Eddie Gaven in goal
Jamie Sabau - Getty Images

Sirk's Notebook: Crew 3 - Union 1

Well, that was certainly interesting. The Crew’s 3-1 victory over the Philadelphia Union was a confidence builder, a tragedy, and a comedy all rolled into one. The fact that it came on the heels of a bizarre draw at Toronto and a strange visit to Trinidad, and also preceded the Crew’s annual casino night and awards celebration, well, it made for a very peculiar ten days in Crewville. Let’s take a look, shall we? We’ll start with the Philly game, then hop around from there…


The Crew took the lead in the 15th minute on Sunday when Guillermo Barros Schelotto converted a penalty kick for his team-leading 9th goal in league play. Referee Jair Marrufo awarded the penalty when Eddie Gaven was taken down in, er, at, er, a little bit outside the box.

“I thought it might have been outside the box, to be honest with you,” Gaven said. “But I am glad he called the penalty. I wasn’t really sure if I was in or out, but I wasn’t going to complain about it.”


The Crew doubled their lead in the 42nd minute when Emilio Renteria ran on to a Gaven through ball and buried a missile into the lower-right corner of the net. The Union played a high line on defense, which Renteria said gave him a lot of room to run on to balls from Schelotto and Gaven.

“Emilio did a great job today,” said Gaven. “He was making really good runs, and he was chasing all day. He made it really hard for the other team, which is what we needed. He did a lot of good things.”

He also did a hilarious thing. After scoring, Renteria ran to the Nordecke and removed his right shoe. He dialed it as if it were a telephone, and then had a brief conversation as he held it to his ear. When he was done, he “hung up” the phone by placing it on the corner flag.

“I tried to call my family,” he said through an interpreter. “No answer.”

(In that case, I will assume the shoe-phone chatter I saw was him leaving a voice mail for his family.)

While it first it appeared that Renteria was going to do the “Too the Boot” celebration that Schelotto once did in a television commercial, Emilio’s celebration had an entirely different origin.

“I had a friend do that celebration,” Renteria explained, “and I told him that the next time I score in Columbus, I will do it.”


After Andres Mendoza’s clinical near-post finish put the Crew up 3-0 in the 79th minute, it seemed that all that was left to do was to wait for the clock to hit 90:00 and then get ready for the playoffs. But then fate intervened in the cruelest of ways. Just five minutes from the playoffs, Crew goalkeeper William Hesmer broke his right shoulder socket during an aerial collision with Philly’s Danny Califf. Hesmer fell to the ground in pain, and it was first thought that maybe he landed on the ball when he awkwardly fell. Instead, the reason he fell in the first place was because of his busted shoulder.

“I heard it,” Hesmer said in a disappointed daze before Monday’s team awards ceremony. “As soon as he hit me, I heard a loud crack. I don’t know what the best scenario is out of all this yet, but all I know is that it hurts like crazy. I still haven’t slept yet.”

The timing of the injury was particularly cruel. After nine months of training and the highs and lows of 30 regular season games, Hesmer can only watch the playoffs with his arm in a sling.

“You play every single minute of every regular season game…,” he said before his voice momentarily trailed off. “The playoffs aren’t necessarily what you work for all year, but in many ways, it is. It hurts. It’s tough mentally and physically. I’m obviously in a lot of physical pain right now, but I don’t think it’s hit me yet that I’m not playing on Thursday. When I’m sitting there watching on espn2 on Thursday night, it’s going to be really tough.”


While it is said that comedy equals tragedy plus time, the Crew worked a pretty quick comedic turnaround on this Hesmer tragedy. It was pretty much instantaneous. Out of subs, the Crew had no choice but to put a field player in goal. Coach Robert Warzycha’s choice was 2010 team MVP Eddie Gaven, who donned the gloves and Andy Gruenebaum’s goalkeeping jersey.

“For New York, I know he was the only guy who played goalkeeper and then he went on the field and scored a goal,” Warzycha explained. “I think that was an easy choice, to be honest with you. I know Eddie. We knew he could do a good job.”

Gaven said his emergency goalkeeping skills were never discussed beforehand.

“I think it was just on the fly,” he said. “I had no idea. BC came over to me and said that I was going in goal. I was like, ‘Really?’ I actually thought he was joking around. He said, ‘Yeah, really.’ So I put the gloves on, put the shirt on, said a little prayer, and hoped for the best. I was actually psyched. It’s fun to play goalie and dive around and punt balls as far as you can.”

