The Columbus Crew got their 2018 season underway last Saturday with a big time win over the defending MLS Cup Champions, Toronto FC. Goals were scored right before halftime and just barely into the second half, Federico Higuain scored in the 44th minute while Gyasi Zardes made it 2-0 in the 46th minute. Enjoy the highlights as the Crew spoil the party in rival Toronto.
Federico Higuain has been in Columbus for years and is a fan favorite, Zardes just got to Columbus after being traded here for a fan favorite. Zardes played for L.A. Galaxy for the last 4 or 5 years, but was traded in January to the Crew for Ola Kamara.
Justin Meram was also traded away this off-season, leaving little star power to the Crew. So what can we expect from this club this season? It’s hard to say really, especially with the Crew’s moron owner trying to rip the team away from our city, and force it to another city that doesn’t want it.
Of course, if you’ve been living under a rock for the past year or so, Crew owner Anthony Precourt wants to move the team to Austin, Texas. He says he wants to build a soccer community in Austin, a place that really needs that community. Perhaps he doesn’t see the irony of his plan stripping the founding city of MLS of their team, in order to force a team in Austin.
So how will the Crew react with all of this hanging over their heads? Well if Saturday’s result in Toronto is any clue, they’re going to react pretty damn well. I do want to get one thing straight before moving forward, the team wants all references to the club use the full name Columbus Crew SC. Not “The Crew” or any variation of that. The team is the Crew, the club is the Crew, this city has backed our Crew since we were named the first club in Major League Soccer. So kindly forgive me for not blindly following along while Precourt tries to change what is rightly Columbus’ team.
Also, it’s not just me being stubborn. Nobody likes “Crew SC”, even in those highlights above the announcers are saying “The Crew double their lead.” Those commentators are made well aware to use “Crew SC” and not “The Crew” and you see how that goes.
The Crew have an intriguing roster this year, with a lot of young talent ready to make an impact. Perhaps the star of the team is goalkeeper Zack Steffen. Steffen is only 22 years old, but has played like a Superstar in his short time in net. Steffen was a major reason for the success of the Crew last year, making big save after big save in the MLS Cup Playoffs run. He also appeared in goal for the U.S. Men’s National Team this January.
Higuain and Zardes will lead a lot of the offensive attack this year, but don’t forget Midfielders Wil Trapp (a Columbus native) and Pedro Santos, who had a magnificent assist to Zardes for the 2nd goal against Toronto FC. Cristian Martinez is another Midfielder that will get a lot of action this year, he’s just 21 years old and is blazing fast.
With all of this young talent, and a fire to succeed that no other team can understand, I have high hopes for this season. The Crew made a great run in the playoffs last year, and were a couple bounces from making (and hosting) the MLS Cup Final. It’s a long season, as the regular season won’t end until mid-October, so there’s plenty of time to strategize and make a run at the MLS Cup.
The Crew are back in action this Saturday for the home opener. They will host the Montreal Impact, who were defeated 2-1 by Vancouver last weekend. It should be a beautiful day in Columbus and you should get out to MAPFRE Stadium to support your Crew.