Posts Tagged ‘ Columbus Crew ’

Scarf Collection

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I’ve become a groundhopper, not to the extent of Paul Gerald or Peter Miles or Tony Incenzo, but I take pics, talk to people and write posts about teams, supporters and venues in the United States. But what about swag? As a big kit nerd, the obvious choice would be to get a shirt at each match, but that strategy has a couple of problems: 1) not every team has a merch store or even jerseys for sale; 2) at $55 to $100 a pop, a one stop/one shirt policy could get pricey; and 3) where would I put them all? I don’t have a mancave (yet) and as much as I would love to wear a different jersey every day, society and my workplace frown upon that.

So my solution has been to pick up a scarf at each game I attend. This strategy has paid off in several ways. Scarves are almost always available at games, and if not, readily available on club websites. Plus at $25 to $35 each, this is the better option financially. On top of that, scarves are packable and easy to display.

Here is my current collection:

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Favorite Teams

Manchester United–The club team I have been supporting for 20 years. One day I will make it to Old Trafford. C’mon you Reds!!

US Soccer–I have seen several US games over the years , and I continuing to engage my own country instead of wishing I was Croatian or Dutch or almost anything else.

Atlanta United–MLS club kicking off in 2017. I’m a season ticket holder and can’t wait for the team to launch and play their first game at Mercedes Benz Stadium.

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Groundhops

Seattle Sounders–One of my first trips and had an awesome time.

Chicago Fire–Used to watch them at Soldier Field. Saw the new home out in the middle of nowhere.

Portland TimbersStood with Timbers Army in a very unique environment.

Columbus CrewSaw one of the first games at this Soccer Specific Stadium and have been several times since.

FC DallasAnother facility out in the middle of nowhere but Dallas Beer Guardians more than made up for it.

DC UnitedGot to see DC United at RFK before they move to the new ground.

Houston DynamoAmazing venue and hopefully the team returns it past glory.

Atlanta Silverbacks–Former NASL team playing in NPSL, I have been to many games and worked for the Reserves team.

Charleston Battery–Fantastic USL team with great supporters playing an intimate venue filled with soccer memorabilia.

Lansing United–The club launched the summer before I left Lansing and is doing things right on and off the pitch.

Detroit City FC–My first taste of real supporter culture. It has been wonderful keeping an eye on this team from the first days.

Nashville FC–Vanderbilt Stadium wasn’t the greatest venue but wonderful fans.

Chattanooga FC–Love going up to Chattanooga. Real passion behind a successful NPSL club.

Birmingham Hammers–Met some fired up supporters for the Hammers’ first season. Looking forward to going back.

Georgia Revolution–Under new ownership, this club is providing players a stepping stone to next level.

Knoxville Force (Scruffy City Syndicate)–Growing club with ardent supporters, playing right in downtown Knoxville.

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Miscellaneous

Juventus–Fell in love with Alessandro Del Piero and followed the bianconeri until I decided to focus my soccer supporting efforts.

MSU Spartans–Went to many a game at DeMartin Stadium during my time in Lansing.

World Cup 2022–My wife won this in a raffle. It’s the scarf from the US 2022 World Cup bid.

American Outlaws Atlanta. I love hanging out with these passionate supporters of US Soccer.

Terminus Legion 2015–Joined this Supporter Group at the intersection of Atlanta and Soccer in 2015 after moving to Atlanta in 2014.

Terminus Legion 2016–Re-upped and run the soccer team and host the Terminus Legion podcast.

The General–Special edition summer scarf produced by Terminus Legion to celebrate the history of Atlanta.

Soccer in the Streets–An amazing organization that brings soccer to underserved youth in Atlanta. Just launched Station Soccer, a pitch on top of a transit station.

Castleberry Hill AC–An organization looking to use soccer to improve their community. Currently trying to build Old Trenholm in the shadow of Mercedes Benz Stadium.

 

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Top three scarves I have come across. . .

fire-scarf

I usually buy the team scarf at each match but when I was at the Chicago Fire tailgate, I saw people walking around this scarf and knew that I had to have it. The scarf tweaks the Chicago city flag, using navy blue bands to frame the edges instead of the sky blue and then uses the four red stars through the middle. Great looking piece.

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While standing with Timbers Army, I spotted a Battlestar Portlandia. Having just come out of my Battlestar Galactica geek phase, I really loved the merging of pop culture and sport. Doubt I will ever get my hands but one of these but a really slick design.

dcfc-scarf

A scarf from Detroit City FC’s inaugural season is one of my favorite scarves. All the design elements come together, with of color scheme of rouge and dark yellow, a clean font and the argyle print adding a wonderful touch. DCFC has absolutely crushed it from a brand and merch perspective from day one.

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If you want to see a real scarf collection, visit Kenny’s Football Scarves. He has over 2000 pieces organized by league and region.

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Read more about my groundhops and supporter group interactions at the SoccerNomad blog. Also check out the SoccerNomad podcast, which focuses on Supporter Groups and kit design. Finally follow me on twitter @austinlong1974.

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Old Futbol Buffet–Dare to be Massive

As part of my MLS stadium tour, I visited Crew Stadium in Columbus to see their game against the Houston Dynamo.  I had been to a Crew game over ten years earlier as the American team had hosted Newcastle United.  To be honest can’t remember any of the players from the game and I’m too lazy at this point to do any research.

