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Sep 102012

A few hours ago I engaged a couple friends in a healthy debate about Crew Stadium’s place in history and whether or not it would be a suitable home for the US Men’s National Team.

Now, I am an ardent Crew supporter but I need to be honest (aka objective) with all of you for a moment. Crew Stadium was the first soccer specific stadium for an MLS franchise. Many people will try to tell you that Crew Stadium is an important part of American soccer folklore/history. They will tell you that without Crew Stadium, there would be no Home Depot Center/PPL Park/BBVA Compass Stadium.

This is simply not true.

Am I supposed to believe that without Crew Stadium, the New York Red Bulls NEVER would’ve wound up with their own facility. Does Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Illinois REALLY exist because of what happened in Columbus? No. Crew Stadium itself is quite simple. It’s four sides of mostly cheap, metal bleachers on a former county fairground parking lot. Only recently did the organization pull enough teeth to remove the central stands at the north end of the stadium and insert a concert stage to help bring in more events to generate more revenue. Outside of that, the stadium has remained largely untouched since it originally opened in 1999. The front office continues to search for a sponsor to sign a long term naming rights deal, but they haven’t really come close in the stadium’s 13 year existence. Meanwhile, pretty much every soccer specific stadium that has come along since then has a lucrative (some more than others) naming rights deal that was completed fairly close to each one’s debut. Some even had naming rights done BEFORE the inaugural game.

So yes, Crew Stadium was the first of its kind and represents a significant footnote in American soccer history. But it’s nothing more than that: a footnote. The facility continues to wither away under the harsh sands of time.

Enter the US Men’s National Team.

The USMNT has never lost a World Cup qualifier inside the confines of Crew Stadium. In fact, the qualifying campaigns for Italy 2006 and South Africa 2010 both featured significant victories by the US over hated CONCACAF rivals Mexico inside Columbus Ohio’s favorite soccer stadium. I was in attendance for the original “Dos a Cero” match when the US clinched its spot in the 2006 World Cup with a resounding 2-0 victory over Mexico in September of 2005.

It was by far the most festive atmosphere I’ve ever experienced at a sporting event. And this was in 2005! The American Outlaws were still in their infant stages. US soccer supporters hadn’t even remotely begun to mobilize at that point in time. The US also won its home qualifying fixture over Mexico in Columbus in 2009 leading up to the 2010 World Cup. Columbus has become a fortress for the Stars And Stripes, especially when it matters most during qualifying. Not only that, but Columbus is ideally located in the heart of America’s Midwest; the home of the middle class. Tuesday night’s sellout crowd will feature fans from Chicago, Indianapolis, Detroit, and Pittsburgh, as well as the rest of the state of Ohio. You could not ask for a more central focal point from to draw fans from surrounding cities/states. It is truly a melting pot when the USMNT comes to the capital of Ohio.

Are there bigger cities than Columbus who feel they deserve a shot? Absolutely. But I seem to recall a match at Chicago’s Soldier Field several years ago in which the US played Honduras and the crowd was overwhelmingly Blue And White. The immigrants put the natives to shame. The same thing happened the last time the US hosted Argentina at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. The 2011 Gold Cup Final showed us the true colors of Southern California. Places like Portland, Seattle, Kansas City, and Washington DC will also cry out for their voice to be heard. But with the exception of DC, all of those places have solid stadiums already in place. They are no longer in need of a modern home.

If the US Soccer Federation declared Crew Stadium the official home of the USMNT for World Cup qualifying it would create a true sense of urgency to upgrade the archaic facility. The grounds crew regularly receives national awards for its pristine upkeep of the natural grass playing surface itself, but beyond that the stadium is in desperate need of renovations. It must become a modern stadium like so many of its MLS counterparts. A little nudge from the USSF would make all the difference in the world. It would allow things to come full circle and let Crew Stadium leave behind the days of being old and outdated while sleek new stadiums spring up around the country. A wide open parking lot around the stadium leaves plenty of room for tailgating and pregame festivities, but it will take more than that to make Columbus the official home of America’s Team.

