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.  

IMG_7816.GIF

 

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. 

IMG_7825.GIF

 

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. 

IMG_7823.JPG
IMG_7822.JPG

 

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! 

---

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 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! 

IMG_7631.JPG

 

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.

 

GCGBAG Starting 11: Week 4

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

 

11. LA Galaxy Are Only Mostly Dead

Things have not been going to great for the LA Galaxy. It's bad enough that they're coming off their worst season in recent memory. Now, Don Garber looks ready to dump them for their sexy younger sister the Los Angeles Football Craft and they have to watch Gyasi Zardes score 20+ goals and lead the Crew to a 33-0-1 record this season. On top of that They've been inundated with injuries (and suspensions) throughout the first three weeks of the campaign, but fortunately they're approaching the sweet reprieve of the international break. Oh wait...* 

UPDATE: Looks like the Galaxy are getting ZLATAN.

*This paragraph is best read with a the world’s tiniest violin playing in the background. 

 

10. Kings of the South

Look, we tip our hard hats to Atlanta United. They earned a playoff spot in their first season and have been routinely packing 50,000-plus screaming fans into “Megatron’s Butthole.” Atlanta’s been a terrific success story for MLS, and we’d swap owners in a heartbeat. But(t), asking the Georgia Senate declare you “Kings of the South” after playing precisely 38 MLS games -- and winning zero playoff games -- is a bit thirsty, no?  

 

9. Jawns

We're just going to say it: the Sons of Ben are Right Proper Ladz. We may not share their taste in MLS teams, but damnit we respect their TIFO game.   

Brotherly Gang, cousin of the failing Massive Report, asked Philly's own Tifo Czar Ryan Bross about some of the finer details.

Precourt is on the left (west) side and the megaphone’s colors are the same colors used in the astroturf MLS2ATX “movement” started by Precourt Sports Ventures. There’s also a #SaveTheCrew sticker on the boat.

 Solodarity, comrades!

 

8. PSV Is One Step Closer To Blowing It In Austin, Texas

Approximately 11 hours after the two poor saps who headed Dave Greeley's pleas for support first showed up, Austin (Texas) City Council finally and unsurprisingly voted to approve a formal study of McKalla Place. While on the surface this might seem like a setback, but a couple councilmembers, including Leslie Pool who represents McKalla's district, are appropriately skeptical. Look, Twitter (and journalists) can immediately call -- and prove -- bullshit on every one of Precourt and Greeley's “commitments to the community” within minutes. Do you really think this grift is hold up through a two-month interrogation err study conducted by Austin city government employees?

By the way, the good folks in Austin haven't been shy about letting Boyish Anthony know general aversion to giving public assets to billionaire Sports Venturers. Exhibit A (for avaiation!):

 

6. MLS Is Doing Just Fine, Thanks

While Don Garber wanted all the attention trained on a baseball stadium, but the real action outta New York came in the form of another lawsuit filed against the league. 

Now we just may be a Cow Town blogger, but we're pretty sure two lawsuits three weeks into the season isn't a very good look. 

 

5. Rick 'N Rick

They’re back with a high-tech simulation of Saturday’s clash of MLS Charter Members. We have one word for you: Abuuuuuuuuuuuu

 

4. Lalas Abubakar

Even with Josh Williams — be still, our beating heart! — cleared to play, it’s going to be difficult to displace the second-year centerback. Abubakar is thriving for a surprisingly stalwarts Crew Back backline that has  been scored against the same amount of times as MLS has been sued three weeks into the season. And he’s putting up Wil Trapp-type numbers in the passing game. 

 

3. Zack Steffen and Wil Trapp: American Heroes

The Crew captain and keeper were called up to represent the good ol’ US of A in an upcoming friendly vs. Paraguay.

We were very, very tempted to use this space to launch a tirade against MLS for being basically the only league that schedules games during international breaks. (Gyasi Zardes was reportedly under consideration for a call-up as well but US caretaker manager Dave Sarachan allowed Greggggg to keep some of his team’s spine for Saturday.) 

Instead we’ll just observe that if Bruce Arena had called the Crew-some twosome up last year, the USMNT would be playing some meaningful games this summer. Although, failing to qualify for the World Cup may end up a blessing in disguise, what with all the state-sponsored hooliganism expected in Russia. 

Do the damn thang, Wil and Zack!  

 

2. Gossip! 

MLS players really dished out the dirt to ESPN FC's Jeff Carlisle and Chris Wondolowski -- more like Miss Wondolowski amirite!? For real though. 

Screen Shot 2018-03-21 at 7.38.09 PM.png

Now, back to those juicy deets!

First off, the Crew's own Wil Trapp (T-3rd Most Underrated Player), King Harrison Afful (5th Toughest Individual Opponent) and Gregggggg Berhalter (T-2nd Current Coach You'd Most Like To Play For) all got due recognition from the gaggle of anonymous MLSers. Unnamed players also provided some golden quotes on plenty of other topics.

On the most overrated player in MLS:

"It was easier with Mix [Diskerud] and [Frank] Lampard and even [Andrea] Pirlo. Before it was easy. Me answering like that is probably a good sign for the league.''

On whether their understanding of general allocation money (GAM) and targeted allocation money (TAM), known colloquially as Don Garber Funbucks: 

"I've heard people talking about it, and I've just been nodding my head, but I don't have a clue."

On the current coach they'd least like to play for: 

"Whoever is coaching New England -- doesn't matter which coach it is."

 

2. #SoccerForAll

We know MLS promoted that hashtag last week, but for some reason — we can’t quite put our finger on it — it rang just a bit hollow. We truly do believe that soccer is for everyone and that builds bonds between different people and different cultures. That’s one of the reasons we’re so proud of our work with Community Refugee and Immigration Services (CRIS) and even more so of the groundswell or support we’ve gotten from the World’s Greatest Supporter Community. 

 

1. #SaveTheCrew

Contrary to opposition talking points, the #SaveTheCrew movement expanding. So much so that this rag-tag team is getting blamed for pretty much every time Dave Greeley and co. step in it in.

“Wow, Guillermo! #SaveTheCrew must have been so busy this week in Austin, Texas, that they completely dropped the ball here in Columbus,” you, a paid PSV troll, might say. 

About that...  

 UP 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 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. 

IMG_5277.JPG

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.