Hesmer tried to tough it out, but gave way to the eager Gaven.

“I was trying to say that since we didn’t have any subs that I would stay in the game,” Hesmer explained. “But then Eddie came over and said, ‘I got this.’”

It didn’t take Philadelphia long to put Gaven to the test. In the 87th minute, Sebastian Le Toux ripped a 20-yard blast directly over Gaven’s head and into the net to trim the Crew’s lead to 3-1.

“I didn’t have a chance to warm up,” said the excuse-making midfielder/goalkeeper. “It was by me before I could get my arms up, but I think if I would have gotten a hand to that shot, I would have dislocated my shoulder. My arm would have cocked back too far and messed up my shoulder, and then we’d have been down two goalkeepers.”

After the goal, Jason Garey teased Gaven from the sidelines, imitating Gaven’s hapless effort on Le Toux’s blast.

“First of all, the whole situation was a hilarious sight,” Garey said. “The gloves were too big for his hands…the shirt was down to his knees…it was unbelievable. It couldn’t have been any better. And then I thought it was hilarious that the ball almost hit Eddie in the face. He ducked out of the way of it just in time. The only thing that could have made it funnier is if, after the goal, Eddie would have gone out and started cursing out his defense like a lot of goalies do.”

Gaven did not curse out his defense. Nor did he give them any organization guidance from the back.

“I don’t have a very loud voice,” he said. “They wouldn’t have heard me anyway. Chad and Brunner did a great job of doing all that. They only took like three or four shots while I was in there, which is pretty good. I was very thankful for the defense.”

But when the defense did allow the next shot, Gaven rose to the occasion, making a diving stop to his right. He said he was already of the mindset to focus on the next task.

“It’s the same thing as if you miss shot,” he said of conceding a goal. “You have to get that out of your mind and make the play on the next one. I made that save look a little bit harder than it was. The ball was little bit to my right, but I dove more than I needed to. It was good.”

Gaven made one more save before the game ended. While he had a blast, he wished Hesmer never got hurt, and he was also relieved that he took the gloves with a three-goal lead and just five minutes to play.

“I was very thankful for all of that,” he said. “If the score was only 1-0, or if there was more time left on the clock, I would have said a lot more prayers.”

Named team MVP for 2010, Gaven finished the year with three goals, five assists, and a goals-against average of 16.00.

“I don’t think I will be changing jobs anytime soon,” he said.

Hesmer, though, isn’t so sure, given Gaven’s expanding versatility.

“Everybody with a job should be worried about Eddie taking it,” Hesmer said. “Maybe Eddie will even be the coach and general manager soon.”


Hesmer obviously didn’t get to see Gaven’s performance. For some reason, he seemed to have other things on his mind at the time.

“I knew Eddie was going in the goal, but I didn’t get sense enough to ask how Eddie did until I was somewhat, uh, ‘comfortable’ in the hospital,” he said. “I waited until I wasn’t cringing in pain or yelling at someone. When they told me it was 3-1, I couldn’t believe it. I mean, Eddie Gaven let up a goal. He blew the shutout. But I heard he made a great save.”

Andy Gruenebaum had a sideline view of Gaven’s effort and offered his appraisal.

“The first goal was pretty shaky, but he bounced back from that.” Gruenebaum said. “He made that second save and made it look easy. I thought his distribution was good. I hope the coaches give me the nod over Eddie if Will can’t go.”

When told that Gruenebaum was worried about his playing time, Warzycha laughed.

“That depends,” said the coach. “Eddie had a good save. I am leaning toward Andy, but we will see.”


All joking aside, now that Hesmer’s injury is official, Gruenebaum will be taking the reins for the Crew’s playoff run. Despite the fact that Gruenebaum’s jersey has seen more MLS playing time this year (5 minutes) than Gruenebaum himself (zero), the Hebrew Hammer won’t exactly be rusty. He has started ten of the Crew’s non-league games, playing in six CONCACAF Champions League matches and all four matches during the Crew’s march to the U.S. Open Cup final.

“I feel confident,” Gruenebaum said. “I’ve had to play in some big games and in some tough environments, so that helps.”

Hesmer feels that the Crew are in good hands.

