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 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

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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 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 8

By Guillermo O'Rourke

Power Rankings, largely based on an accumulation of data. 

22. Cuauhtemoc Blanco

How many of you would be surprised to learn that the former Chicago Fire and Mexican national team striker was elected mayor of the town of Cuernavaca?

*All hands go up* 

How many of you would be surprised to learn that Blanco, who more or less bribed a referee during a 2009 match vs. Columbus, has been "dogged by allegations of corruption since he was elected last year" and was recently accused of ordering a hit at a local fair earlier this month?

*No hands go up* 

Fuck off, Blanco. Sincerely.

21. ESPN  

The World Wide Leader in Live Sports and Otherwise Garbage Broadcast Content isn't adapting well to the new media landscape -- what with all the kids and their cord cutting. So what's the solution that John Skipper and company came up with to appease his Disney overlords? Laying off around 100 actual journalists, including soccer writers Doug McIntyreDavid Hirshey and Mike Goodman. We'll be pouring some out for our boys at the tailgate Saturday. 

20. New York City Football Club

What's there to say about NYCFC and its fly-in-the-face-of-everything-Don-Garber-purports-the-MLS-to-be-about franchise model that hasn't already been said about its sugar daddy Manchester City? What's there to say about their seat-stealing, cop-attacking, neo-fascist ULTRAZ that hasn't already been said in this space or the Brotherly Game's NYCFC visitor's guide

19. Red Bull Arena

Both Crew SC midfielder Artur and centerback Alex Crognale were visciously attacked by the Harrison, N.J. Turf Monster and that played no small role in the ex-Metrostars' surprise victory last Saturday. Though the initial prognosis for The Crog suggests he could return this weekend, the Brazilian prodigy was not so lucky (more on that later).

18. Newcastle United

The Toon Army has run the gamut of emotions over the last several days, from jubilant highs after clinching promotion straight back to the Premier League Monday; to fatalist lows after Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs -- basically the English IRS -- raided the club over fraud charges, which could threaten said promotion; to naive optimism that maybe this latest boondoggle could force sack-of-shite owner Mike Ashley to finally sell the club; to cynical acceptance that, at best, the club's managing director, large adult son Lee Charnley, could go to the clinker but nothing is really go to change (at least for the better) because it's Newcastle. 

17. FaceApp

It's the fun new mobile phone application that's all the rage with your over-sharing aunt or high school classmate. We decided to take it for a spin, too! 

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Haunting, really. 

16. FayMountaineer

Yes, Fightin' Snowmen are still at the top of the GCGBAG Fantasy Table, but these are  power rankings after all. FayMountaineer, led by manager Ronald Martin, went HAM last week with 110 points continuing its assault up the table and now sits in second place, a mere 16 points back of the leaders. 

15. Kids Instagramming on Daniele De Rossi's Lawn

14. Kekuta Manneh Conspiracy Theories

The Massive Report's Patrick Murphy has no time for your tin-foil hat bat-shit crazy theories about why Kekuta Manneh, who was acquired nearly four weeks ago, has yet to make an appearance for The Yellow Soccer Team. Meanwhile, MLSSoccer.com's Andrew King is content stirring the pot (read: transcribing quotes). Who's right? We have no idea.  We're just going to leave this here instead.

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13.  MLSFemale.com

On behalf of all the Golden Boys and Girls, we'd like to welcome Hillary, who's going to be covering the Crew SC beat for MLSFemale.com. Here's her first post, which gave us all the feels. 

12. Dom Leroux-Dwyer on Raw

Thank you, Mr. Sydney Leroux, for assuming the league's WWE fan mantle in Steve Clark's absence. 

11. The Lads (⤵️)

Where else did you expect to find the lads after last weekend's disappointment? Not to worry, though. We've got some major upping in store for Saturday. Major upping. 

10. C.R.E.A.M. 

The MLS Players' Union released errybody's salaries earlier this week. Massive Report broke down who's overpaid and underpaid for Crew SC. We decided to do some, uh, different research. Niiiiice base salaries, Kortne Ford,  Kianz Froese, Jordan Hamilton, Daigo Kobayashi, Jalen Robinson and London Woodberry. You know what we're talking about.

9. Transfer Talk

With the totally-binding "primary" transfer window "slams" shut May 8, so naturally, the rumors are a flying. There are reports Crew SC could be in negotiations with Brazilian playmaker Rafael Longuine -- a potential long-term replacement for Pipa -- while Chicharito might be poised to sign with the new LA team. Meanwhile, Orlando City striker Cyle Larin could be on his way out after being linked with approximately every team in Europe. MLSSoccer.com keeps a nice running tab

8. Chicago Fire Self-Owns

There are so many layers of ownage here we could devote a whole post to breaking it all down. The most obvious one, though: these Chicago Fire "fans" completely missed out on getting a picture with Crew legend Eric Gehrig. 

7. CHICKEN

We have made no secrets of our general apathy for the contrived content that MLSSoccer.com puts out, but as chicken devotees, we can't deny that the Match Day Chicken Bucket Challenge is Good. 

6.  #GetWellArtur

Artur underwent surgery earlier this week to fix his broken wrist and is, but for the grace of Guillermo, only expected to miss three games or so. Crew SC supporters (and mascots) are wishing the young Brazilian a speedy recovery via the aforementioned hashtag. 

5.  Ray Hudson

We have long held that beIN Sports' loquacious Englishman is unquestionably the best color commentator in world soccer [and probably the world in general]. But Hudson, who's never been shy about professing his love of the "magisterial" Lionel Messi, took things to a new level during the El Classico last weekend. 

As much joy as we got from listening to Hudson gush over the "Medicine Man's" stoppage time heroics, we were even more delighted by Messi's celebration.

4. Cinerator

Need proof Cinerator Hot Cinnamon Whiskey serves up the heat like no other? How about 91.1 proof? That's real strength from a smooth whiskey that brings the heat that will kick your glass. But let us worry about being the best. That'll leave you time to wonder how a shot with such a hot cinnamon taste goes down so damn smooth...

Disclaimer: Cinerator Hot Cinnamon Whiskey does not endorse and is in no way associated with the latest edition of GCGBAG's Hunt for The Golden Crewzer... yet! 

3.  Zack Steffen

The rookie keeper/Terminator was about the only bright spot for Crew SC last Saturday in Jersey. He made a career-high five saves and all but cemented his spot on the 2018 US World Cup squad. Plus, he follows some A+ Twitter accounts.

2. That Time Our Scoreboard Caught On Fire

Remember that? Good times.

1.  Columbus Crew SC

Sure, The World's Greatest Team failed to capture all three (or any) points last weekend in Jersey. OK, maybe the club's depth is getting tested a little bit earlier than we had hoped. Hell, we'll even concede that the Black & Gold are displaying some worrying trends on the road. But Saturday is the start of three straight games within the friendly confines of the Tiny Demon Fortress, where said World's Greatest Team is UNDEFEATED this season. Crew SC should have no trouble reclaiming their rightful seat atop the Eastern Conference this weekend.