Columbus Crew Archive

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Canadians need to applaud Akindele for his rookie-of-the-year award

Since he has only turned down a Canadian national team invite — and has yet to turn down the Canadian program entirely, it’s OK to applaud Tesho Akindele’s major MLS […]

Since he has only turned down a Canadian national team invite — and has yet to turn down the Canadian program entirely, it’s OK to applaud Tesho Akindele’s major MLS award win as a victory for soccer in this country.

Akindele, who was born in Calgary, but grew up in the United States, was named the MLS Rookie of the Year on Monday. Akindele scored seven goals and added three assists during the MLS regular season for FC Dallas, and scored a playoff goal against the Vancouver Whitecaps.

Between Akindele and the Columbus Crew’s Ethan Finlay, that’s 18 MLS regular-season goals out of players who, ahem, could be playing for Canada. National team coach Benito Floro has been tracking both players, but Akindele made headlines by turning down the invite to join the Canadian squad for its most recent friendly against Panama.

In the most recent issue of Plastic Pitch(CLICK HERE), Akindele told Martin MacMahon that he was gutted by Canada’s 8-1 loss to Honduras that eliminated his birth nation from the 2014 World Cup qualifying process. At that time, Akindele was keen on playing for Canada.
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Canada-Panama sort-of preview: Talking about the players who aren’t there

A Canadian men’s national team press conference just wouldn’t be a men’s national team press conference if there weren’t questions about players who aren’t with the program.

A Canadian men’s national team press conference just wouldn’t be a men’s national team press conference if there weren’t questions about players who aren’t with the program.

So, in keeping with what’s become a Canadian soccer tradition, we start off our coverage of Benito Floro’s conference call with updates on forwards Ethan Finlay, Lucas Cavallini and Tesho Akindele, none of whom are with the national team ahead of its friendly on Tuesday in Panama.

Floro said he is tracking the progress of Finlay, the Columbus Crew forward who scored 11 times this season. Finlay was born in the United States, but his dad is Canadian. Floro said he would need to see what Finlay can do in a camp, but he has been paying attention to the player.

As for Akindele, the Calgary-born FC Dallas rookie who turned down an invitation to join Canada for the Panama game, Floro was diplomatic: “He has a tough decision to make (between the American and Canadian programs). And, playing in MLS puts him closer to the U.S. national team.” But Floro was clear that Akindele still has time to make that decision.
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Garber hints that Canadian-player rules in MLS may change: Why we need to look at minutes played, not roster spots

Don Garber

Don Garber

In a Facebook chat with fans held on Monday, MLS Commissioner Don Garber was greeted with the thorny question about Canadian players in the league.

Francis Ghanimé asked him: “Will Canadian players ever stop counting as internationals for American clubs?”

And this was the answer from the commish.

“We are working on a new approach to our international player rules as they relate to Canada. Stay tuned.”

We have asked MLS for more clarification on the issue.

But, we do know the rules as they pertain to Canadians are on the radar. We also know the Canadian Soccer Association has lobbied MLS to changes the rules so Canadians are seen as domestic players, league wide. This would then put MLS on an equal footing with USL-PRO, which allows Canadians to be domestics on U.S. clubs.

Right now, the Canadian teams are required to each carry three Canadian players on their rosters. On the U.S. teams, Canadians are counted as international players and take up roster space that many American teams would prefer to give to players from, well, sexier parts of the soccer world. Meanwhile, on Canadian teams, Americans are seen as domestics.

The timing is interesting. We know CSA has been pushing for changes for a while. But, now, the CSA has gone public with its stated goal of having Canada’s own “Division 1A” (CLICK HERE or see issue 2 of Plastic Pitch), and reports continue that NASL, CFL owners and the CSA are discussing the formation of a Canadian division — something that NASL won’t deny, but says it simply can’t comment on… at this time.

So, pressure is no doubt building on MLS.
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Crew’s Oduro named MLS Player of the Week

Dominic Oduro

Dominic Oduro

With an assist and a goal, Columbus Crew forward Dominic Oduro was named MLS Player of the Week.

Oduro got the most votes out of the membership of the North American Soccer Reporters. His performance Sunday helped the Crew keep its playoff hopes alive, as the men in yellow got a 4-2 decision over FC Dallas.

Oduro set up Jairo Arrieta’s opener and then, later in the first half, finished his chance with a shot that went just inside the post. Oduro’s goal was the Crew’s third marker of the game, and would eventually go on to be the game winner.
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MLS slaps TFC’s Osorio with two-game ban; De Santis gets a game

Jonathan Osorio

Jonathan Osorio

The MLS disciplinary committee has come down hard on Toronto FC rookie midfielder Jonathan Osorio.

On Friday, the committee slapped Osorio for a two game suspension for kicking a ball off the head of New York Red Bulls defender Kosuke Kimura during last Saturday’s match in New Jersey, which the Reds lost by a 2-0 count.

In the second half, just after Kimura hit the turf and the whistle was blown for a foul, Osorio kicked a ball that was next to the Red Bulls’ fullback. The ball ricocheted off Kimura’s head and a shoving match ensued between the two teams.

