OPENING WITH A BANG
Crew SC has experienced success in recent home openers, going unbeaten over its last 10 such contests at MAPFRE Stadium ... the Black & Gold have gone 5-0-5 in their last 10 Opening Matches, accumulating a goal differential of +10 (14 goals four, four goals against) ... Crew SC has kept a clean sheet in six of those Opening Matches, including a stretch of three in a row from 2010 - 2012.
The MLS Disciplinary committee has suspended Columbus Crew SC midfielder Tony Tchani one game and fined the player an undisclosed amount for his 77th minute challenge in the club’s match last weekend at Houston ... Tchani will miss the Opening Match at MAPFRE Stadium as a result of the suspension.
NINE-TENTHS OF THE LAW
Following a season in which Crew SC kept the ball at a 54.12% rate, good for fourth in MLS, the Black & Gold continued their strong possession ways last weekend in Houston ... Columbus recorded the second-highest rate of possession among any MLS club on the League’s opening weekend, holding the ball at a 59.43% rate against the Dynamo ... only Philadelphia (62.06%) notched a higher rate.
Crew SC forward Kei Kamara joined renowned soccer commentator Glenn Davis for a segment on his radio show, Soccer Matters, on ESPN 97.5 Houston. Kamara talked about his return to MLS and shared some stories about growing up in Sierra Leone, moving to the United States and his career thus far.
Despite falling in Houston over the weekend, Crew SC did not lose much ground in the weekly Power Rankings. The Black & Gold placed as high as fifth in MLSsoccer.com's weekly ratings, and as low as 12th in SI.com's standings.
See the full rankings below (last week's ranking in parentheses).
MLSsoccer.com: 5 (4)
ESPNFC: 10 (5)
SI.com: 12 (N/A)
Columbus Crew SC kicks-off its 20th season this weekend as one of Major League Soccer’s 10 charter clubs. All-time, the club has compiled a record of 247-232-115, scoring 856 goals through 19 seasons while conceding 817. Crew SC is one of just five MLS clubs to break the 850 goal mark all-time.
In 2014, Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter’s first year at the helm, Crew SC totaled 52 goals in its 34 regular-season matches. That marked the fourth time in club history that the Black & Gold broke the 50-goal mark for a full season, joining 1998 (67), 1996 (59) and the MLS Cup championship season of 2008 (50).
Of the current active Crew SC roster, 12 different nations are represented, with a 13th (DR Congo) slated to be added via the summer arrival of attacker Cedrick Mabwati. The full list of countries represented on the Black & Gold roster is as follows: USA (16), Argentina (2) and one each of Austria, Cameroon, Iceland, Israel, Jamaica, Sweden, Iraq, Trinidad & Tobago, Costa Rica and Sierra Leone, with Cedrick to add DR Congo to that list.
Columbus Crew SC offered the following statements on the news that Major League Soccer and the MLS Players Union have reached an agreement in principle on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA):
Statement from Crew SC Investor-Operator and Chairman Anthony Precourt: “We are pleased that a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) has been reached in principle between Major League Soccer and the MLS Players Union. This is positive news for fans of this sport in North America, and of course in Columbus. As our team turns its attention to the 2015 MLS campaign, Columbus Crew SC strives to continue to be successful on and off the pitch, combining good business and good soccer. We look forward to delivering a first-class experience in 2015 for supporters and partners at MAPFRE Stadium and we eagerly anticipate beginning our historic 20th year in the League.”
Statement from Crew SC Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter: “This is great news for soccer fans across North America. We are excited to start the season and are grateful for the hard work put in by both parties in their efforts to reach an agreement.”
Statement from club representative to the MLS Players Union Ethan Finlay: “We are pleased to have reached a new five year collective bargaining agreement with the League. The players are excited to turn our focus back to the field.”
Columbus Crew SC is one of ten charter clubs in Major League Soccer, competing in the League since 1996. 2015 will mark the club’s historic 20th season ... the Black & Gold have won five major trophies in club history: MLS Cup (2008), the MLS Supporters’ Shield (2004, 2008, 2009) and the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup (2002).
EVOLVING TO COLUMBUS CREW SC
2015 will mark the club’s first as Columbus Crew SC after undergoing a brand evolution over the offseason ... the club revealed its new badge and brand at a downtown event in Columbus last October ... the brand reveal campaign earned several awards, including helping Crew SC earn the MLS Executive Award for Marketing Team of the Year as well as 12 Columbus American Marketing Association Achievement in Marketing (AIM) Awards.
In 2014, Crew SC midfielders Federico Higuain and Ethan Finlay each recorded 11 goals and seven assists ... the two were just one of four duos across the League to achieve that feat.