It's no secret that the home venue -- especially in Major League Soccer -- often plays a key advantage in sports. Last season, the Black & Gold were undefeated in home sellouts (4-0-1) and 9-4-4 overall in Columbus.
Under a new crest and a new name, Crew SC hopes the fortress atmosphere continues in 2015 at MAPFRE Stadium. That success can begin Saturday versus Toronto FC (TICKETS / Time Warner Cable SportsChannel / CD102.5 FM).
"You live off the atmosphere, you gain energy from it," Captain Michael Parkhurst said at the club's annual Media Day on Thursday. "When it’s a home game and you have your fans pushing you, it gives you that extra energy, that extra boost when you need it throughout the game. There are periods throughout the game where energy is lacking a little bit or things aren’t going your way, and if the crowd can get behind you, you can feed off that."
Echoed Columbus native Wil Trapp: "In tough games, when you have that full stadium and your fans are behind you, it just gives you that extra energy boost. We’re playing for them."
Home support can be all the difference in the result of a soccer match. A veteran of the Barclays Premier League and German Bundesliga, Crew SC defender Emanuel Pogatetz knows the importance of making a club's home turf a fortress.
"The crowd can be the 12th man and be decisive for a win or a draw," Pogatetz explained. "I hope we have a lot of sellouts this year. I hope the crowd will be as loud and vocal as they were last season and we can have success together."
Playing in his first home match since returning to Columbus in October, forward Kei Kamara looks forward to the prospect of scoring his first goal at MAPFRE Stadium and celebrating with the Nordecke.
"I’m just looking forward to getting that first one out of the way, first goal," Kamara said.
"Celebrating with the home fans, there won’t be a better place to score than home."
WEEK TWO: NATIONAL TV