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

SANCH.png

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. 

gokrew.png

 

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:

Nordecke_2018_membership_v01.jpg

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. 

 

Power Rankings: Week 9

By Guillermo O'Rourke

Power Rankings, largely based on an accumulation of data.

22. DaxStreet Boys

Burn. Them. All. 

21. Kei Kamara's Role With New England

We're not still [as] sour about the way stuff went down with Kei [as some of the fanbase]. We're just stating an objective fact: Kei Kamara's has been a heart-shaped-hands-shaped peg in the round hole since arriving in New England.

The lesser Kamara won't have the chance to prove anything otherwise Saturday because he's with his wife awaiting the birth of their second child. How convenient! 

20. New England Revolution  

Uh, where to start? How about their owners, Jonathan and (that) Robert Kraft, who by several accounts is the worst owner in MLS, has secret casino holdings, wants to watch the world burn and generally sucks. Yep, that'll do for now. 

19. #Parkhursting

Look, we don't hold any animosity for the former Crew SC captain. He's just... well, we'll just say, Atlanta United fans, we know what you're going through

18. The Street Megger

Savage.

17. Emre Can

Savage.

16. Fightin' Snowmen

Also savage. Like, we might have to think of a new schtick because the Fightin' Snowmen are running away with the GCGBAG Fantasy League. 

15. The 2017 Crew SC Gear Sale

Oh look, if it isn't our official Corporate Celebrity Fan trying to tell us how to deal with the annual Crew gear sale, like, three weeks after it happened.

This guy? Can you believe him? 

14.  Outbreak SC

If you're looking for a team aside from Crew SC to follow in the U.S. Open Cup, look no further then Outbreak SC. Why? 1) They're a team of 30-something-year-old SoCal bros playing against professionals. 2) Well, just take it from forward Jason Cambell:

“We don’t train, we don’t talk about training, we just show up and hope the last six days of the week didn’t ruin our fitness too much.”

13.  Jack Ryan

Crew SC have been linked with Aberdeen captain Ryan Jack for a week or so now, and he has even reportedly been urged to follow his "American Dream" to Columbus. We don't put much stock in transfer rumors, but it did get us thinking... about "Patriot Games." 

12. Pittsburgh Riverhounds

Crew SC's kinda farm team delivered last week with a 30-yard thunderstrike (courtesy of Victor Souto):

But wait, the digital media team followed up with this gem, which is almost better:

Prettay, prettay, prettay campy. These guys are alright. Well, for Pittsburgh. 

11.  Golden Boy of the Week

 You can't un-see it.

10. Philadelphia Union 

It's hard to hate on the Union when they're putting out A+ content like that and are otherwise comically inept

9. Sporting-Event Propsals

On the whole, we agree with the consensus that you shouldn't subject a captive audience of thousands of strangers, who don't know and frankly don't care about your relationship, to sit through a contrived, awkward display of your personal commitment on the Jumbotron. That being said, if there is a Right Way to do a sporting-event proposal, Our Dude Ryan pulled it off last weekend at the MEGATailgate.

Mazel tov! 

8. Dinosaurs and Gluten

Translation: ALL THE GOOD STUFF THIS WAY!! 

7. May the 4th

Sorry NERDS *cough* Vancouver, Houston and especially New England *cough* this has nothing to do Star Wars so you can put your light sabers right back in your pants. No, May the 4th is special because it was on this day in 1973 that Greatest That Ever Was Or Will Be came into being. We're writing, of course, about our God-King Guillermo "el terrible" Barros Schelotto. We certainly understand why LAFC is interested in the MASSIVE CHAMPION and Boca Juniors manager, but -- and we mean this sincerely John Thorrington -- if you sign him, we hope that the person you cherish most in this world pushes you off whatever the tallest building in Los Angeles is...

Wow. Sorry fam, that got a little dark, but needed to be said. Anyway, here are a bunch of Tweets and videos to commemorate this MASSIVE occasion.

6. #BuildThatStadium

Also featured in this week's Drunken Crewzer Postgame Show: a challenge to one William Alexander Trapp. 

5. Alex Crognale

CROG NAIL picked up some major Internet hardware earlier this week when he was name the SBI MLS Rookie of the Month for April. We imagine a lot of teams are envious of the options Greggggggg will have at centerback if everyone could get healthy at once. 

4. #DosHiguains

No sir it wasn't. And that's not even including Pipa's All-World Dummy last weekend. 

3. Steven Lenhart

We pour one out for The Cabbage Patch Assassin Steven Lenhart, another MASSIVE CHAMPION, who his hanging up the boots after an 11-year professional career. Lenhart was a rookie on that glorious 2008 team and cemented his place in Crew lore when he scored in stoppage-time to secure a 1-1 draw for Columbus in the opening away leg of of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Kansas City Wizards (they don't want you to remember they were the Wizards).

In addition to the 2008 Cup, Lenhart also nabbed a pair of Supporters' Shields and carved a niche as MLS's premier super sub over three seasons in Columbus before being dealt to San Jose on the eve of the 2011 draft [for a pick that turned out to be Justin Meram ¯\_(ツ)_/¯]. He went on to play six seasons in San Jose, but had his career derailed after a string of concussions (fuck concussions). He had recently signed with the Japanese side FC Iambari. 

2. Prince Kendrick Afful

As we bid farewell to one MASSIVE CHAMPION -- but seriously, Steven, if you're ever in town hit, us up -- we welcome a FUTURE MASSIVE CHAMPION, King Harrison's newborn son Prince Kendrick Afful (yesssssssss!).

We are so beyond stoked for the Royal Family! Seriously. Like anyone who knows us knows we love (in no particular order): Prince, Harrison Afful and Kendrick Lamar.  

1. Columbus Crew SC

The rains blessed MAPFRE Stadium a little too early last weekend. New England may have tried to co-opt "The Battle Hymn of the Nordecke" but on Saturday, The World's Greatest Team will no doubt reaffirm why they are Toto's Favored Team.  

Power Rankings: Week 6

By Guillermo O'Rourke

Power Rankings, largely based on an accumulation of data.

(Ed. Note: We know you, our cherished Golden Boys and Girls, rely on the thoughtful, objective insight and commentary we provide in the form of our weekly Power Rankings. Unfortunately, not everyone sees it the same way and last week, we received a cease and desist order from a certain U.S. professional sporting league office.

While we stand by our, uh, reporting and firmly believe this order to be frivolous and having no legal standing, out of advice from our counsel, we voluntarily held last week's edition of the Power Rankings. Per that same advice, we must withold the name(s) of our accuser(s), so for any future references, we'll use the pseudonym "Dan Gorber."

Last week notwithstanding, we will be undeterred in our dogged pursuit of the Truth, no matter the levers of power we may cross doing so. We remain 💯-percent committed to providing you with the same hard-hitting, deeply-sourced, unbiased coverage of Columbus Crew SC, MLS and the sporting world at large --along with dated pop culture references and fart jokes -- that you've come to expect. To put it another way: Lord help us, we're back on our bullshit.)

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Power Rankings: Week 4

Power Rankings, largely based on an accumulation of data. 

22.  Minnesota United FC (-)

The Loons got tagged for five last weekend and after four matches, they're well on their way to setting a new MLS record for futility. It's like they're being fed through a metaphorical...

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