Friday is the last day for Crew Digital Content Editor TJ Ansley as he prepares for a new opportunity as the Director of Digital Media with the Portland Trail Blazers of the NBA. Ansley joined the Black & Gold front office in February 2010, overseeing TheCrew.com and the club's social media accounts in the time since.
Thank you for your hard work and best of luck in Portland, TJ!
On Saturday, the Crew hosts New England Revolution in the first of three matches this season between the two sides in 2013. The Black & Gold went 1-1-1 against the Revs last season in 2012, here is a look back at the series last season.
Andy Gruenebaum made six saves to extend the Crew's unbeaten run to begin the summer of 2012 to six matches as the Crew battled the Revolution to a 0-0 draw at Gillette Stadium. While the Black & Gold attack only mustered three shots on target, the team's stellar defensive play was enough to earn the road point.
After surrendering two goals within the first 23 minutes, it seemed the Crew was headed for certain defeat in its second meeting of the season with the Revolution. But two Federico Higuaín free-kick tallies with a Jairo Arrieta counter-attack strike saw the Black & Gold head into halftime with a 3-2 advantage. The Revs would draw level in the 81st minute following a Lee Nguyen penalty kick, but Arrieta would net his second goal of the match five minutes later to lift the Crew to victory.
Playing its sixth match in 18 days, the Crew traveled to New England in search of a fifth-straight win. However, fatigue was a factor as the Black & Gold allowed an early second-half goal followed by an own goal to hand the Revolution its first win in two months.
Described as the “crown jewel” of the Crew Youth Academy by Columbus Crew Technical Director, Brian Bliss, Homegrown Player Wil Trapp has been the subject of some high praise recently.
Following his MLS debut, where he started and played the full 90 minutes in a 1-0 victory over Portland, Crew Head Coach Robert Warzycha had equally high plaudits for the 20-year-old.
“We knew that when it was time he could step on the field and do a good job. He’s a good player,” said Warzycha postgame last Sunday. “He played for the Academy and we signed him because we knew what he could do and what kind of player he is.
“He grew up here, in Columbus, so we knew when it was time he could step on the field and do a good job. He's a good player.”
Playing as the lone holding midfielder, in a slightly altered Crew formation, Trapp impressed in his MLS debut. He completed the highest percentage of passes of any player on the pitch (86.0%) and won the ball back for the Crew twice as many times as conceded possession (17 wins to 8 losses). The new formation perhaps suited Trapp, who had a similar role while Portland’s Head Coach, Caleb Porter, while at the University of Akron.
Porter is not surprised that Trapp has continued to impress in his young career since leaving Akron. “He’s got a bright future. Obviously I had him on my radar, recruitment wise, for a long time, being at Akron, and being that he was an Ohio guy. I knew he would do well at the professional level.”
“He’s a very technical player. He’s a player that tactically gets it,” said Porter of his former midfielder postgame. “He’s a smart player. Technically and tactically he’s one of the most talented players I’ve ever been with.
Trapp demonstrated his tactical awareness and that despite his age, the Gahanna product is able to perform on the big stage. In two seasons at Akron, Trapp started all 55 matches, tallying one goal and eight assists from his deep-lying midfield role. Perhaps his greatest attribute, however, is his ability to control the midfield. His strength and positioning on and off the ball allows for his teammates in the midfield more freedom to operate.
In his two seasons at Akron, midfielders scored almost half of the team’s goals as the Zips found 40 of a total 94 goals (42.6%) from midfielder contributions. So it should come as no surprise to Crew fans that in Trapp’s first MLS start, a midfielder scored as winger Bernardo Anor netted his second tally in as many contests.
Trapp’s return to Columbus comes on the heels of U-20 World Cup experience in Turkey, where he started all three matches and captained the United States in the clash against France. While on international duty, Trapp has made a strong impression on U.S. Soccer, as he is the only U-20 men’s player to make an appearance in every match in 2013.
Time will tell how Trapp is utilized in Warzycha’s lineup, but Sunday was a strong demonstration as his debut in front of the Black & Gold fans earned the rookie “Barbasol Man of the Match” honors.