When you’re watching the match against Jamaica on Tuesday night, pay close attention to the crowd. See just how skilled Columbus is at hosting  American soccer supporters. Listen to the sounds of AO Columbus and the rest of the Midwestern chapters of America’s best supporters group who traveled to this “cathedral of American soccer”. Then close your eyes and imagine if the stadium had actual chairs and legitimate VIP suites courtesy of a lucrative naming rights deal. Imagine the country’s first soccer specific stadium as the official home of the US Men’s National Team.

Now that would be truly MASSIVE…



Our Boys Overseas: August 23

 Posted by on August 23, 2012 at 7:11 pm  Our Boys Overseas, United States, USMNT
Aug 232012

After the United States’ historic triumph at Estadio Azteca last week, several Yanks began their new club seasons amidst transfer rumors , while several others are making the transition to their new clubs after summer transfers.


Tim Howard and Everton started the new EPL season off with a 1-0 win against Manchester United at home. Howard helped his team by making three saves in the match. The match also marked the debut of former Arsenal player Robin van Persie for Manchester United who came on as a sub in the second half. The Howard and Toffees travel to Aston Villa on Saturday.

Clint Dempsey was not on the game day roster for Fulham on Saturday during their 5-0 shutout over Norwich City. According to various reports Dempsey has been fined an undisclosed amount by Fulham FC for not agreeing to play in the match against Norwich. Fulham manager Martin Jol is stating that the American has also not been training with the team for the past several weeks. After previously being linked with a summer move to Liverpool, Dempsey’s future club situation still remains uncertain and his time at Fulham seems to be nearing an end. Dempsey has spent tha last six years at the club since moving to Fulham in 2006 from the New England Revolution. Fulham travels to Old Trafford on Saturday to take on Manchester United.

Geoff Cameron was unable to play in Stoke City’s season opener due to a visa delay and is expected to return to England sometime this week and should be available for Stoke’s home opener against Arsenal this weekend.

Neither Brad Guzan nor Eric Lichaj was on the game day roster in Aston Villa’s 1-0 defeat to West Ham United. Guzan recently signed a new contract with Aston Villa that would keep him at the club for three more years after spending the last four years as Aston Villa’s backup goalkeeper.

Brad Friedel and Tottenham Hotspur lost 2-1 to Newcastle United on Saturday. Friedel made one save in the game. Friedel and his team host West Brom on Saturday.

Tim Ream went the full 90 minutes in defense for Bolton Wanderers in their 2-0 loss to Burnley on Saturday. This was the team’s first game of the season in the Championship after being regulated last season from the Premiership. Stuart Holden is still out recovering from a knee injury that kept him from any playing time last season. On Tuesday, Ream and Bolton took on Derby County and won 2-0 in their first win of the season. The Trotters play against Nottingham Forest and Robbie Findley on Friday.

Robbie Rogers was not included on Leeds United’s game day roster in the team’s 2-1 loss to Blackpool on Tuesday. This comes after Rogers was placed on the team’s transfer list. Rogers spent most of last season recovering from concussions he sustained during matches. Leeds United travels to Peterborough United on Saturday.

Jonathan Spector played the first 27 minutes in Birmingham City’s 1-1 draw against Charlton Athletic on Saturday. On Tuesday, the team lost 3-2 to Hillsborough. Spector and Birmingham take on Jay Demerit’s former team Watford on Saturday.


Michael Bradley and new team AS Roma have ended their United States tour and begin the Serie A season on Sunday with a match against Catania. The match is expected to be Bradley’s official Serie A debut with Roma. On Sunday, Bradley scored in a friendly against Greek side Aris FC marking his second goal for AS Roma since joining the team this summer. The midfielder scored his first goal for Roma a couple weeks ago at Fenway Park in a friendly against Liverpool.


After Rangers FC’s demotion to the fourth-tier of the Scottish league rumors of potential bids for Maurice Edu to either Ipswich Town or Stoke City were swirling. Ipswich has recently denied this rumor and any bid for Edu. Edu has made it clear that he seeks a transfer from Ranger’s due to their demotion. Carlos Bocanegra has also been amidst many rumors tying him to a potential move back to MLS. Meanwhile, the defender has spent the time captaining Rangers in their past few games. Bocanegra will once again be captaining Rangers this Sunday when they travel to Berwick Rangers.


