GCGBAG Starting 11: Week 7

Thoughtful analysis and commentary about The Columbus Crew and Major League Soccer, largely based on an accumulation of data.

 

11. ZLATAN

ZLATAN made his MLS debut in true ZLATAN fashion: scoring off a volley from, like, 100 yards out in the “El Trafico.” The LA media’s embrace of ZLATAN has been true to form:

There’s just one thing that could (read: will) ruin ZLATAN in MLS and that, of course, is MLS.

 

10. Legal Wrangling

Despite what you may have heard, everything actually happens on a Friday... at least when it comes to legal battle to Save The Crew. Last week Mayor Andrew Ginther released a gloriously snarky open letter to PSV requesting he and MLS open up the books for prospective buyers here in Columbus. Today PSV “tipped their hand” on their argument that the court dismiss the state and city’s joint-lawsuit. Miki Turner’s summed it up best. 

There’s an alternative route MLS and PSV should really consider as well.  

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9. Timber Joey

We’ve never really understood the disdain some Crew supporters hold for the Portland Timbers, especially after Don Garber’s nasty bout of explosive diarrhea forced the cancellation of the 2015 MLS Cup Final (JUST TRUST US ON THIS ONE). Besides, it’s not like the whole Pacific Northwest isn’t overdue to be hit by a massive earthquake and accompanying tsunami. Let’s give credit where it’s due, and Rip City’s definitely due some for this incredible promo: 

 

8. DJ Wig-Wam

Failson | fail•son | noun 

A man, middle- to upper-class and usually White, who, but for family status and support, would be crushed by poverty. 

Used in a sentence: 

Last week we learned MLS Commissioner Don Garber has a failson of his own: David, a freelance EDM blogger, DJ and “party-thrower” based out of Brooklyn. David aka DJ Wig-Wam (tasteful!) even has is own SoundCloud and is part of something called a Goonroom.  

Yo we got DJ Wig-Wam on the ones and twos! Brrrrrrap brrrrrrap brrrrrrrap! 

Yo we got DJ Wig-Wam on the ones and twos! Brrrrrrap brrrrrrap brrrrrrrap! 

Don’s blanket support of Anthony Precourt — another noted failson — makes much more sense with that context. It’s just those paternal instincts kicking in! 

 

7. #AskPrecourt

Crew Twitter dusted off the ol’ #AskPrecourt hashtag this week. It was quite... what’s the polar opposite of nostalgic? Boyish Anthony pretty much stuck to answering inane softball questions from sycophantic Corporate Celebrity Fans, but that didn’t mean there weren’t plenty of folks that saw through his charade.

 

6. Justice for Tommy Heinemann

While we congratulate FC Cincinnati on reportedly settling on a stadium location -- one phase of #KeepHellReal down! -- we will NOT excuse their "deplorable" mistreatment of Tommy Heineman. The MLS Players Association recently released a letter blasting FC Cincy who tried to force the Massive Legend to take a pay cut before ultimately voiding his contract because of an old injury (USL rival Penn FC has already  signed him). 

Amen, William. CBA negotiations are gonna be funnnnnnn next year!

 

5. Josh Williams

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

 

4. Tactics!  

What do you get when you mix the in-depth tactical breakdowns of American Soccer Analysis with the artistic vision of the early 00’s viral phenom The End of the World

Looks like some new inspiration for our own Tifo Czar! 

 

3. MLS is Controlling the Narrative

It's good to see that Communications Czar Dan Courtsmunch has current players and coaches staying on-message here in the midst of the MLS season.  

Huge shout out to both Massive Legends above, along with the likes of Matt Lampson and Brad Stuver. Hopefully there are many more to follow. 

 

2. An Important Public Service Announcement

Don't feed the trolls. Just look at Rick. He'll find you. 

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1. #SaveTheCrew

It’s been another ho-hum week for the rag-tag #SaveTheCrew movement, which is despite evidence to the contrary is falling apart right in front of our eyes. They released an open letter to Don Garber Monday, which would’ve probably received more notice if they’d gone with our suggested edits. 

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They also revamped their Web page highlighting the 300-plus business allies who are hip to the cause.