“He’s played against one of the top teams in Mexico,” Hesmer said, “and the Open Cup final was a huge game with an atmosphere as big as it gets, so he’s ready. He’s got the experience. I have complete faith in Andy as I would in myself.”


After going winless in their previous six MLS matches (0-3-3), the victory over Philadelphia will allow the Crew to enter the playoffs while riding the tidal wave of momentum generated by their one-game winning streak. I’m not even being sarcastic. With this group, a little bit of rest and one solid victory could be enough to restore their swagger.

“We needed this win,” said Renteria. “We are going into the playoffs with great confidence and motivation.”

“This was huge,” Gaven said. “We haven’t played badly, but we haven’t had things go our way. The mindset was to go out there and work hard and make our luck. I think the boys did a good job of that today. We scored three good goals and we played great team defense.”

“We feel good going into the playoffs,” Warzycha said. “I think the overall feeling from player to player is that they know they can trust each other. They know that somebody is going to cover for somebody who is going to make a mistake or if something happens. So that's what happened today, and actually in Toronto - both games. We had some more energy on the field, the players were decisive, and there were some good tackles. The spacing was good, and we had some nice combinations.”


A touching scene took place in front of the Nordecke after the game. Union forward Alejandro Moreno, a Massive Champion who scored the Crew’s opening goal in MLS Cup 2008, wandered over to the rowdy section and applauded the fans for their effort throughout the game. Of course, some of that effort involved deriding Moreno when he went down for a foul in front of the section, but Moreno knows that it comes with the territory. As a player who loved the Nordecke during his time in Columbus, he wanted to let the supporters know they still mattered to him. The final whistle of the season’s final game meant that Alejandro Moreno could finally give the Nordecke a personal post-game ovation.

In return, the Nordecke serenaded the Venezuelan with his namesake song, sung to the tune of the White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army.” Moreno very much appreciated the gesture. In professional sports, it’s rare that a player gets to end a club stint or a career on his own terms. The former didn’t happen in Ohio for Moreno, who was whisked away from Columbus when he got picked by the Union in last year’s expansion draft. While he is enjoying his time in Philadelphia and is giving his all for the Union, he never got a chance to properly say goodbye to Columbus. He wanted to make sure that the Crew’s supporters knew that he would never forget them, and he was moved to the core when the feeling was reciprocated in song.

“I have always been and will continue to be extremely appreciative of the support I received from the Columbus fans while wearing the black and gold,” he wrote in a heartfelt email that landed in my inbox late Monday night. “As you know, my exit from the Crew was not picture perfect. For me, it was indeed an emotional time. Part of what made me successful while in Columbus was my emotional commitment to the team, the organization, and certainly the fans. Therefore, leaving would always be difficult. Columbus was my home. It was my family's home. Leaving was difficult, and so was coming back. I will not apologize for being emotional. I care. My memories of the great times I had in Columbus will always be with me. My relationship with Crew fans, at least from my end, will not change. I understand they will support their team, and I may become more and more unpopular as time goes by; but I will acknowledge them because they took me in, they supported me, they cared, and the memories will always remain.

“So as I walked towards the fans, one more time, like I did for the last few years, it felt like the right thing to do-- like the only thing to do. I was not sure what the reaction would be, but I felt in my heart that whatever connection I had back in my Crew days was alive once again. As they serenaded my name, I was humbled, flattered, and touched. While I walked away, there was a certain realization that one must appreciate these sorts of moments, because they represent the real achievements of one's career. Not goals; not assists; not wins and losses. My grandfather used to call these moments Life Diplomas. Such rewards are only intended to benefit the heart and the mind. Well, my heart and my mind are in a good place today.

“I look forward to the opportunity to continue building new memories and living new experiences with the Philadelphia Union and its fans. In time, I hope to be a part of yet another magical ride that may help me earn perhaps one more Life Diploma.”

And if anyone somehow doubts the sincerity of Ale’s words, Sam Fahmi captured this revealing photo of Moreno walking off the field, still wearing the bittersweet emotion of the moment on his face.


My good buddy Flick is famously irked by uniform shenanigans. For example, nothing raises his ire more than long sleeves worn under a short-sleeved jersey, rather than just wearing a long-sleeved jersey in the first place.

Anyway, in the first half, Flick sent me the following text: “Philly’s names are too high on their backs. It is annoying.”

