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 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: 

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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 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 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 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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