Sorry, #SaveTheCrew, you can lead Crew Director of Business Operations Andy Luccigang to water, but you can make him do his job! 

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Guillermo O’Rourke is real-life, award-winning journalist and commentator. His book, Nine Lies: The Search for Crew Cat’s Killerstill needs a publisher. Did you see something Good on line that should be featured in the next Starting 11? Tweet @gcgbag96 and let him know using the hashtag #DonGarberPeeTape.

 

GCGBAG Starting 11: Week 3

Thoughtful analysis and commentary about The Columbus Crew and Major League Soccer, largely based on an accumulation of data.

 

11. Evan Bush

Let’s just say the Montreal keeper has had a rough go at things against a Certain World’s Greatest Team of late. Like a 10-goals-allowed-over-his-last-three-starts kind of rough go.  While we had a soft spot for the Ohio native for a time, his role in the “Goal Camghazi” scandal last June changed things. So we 100% support the official Crew Twitter dunking on him. 

  Au revoir, garçon du fucc!

 

10. That Other Kamara Guy

Kei Kamara is a complicated man. Off the field, he’s a duly-recognized  humanitarian, who has contributed so much to his native Sierra Leone. On the other hand, he’s sort of — how can we put this? — a dick. And an overrated dick at that. Think we’re wrong? Well numbers don’t care about your feelings.

 

9. MLS2ATX x SXSW

What’s the difference between MLS2ATX and South By Southwest? One is the commodification of Austin’s celebrated counterculture by soulless corporate brands manifested... and the other has cheap kites!

Dave Greeley, who’s failed up so many times that he’ll probably end up running Soccer United Marketing after we #SaveTheCrew, saw an opportunity to offload some scarves show how much Austin, Texas loves soccer while the festival-thing is going on. And boy, we can just feel the all energy and excitement.

Did someone say photoshopped? 

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8. Alexi Lalas

We thought the former USMNT defender turned Fox Soccer commentator showed his true colors when he appeared in the first edition of Sean Kelly’s Save The Crew documentary. Since then it’s become clear Lalas is the only person remotely associated with MLS actually taking this “parallel paths” stuff seriously.

Maybe he got a stern talking to by Don Garber? Most likely though, he just thinks this Twitter contrarian schtick is good for his Brand. 

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7. Alex Crognale Got The Shaft

With Josh Williams *swoon* nearing a return, we weren’t too surprised to see Alex Crognale get loaned out to a USL team to get a few games in. We just figured he’d be loaned out to one of the half dozen or so USL teams in contiguous states, not sent across the goddamned country to the Orange City Oranges (or whatever). 

“But Guillermo, you aren’t inferring that Anthony Precourt forced  Gregggggg to loan Alex far away from his friends and family, some of whom have been critical of plans to move the team far away from his friends and family, are you? That would be extremely petty, even for Precourt.”

We’re not just inferring it, rhetorical device. 

 

6. Mini Tiny Demon Fortress  

If you want to purchase this beauty for your child [within], you’d better hurry because they’re going fast! Hit up our dude BLOCKStadium on Etsy

There’s even a special McKalla Place edition for a certain blundering failson.

 

5. Drunken Crewzer Goes To The Olympics

The often imitated (*cough* Massive Report *cough*), never duplicated and always inebriated GCGBAG reporter is back again for another season of shoe-leather investigative journalism. Drunken Crewzer was on the scene after the Crewsmas Day victory asking the question on everyone’s mind. What’s that question? Watch to find out! Or, you know, look for the contextual clues. 

 

4. Gyasi Zardes  

Now that Zardes has scored more goals in pair of games in Black & Gold than he did in 23 starts for the LA Galaxy last year, the HYPE is happening. 

While there is little doubt that Zardes will net 20+ to help lead the Crew to a 34-0-0 season, a few question remain. Is it the Zardes or Gregggggg’s system? And if it’s Gregggggg’s system, could, like, anyone score in it? And if, like, anyone could score, how many goals could Adam Jahn get starting over the course of a season?

Pray we never find out.