Once Flick told me that, it was all I could see. For example, in this photo…

…a normal person would look at it and think “Why is Michael Orozco Findal playing the ‘got your nose’ game with Emilio Renteria?”

But now all that goes through my mind when I look at this photo is, “Wow, Flick was right! Look at how high Orozco’s name is on his shirt, especially compared to Renteria’s. How annoying!”

If you come back to this photo in five minutes, the same thing will happen to you now that Flick has planted the seed. Well, unless you’re not weird like we are.


Before the Crew game kicked off, I had great fun watching the Cleveland Browns demolish the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints, 30-17. The Browns intercepted Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees four times, running two of those interceptions back for touchdowns. I couldn’t wait to rub it in Jason Garey’s face.

“Don’t even come in here and talk to me about the Browns,” Garey said in the postgame locker room. “And Drew Brees is my fantasy quarterback, so I think he got negative points today. Unbelievable. The Browns are just awful, man. What are they, 2-5? That’s a good season for the Browns!”

Those were pretty big words from a guy whose real football team and fantasy football team were both murdered by the mighty Cleveland Browns on Sunday. Except, in the end, Garey’s fantasy team inexplicably survived to edge out Danny O’Rourke on Monday night, giving Garey a share of first place.

Here’s a look at the Crew’s fantasy football standings through week seven:

5-2: Hesmer, Garey
4-3: O’Rourke, Hejduk, Gruenebaum
3-4: Carroll
2-5: Marshall
1-6: Lagow


Having seen team operations mastermind Tucker Walther in action during our recent Seattle trip, I have an even greater appreciation of how smoothly he can make the logistical side of team travel appear to be. The truth is that it’s a lot of slight of hand. Tucker has a black belt in on-the-fly disaster rectification.

So, for fun, here’s Tucker’s rant about the team’s hotel departure from Trinidad last week. The team bus was supposed to arrive at 5:15 in the morning. Once the bus was loaded up, Tucker would then go to the airport ahead of the team to work with the airline to allow the smoothest possible airport experience once the bus arrived. In Seattle, it was amazing how efficient the airport process was thanks to Tucker’s advance work. So here it is, before dawn in Trinidad, when Tucker’s best laid plans already started to go haywire…

“The bus was supposed to be at the hotel at 5:15am to take us to the airport,” he explained. “At 5:15, there’s no bus. I call and they say the bus will be right there. I call 15 minutes later when there’s still no bus. The guy says the bus should be there. We wait a little more. Still no bus. So I talked to the hotel concierge guy and had him arrange for some shuttles because we had to get to the airport and we couldn’t wait on the nonexistent bus any longer. The idea was that we were going to throw all of the gear into one shuttle, a bunch of guys in another, and then we also had four minivan taxis for everyone else.

“To make it simple and to save time, we asked if we could just bill everything to the hotel and then have the hotel bill us, and the hotel said that was fine. Rusty and I had to go early with all of the equipment and to get everything squared away at the airport. So Rusty and I were in the shuttle with all of the gear, but as we’re leaving the guy told us the shuttle would be $200 cash, in their money. (NOTE: That $200.00 fare was the equivalent of $31.48 in U.S. funds.) The minivan taxis were fine to charge to the hotel, but since these shuttles were public transport, we had to pay cash. So now we need to fumble around with that and get this guy paid in cash.”

With the driver now holding a fist full of Trini bucks, Tucker and Rusty were set to be on their way to the airport. Or were they?

“Then, as we’re leaving,” Tucker said with residual exasperation, “the guy brings three other people from the hotel and tries to put them on the shuttle. Keep in mind, the shuttle is completely packed with bags. Rusty is jammed in on top of bags, and I am sitting in the front seat with the driver, but he is somehow determined to fit three more people in there with us, as if they could even fit. I’m like, ‘What is going on?’ and he says, ‘Oh, this was originally their shuttle.’ Un-(bleeping)-believable. I’m like, ‘You got this entire big shuttle for just three people?’ and he says, ‘Yeah.’ He probably took more cash from them and so he was trying to cram them in. I said, ‘Listen, I will pay for their taxi. They cannot go on this shuttle with us. Get them a taxi. I will pay for it. I don’t care. But we need to get all this stuff to the airport for an international flight.’ The whole thing was a joke. Man, I was so furious.”

But in the end, Tucker prevailed as always. The team made it home on their original flight.


