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.

 

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. 

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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 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. 

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 1

The first week of the 2017 MLS season is kaput and boy did it live up to the hype! Minnesota United and Portland Timbers combined for six goals (five of them Portland's), six other teams combined for three scoreless draws and a certain World's Greatest Team (Columbus Crew SC) put on a vintage (2016) performance!

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