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: Crewsgiving Bonus Post!!

Crew investor-operator Anthony Precourt was so desperate to be taken seriously in Austin, Texas that he arranged an “exclusive” interview with the American-Statesman this week. It most definitely wasn’t a reaction to columnist Kirk Bohls picking a part PSV’s relocation efforts like Pipa vs. a team of 1st graders. So how did the “boyish-looking, introverted” Precourt’s attempt to rebrand himself as anything other than a bungling failson [and monorail salesman] go? Let’s just say there’s so much gold in Bohls’ follow-up column that it would’ve finished top of the medal count in Pyeonchang. Honestly, we could devote next week’s entire Starting 11 to it but we couldn’t wait that long. So instead, we’ll just give you some of the greatest hits.

Buzzword Soup

Here’s Boyish Anthony on the merits of McKalla Place, which is basically the only city land still on the table for a stadium:

“[McKalla is] midtown. It’s the new downtown.”

WELL ACKCHYUALLY McKalla Place is a toxic chemical dump site that’s about twice as far from downtown Austin, Texas as MAPFRE Stadium is from Broad and High.

“If you were to throw a dart at the point in the metropolitan statistical area that’s the most accessible to the highest number of people in Austin, the Domain (area) is compelling.” 

If you were to put a copy of “Business Studies For Dummies” in a blender, run it on high for 7 minutes, dump everything out on the floor and pick 14 random page scraps, you’d be able to form a more coherent, meaningful sentence. 

 

Queso 

Anthony is  committed to Austin, Texas as evidenced by this authentic, off-the-cuff expression of affinity for local cuisine:

 How sold is he on Austin?

“I have a total weakness for queso,” he said.

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Bold Commitment  

We’re pretty sure Tsung Tzu once said “when you have a weakness, pretend it’s actually a strength.” Exhibit A: 

As evidence of his commitment, Precourt reminded that he announced his intentions to leave Columbus shortly before the Crew’s postseason run — a bold move, indeed. 

Would just any sentient “Entourage” DVD be able to pull off such an amazing display of cunning? It’s a masterclass! Why aren’t you giving him all of your parks, Austin!? 

Oh wait, here’s why:

Still, he’s anything but an open book, and that can foster distrust.

On Columbus being an untenable option, he said, “I prefer this discussion be about Austin. We had success in Columbus, but it hasn’t been sustainable.”

Hmm, wonder what changed?

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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.  

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.