The Crew’s CONCACAF Champions League game last week at Joe Public was an eventful one. Watching on TV, I couldn’t help but chuckle at all of the cars moving around in the parking lot that bordered the far sideline. But as it turns out, that wasn’t even the half of it. It seems that some fans in attendance prefer to watch their soccer in the same way that Grateful Dead fans preferred to watch their concerts. That is, if the Grateful Dead also performed next to a seafood processing plant, allowing for a befuddling mixture of wafting odors.

“It smelled like weed at one end of the field and dead shrimp at the other end,” said Jason Garey. “And I forgot to mention that there was a graveyard on the other side of the field. There was the parking lot on the one side and a graveyard on the side you couldn’t see on TV. There were maybe 20 people in the stands. Maybe. It was an interesting experience. In the first half, I was running toward the weed end. I chased down a ball and took a deep breath and was like, ‘Holy (bleep), I’m going to get a contact high if this keeps up!’”

After getting a tally from Andres Mendoza and a pair of goals from Emilio Renteria, the Crew capped their 4-1 victory with a strike from everyone’s favorite Kiwi, Duncan Oughton. It was a well-deserved goal for Oughton, who in previous Champions League road games had been slapped in the head, stomped on the noggin, and punched in the face, all without penalty.

“I didn’t get punched, slapped, or stomped in that game, so maybe that is the key,” Oughton said. “It seems that if you avoid punching, slapping, or stomping, you score. Maybe it helps if you can see straight. I should mention that Eddie Gaven slapped me in celebration, but I had already scored by then.”

And I cannot conclude this Trinidad section without showing these photos of a curiously-named dining establishment located near the stadium:

“I wish I had taken a photo of all the tires,” Tucker said. “There was a HUGE mound of tires next to the restaurant.”

Perhaps they grill their food on a tire fire?

“Yeah,” Tucker said. “That’s how they give their meat that special Michelin flavor.”

Sadly, it turns out that Tucker and the team never got to taste some whitewalled duck.

“There was a waiting list,” he deadpanned. “We couldn’t get in. Didn’t have reservations. They are booked six months in advance.”


On Sunday, I asked Oughton who might be the award winners at Monday’s team awards ceremony.

“Chad Marshall will win the Biggest Hat Award,” Oughton said. “His head is massive. To put a hat on that thing would require an unusually large hat. Andy Iro will win Best Dressed. Look at him! He’s sensational! And Brian Carroll will win Most Likely To Eat Cheese. That’s all I’ve got.”

(Oughton often refers to BC as “that little rat.”)

It turns out that the Crew did not have a Biggest Hat, Best Dressed, or Most Likely to Eat Cheese award. Here are the real award winners from Monday night….

Jim Nelson Fan of the Year-- Herb Bresler
CSA U15/16 Player of the Year--  Wil Trapp
CSA U17/18 Player of the Year-- Aaron Horton
CSA U19/20 Player of the Year-- Brandon Silva
MLS WORKS / U.S. Soccer Foundation Humanitarian of the Year-- Jason Garey
CSF Crew Chiefs Hardest Working Man-- Steven Lenhart
Fans’ Choice Award-- Eddie Gaven
OhioHealth Comeback Player of the Year-- Andy Gruenebaum
Crew Newcomer of the Year-- Shaun Francis
Crew Coaches Award-- Andy Iro
Crew Defender of the Year-- Chad Marshall
Glidden Man of the Year-- Steven Lenhart
Crew Budweiser Golden Boot Award-- Guillermo Barros Schelotto
Goal of the Year-- William Hesmer
Crew Most Valuable Player-- Eddie Gaven


Upon accepting the award for the Crew’s defender of the year, Chad Marshall thanked a few people, finishing with, “my son, Duncan Oughton.”

I had no idea! Trying to piece together another convergence within the Crew family tree, I asked Oughton about Marshall’s comment.

“Yes, I am Chad’s son,” Oughton confirmed. “Chad has taken me in and has taken good care of me. He’s been a very good dad so far.”

It’s just that, well, I couldn’t help but assume that if Chad Marshall had any children, not only would they be younger than him, but they would also be on the tall side.

“You would definitely expect Chad to have tall children because he is so abnormally tall,” Oughton said. “But if Chad got with a tiny little hobbit, it would average out to a normal-sized, hairy person like me.”

On second thought, the less I know about all of this, the better.