 

3.  Pipa

We don’t need to retread the history of Fredrico Higuain and penalty kicks in Columbus. However, to see the Maestro  — after popping one in from the spot in the first half for his 50th career goal in Black & Gold — concede the stoppage-time, game-winning PK to Zardes on Saturday was to see him at perhaps his most cerebral. Which is to say, Pipa knows the gravity of this season and he ain’t got no time for the Süddeck.

“I always miss on that goal. Always. I think I’ve missed 4 or 5 PKs, so why not try something new.”

While we’d argue Pipa should’ve been credited with an assist for that move, he’ll likely have to wait one more game to become the first member of the 50-50 club in Crew history (he’s sitting on 49 right now).

We have the sneaking suspicion that No matter how much praise and adoration we shower upon him, we will only come to truly appreciate his majesty once he has hung up the boots. But that day is not today. 

 

2. GUMBINHO  

If you caught the front page of last Sunday’s Dispatch, you know the Greater Columbus Golden Boys and Girls are, to put it mildly, a global phenomenon. 

At the vanguard, along with the Tifo Czar, was GUMBINHO. With the return of that that glorious green polyester purveyor of all things Massive, there will be no stopping us! 

 

1. #SaveTheCrew

After tackling the silver screen last week with the swanky red carpet premiere of part two of the Save The Crew documentary series, #SaveTheCrew set its sights on the next big thing: public radio. More specifically, WOSU’s “All Sides with Ann Fisher.”

(Radio shows are like fancy podcasts, but they don’t record them in youre moms basement.) 

Corporate Celebrity Fan Morgan Hews joined Ann in-studio (because his apartment is infested with rats) while “Duffey Man” (Oh yeah!) State Rep. Mike Duffey and legal wrangler James Maniace called in for a riveting discussion. Rep. Duffey even brought his Ohio Revised Code so that everyone could get a taste of the special “Modell Law.” 

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 Listen here

—— 

Guillermo O’Rourke is real-life, award-winning journalist and commentator. His book, Nine Lies: The Search for Crew Cat’s Killer still needs a publisher. Did you see something Good on line that should be featured in the next Starting 11? Tweet @gcgbag96 and let him know using the hashtag #DonGarberPeeTape.

GCGBAG Starting 11: Week 2

Thoughtful analysis and commentary about the Columbus Crew and Major League Soccer, based largely on an accumulation of data.

 

11. McKalla Place

If you think Anthony Precourt, Camp Tiger Claw incarnate, didn’t rush to announce that he’d settled for McKalla Place as a petulant, extremely on-brand attempt to steal thunder from the #SaveTheCrew Community Kit partay (more on that later), then we have a bridge to sell you. Or more accurately, the City of Austin has a toxic waste dump 11 miles from downtown that it would like Precourt to take off their hands (more on owning PSV later, too). 

Of course “Fratboy McTrustfund” wants taxpayers in Austin, Texas to fork over all public land free gratis for only the most egalitarian of reasons:

I just read an article in the Austin American-Statesman that illuminated challenges kids who live in East Austin face when trying to find good access to soccer. We want to help with that...
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C’mon down to McKalla Place, kids! Boyish Anthony even has great, new, CDC-mandated uniforms for you! 

 

10. Stern John

A certain Columbus Crew legend who also happens to be the most prolific goal-scorer in MLS history was back in the news this week. 

Believe it or not, Stern John is still sorta playing, at least according to Wikipedia. All we’re saying is — with zero depth at striker beyond Gyasi Zardes and Adam Jahn — Gregg could do a lot worse than bringing John back to Columbus. 

 

9. The Law: Ain’t it a Bitch 

Last week, we used some of this space to caution any MLS commissioners or team investor-operators that “#SaveTheCrew is basically the only bipartisan issue in the state” and not to be surprised when lawmakers try “enforcing laws on the books.” While we do have lots of real sources at all levers of power, we were as pleasantly blindsided as the rest of you by the joint-lawsuit filed by the state and City of Columbus Monday, asking a judge to ensure PSV and the league comply with the “Modell Law.” Whether the Ohio attorney general got wind of some sinister backroom dealings or was just responding to PSV’s latest, hilariously-inept overtures in Austin, Texas, this, folks, is major development.

