Coming together less than 24 hours after hearing the news of the tragic injury to Columbus Fire Lt. Stu Tudor, team and fans alike had a heavy heart in playing the Black & Gold's postponed match against FC Dallas. Numerous messages of support poured in on social media. The Nordecke crafted special banners in Stu's honor -- banners that the players came over to sign in a classy postmatch display. There was prematch recognition, and each Head Coach wore a special ribbon on his shirt in support.
Following the match, it was clear that Tudor's recovery is chiefly on the minds of the Crew.
"First, I want to give our best wishes and thoughts and prayers to [Columbus Fire Lt.] Stu Tudor and his family," said Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter. "We are all in his corner and he is one of us. He has been on our mind in the last 24 hours. I want to compliment both teams for hanging in there and still trying to play the game. The conditions were tough; they were saying it felt like a hundred degrees. This was a lot like some of the games we play in Brazil. So both teams, all the players on the field gave a great effort and that is a big deal. That is a compliment to them, to still come out after obviously the postponement last night and stick with it."
One of the most powerful elements of sport is its ability to galvanize communities over something as simple as a game. The Nordecke's origin story, a combination of different supporters' groups into one united section, is chief evidence of that. In the wake of Tudor's injury, the Crew community once again showed how it can come together in the face of tragedy like no other.
"What happened last night really affected us. He [Columbus Fire Lt. Stu Tudor] was our first thought pulling back into the stadium today," said defender Eric Gehrig. "We are pulling for him and wishing him well. I think all things considered that we will look back that it is not so bad in that we got a point."
The result, a scoreless draw, wasn't optimal for the Crew given that FC Dallas was missing its three best players due to injury or suspension. Undoubtedly, the team will aim to improve on Friday in Colorado. As Berhalter said, the club knows it needs to turn draws into wins.
"Well, I think we have ties pretty down pat right? We know how to tie a game, that’s for sure," said the Crew boss. "This game needed a little bit extra quality because it wasn't going to be that beautiful game we imagined. It was going to be a game of that 'one' opportunity. Dallas had it and we had it. And both of us didn't convert. That was what the game was always going to be."
For one day, after one tragic event, it didn't feel as if the result mattered as much as it normally does. That's a credit to the Black & Gold family coming together in support of Tudor.