Tag Archives: Columbus Crew

Talking with Tony Tchani: Crew Midfielder Needs to Continue to Improve

By Kevin Koczwara

Last week I wrote about the Columbus Crew’s effective game plan to shut down the New England Revolution through the middle of the midfield for New England Soccer Today. A major player in that stifling midfield was former New York Red Bull and Toronto FC midfielder Tony Tchani.

Tchani was traded twice last year. First he was shipped to New York as part of a package for Dwayne De Rosario and then the Reds sent him to Columbus for Andy Iro and other players. Tchani went to the Crew and quickly found himself shelved with a knee injury, limiting his playing time — Tchani only saw time in a Crew jersey in the team’s one playoff game, he played the full 90 minutes.

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MLS 2011 Season Preview: Eastern Conference

The New York Red Bulls are clear favorites to win the East. The rest of the conference is open with no clear second favorite. (Courtesy Major League Soccer)

By Ryan Fleming

The Major League Soccer season is swiftly approaching us and it’s that time of year where we have to put up with silly conferences and even a more absurd playoff format. But put those things behind and here comes another year with Thierry Henry, Juan Pablo Angel and Nate Borchers (what’s funny? I’m serious).

The Colorado Rapids are the MLS Champs, but that doesn’t matter anymore. It’s a new season. Here’s the Eastern Conference preview.

1. New York Red Bulls. The most notable loss for the New York Red Bulls is the departure of Juan Pablo Angel to LA. From ‘07/’10 Angel bagged 58 goals, leading his team in scoring throughout his tenure. Despite the departure, NY does have some replacements, most notably Thierry Henry. The former Arsenal great came to the Red Bulls in July of ‘10, when manager Hans Backe was searching for a possible deadly partnership with Angel. Two other forward options for Backe will be United States Men’s National Team youngster Juan Agudelo and Corey Hertzog. With the creative Joel Lindpere linking up with the forwards from the midfield, combined with defenders Tim Ream and Rafa Marquez, NY looks to be a lock at the top of the East.

2 or 9. Toronto FC. The Reds went under a revamping of sorts in the offseason. The team brought in Aaron Winter and former Ajax assistant manager Bob de Klerk. Just last week they imported three Dutch players to provide Winter with some assistance in deploying the old Ajax system of “total football” up in Canada. For me, the Reds boast a team that could do anything. They could totally flop or, end up near the top of the conference. In a football-crazed town like Toronto, losing is no longer an option. Quick reason for concern, Winter spent a lot of time with trialists and didn’t find any real replacements with the departures of O’Brian White, Joseph Nane, Maxim Usanov, Amadou Sanyang, Chad Barrett, Raivis Hscanovics, Martin Saric and Nick Garcia.

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Three things we learned about the Crew and Real Salt Lake

By Ryan Fleming

For the first competitive match of the new season, the CONCACAF Champions League matchup between the Columbus Crew and Real Salt Lake, we saw exactly what many expected and a little of a different color. In a scoreless 0-0 tie, one could still make a fair amount of the play.

1. Columbus showed they came to play. Before the game many were leaning toward a more dominant performance from the away, RSL. The revamped Crew showed it had other plans. More specifically, with Andres Mendoza and Emilio Renteria as up-front options, the Crew don’t only have a bit of skill, but a lot of speed to boot. When midfielder Eddie Gaven and Emmanuel Ekpo begin to get their feet under them, Columbus could prove a few people wrong this season despite losing playmaker Guillermo Barros Schelotto.

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Los Angeles Galaxy Make Moves at MLS Re-Entry Draft With Cup In Sight.

The Los Angeles Galaxy traded up in Major League Soccer's Re-Entry Draft on Wednesday so the Galaxy could select Former New York Red Bull's forward Juan Pablo Angel. (Courtesy Diego Valenzuela)

By Kevin Koczwara

Despite being a dominant regular-season force the last two seasons, The Los Angeles Galaxy have not been able to claim an MLS Cup in either try. David Beckham, Landon Donovan and company couldn’t get the job done when it came time to buckle down and win in the postseason the last two years. The Galaxy may have solved some of its problems yesterday when it made some bold moves during the MLS Re-Entry Draft.