MLS and PSV released a joint statement responding to the lawsuit the following day. Why a joint-statement? This could be for a couple reasons: 1) MLS is actually co-defendant along with PSV and other related shell corporations and/or 2) every statement or public comment PSV has put out without adult supervision has only built the AG’s case.

We’ll leave legal wrangling over the law’s applicability to licensed legal wranglers but rest assured, if said legal wrangling reaches the courtroom, it’s not going to be a good thing for MLS or PSV, which leads us to our next point. 

 

8. Everyone Is Owning PSV and MLS

It may have taken more than 24 hours for the joint-response to come out, but don’t let that distract you from the fact that it’s just four paragraphs of recycled talking points and fails to address a single point made in the complaint. Or that multiple lawyers billed PSV and/or MLS hundreds of dollars for each hour they took to “craft” that response.

Or that last week the terrific people of Austin, Texas paid to have this plane flown around: 

Or that this is the primo coverage MLS got in the Sunday New York Times for Opening Weekend:

 

7. Athlete CRUSH

So what exactly is Athlete CRUSH? Well according to Twitter, it’s an in-development app that will “revolution[ize] how athletes, fans, charities and brands connect.” Not sold? Check out Athlete CRUSH’s latest #mancrushmonday: 

Go ahead. Soak it in. Take all the time you need.  

 

6. Rick and Rick: Newer, Better, Hotter

While SKaMzZ the Usurper may lay claim to the title of Official Gamer of the Columbus Crew (for now), GCGBAG’s own Rick and Rick returned this week with new and improved FIFA Scouting Report. Every fan’s crazy ‘bout these sharp dressed men! 

Redditor vanparda spoke for us all when he observed “Rick & Rick are hotter than I thought.” 

 

5. Young Deepy

The major league debut from young designated player Milton Valenzuela aka Young Deepy was straight 🔥🔥.

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The 19-year-old leftback connected with compatriot Fredrico Higuain for the opening goal of the 2018 MLS season and combined with Lalas Abubakar and the rest of the Crew backline to stymie the defending Best Team In MLS History™ on opening day. All three players were selected to the MLS Team of the Week, along with Crew legend Justin Meram, which is a bit weird because everyone knows he retired from soccer this offseason.

 

4. Kirk Urso

Tuesday, March 6 would’ve been the former Columbus midfielder’s 28th birthday. Many former and current Crew players, along with fans, took some time remember the KU15, who even in his relative short time here left an indelible mark on Columbus soccer community. 

Kirk, you are loved, missed and forever massive. Click here to make a donation to the Kirk Urso Memorial Fund.

 

3. CRIS Ticket Exchange

With the full weight and support of #SaveTheCrew behind our ticket donation drive to support our friends at Community Refugee and Immigration Services, the question was never “if” but “when” we’d reach the goal for Crewsmas. And that question was answered Monday. 

 Crew fans, you’re all beautiful! 

 

2. Crewsmas

It’s Crewsmas Saturday and it’s going to be the greatest day of the year, at least until the day we Save The Crew. And win the MLS Cup. And capture the Sextuple. But those incredible future achievements shouldn’t overshadow what is always a rip-roaring good time. It’s gotta be if the Andy Gruenebaum is coming to town!

Don’t worry the Hebrew Hammer made it in safe and sound. 

With so much going on, you could forgive Failing Corporate Celebrity Fan Morgan Hughes for forgetting to update the #MegaTailgate map for all the new Golden Boys and Girls that will be joining us for the Crewsmas celebration Saturday. But we won’t. 

See you bright and early Saturday! The Old Farts are cookin’ up the chili (and maybe even some queso!) and we’ll have loads of other, uh, “activities” to keep you warm leading up to kick off against le Impact de Montreal. 

 

1. #SaveTheCrew

It’s been just another typical week for the #SaveTheCrew movement. On top of all the boring ol' lawsuit that could be both the movement's salvation and the MLS's eventual undoing, there was also the yawner of a jersey reveal party Thursday night. 

