The Columbus Council on World Affairs (CCWA) recently named the Columbus Crew the International Organization of the Year for its global influence on the Columbus community. Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter, Brand Ambassador Frankie Hejduk and midfielder Bernardo Anor were on hand to accept the award earlier this month.
“Our management team, our staff and our players really believe that Columbus is a tremendous place to live and influence the development of a dynamic soccer culture,” said Anthony Precourt, Columbus Crew Chairman and Investor-Operator when the award was announced last October.
“We are honored to have this positive reinforcement for our efforts and thank CCWA for spotlighting our club as a strong local ambassador to the world and a global ambassador to this region.”
The Crew's radio play-by-play voice Neil Sika calls the action from the Black & Gold's 2-1 triumph in Seattle.
Chad Marshall won't be the only one seeing old friends as oppostion on Saturday when the Crew takes on Seattle Sounders FC. Defender Tyson Wahl was selected by the Sounders in the 2008 MLS Expansion Draft and made 39 appearances in three seasons for the club before being picked up by the Montreal Impact in the 2011 MLS Expansion Draft.
Saturday's match will mark the first time Wahl has returned to CenturyLink Field despite having played for three clubs since his departure in 2011.
"It's definitely one you circle on the schedule," Wahl said of his return. "I have fond memories of being here. It's definitely been a while. Last year, we didn't travel out here. My previous team's just didn't go. It's exciting. It's nice to be around the city and I'm definitely excited to step out on the stadium field again."
Wahl helped Sounders FC to three-straight Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cups during his time in the Emerald City.
Saturday’s two-goal performance for Bernardo Anor marked the second time in his career that he took home MLS Player of the Week honors. The first time, on June 18, 2011, in his very first start for the Black & Gold, the rookie Anor helped his side to a 2-0 road win against the Houston Dynamo. The midfielder picked up his first career goal and assist en route to the League’s weekly honor.
On the last trip to Seattle, Justin Meram and Emilio Renteria scored on either side of halftime as the Crew defeated Seattle Sounders FC 2-0 at CenturyLink Field on May 23, 2012. In the win, the club’s first in Seattle, Andy Gruenebaum made six saves in the shutout win and faced 21 Seattle shots in the effort.
Federico Higuain recorded his first assist of the season on his corner kick that Bernardo Anor drove home with a header on March 22. Higuain now has 18 goals and 17 assists in 44 career games.
BACK ON THE ROAD
For the second time in three matches, the Crew takes to the road for an early-season test ... the Black & Gold are looking for their first back-to-back road wins since 2010 when an four-day span in May saw wins at New York (May 20) and Kansas City (May 23).
LOOKING FOR HISTORIC HOT START AWAY FROM HOME
Following the 3-0 win at D.C. United in the first away match of 2014, the Crew has a chance on Saturday to accomplish something the team has been unable to do in more than 10 years: win its first two road games of a campaign ... the last time the club won its first two tilts away from Crew Stadium was in 2003 with April wins at New York (April 12) and at New England (April 19).
STOPPING BY SIGI’S HOUSE...
Saturday marks another match against former Crew boss Sigi Schmid and the man that helped lead the Crew to its first MLS Cup victory in 2008 ... Schmid held a record of 44-33-25 in three seasons in Columbus from 2006-2008.
... AND FAMILIAR FACES IN MARSHALL, EVANS
Saturday marks the first time that Chad Marshall faces his former club ... last December, the Crew traded Marshall to Seattle Sounders FC in exchange for allocation money and a 2015 Third Round SuperDraft selection ... Marshall played in more minutes (22,220), matches (253) and seasons (10) than anyone else in the Black & Gold's 19-year history ... Brad Evans also began his MLS career with the Crew and following his rookie season in 2007, his 26 appearances and five goals helped the Crew to a 2008 MLS Cup title run ... Evans, however, has seen his former club since joining Seattle in 2009.
SHARP PASSES, SMART PASSES OVERALL ...
Through a pair of matches in 2014, the Crew leads MLS in passing accuracy ... Saturday’s opponent -- Seattle -- sits just behind the Crew in sixth among the top third of MLS ... a full breakdown of Opta statistics is below:
Team ............................................... Passing Accuracy
Columbus Crew .............................. 82.94
LA Galaxy ........................................ 80.82
Philadelphia Union ........................ 79.66
Real Salt Lake .................................. 79.33
New York Red Bulls........................ 79.09
Seattle Sounders FC ....................... 78.89