player” honor, followed by Federico Higuaín and Justin Meram. 
24 June 10:59 pm

A full week vacation from MLS play was just what Crew SC needed.

The Black & Gold were swift and aggressive, and created plenty of opportunities vs. the New England Revolution. That, combined with Kei Kamara’s fourth brace of the season, amounted to Crew SC coming away with a 2-1 victory.

Despite trailing not even a minute into the match, Crew SC went on to create an advantage in most stat categories on Wednesday night. Lets take a look at those stats and analyze how they played a factor in the Black & Gold's fifth home win of the season.

2

Saturday’s match got off to a ferocious start after the two teams combined for two goals within the first four minutes of play. Lee Nguyen registered New England’s first shot 35 seconds into the match, and it bounced under Steve Clark's outstretched arm into the back of the net. Just three minutes later, Kei Kamara took advantage of a rebound off the crossbar, lunged at the loose ball and headed it in to tie the match at one apiece.

4

Kamara tacked on another goal in the 50th minute, securing his fourth brace of the season. That brings Kamara’s League-leading goal total to 12, four ahead of the rest of the pack, and sets his new personal MLS-career high with over half of the season still left to play. Ethan Finlay recorded the primary assist on Kamara’s second goal, bringing his League-leading assist total up to nine, one ahead of second-place Benny Feilhaber.

25

The cumulative number of fouls registered by both teams. Justin Meram foreshadowed this level of physicality, saying there's no love lost between the two teams. A total of seven yellow cards were issued and players were hitting the ground frequently. Amazingly, the number doesn’t live up to the 30 fouls earned between the two sides when they last met.

34

Though the Revolution produced several legitimate scoring opportunities after Nguyen’s early goal, they spent a lot of time on their heels. Their 34 clearances indicate Crew SC’s dominance in the attacking third and the frequency of chances they accumulated.

42

Speaking of Crew SC's compelling offense, they ripped off 42 crosses, while only conceding 14. This stat is made even more remarkable considering Crew SC possessed the ball 56.2% of the time; an advantage, yes, but not complete dominance. As we alluded to from the start, Crew SC played quickly, and it didn’t take long for each of its opportunities to come to fruition.

07 June 12:09 am
 
Federico Higuaín took three shots on goal tonight, but it only took one blast to cut Montreal’s lead in half. Most impressively, Columbus Crew SC was down by two, but a relentless effort led to Pipa’s goal in the 91st minute.
 
We definitely had our chances with 20 attempts, 13 of which came in the second half. Kei Kamara recorded 10 shots of his own, with one hitting the post and few tipped over the crossbar by Montreal goalkeeper, Evan Bush.
 
Midfielder Ethan Finlay also contributed to our attack, hustling down the wing, creating dynamic give-and-go advancements with Hector Jimenez, slotting balls in the box, hitting crosses back post and notching a shot.
 
Waylon Francis and Tony Tchani each recorded a shot, while Mohammed Saeid hit two. However, his defense stood out tonight winning several tackles in the middle of the field, and sliding in front of an Ignacio Piatti shot inside the box in the 28th minute.
 
Defending the Impact was tough as the majority of their offense came on counterattacks. Steve Clark registered four saves, but a jumble in the box led to a goal by Maxim Tissot in the 55th minute. In the 79th minute, an unlucky bounce led to a second Impact goal by Andrés Romero off of a counterattack.
 
Captain Michael Parkhurst emphasized that we have plenty of time left to bounce back, as this was only our second loss at home this season.
 
“There’s a lot of season left and we need to stay positive and get back to working hard,” said Parkhurst.
 
Crew SC has a week to prepare for our next match as we host the LA Galaxy on Saturday, June 13 at 7:30 p.m. 
03 June 10:32 pm

Emanuel Pogatetz heads the ball past Phildelphia Union's Andrew Wenger in Crew SC's 3-0 loss at PPL Park.

Philadelphia’s May schedule featured five matches against four of the League’s premier teams. Playing better teams can result in a higher level of play, regardless of the outcome, and that effort carried into Wednesday night’s match against Columbus Crew SC (4-5-4.)

Goals from Vincent Noguiera and Sebastien Le Toux came only six minutes apart from one another early in the second half. That put Philadelphia (4-8-3) up 3-0, where it would remain for the duration of the match.

Crew SC Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter said Philadelphia's performance was the best play he's seen from them.

"Well, I think the starting point is the Philadelphia Union played an outstanding game," said Berhalter. "When you look at how effective they were and how they were winning challenges and moving the ball, and the competitive desire to win the game, it was outstanding. I think that’s the best I have seen Philly play."

On paper, the clubs did not differ drastically. In stats such as possession, shots, crosses, tackles won, and clearances, the two sides were nearly identical. Columbus and Philadelphia generated only seven on-target shots cumulatively, not including a first half Ethan Finlay shot that missed the post by inches. But Philadelphia’s flurry within the middle 30 minutes of the match created the right opportunities and the Union executed well.

As for Crew SC, a slightly altered starting line-up, highlighted by the absence of captain Michael Parkhurst, proved to be a tough obstacle to overcome, especially with the club playing another road match just four days prior. Wednesday’s match marked the fourth match in 13 days, including last week’s international friendly against Valencia CF, making it difficult to find time for a new unit to mesh.

Chad Barson accepted the challenges, made several strong, defensive tackles throughout the match, and reflected on his team's performance afterward.

"Definitely not the result we wanted," said Barson. "Three games in a short amount of time all against eastern conference teams, so obviously very important games for us and it’s an opportunity, if you get results, to move up in the standings. I think overall it wasn’t terrible, but just a few plays that kind of dug us a hole and it was too difficult to dig ourselves out of."