One thing is for sure, a handful of passionate Crew supporters didn't make the actual MLS team's roll out of the F̶u̶n̶e̶r̶a̶l̶ Black Kit seem the least bit unfulfilling. If one wanted to purchase one of these "Community Kits," for the mudane af price of $75, they could probably purchase them here

 ———

Guillermo O’Rourke is real-life, award-winning journalist and commentator. His book, Nine Lies: The Search for Crew Cat’s Killer still needs a publisher. Did you see something Good on line that should be featured in the next Starting 11? Tweet @gcgbag96 and let him know using the hashtag #DonGarberPeeTape.

GCGBAG Starting 11: Week 1

Ed. Note: We’ve received hundreds of thousands of emails from our dozens of dedicated readers throughout the offseason all asking the same question: “What happened to Guillermo O’Rourke after he escaped the secret MLS black site last year and why didn’t he resume the weekly GCGBAG Power Rankings and can we send him money because he’s so clever and probably very handsome, too?” To the latter point, of course he’ll take your money. Just stop by the GCGBAG tailgate or buy literally anything in the Save The Crew shop. He’ll get the money. 

As to the former, the truth is Guillermo never really escaped the MLS black site. I mean, yes he technically escaped, but his mind remained imprisoned, suppressing a Dark Knowledge. While that Dark Knowledge remains blocked away, we suspect it had something to do with the sinister plot to relocate the Crew that came to light shortly after his escape. Guillermo has undergone months of therapy since and while his mind has yet to fully recover — right now I’d say he’s around “New York Times Op-Ed Columnist” on the mental competency spectrum — the world cannot wait. And so now, against the guidance of every single medical and psychiatric professional we have consulted with in the continental United States, he is back on his bullshit.

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A Note from Guillermo: We’re taking a fresh, new approach with the GCGBAG Power Rankings this season. And by “fresh” and “new,” we mean “shorter.” So without further ado, here’s this week’s GCGBAG Starting 11, largely based on an accumulation of data. 

 

11.   The Deft Touch of PSV

You, a small-minded rube, probably think it is not a great idea for PSV to release a public statement — the first directly attributed to Investor Operator Anthony Precourt since last fall — reaffirming its commitment to relocating to Austin. In the middle of the annual team-sponsored celebration for Crew season ticket holders. In Columbus.

“Wow, that’s extremely bad optics,”  you might say, you sweet, simple summer child you. 

Here’s why you’re wrong and this announcement is definitely not a ham-fisted desperation play.  

 

10. Major League eSoccer

MLS is doing some thing with Twitch that we can only assume was pitched as a innovative new form of fan engagement that will disrupt the entire professional sports industry. True to form, the Crew front office seized the opportunity and announced they'd hold a FIFA tournament for fans to compete and earn the title of Official Crew Gamer. LOL of course that didn't happen. Instead, out of the blue, we get: 

Let's hear it for SKaMzZ everyone!

Let's hear it for SKaMzZ everyone!

Look, we’re sure SKaMzZ is a great guy and a great gamer. All we're saying is Rick 'n Rick deserved a shot. They would've Rick rolled over the competition.  

 

9. SANCH

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You’re damn right!

What's that!? Keep going!? 

🎶Who is the man that can nutmeg through any man? (SANCH!) Can you dig it?

Who's the cat that’s quick to switch and danger all about the pitch? (SANCH!) Right on!

They say this cat Sanch is a bad motha - (SHUT YOUR MOUTH!) -- But I'm talkin' 'bout Sanch (THEN WE CAN DIG IT!)

He's a complicated man, but no one understands him like Berhalter (PEDRO SANCH!)🎶

 

8. TROPHIES!  

A certain World’s Greatest Team just shit-pumped the competition --  winning all three games with a +5 goal differential -- to capture its second straight Charleston Challenge Cup. That’s right, the Crew's one step on the way to the  Sextuple (heh, nice). For the uninitiated, that’s winning the Charleston Challenge Cup, Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, MLS Supporters’ Shield, MLS Cup and the Trillium Cup, and saving the Crew, for which there will most definitely be a trophy presentation ceremony, in the same year.

 

7.  Gregg Berhalter

Say what you will about his tactics or his tinkering with said tactics, but one thing’s for sure: Gregg can wear the hell out of a sweater. He also deserves credit for holding himself accountable to supporters and, of course, for his shared appreciation of the finer things — namely Josh Williams. 