Alejandro Bedoya recently made a summer move to back to Sweden after leaving former club Rangers FC due to the club’s money issues. Bedoya has started off on the right foot at Helsingborgs IF. On Saturday, Bedoya marked his debut for Helsingborgs by scoring the team’s only goal of the night with a bicycle kick in the team’s 2-1 loss to Elfsborg. On Tuesday, the team lost 2-0 to Scottish league giants Celtic in the first round of Champions League qualifying. Next Wednesday, Rangers and Helsingborgs will have a rematch against Celtic in the second league of Champions league qualifying. Helsingborgs travels to Djurgården for league play on Saturday.


Jozy Altidore scored two goals on Sunday in AZ Alkmaar’s 3-1 win over Heracles. This comes one week after also scoring two goals for AZ Alkmaar in the team’s home opener. AZ lost 1-0 to Anzhi Makhachkala in the first play-off round of the Europa League. Altidore and AZ return to league play on Sunday against Heerenveen.


Steve Cherundolo and Hannover 96 defeated FC Nottingen 6-1in the first round of DFB Pokal on Sunday. Cherundolo lead his team to a 5-3 win over ?l?sk Wroc?aw in their first round of Europa League play-offs.  Hannover and Cherundolo host Jermaine Jones and Schalke 04 in league action on Sunday.

Timmy Chandler and FC Nurnberg lost 3-2 in extra time to TSV Havelse in the first round of DFB Pokal on Sunday. Chandler and Nurnberg travel to Hamburg SV on Saturday for league play.

Alfredo Morales and Hertha Berlin lost 2-1 loss to Wormatia Worms in the first round of DFB Pokal on Sunday. Hertha Berlin host SSV Jahn Regensburg on Friday.


Sacha Kljestan and RSC Anderlecht are off to a winning start season after finishing on top in last season’s Belgium League by defeating Mons 2-1 win on Saturday. Anderlecht lost 2-1in the first game of Champions League play-offs against AEL Limassol. Kljestan and his crew travel to OH Leuven on Saturday before hosting AEL Limassol next Tuesday for the second leg of their play-offs match up.


Michael Parkhurst scored the game winning goal for FC Nordsjaelland in their 1-0 win over AGF Aarhus on Sunday after scoring last week’s game winner also. Parkhurst and FC Nordsjaelland host Sonderjyske on Friday.

Clarence Goodson was another defender who also scored a goal this past weekend. The American defender scored his first goal of the season and lead Brondby IF to a 1-1 draw against FC Copenhagen on Saturday. The team takes on Esbjerg on Sunday.

Charlie Davies and his new team Randers FC won in a 1-0 shutout over Silkeborg IF on Saturday. Davies is one of several Americans that changed clubs over the summer after leaving French side Sochaux. Davies and Randers play FC Copenhagen on Saturday at home.


Oguchi Onyewu was not included in Sporting CP’s game day roster on Sunday in their scoreless draw against Vitoria Guimaraes. This comes just after being left off Sporting CP’s Europa League roster. The team takes on Rio Ave on Monday.


Herculez Gomez and his team Santos Laguna lost 2-1 loss to Pumas UNAM on Saturday. Days after, Santos Laguna and Gomez shutout Salvadoran side Aguila 5-0 on Tuesday in the first leg of their CONCACAF Champions League matchup. On Saturday, the team takes on Pachuca and Jose Torres.

DaMarcus Beasley and Puebla fell 3-0 last Friday to Morelia. On Tuesday, the team defeated Lobos BUAP 3-0 in a Copa Mexico match-up. They return to league play on Sunday when they host Michael Orozco Fiscal and San Luis. Michael Orozco Fiscal and his team lost 1-0 to Chivas de Guadalajara on Saturday. The defender picked up a yellow card in the match.

Edgar Castillo and Joe Corona both played in Club Tijuana’s 2-1 over Tigres UANL last Friday. Greg Garza was an unused sub in the match. Tijuana beat Celaya 2-1 at home on Tuesday in Copa Mexico action. The trio travels to take on América this Saturday.