Los Angeles traded up to the fifth pick (the Houston Dynamo’s pick) in the draft to select former New York Red Bull forward and designated player Juan Pablo Angel. The Red Bull’s all-time leading goalscorer did not have his option picked up by New York at the end of the season because the club had signed two other designated players from Barcelona, Thierry Henry and Rafa Marquez.

The Galaxy’s pursuit of Angel shows the league that the club isn’t giving up hope on winning an MLS Cup with Deavid Beckham, and have to be heavy favorites going into next year. Angel scored 61 goals in four seasons with New York, including playoffs, and he will add to the Galaxy’s already potent attack.

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How the West Will Be Won; MLS Cup Playoffs Continue

By Kevin Koczwara

So far my predictions haven’t played out so well. I thought New York would be able to walk over San Jose on Thursday night. I was wrong. San Jose stormed into New York and got the two goal win the team needed after falling behind, 1-0, in the home leg less then a week earlier.

The Quakes, 3-1, win in New York was astonishing and entertaining as Bobby Convey put on his best Steven Gerrard performance.

Both Gerrard and Convey almost single-handily took their team from the brink of lossing, and put the game on their shoulders.

Gerrard’s second half hat-trick in Liverpool’s 3-1 win at Anfield over Napoli in a UEFA Cup match was just another miracle moment for the 30-year-old. Coming on as a substitute and leading the Reds back from the brink of a loss isn’t anything new for him – check 2005 Champions League Final and the 2006 FA Cup win over West Ham, just for a few.

Convey did similar to Gerrard on Thursday in New York, but with a twist. Convey and the Quakes were down a goal and playing at a raucous Red Bull Arena, yet Convey pulled his team level on aggregate with a 6th minute goal from just inside the box.

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Red Bulls and Rapids Need to Build Off of Last Week's Wins in MLS East Semi-Finals

New York Looks to End Wondo and Quakes Miracle Run

By Kevin Koczwara

The New York Red Bulls have made an amazing turnaround from last season’s poor form, abysmal really. And so have the San Jose Earthquakes, thanks in large part to the play of Golden Boot winner Chris Wondolowski.

Wondo’s 18 goals this season for the Quakes were more than half of the team’s total and led the league, the man was simply on a roll since breaking into the squad’s starting 11. But the striker was shut down in the first leg of the two leg fixture with New York.

Newcomer Joel Lindpere for the Red Bulls put his mark on the MLS Cup playoffs with the winning goal in the first leg in San Jose. Lindpere has been the sparkplug in the Red Bulls’ engine this season and his goal last weekend put New York in the driving seat for tonight’s fixture at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J.

New York should be able to handle Wondo and company, especially if French striker Thierry Henry has finally recovered from his knee injury. The former Barcelona and Arsenal striker hasn’t played in three matches and could be the final missing attacking piece for New York in the playoffs and his presence along with Juan Pablo Angel should be able to push the Quakes on the counter-attack as San Jose tries to score the two goals the team needs to advance.

Rapids Try to Sweep Crew Away

The Colorado rapids set the stage for the MLS Cup playoffs last Thursday with Pablo Mastroeni’s game-winning goal. The Rapids took the first leg of their semi-inal playoff match with the Columbus Crew, 1-0, in Colorado and will look to keep their one-goal advantage in Columbus against a Crew team that has enjoyed success in front of its home crowd this season with a 10-3-2 record.

The Crew will have to overcome the one-goal deficit to beat a solid Rapids team that doesn’t travel well (4-6-5), but boasts Omar Cummings and Conor Casey in the attack. Cummings was a handful for the Rapids in Colorado last week, and will surely try to be as effective this Saturday. The Crew will have to find a way to keep Cummings away from the penalty area and slow his runs out wide that open up space for Casey and the Rapids’ midfield down. If the Crew can’t contain the Jamaican international, it will be another long night for Crew goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum who is filling in for injured William Hesmer.

