GCGBAG Starting 11: Week 5

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

 

11. Op-Ed: Steven Croyle Sucks

Let’s be honest.

Steven Croyle may be as edgy as a soccer ball, but the Crew “op-ed” he sharted out Monday for 614now was sound from a clickbait perspective. Despite the furor over his specious claims and self-aggrandizing tone,  Columbus has no cause to “weep for ‘journalism’” as some commenters are claiming. Everyone’s entitled to an opinion. Regurgitating PSV and MLS talking points means little coming from the author of “Survival Guide: Winter Beerfest Edition.”

Even the rebuttal on 614now said his piece wasn’t worth an “overriding critique.”

(Side note: If you’re going to use a parenthetical to immediately walk back your argument, take that as a sign. Your readers are not the ones missing the point, Steven.) 

 

10. Current Events: World Cup Edition

The lead up to summer’s World Cup in Russia was just going swimmingly but now Western Snowflakes are all in a tizzy. Whom among us has not ordered the use a nerve agent like something out of  “The Rock” to attempt an extra-judicial killing on foreign soil?

That doesn’t mean MLS won’t be sending its best and brightest to Russia. We’re talking, of course, about referee Jair Marrufo.

Real bastion of integrity , that guy.

 

9. “El Trafico”

LA Galaxy and the Los Angeles Football Craft meet for the first time this weekend. While our investment in this manufactured rivalry — make that budding new daaaaarby — is directly proportional to how many minutes ZLATAN plays, we have to give it up to LA supporters for coining “El Trafico.” Alexi Lalas took to Twitter to assure everyone that MLS wouldn’t think of trademarking the nickname. 

  

8. FC Cincy Is Getting MLS’d

The deadline for MLS to announce the next winner of the expansion beauty pageant is supposed to be imminent. FC Cincinnati is competing with Sacramento and Detroit for a franchise. We admit we haven’t followed all stadium tulmut too closely, but it sure sounds like FC Cincy’s biggest obstacle to securing a site is... DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONNN GAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRBERRRRR!

For what it’s worth, we want FC Cincy to get a MLS franchise so we can #KeepHellReal.

 

7. Metaphors

Last year, we invested our hard-earned moola in a heavy-duty grill so we could cook enough hotdogs, hibachi, walking tacos, etc., to serve the whole #MEGATAILGATE on game days. The grill was supposed to bring joy to everyone for years to come. We entrusted PSV to steward this cherished community asset (i.e., the FO they said they’d store it in the shed between game days). You know where this is going, right?

Before (basically) and after.

Before (basically) and after.

Did Boyish Anthony order the Crew staff to leave our grill out exposed to the elements throughout the offseason as a form of passive-aggressive retaliation for the many damning revelations we have, uh, revealed in this space? To be continued...  

 

6. SANCH! 

The Tekk Machine in Black & Gold  tickled the twine for the first time Saturday against DC. And while there was a bit of a row on Twitter earlier this week when reports surfaced that Anthony Precourt may have shorted his former club SC Braga on the transfer fee, Greggggg was quick to correct the record.  

 We can dig it!  

 

5. Young Deepy

Remember when Greggggg told us we might have to wait a bit for 19-year-old Milton Valenzuela to transition into a more attacking role. Well that didn’t take too long.

According to our research, he’s the first Crew left back to score a goal since The Robbie Rogers, probably (look we don’t get paid to do that much research). Young Deepy has already played a part is as many goals through 4 starts as Juka Raitala did in 20-some last season. 

 

4. Photobombs

Enjoy every second of the Drunken Crewzer Postgame Show for DC United.  

 

3.  Pipa

The Maestro became the first Crew player to enter MLS’s vaunted 50-50 Club when he found Ricardo Clark from the corner in the 40th minute against DC. With that accomplishment in the bag, he can get back to the more pressing matters of leading the Crew to the Sextuple! 

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2. Captain America

Wil Trapp captained AMERICA to a 1-0 victory over Miguel Almiron-led Paraguay Tuesday night. The Crew skipper captured Man of the Match honors and was the catalyst for many a Yank attack. More importantly, he escaped Cary, N.C., relatively unscathed because Paraguay was out for blood. Same goes for Zack Steffen, who also picked up the clean sheet and has yet to concede a goal for the USMNT.

 

1. #SaveTheCrew

Guess what other unstoppable force from Columbus made an appearance in the USA-Paraguay game?

And now, a parting message from Gumbinho: 

 ---

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.

 

Power Rankings: Week 2

By Guillermo O'Rourke

Power Rankings, largely based on an accumulation of data. 

22. D.C. United (NR)

We had trouble deciding if they should even be ranked at all -- they've yet to score a goal this season -- but we figured it might boost Crew SC's strength of schedule with a win  over another ranked opponent this weekend.

21. Red Cards (NR)

Well it didn't take too long for Crew SC to see red in 2017. Did Jonathan Mensah go in with ill intent? I don't think so. Was it a fair decision? Ehhhhhh. Would it have been overturned on appeal had Greggggg not ostensibly forgotten how the appeals process works? I guess we'll never know.