Teammate Aaron Schoenfeld, made his first start of the season, playing up top and registering a shot on goal tonight. Defender Sergio Campbell also got his first taste of MLS action, starting in the place of the aforementioned Parkhurst. Schoenfeld agreed with Barson on their team's play.

"I think it just wasn’t our day today. We threw away a couple of chances early, so if we take one of those, it changes the game up," said Schoenfeld. "Once they score that goal, they have some confidence behind them and start moving the ball a lot better. On any given day in this league, any team can win, which is the good thing about this league – there’s very little disparity between the teams. So if you come out flat, you’re going to get punished."

Barson is also grateful for the opportunity to play five matches in 16 days. 

"That’s the good thing about having so many games in a short amount of time," said Barson. "You forget the previous result and move onto the next one and make sure that you recover physically and mentally and put everything towards the next game."

One of the bright spots for the Black & Gold tonight was Mohammed Saeid establishing himself as the League’s second-most accurate passer with a passing percentage of 89.5 percent. The ranking includes only players who have registered at least 200 passes.

Another quick turnaround lies ahead for Crew SC, but the scene will change to familiar surroundings when the Black & Gold welcome the Montreal Impact to MAPFRE Stadium on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

29 May 5:48 pm
Ben Swanson makes his Crew SC debut against Valencia CF Wednesday night.
 
 
“I’ll cherish this for the rest of my life. Being able to step out there and put on the first team jersey for the first time, against a club like Valencia, I’ll remember it for the rest of my life.”
 
Seventeen-year-old Ben Swanson said this after his Crew SC debut.
 
He and three others dawned the Black & Gold on the pitch for the first time Wednesday night against renowned La Liga premier club, Valencia CF.
 
“Yeah, it was really exciting,” Swanson said. “I knew Gregg [Berhalter] said earlier in the week that everyone was getting 45 [minutes of playing time]. So I kind of prepared during the week knowing that I was going to play. Throughout school today, I couldn’t really focus, I was just kind of excited just to be on the field and play against a top club like Valencia. I had my friends and family [at the stadium], it was incredible.”
 
Berhalter recognized Swanson’s enthusiasm and was pleased overall with his performance.
 
“He was certainly excited,” Berhalter said. “Part of his job is to calm his nerves a little, be able to perform and I think he did that well. You didn’t really see the nerves and of course there were times when he made mistakes. But, overall the willingness for him to get on the ball and to want to make passes, that’s what I’m most proud of. It’s not easy for a 17-year-old to do that and he didn’t show any fear. I think that’s a good step.”
 
But Swanson wasn’t the only player to make his Crew SC debut. As we continue to build depth, Sergio Campbell, Kalen Ryden and Brad Stuver also earned the opportunity to play.
 
“We wanted to give everyone game-time and we wanted to mix the lineups up a little bit, so it was challenging,” Berhalter said. “Piecing it together wasn’t easy but I think both groups did okay.”
 
Not only did the international friendly provide a good opportunity for the coach to try different lineups, he was also able fully assess his roster.
 
“Playing against them, to give our guys that experience was great at this moment because we’re going to need everyone in the season,” said Berhalter. “You get to evaluate guys and see what they’re up to and check their form. Overall, I think it was a good exercise.”
 
Someone who earned a positive response from his debut was goalkeeper Brad Stuver.
 
“I think he’s made a lot of progress,” said Berhalter. “I think if you look how comfortable he was with his feet, playing out of the back under some pressure, that was really good to see. And then coming up with some big saves, that’s what we ask our goalies to do. Steve [Clark] has been doing it all year, or since he’s been here. It’s great to see Brad step up and have a good performance.”
 
Surprisingly, he notched a shot following a Crew SC corner in stoppage time.
 
“I guess that’s the good thing about friendlies,” said Stuver. “You can pretty much do whatever you want, nothing will go wrong. I looked over at the bench and Gregg [Berhalter] just kind of nodded his head and I was like ‘okay, so I’m going to make a 120 yard sprint’ and luckily the ball fell to my foot. I’m really, really sad it didn’t go in.”
 
Even more impressive was his performance between the posts. It certainly didn’t look like his first Crew SC game, as he made multiple remarkable saves.
 
“Every big save like that, it’s definitely a confidence booster,” said Stuver. “Getting the first one, definitely was able to build off that, definitely get the confidence up. I had great guys in front of me that made the saves a little bit easier for me.”
 
Stuver credits his teammates for his feat, but Berhalter confirmed the keeper was solid regardless.
 
“He was good,” said Berhalter. “He saved the one-on-one with [Alvaro] Negredo and had a couple other saves. He was good and it’s nice to see. Obviously, he hasn’t been playing that much and it’s been difficult for him at times, but it’s great to see when a player gets an opportunity that he takes advantage of it.”
 
Stuver said the same of Swanson’s first appearance.
 
“Ben Swanson looked good,” said Stuver. “He was playing the Tony Tchani role with [Mohammed Saeid] coming in playing his normal role and I think Ben did really well. I think he has been working a lot on his fitness and 45 minutes in a game scenario is definitely going to help his fitness out, but I thought his touches were good and I thought he bodied the bigger guys pretty well. He was able to use his body to shield the guys off and be able to turn there in the midfield. I thought he did really well.”
 
Getting positive feedback from his teammates and coaches was a bonus for Ben Swanson. This wasn’t just any match for the rookie midfielder, after all.
 
“It was a sweet experience,” Swanson said. “I walked in the locker room and I saw my jersey for the first time. And to be able to put it on, and to be able to step out in front of my friends and family and fans, and play against a top club like Valencia—it was a dream come true.”