If Colorado can lock up an early goal, the team will more than likely be moving on to play the winner of New York and San Jose in the quarter-inals because a two-goal deficit is a lot to overcome in one game when Matt Pickens is goal for the opponent. Pickens had a .733 save percentage in the regular season and worked in seven shutouts in 2010. He has been a steady goalkeeper in the MLS since getting the full-time job in 2007 for the Chicago Fire.

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MLS Cup Preview and Predictions

The Columbus Crew won its first and only MLS Cup in 2008. The Crew will need to get through the East to claim the Cup. (Courtesy Wikicommons.)

By Ryan Fleming and Kevin Koczwara

Before the 2010 MLS Cup Playoffs commence we’ll take a bit of a look at the conference matchups before the first leg of the postseason starts. Will the Red Bulls take home the cup this year? Can Los Angeles make up for last year’s finals loss? Or will Real Salt Lake add another to their trophy case?

The West

Coming into the 2010 MLS Cup, RSL look to be one of the favorites to take home the Cup. The Royals had a solid season and look poised to make a deep postseason run. For the defending champs, they could become the third team in MLS history to win back-to-back titles. Real, the No. 2 seed coming into the tournament, takes on a Dallas team that has limped their way into the playoffs including losses to Western Conference foes, LA and Real.

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Revs Keep Playoff Hopes Alive; Columbus Tries to End Them

New England Revolution captain Shalrie Joseph hopes today's game against the Columbus Crew doesn't end the Revs chances at making the playoffs for the first time in nine years.

New England Revolution captain Shalrie Joseph hopes today's game against the Columbus Crew doesn't end the Revs chances at making the playoffs for the first time in nine years. Courtesy Revolutionsoccer.net

By Kevin Koczwara

It wasn’t the type of ending the New England Revolution worked for in Dallas, or deserved, after they took a 2-0 lead into the 80th minute.

But a penalty from David Ferreira in the 80th minute and a last gasp stoppage time goal from Jeff Cunningham sealed a 2-2 draw for FC Dallas to keep their 16 game unbeaten steak alive.

The Revolution (7-14-4, 25 points) looked poised to end its dreadful road trip with a much needed three points in Dallas (10-2-13, 43 pts.) as the team fights for a playoff spot. Heading into Pizza Hut Park, the Revs had been shutout on the road, 5-0, and made a habit of allowing early goals.

But for once it was the Revolution who scored first. Shalrie Joseph scored his first goal of the season in the fifth minute and things looked to be going the Revs way for once.

“Lucky for me it [the goal] came early in the game which settled the team a little bit and allows us to play,” said Joseph at practice on Friday.

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MLS Power Rankings Week 11

By Kevin Koczwara

A lot has changed in the last week around the MLS. Columbus has struggled since losing to Los Angeles and Colorado has jumped a few spots after a good week. Los Angeles is still the team to beat because no one has done it yet.

1. LA Galaxy – Still undefeated and still the best team in the league. They manhandled a good Houston team 4-1 over the weekend to prove that they don’t need their best players to win easy.

2. Real Salt Lake — RSL tied D.C. United, but they made up major ground the last few weeks in the West, and that should be rewarded. But they can’t have too many more slip-ups because the teams in the West are close behind them.

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Week 10 MLS Power Rankings

Courtesy Revolutionsoccer.net

By Kevin Koczwara

It was a busy week around Major League Soccer. The Columbus Crew lost for the first time this year. Real Salt Lake finished off May undefeated. New England got its first win since April 1o, and Philadelphia and D.C. each got their second wins of the season.

1. LA Galaxy – The Galaxy are tough to score on, ask previously unbeaten Columbus after their weekend’s 2-0 defeat at the hands of Los Angeles, who was without their top scoring duo, Landon Donovan and Edison Buddle.

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