In Crew SC's 302 regular-season home matches at Ohio Stadium and MAPFRE Stadium, more than 4.6 million spectators have witnessed 160 Black & Gold victories and made a whole lot of unforgettable soccer memories.
After 20 years in Major League Soccer, there is still history to be made and Crew SC could reach its next milestone today against conference rival Chicago Fire.
Columbus currently sits at 499 regular-season goals at home. Having scored 10 in the last three home matches, chances are home goal No. 500 will come against the Fire. But before we get too excited, we want to relive other milestone-marking, regular-season home goals. You’ll notice that each of these goals came during a win, so one more goal next Friday may just be the good luck charm Crew SC needs to put out the Fire.
Goal No. 1: Thor Lee – 4/13/96 vs. DC United
If that name doesn’t ring a bell with avid Crew SC supporters, there are two reasons for it: 1) Lee only spent one season in Major League Soccer and 2) he played for DC United, Crew SC’s opponent that day. Lee registered an own goal in the 18th minute of Crew SC’s existence in MLS to give the Black & Gold the lead. Brian McBride, the first player selected during the 1996 MLS Inaugural Player Draft just two months prior, became the first Crew SC player to register a goal, putting Columbus up 2-0 just 11 minutes later. McBride picked up another goal and an assist to help push the Black & Gold to a 4-0 win.
Goal No. 100: Rob Smith – 9/6/98 vs. MetroStars
In a game that also featured a visitors' own goal to start off the scoring, courtesy of MetroStars defender Mike Duhaney, Smith’s 77th minute beauty from outside the box proved to be the difference as Crew SC won 4-3. Smith's game-winner would end up being his final goal as a member of Crew SC.
Goal No. 200: Dante Washington – 6/15/02 vs. San Jose Earthquakes
The former U.S International picked up his fourth goal of the season with a bending, left-footed shot to the lower 90 in Crew SC’s 2-1 win over the Quakes. Columbus and San Jose exchanged goals in the 31st and 39th minutes respectively. 44 minutes later, Washington played hero to lock up three points.
Goal No. 300: Stefani Miglioranzi – 6/20/07 vs. Kansas City Wizards
With a corner kick flying into the box, Miglioranzi nestled his way into traffic and floated a header over the outstretched arm of Kansas City’s Kevin Hartman to put Crew SC up 2-0. Kansas City would tack on a goal in the 93rd minute, so Miglioranzi's first goal of the season proved to be the match winner.
Goal No. 400: Tommy Heinermann vs. 6/26/11 Colorado Rapids
Andres Mendoza’s 48th minute goal put Crew SC up 3-1 and all but sealed the match, but Heinermann’s goal nine minutes later put the cherry on top in a historic way. After some nifty ball movement and a well-defended cross, Heinermann was there for the rebound and sent a rocket towards the left side of the net. Colorado goalkeeper Matt Pickens got a hand on it, but the shot was too powerful and Heinermann made stadium history with goal No. 400.
We'd like to tip our hat to David Letterman on an incredible run with the Late Show. As a tribute to his final show last night, we created our own Letterman-esque "Top 10 List." We present: The top 10 reasons why we're stoked for Friday's match against the Chicago Fire.
10. The Nordecke is about to be all sorts of crazy.
— Columbus Crew SC (@ColumbusCrewSC) May 10, 2015
9. Crew SC at MAPFRE Stadium usually means goals, which means more moments like this:
8. It’s totally OK to make fire puns.
— A.J. Hoffmann (@crustybuckeye) May 21, 2015
7. We have a chance to shine on national TV.
6. You’ll look up Bridgeview, Illinois on a map. Hooray for learning!
5. Friendly banter!
— Columbus Crew SC (@ColumbusCrewSC) May 18, 2015
4. You realize Kei Kamara & Justin Meram have scored more goals (10) than Chicago (9).
3. Ethan Finlay just might do something like this again.
2. You can buy a beer and brat pack for the match!
1. It’s another chance to defend our fortress, another chance for a "YES!" chant.
Another chapter of the Crew SC - Chicago Fire rivalry will be written this Friday when the two sides clash at MAPFRE Stadium. Columbus and Chicago have combined for two MLS cups, four Supporters’ Shields, and five Lamar U.S Open Cups. Over the past 17 years, they have faced-off a total of 52 times. Here are our five favorite moments from the Midwestern match-up.
