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Pogatetz enjoying Columbus on and off the field

Fresh off Barbasol Man of the Match honors against the Houston Dynamo, Crew SC defender Emanuel Pogatetz is staying level-headed following the Black & Gold's season-opening road loss. The Premier League and Bundesliga veteran knows there is much work to be done before Saturday's match versus Toronto FC, despite owning possession against the Dynamo. 

"There’s only been one game to play so far, so there’s not a lot I can say," Pogatetz said Thursday. "The first game went well, apart from the result. I think we had a good performance, and with a little bit more luck, we could’ve won the game. Also, I was pleased with my individual performance. I hope I can keep this standard for the season. So far it’s going well, but it’s too early to say anything. It’s only one game."

Chosen as the Barbasol Man of the Match by the fans, Pogatetz has been embraced by the club and its supporters in his first six months in Columbus. Captain Michael Parkhurst believes Pogatetz will turn heads around Major League Soccer this season with his hard-nosed defense. 

"[Pogatetz] has really opened up," Parkhurst explained. "He’s a super good person off the field, really well-liked in the locker room. He brings a really physical presence on the field as well. He’s loud, he goes hard on tackles and I think guys around the League will notice him pretty quickly because he’s a good defender and he likes to get stuck-in. He puts a little bit of fear in attackers’ minds, which is good for me to play with. He’s the enforcer out there, but he’s also very calm on the ball."

In his 15-year professional career the Graz, Austria native has spent his playing days in Leverkusen, Moscow and London, among other cities. In such a short amount of time, Columbus has already proven to be a special place for the 32-year-old centerback. 

"You can feel the progress within the city," he explained. "You can see the city is moving forward. You can also feel it in the soccer club. I feel good to be part of such a lively city, a city in progress like its soccer club. We’re all moving forward…That’s one thing that unites us, the club with the city. You feel there’s something going on, always. You see buildings popping up everywhere.

"You feel there’s something growing here and it’s fun to be part of it."