20. Canada (NR)

Your prime minister might be dreamy, but your teams have combined for as many wins this season as D.C. United has goals -- again, ZERO. Giovinco's still missing PKs and Vancouver kept up their form in a 2-0 loss to Tigres UANL in the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League semis. But we guess someone has to win when Toronto FC and Vancouver Whitecaps meet this weekend. Or they don't cause, you know, it's soccer.

19. Houston's brass band (NR)

That's all we got.

18. Don Garber: Ultra (NR)

This some real dabbing-on-"Ellen"-level pandering from @TheSoccerDon. No way he could one up that...

17. Don Garber covers hot topics at SXSW with Grant Wahl (NR)

That's the actual title of a real article on ColumbusCrewSC.com. 

16. Hanson's Middle of Everywhere 25 Anniversary Tour (NR)

The boys. Are back. On Tour. Can we crash the gang at the Massive Report Podcast's planned road trip with Niko Hansen for one of the upcoming shows? What about a #NorOnMOETour???

15. Modern Technology (NR)

We're living in a Brave New World, where advancements in technology and sports science allow us to run predictive models to simulate the results of future matches within a virtual environment. See how our team of MIT-trained researchers and Sillicon Valley innovators faired in their first simulation last week. 

14. ZLATAN (NR)

There are reports that LA Galaxy are attempting to woo 35-year old Manchester United striker/God-King ZLATAN IBRAHIMOVIC with a record contract that would make him the highest paid player in MLS. We over here waiting for Tony Ace$ to throw all the money at ZLATAN and bring him to Columbus, where his greatness would truly by appreciated and celebrated, because, like wine, the older ZLATAN gets, the better ZLATAN gets. 

13. Hunt for the Golden Crewzer (NR)

All season long, GCGBAG is on the hunt for the Golden Crewzer, the ultimate crew fan. The winner will be decided by you, so go vote!

12. Robbie Rogers (NR)

Robbie Rogers made a stop in Ohio at BGSU on Wednesday as part of his We Are One Team tour. We hear his new diet is working out well for him.

11.  #FreeTonyTchani (NR)

If for no other reason, we want to see a Tony Tchani Hat Trick™ in our lifetime! 

(Ed. Note: This is a pretty obscure, self-serving reference. For the uninitiated, a Tony Tchani Hat Trickis a goal, an assist and a yellow card in one game.) 

10. Don't Cross the Line (NR)

MLS has released its newest video as a part of their Don't Cross the Line campaign to end discrimination.

9. 2017 MLS Roster Rule updates (+3)

We didn't know exactly what to make of the new rules when they were released, but Crew SC appear to have taken full advantage, using Don Garber Fun Bucks to lock up last year's MVP Justin Meram and new captain Wil Trapp to long-term deals that come with hefty salary bumps. No, per club policy, we don't know for how long or how much, but sometimes it's nice to leave a little something to the imagination.

8.  USMNT drama (NR)

We ain't talking about the fact that U.S. head coach Bruce Arena passed over Wil Trapp in favor of Jermaine Jones, who would be 37 by the next World Cup and whom, but for his being an US international, we abhor. Take it away, Alejandro Bedoya. 

Jozy -- who is one of the biggest, strongest players on whatever pitch he's playing and nonetheless feels the need to dive, like, every time he gets a foot in the 18-yard box -- tweeted his displeasure at Bedoya, who responded with the commensurate "sorry bro, my comments were taken out of context; you know the media" walk-back. But, we see you Alejadro.

7.  Capo talk (+1)

Earlier this week, SG (Supporter Group? Super Great?) leadership made the decision to appoint a capo for the Nordecke starting March 25 vs. Portland. 

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Anyway, we really are hoping for the best, and in the meantime, we want to give you the tools to be your own capo! Check out our Nordecke Songbook on the YouTubes!

6.  Neil Sika's turtleneck (NR)

Who wore better?

Neil Sika, Crew SC at Houston Dynamo

Neil Sika, Crew SC at Houston Dynamo

Steve McQueen, "Bullitt" 

Steve McQueen, "Bullitt" 

John Lennon, "Rubber Soul" 

John Lennon, "Rubber Soul" 

The guy in the "Well Done" gif.

The winner: Dwight Burgess

5. Christian Pulisic (NR)

The future of the USMNT scored a nice goal to send his squad through to the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals.

4. Minnesota United supporters (NR)

In a match that took the title for coldest game in MLS history with a temperature of 19F at kickoff, 35,000 Minnesota United fans still upped the lads, even through the snow and a 6-1 defeat. Respect. 

3. Fancy Stats (NR)

According to all the soccer nerds, Ola Kamara and Justin Meram are best players in their respective positions in MLS. Well at least when it comes to scoring goals and assisting.

The "x" is for EXTREME! 

2. Diego Chara's Diving Adventures presented by Herbalife Sporting Club (NR)

Since then, Portland has responded, Diego Chara has been fined and, we assume, the heroes that created that masterpiece have had their portraits commissioned to adorn the walls LA's front office.

1. Columbus Crew SC (no change)

You don't have to win every game to stay number 1 in our hearts. But not to worry, Crew SC faces a struggling DC side at the crumbling RFK stadium this weekend. Here's to watching Crew SC put up as many goals as raccoons that live in the depths of RFK.