July 9, 1998 – Crew SC’s First Win Over Chicago
Chicago accumulated a 20-12-0 record and captured the MLS Cup in its inaugural season, but not before making its first and only trip to Ohio Stadium. Crew SC jumped on the Fire early with an unassisted eighth-minute goal, courtesy of Stern John. Rob Smith and Brian McBride tacked on two more goals to secure the 3-0 win.
Oct. 4, 2004 – Crew SC’s First Regular Season Eastern Conference Title
Talk about a grind-it-out win. Crew SC and the Fire accumulated more fouls (30) than shots (16) in this heated clash. It took the Black & Gold almost an hour to get on the scoreboard, but Edson Buddle’s 59th-minute tally was just enough to capture the 1-0 win and with that the first regular season conference title in Crew SC history. Columbus went on to finish the season with a 12-5-13 record (49 pts.)
Oct. 12, 2008 – Supporters’ Shield: Check
Usually, a 2-2 tie would not get us too riled up, but it was just what Crew SC needed to clinch the Supporters’ Shield as the League’s best regular season club. Houston Dynamo was on the Black & Gold’s heels for the title throughout the season, but its 0-0 draw with D.C United that same night knocked the club out of contention. Eddie Gaven and Guillermo Barros Schelotto scored for Crew SC in the 59th and 61st minutes, respectively. The tie would not be the Black & Gold’s last dance with the Fire that season.
Nov. 13, 2008 – Crew SC Beats Chicago to Win Eastern Conference
A month after claiming the Supporters' Shield, Crew SC took on Chicago in another crucial match at MAPRFRE Stadium. In front of a packed house, former Crew SC striker Brian McBride broke the tie with a header to give Chicago the lead in the 29th minute. That lead would not survive much of the second half, however, when Chad Marshall received a well-struck set piece and headed it off the crossbar and into the net just three minutes after the break. Just six minutes later, Gaven took a headed through ball and slung it into the net to put the Crew up 2-1 and claim the Eastern Conference title. Crew SC went on to defeat the New York Red Bulls 3-1 to capture its first MLS Cup.
Sept. 21, 2013 – A Big Win and a Big Snack
Sure, Dominic Oduro’s 15th-minute goal was nice, but that celebration took planning and a dedicated person to hold the pizza. We cannot confirm whether Oduro was more excited to break the 0-0 draw or indulge in a mid-match snack, but we hope it’s the former. Kudos to Oduro for the creativity. Oh, Crew SC would also go on to score two more times to top Chicago 3-0 that day.
ONLY MEETING IN 2015
Columbus Crew SC plays its 10th Major League Soccer regular-season match this and its first-ever at Avaya Stadium, as it travels to meet the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday, May 9. This is the only match between Columbus and San Jose this year. The Black & Gold are 18-13-7 against the Earthquakes all-time and are looking for their seventh win over the Quakes away, where the series is 6-10-4 all-time in favor of San Jose.
LAST REGULAR SEASON MEETING
On March 13, 2014, Crew SC and the San Jose Earthquakes played to a 1-1 draw at Buck Shaw Stadium. Federico Higuain was the lone goal scorer for the Black & Gold as he found the back of the net in the 44th minute. Chris Wondolowski equalized for the Earthquakes in the 51st. The draw was Crew SC’s first of the 2014 season, part of a 3-1-1 start to the year for the Black & Gold.
KAMARA ON HISTORIC GOAL PACE ...
Through nine matches of 2015, Kei Kamara is averaging 0.78 goals per match, which is on-pace to become the second highest mark in club history to Stern John’s blistering 1998 pace of 0.96 goals per match. Kamara has scored in six of Crew SC’s nine contests and has recorded two multi-goal matches.
... AS IS FINLAY WITH ASSISTS
Through nine matches of 2015, Ethan Finlay is averaging 0.56 assists per match, plac-ing him fifth among all players in Crew SC history. Finlay has recorded an assist in three of his last four matches and has two game-winning assists on the year.
JIMENEZ CLOSE TO MILESTONE
Crew SC midfielder/defender Hector Jimenez made his second start of the season last week at rightback, recording an assist against Seattle Sounders FC. Should he start this match at San Jose, it would mark both the 75th career MLS appearance and the 50th career MLS start for Jimenez. Among all players on Crew SC’s current roster, the former LA Galaxy player is tied with Kei Kamara for the most goals against San Jose (two) and has also registered the most assists (two).