 

6. Cristian Martinez

The 20-year-old Panamanian has been the breakout star of the preseason, and not just because he chipped Brad Guzan from roughly a 800 yards out. Regular minutes have been hard to come by in his first two seasons, but he’s put in the work, brought that S-Cell count up and is ready to go all Super Saiyan on the league. 

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5. Steven Lenhart   

The Massive Champion spoke at length with Massive Historian Steve Sirk (who you can support here) last week. It’s a colorful, wiiiiiiide-ranging interview chock full of quintessential insights like “playing against Chad Marshall was like playing against a Transformer” and it’s all outstanding. Of course, the Monocled One asked about Columbus supporters and Stevie did not disappoint.

 “I thought they were awesome,” he says. “I thought they were the best fans in the world. They are so overly passionate. It’s like, ‘Don’t you care about your kids? Do you guys have families?’ I loved interacting with the fans. It was great. They knew more than I did, that’s for sure.”

Read "Love and Elbows with Steven Lenhart." 

 

4.  Bizness Metricks

Crew Director of Business Operations Andy Logname used the annual Supporters Summit to assure everyone he’s not inept. It is beyond us how the word “inept” could even creep into anyone’s vocabulary when talking about a dude whose on-the-job performance has been described as “like the captain of the Titanic lecturing passengers about how to avoid icebergs as the ship is sinking and the rich guy is escaping with all the lifeboats -- hoping to convince his rescuers to build him a new, more ‘vibrant’ Titanic.”

Anyway, Lonkhorn even went as far as to say that team marketing has increased significantly over the past few years. By no fault of their own, marketing is the only area where the “parallel paths” logic actually holds true. While Lagnaff and the Crew front office continue to invest in that new, low-visibility, anti-marketing marketing that’s so “in” with the kids right now, #SaveTheCrew has gathered more than 300 business allies and launched its own #FillTheFre ticket sales drive. How do you like dem metricks?

 

3.  Gaston Sauro

We said it before and we'll say it again: GASTON SAURO IS A TREASURE AND WE MUST PROTECT HIM AT ANY COST!

 

2.  The Nordecke Membership

We don't have to tell you that the Greater Columbus Golden Boys and Girls are the 2008 Columbus Crew of Columbus Crew supporters groups or that being able to identify yourself as a member provides more fulfillment than, frankly, anything else in your life. We feel the same way, but, we're also big fans of our fellow supporters groups. So, after a convening of Nordecke Leadership, we have decided to join with our brothers- and sisters-in-arms Crew Union, Hudson Street Hooligans, La Turbina Amarilla and Murderers' Row under one flag. Well of course we'll still have the GCGBAG flag, what we're talking about is just one Nordecke membership. 

Membership items include the Member Scarf, symbolizing the unity of the 5 groups, a Nordecke car magnet, and membership card for discounts. Membership is $20. All dues go to supply funds for tailgates, TIFO, and Away Trips to support the Black and Gold.
Memberships can be purchased HERE

We like the look of everything down there a lot:

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Get your membership over at the Nordecke Shop now. 

 

1.  #SaveTheCrew

While PSV was busy texting “u up?” to Butler Shores Tuesday, the Ohio Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee voted in favor of a resolution to keep the Crew in Columbus (mad props to Jo Rodgers!). Then that bad boy went out on the Senate floor Wednesday, where it also received (drumroll) unanimous support. #SaveTheCrew is basically the only bipartisan issue in the state. That’s something any professional sports league commissioner and/or team investor operator should keep in mind when wondering how serious lawmakers are about, you know, enforcing laws on the books. But enough about ORC 9.67, let’s talk more about #SaveTheCrew. Did we mention the Community Kit reveal party on the Night Before Crewsmas Eve? Or about teaming up to support our friends at Community Refugee and Immigration Services?  

Hell yeah guys. We can't wait to get back to Upping The Lads. 

 

Guillermo O’Rourke is real-life, award-winning journalist and commentator. His book, Nine Lies: The Search for Crew Cat’s Killer still needs a publisher. Did you see something Good on line that should be featured in the next Starting 11? Tweet @gcgbag96 and let him know using the hashtag #DonGarberPeeTape.