July 15, 2015
By mid-summer, Crew SC was the only team in MLS without a road victory. They were 0-5-4 with a dreadful minus-11 goal differential on the road (6 goals scored, 17 goals allowed.)
On a Wednesday night in Bridgeview, IL, Crew SC thoroughly dominated the first half against the Chicago Fire but held only a 1-0 lead on a Kei Kamara header just before halftime. Worries about not doing enough to put the game away during that dominant first half proved to be unfounded. In the end, one goal was enough. Crew SC ended the road drought and did it against the rival Fire. Sure, the Fire ended up being the worst team in MLS, but the victory away from home was the spark that Crew SC needed. The Black & Gold finished the year by going 6-2-0 on the road, which played a huge role in Columbus climbing to second place in the Eastern Conference and fourth overall in MLS.
The road results during that stretch:
- 1-0 win at Chicago
- 5-2 loss at Orlando
- 2-1 win at Colorado
- 2-1 win at New York City
- 2-1 win at Philadelphia
- 2-1 win at D.C. United
- 2-1 loss at New York
- 2-0 win at Toronto
That’s 14 goals scored and 11 goals allowed while grabbing 18 points in eight matches. Berhalter has cited the 2-1 win at Colorado as a turning point and the 2-0 win at Toronto as a moment when Crew SC showed it had the mettle to compete for it all, but a win in Bridgeview sparked the blazing road finish to the season, so I’m picking this moment. Also, because it’s the Fire.
BONUS MOMENT: THE MINI NORDECKE
The Fourth of July was Independence Day for a group of young kids who freed themselves from adult supervision and instead hung out with Frankie Hejduk to create the very first Mini Nordecke. About 30 or so youngsters supported Crew SC with all their might.
“A bunch of kids wanted to start singing and chanting and dancing, much like the Nordecke,” Hejduk explained later that night. “They weren’t able to sit over there, so I decided, hey, let’s start a little section right next to the Nordecke where we will kind of almost initiate them into the next Nordecke. We started off today with about 30 kids, and these kids brought it like no other.
“Based on how they sang today in their first Mini Nordecke section,” Hejduk added, “I feel like this is going to be something that Columbus isn’t ready for.”
As the season went along, the Mini Nordecke became a staple in Section 135. They even added flags and banners to their repertoire after Hejduk held a Mini #TIFOSWEAT session for them at the Heineken Star Lounge one summer afternoon.
A raucous youth supporters section—another Frankie Being Frankie moment, and yet another first for the Team of Firsts.