Brazil v. Mexico: Gold-Medal Preview

 Posted by on August 11, 2012 at 5:51 am  2012 Olympics
Aug 112012

Historically speaking Mexico has never won any medal in the Olympics and yet this Mexico side has made it to the gold medal match is a considerable accomplishment. Brazil has won at every competition that their men have ever participated in, U-17 World Cup, U-20 World Cup, Confederations Cup, World Cup but not an Olympic gold medal.

That plays mind game of extreme size on players on both sides though it’s who thrives the most and is hungrier that will come out on top in this. Let’s look at the teams.

Out of CONCACAF, a region that is always underestimated in terms of talent and competition strength, is Mexico. For the first time at all levels they are thriving and meeting their lofty standards as a football nation. They like to play to their strength of technical skill and until now every opponent they have had so far.

From South America comes Brazil looking to get the Olympic monkey off their back. This is the chance for the young blood of Brazil to make their marks at making 2014 since their only competitive fixtures coming up are next summer’s
Confederations Cup. This side is chalked full of talent and in their games played have shown so in outscoring
their opposition by a score of 15-5.

It would seem that Brazil now hold the advantage. With players like Hulk, Neymar, Leonardo Damiao, and Alexandre Pato it is hard to go wrong there. Mexico has huge talent in the attacking third and had figured out on a system that worked, until Giovani Dos Santos got injured. With the Mexican star injured the chemistry that had developed up top for Mexico with Oribe Peralta is gone.

Out of the midfield is where this is won by the Mexican side by the narrowest of margins. Yes the play of Brazil has been fun to watch, particularly that of Oscar, but it is the midfield that has been the best for Mexico. Marco Fabian has been exactly what was anticipated, a revelation. He was been able to be a linchpin that has kept the Mexican side progressing all the way to the gold medal match.

It is a deadlock with pluses on both sides. Mexico went with an experienced hand in goal so they called in Jose de Jesus Corona to take the gloves. Brazil has a solid back line that can do more than just
defend, they can add to the attack.

Thing is this game is determined out on the field and it will be who wants to hear their national anthem played as they see their flag raised above Wembley.<

That team will be Mexico and will serve as a signal that the West is where the football is best.<

Brian Sanders

Pumas vs Toronto FC 0914011 (Loss 4 – 0)

 Posted by on September 14, 2011 at 12:26 pm  Uncategorized
Sep 142011
Venue: Estadio Olímpico de Universitario Coyoacán, Ciudad de México (D.F.), Mexico
When: Wednesday September 14th, 2011 8:00 PM Eastern
Goals: ’16 PUM Bravo, ’20 Velarde, ’32 Bravo, ’41 Bravo
TV Coverage: GolTV
Online Stream:
Competition: CONCACAF Champion’s League (Group Stage)
Team Nationality:  Mexico
Live Blog:

I have not yet been able to watch this one and provide a match summary but have updated the stats.  Stay tuned for the match summary.  It’s interesting as we got hammered 4 – 0 on the 1 year anniversary of Mo Johnson’s departure.

Toronto FC:

Kocic, Harden, Iro (’38 Viator), Henry, Morgan, Frings, De Guzman, Borman, Koevermans (’55 Dunfield), Johnson (’48 Marosevic), Soolsma


Patino, Veron, Velarde, Fuentes, Ramires, Cabrera, De Buen, Orrantia, Palencia, Cortez

Pre-Match Predictions:

I’m thinking Winter will go with a very similar starting XI that beat Columbus this week with the exception of starting Koevermans as he got some minutes under his belt as well as Kocic in goal as I don’t think Frei has yet recovered from his recent injury.  So we’re looking at Eckersley, Harden, Iro and Morgan at the back.  De Guzman, Frings and Avila in midfield with a front three of Johnson Koevermans and Planta.  Prediction will be a 1-1 draw.  Please note that there will be no live blog tonight but I will post a match summary at some point after the game.

abBdYEFacb Pumas vs Toronto FC 0914011 (Loss 4 0)