My trips to Portland and Seattle last year were very intense, with lots of planning and participation, but my trip to Columbus was much more relaxed.  I took my son and, along with my sister and her family, everyone piled in the van and off we went, arriving just moments before the game as opposed to hours prior for pre-game revelry.  Whereas I sat with the supporters groups in Portland and Seattle, our group—three adults and five kids—sat in the upper stand at midfield away from the Crew Union in the Nordecke.  (Thank God I brought my BIGGBY seat cushion.  I don’t have much padding back there.)  The crowds in the Pacific Northwest were packed, filled with noise and energy, but there was a sparse crowd at this  game, maybe a third full.  There were probably as many as Le Rouge supporters at a DCFC game as there were Crew supporters for the match.

My high vantage point and lack of fan distraction allowed me to watch and analyze the game.  For the hosts, there was very little punch in attack, as they remained behind the ball and stayed compact.  Ricardo Clark, former US National Team player was called into duty as a center back due to international call ups, and the defenders around him had to put in several last ditch tackles as the hosts piled on the pressure led by Higuain, Oduro, Meram and Arrieta.

The visitors were handicapped by injury as two players had to be subbed off before halftime (Brunner due to head injury and Moffat suffered from cramp), but the Dynamo managed to grab a goal against the run of the play in the first half.  The Crew took the game to visitors to start for much of the second half yet could not score.  Combination of a lack of finishing and the final ball kept the hosts from turning the game around.  With about 20 minutes to go, Barson, on his debut, earned a penalty which Higuain dispatched.  Another goal was not in the cards and the intermittent rain towards the end put a further damper on the game. The 1-1 draw provided some entertainment but little of soccer value.  Lots of needless turnovers and late challenges and wayward shots between two mid table MLS teams.

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We were able to leave the area in a matter of minutes, which was due to the small crowd and waiting for a while after the game deciding whether to get player autographs or not.  We passed on waiting for over an hour for the players to emerge.  At least Larry and Noah got a picture with Cool Cat, and to be fair, the kids has a great time, with the boys putting on scarves and imitating the chants of the Crew Union.

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For the Crew, a couple of thoughts.  Higuain intrigued me.  Clearly has some quality but didn’t always deliver despite all of his gesturing.  As captain I can understand a little of that but it seemed a little over the top.  Oduro has tons of pace but little else.  Meram showed some flashes and it will be interesting to see how he develops.

Wrapping up, Sean Wheelock tried to clarify comments made a while ago on the World Football Phone In, calling out Euro Snobs like me not following the game in America. You can watch European football but don’t forget our domestic game—go to matches, watch games on TV, read about MLS news.  I do the first, don’t do the second (but sounds like little Larry is getting Crew fever), and don’t have time for the third, maybe an occasional pod.  I’ll keep checking in the league from time to time as the league heads for their twentieth anniversary but don’t plan to make it my prime source for footy experiences.

Old Futbol Buffet–Life Beyond the EPL

I skipped the EPL action over the weekend to focus on La Liga.  What a weekend I missed.  Arsenal finally took the gloves off; United smacked four past Wigan; and Liverpool continued to struggle.  Plus Aston Villa won a match and City dropped points again.  Finally, Chelsea broke out the ugly kits in an attempt to deflect from the Terry/Ferdinand brouhaha.

Just a quick link regarding the Manchester United game. The Republik of Mancunia saw another thrashing of Wigan as the Red Devils finally started hitting the back of the net in the second half.  Welbeck struggled but the new signings scored and played well, supplementing the old guard, including Scholes who scored yet again.

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Articles and Pods

Michael Cox, better known as Zonal Marking, tipped three possible dark horses to qualify out of Europe for World Cup 2014—Bosnia, Hungary and Belgium.  The Belgians really aren’t a stretch as they have loads of talent but they are in a tricky group with Croatia and Serbia.

In my internet shame spiral, I came across an article about the new general manager of the Professional Referees Organization (PRO), Peter Walton, who was interviewed by Graham Parker for Grantland.  The insight was quite interesting as Walton is charged with improving North American refs by 2022.  (I hope it goes better than Project 2010 or whatever it was called.)  Give it a read.

During the international break I was able to catch up on Beyond the Pitch’s Manchester United show, as Phil and Doron spoke with Brian Greenhoff and Tony Park.  Park knows the youth system inside and out and spoke on several issues facing the club in terms of player development.  Super interesting and informative and well worth the listen.

Beyond the Pitch also looked at the MLS and the USMNT.  Craig Merz was on to talk about the Columbus Crew’s push for the playoffs and the emergence of Federico Higuain.  Good stuff as I hope to see the Crew in a couple of weeks.  Nico and Anto wrapped up talking about the Stars and Stripes down away to Jamaica, a game in which after the first 30 some seconds, nothing went right.

John Pelini broke down both matches between the US and Jamaica, focusing on how the teams set up and their line of confrontation during each game.  Klinsmann got it all wrong away and made the necessary changes in Columbus, while Pelini thought Jamaica could have done a little more in the away match.  He also made a telling comment:

However, the true test for the Klinsmann regime will be to play proactively on the road and in the 2014 World Cup. It is easy for the team to keep the ball with short passes and move it from side to side against a side that are sits deep and concedes possession. The Klinsmann impact will be seen if we can play in this manner against a team that also wants the ball and is willing to pressure to win it back. If the US then resorts to long balls up field then not much has changed from the Bob Bradley days. 

Finally the upcoming Howler magazine published a preview article, which featured Matthew Doyle’s breakdown of US tactics, formation and personnel over the last 22 years.  Tons of info and glimpses into the evolution of “try hard, run fast” to “try hard, run fast” with some organization and better technical ability.  As the Rock says, know your role and shut the hell up.  Maybe the US’s style is counter with athleticism and everyone should stop calling for us to become Spain’s little brother.  Highly recommend this piece.

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