While there was no Best Dressed Award for Any Iro to win, there were certainly some interesting looks on display at the awards ceremony.

For example, Chad Marshall went with the Ron Burgundy look…

Duncan Oughton went with a look straight out of the New Zealand version of GQ. Not only was he dressed in pink, but the #8 dog tag and the jacket sleeve that said “ARROGANT” were a nice touch…

And then there were the fine gentleman of the Yellow Nation Army. It’s one thing to dress in a yellow spandex body suit in the Nordecke, but the commitment of these fun-loving Crew supporters even carried over to the awards ceremony, where their massive yellowness was on display underneath their dress-up attire. Here you can see “Major Awesomeness” and “General Juicer” striking a pose with TheCrew.com’s Ashleigh Ignelzi…


One of the highlights of the ceremony had to be when William Hesmer collected his improbable award for goal of the year. His stoppage time equalizer in Toronto earned him the honors. Hesmer received a rousing ovation from the fans when he accepted the award in a sling. The moment seemed to buoy his spirits.

“Crazy,” he said afterward. “This didn’t really happen, did it? I don’t know how I feel about it. I am almost too embarrassed to accept it or even acknowledge it. But it has my name on it. It’s pretty cool though. The reaction from the fans was great.”


On the night Hesmer scored, I was about to enter a church to see my friend JenJennyJennifer get married. Since I had lost the radio signal in the second half on my way to Cincinnati, I texted Tucker to find out the final score. Here was our conversation…

Me: “At wedding. What was final. We were down two one last I saw.”

Tucker: “2-2. Won’t believe the final. Hesmer scored to tie after 90th minute.”

Me: “Get. The. F***. Out.”

Tucker: “Ran from our goal on a corner, settles a bouncing ball, and scores on TFC. Amazing.”

Me: “Holy (crap.) Tell Will I said congrats on finally passing Danny on all-time goal scoring list.”

Tucker: “He says not tough when you can actually kick a soccer ball.”


I never get tired of watching the replay of that goal. Chad Marshall heads the ball to Hesmer, who traps the ball down to his right foot, fakes a shot, then blasts the ball into the net, depriving the Hosers of their first-ever win against Columbus in eleven tries. Classic.

“It just fell to my feet and I found a way not to mess it up,” Hesmer recalled. “It was like the world stopped for a moment.”

And in that moment, Hesmer dusted off the skills that made him an all-state midfielder as a junior in high school.

“It’s been a long time since I had been in that part of the field,” he said.

On Sunday, when I had mentioned Hesmer as a potential goal of the year winner, I was treated to quite a show by Duncan Oughton and Brian Carroll. They immediately did their imitation of Hesmer’s goal, whereby they each trapped an imaginary soccer ball, rapidly stutter-stepped in place for about ten seconds, then kicked. Their imitations were so synchronized that it was apparent that they had been imitating the goal multiple times per day all week.

When I told Hesmer of their reenactment, he shrugged it off.

“I think Duncan and BC are just a little jealous that I showed more composure than they would have,” he said.


These photos pretty much tell the tale. The first is what it looks like when a goalkeeper scores a goal. The second is what it looks like when a midfielder concedes a goal.

The look on each of their faces kills me. Hesmer’s face is pure delirious jubilation, while Gaven’s glance toward the Crew bench is a hilarious mixture of “is this really happening?” and “how was I supposed to stop that?” and “am I allowed to laugh?”

It may be a long time before another MLS team scores a goal by a goalkeeper and concedes a goal by a field player. And by that I mean in the same decade, much less in back to back weeks.

“There are some weird goalkeeping shenanigans going on in Crew land,” Hesmer said. “Neither situation from these past two weeks is how you want to draw it up, that’s for sure.”

One assumes that it can’t get any weirder, but Gaven isn’t so sure.

“Who knows what’s going to happen this week?” he said. “People should definitely watch us. Something crazy might happen!”

Playoffs. 9:00. Tonight. espn2.

Questions? Comments? Ever receive that signed team poster that Andy Gruenebaum allegedly claimed on your behalf at the casino night raffle? Feel free to write at sirk65@yahoo.com or via twitter @stevesirk.

Steve Sirk is a contributor to TheCrew.com. His first book, “A Massive Season”, which chronicles the Crew’s 2008 MLS Cup championship campaign, is currently available at the Crew Gear store and Amazon.com. This article was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.

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