FOUR OF TOP FIVE PASSING PERFORMANCES
In their last match at MAPFRE Stadium, against Seattle Sounders FC, Crew SC’s passing accuracy as a team was 86.8%. Of the five best single-match passing accuracy performances League-wide this season, the Black & Gold have now recorded four of them. Previously, the Black & Gold registered matches of 88.1% (vs. Orlando City SC, April 18), 87.9% (vs. Philadelphia Union, April 25) and 87.1% (vs. Toronto FC, March 14).
KAMARA LEADING THE LEAGUE IN GOALS
Crew SC forward Kei Kamara’s brace against Seattle Sounders FC propelled him atop the MLS goal-scoring leaderboard, where he is tied with Clint Dempsey at seven tallies. The Sierra Leone native is also the current League leader in total shots (41) and he ranks second in shots on goal (17), trailing only Vancouver’s Octavio Rivero. Among all players with at least 120 minutes played, Kamara’s goals-per-90-minute rate of 0.80 also ranks second in MLS. His two-goal performance against Seattle was his second such effort of the campaign. He paced Crew SC in shots on goal vs. Seattle (three), surpassing the 200-shot-on-goal total for his MLS career (201).
POSSESSION, PASSING, CHANCES
Crew SC has continued its strong passing and possession play in 2015. According to the League’s official statistician, Opta, Crew SC leads MLS in chances created per match (13.0) and ranks second in big chances created per match (1.3). The Black & Gold also rank second overall in MLS in passing accuracy (82.3%) and fourth overall in possession (53.0%).
Saturday’s match between the San Jose Earthquakes and Columbus Crew SC may be their first clash in new Avaya Stadium, but the series has a long history. Both clubs are Major League Soccer originals and have faced-off 38 times in 20 years of regular-season play. Crew SC leads the series with an 18-13-7 record. Here are our top five moments from the series in chronological order.
August 18, 1996: Our first-ever victory over San Jose
Third time’s the charm, right? It took Columbus three attempts to pick up a win over San Jose, doing so to the tune of a 2-0 win at Ohio Stadium. Brian Maisonneuve (77’) and Adrian Paz (82’) recorded the late-match tallies to secure the win. Crew SC outshot the San Jose Clash, as they were known back then, 18-7.
March 25, 2000: The first-ever regular-season “Golden Goal” in MLS
Crew SC was bound for three points after Brian West broke the 0-0 tie in the 85th minute, but Ronald Cerritos’s 92nd minute penalty shot tied things up and sent the match into golden goal mode. Nine minutes later, Robert Warzycha, the man who would go on to coach Crew SC a few years later, fired off the game-winner to beat the newly-named Earthquakes.
September, 2002: Crew SC defeats San Jose in the League semifinals
Columbus advanced to the MLS semifinals on a 4-2 aggregate defeating San Jose, 2-1, in two consecutive matches. Crew SC’s Freddy Garcia registered a goal in each match and his team never trailed during either of the matches. Though Crew SC went on to be eliminated by New England, the club would capture the Lamar Hunt U.S Open Cup that year.
May 10, 2008: What a finish
The best part of any show is the grand finale and this day was no different. San Jose’s Ramiro Corrales opened up scoring in the 42nd minute. Half an hour later the floodgates opened. Robbie Rogers started the mayhem with a 73rd minute goal to tie the match. Seven minutes later Rogers tallied another goal, which was followed by a Brad Evans goal two minutes after that to put Crew SC up 3-1. Ryan Johnson cut the deficit to one another six minutes later. That’s four goals in 15 minutes. It ended there as Crew SC hung on for the final few minutes to pick up the win.
August 8, 2009: Open the floodgates
Much like the match above, the two sides saved the best for last. Except this time there was no scoring for the first 68 minutes until Crew SC turned it on. Alejandro Moreno opened scoring with a 69th minute tally, which was then followed up by an unassisted Rogers goal just four minutes later. After Crew SC let onlookers catch their collective breath, Adam Moffat capped off the offensive explosion in the 87th minute to secure the 3-0 win.
Crew SC forward, Kei Kamara, made a special appearance at Hayes Intermediate School in Grove City. Kei spoke to the students about his personal journey from Sierra Leone and the importance of hard work and dedication both in the classroom and on the field. After speaking to the group, Kei answered questions from the students, signed autographs and posed for a few pictures.
The event was part of Crew SC's "Give Forward" inititative, which is sponsored by MAPFRE Insurance.