Former OSU Buckeye and Wigan Athletic midfielder Roger Espinoza talks about coming back to Columbus.
Fresh off his MLS debut, Crew midfielder and Columbus native Wil Trapp appeared on FOX Sports Ohio's All Bets Are Off alongside the Black & Gold's radio voice, Neil Sika on Tuesday. Trapp and Sika discussed the Crew's current season and Trapp's emergence into the First Team with host Bruce Drennan. Check out the video below.
His style of play can be described as "hard-nosed," "gritty" or even "aggressive" at times, but off the field Danny O'Rourke is all class and sophistication. Local media has taken notice of the Crew defender/midfielder's fashion sense as he's been chosen to grace the cover of the 2013 Men's Issue of Capital Style Magazine.
The issue, available at newstands around Columbus later this week, profiles O'Rourke's tastes in fashion and culture as well as other Columbus athletes' styles.
Be on the lookout for the issue soon!
Crew forward Jairo Arrieta scored the second of Costa Rica's three goals in La Sele's 3-0 win over Cuba to open play in the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup. The tally was Arrieta's fourth goal for his country, all of which have come in 2013. Costa Rica continues on in the group stage of the Gold Cup against Belize at Rio Tinto Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Head Coach Robert Warzycha’s first-team selection on Sunday against the Portland Timbers provided Crew fans a chance to see more than half of the squad include in-state talent.
The special Ohio ties have gained some local attention as many were originally featured ahead of the 2013 home-opener at Crew Stadium in an issue of Columbus Alive!. Sunday marked the first time in which three Crew Homegrown Players started in a single match.
In fact, six Ohio-raised athletes managed to make their way into the starting XI, helping the Crew earn a 1-0 victory against a Timbers that entered Crew Stadium unbeaten in their last 15 matches.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Official Statistician of Major League Soccer:
48 players born in Ohio have been signed to an MLS club at some point in their career. Among that total, there are currently 20 active players around the League who hail from the Buckeye State.
13 of those 48 athletes were, at one time or other, under contract to the Crew.
That list of course only includes players that were born in the state of Ohio, and does not include players that were born elsewhere but still consider Ohio their hometowns on official rosters. For example, current Black & Gold players Konrad Warzycha (Born in Poland - raised in Dublin, OH) and Matt Lampson (Born in Tennessee – raised in Hilliard, OH) have specific Ohio ties but are not included below.
The players’ name is followed by the number of appearances they have made for the Crew and the years they called Crew Stadium home.
Chad Barson (8, 2013) Columbus, OH
Eric Brunner (39, 2008-2013) Dublin, OH
Marc Burch (7, 2006-2013) Cincinnati, OH
Brad Friedel (38, 1996-1997) Lakewood, OH
Aaron Horton* (1, 2011-2013) Lakewood, OH
Kyle Hyland (0, 2013) Bay Village, OH
Chris Leitch (37, 2002-2011) Columbus, OH
Danny O'Rourke (140, 2005-2013) Columbus, OH
Kenny Schoeni (1, 2008-2010) Cincinnati, OH
Ben Speas (14, 2012-2013) Stow, OH
Wil Trapp (1, 2013) Columbus, OH
Brandon Ward (6, 1996) Westerville, OH
Josh Williams (47, 2010-2013) Canton, OH
*Currently on loan with LA Blues of USL PRO
The Crew will host FA Cup champion Wigan Athletic on Saturday in its annual international friendly at Crew Stadium. Here's a look back at the Black & Gold's 2-1 victory over Stoke City last season to get you ready for this weekend's match.
Early on, it seemed the Potters were clearly the top side as Jonathan Walters headed Ryan Shotton's cross into the net before Andy Gruenebaum could react in the opening minutes. However, the Black & Gold showed their fight in the second half as Homegrown striker Aaron Horton equalized in the 71st minute, finishing off Emilio Rentería's sliding endline cross. The Crew found the winner 16 minutes later as Horton's fellow Homegrown Ben Speas blasted a victory strike from the top of the box to edge the Premier League side 2-1.