The referee in charge of the match deemed that Osorio’s late kick didn’t warrant even a yellow card. The Disciplinary Committee disagreed, stating that it was a case of “violent conduct” that warranted a fine and a two-game ban.

The question is, did Osorio have time to pull out of his challenge? It’s one of those situations that’s actually muddied by the use of instant replay. By slowing it down in replay, it looks as if Osorio has more time to pull out of the challenge than he actually did — and the play looks more malicious in nature when it slows down.

In actuality, there might be at most a second and a half that went by between the time Kimura went down, the ensuing whistle, and the kick. Could an average human being put together an intent-to-injure thought in that short of a time-span? That’s the question.
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Schallibaum: Crew continues to be the Impact’s “bête noire”

Dominic Oduro

Dominic Oduro

With Sporting Kansas City enjoying a weekend off and New York Red Bulls hosting Toronto later Saturday, this game against the Columbus Crew was an opportunity for the Montreal Impact to at least reduce the number of teams with whom it was deadlocked atop the MLS Eastern Conference by at least one team.

Unable to make the most of its chances, the Impact went down to a 2-1 defeat, playing a half-fast game that saw it unable to capitalize on most of the opportunities created by its uptempo play in the opening half. And, the Impact allowed a pair of goals in the final 45 to drop only its second game at home this season.

“They’re our bête noire,” said head coach Marco Schallibaum after the match. “We’ve played them three times without winning.”

“There wasn’t a lot missing today,” he continued. “A centimetre’s difference here or there and things might have been different but the game’s like that. Even though we came away empty-handed today we are still on track to achieve the objectives we set at the beginning of the season.”
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Keane’s hat trick earns him MLS Player of the Week nod

Robbie Keane

Robbie Keane

It was a weekend of spectacular goals in MLS, from Marco Di Vaio’s rocket to the corner in Montreal, to Federico Higuain’s audacious chip in Columbus (sorry, Toronto FC fans, for rehashing that).

But, when it came to the player of the week vote, Robbie Keane stood apart from the crowd. His hat trick — with all of the goals coming in the second half — gave his Los Angeles Galaxy the chance to rally from behind and claim a 4-2 win over Western Conference-leading Real Salt Lake.

Keane’s hat trick earned him the most first-place Player-of-the-Week votes from the members of the North American Soccer Reporters.

Keane began scoring when the Galaxy were down 1-0. He scored with a shot inside the post, on the volley and then finished it off with a chip.
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Listless Toronto FC no match for Crew’s Higuain

Federico Higuain

Federico Higuain

Goals are still hard to come by for Toronto FC. Federico Higuain, however, cannot relate to such a dilemma. The Columbus Crew captain singlehandedly sent the Reds to another defeat with a stunning brace in a 2-0 victory at Crew Stadium Saturday night.
 
The Argentine cut TFC open with a first-half strike in the 19th minute and then finished the Reds off in the 65th with an audacious 24-yard chip that dipped perfectly under the bar yet just beyond the outstretched fingertips of Toronto goalkeeper Joe Bednik, who was far and away the visitors’ man of the match.
 
Higuain’s heroics helped Columbus widen the gap on Toronto (4-12-8, 20 points) to nine points, as the two try to stay afloat in the MLS Eastern Conference.
 
“We were our worst enemies, to tell the truth,” said TFC coach Ryan Nelsen. “We gave it away in really poor areas and he (Higuain) is probably most dangerous when the opposition has the ball because he gets into really nice areas and nice pockets.
 
“I think all the boys would probably say it, there weren’t very many that played well today,” added Nelsen. “We are not good enough where we can have an off day and get away with it. Hopefully, we’ll be in a situation where we will be one day. But when we’re not all guns blazing, it can get a bit ugly.”
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The Bizarro world of the Montreal Impact: Beats the good teams, loses to the bad ones

logo_impact_2012-150x150The Montreal Impact has won just one of its last seven last MLS matches.

But, even with the swoon, the Impact is just three points behind the Eastern Conference-leading New York Red Bulls. And the Impact has two games in hand on New York — so, it’s not like this bad patch in the schedule has decimated the Montreal soccer season. Anything but.

Wait. Is it really a bad patch? Or simply the averages playing out?

That might be the case. Why? Because the Impact is a team that is playing out a bizarre season. The one-win-in-seven streak plays that out. Included in this funk were losses to a Columbus team that has looked awful over the last two months; a draw at Toronto FC, which forced the Impact to rally from two goals down; and a draw at home to Chivas USA. Meanwhile, the one solitary win came over Sporting Kansas City, one of the East’s elite teams.

And, before the streak started, the Impact got a win at Kansas City, too.

The streak happened during what should have been the Impact’s easiest section of the season, with lots of games against some of the poorer teams in the league.

But this is where it gets bizarre. If you’re a gambling man, make sure not to bet on the Impact if it plays poor teams. Read the rest of this entry »

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Adur dreams of MLS, national team; hopes that FC Edmonton can relaunch his career

Anthony Adur

Anthony Adur

Anthony Adur has had a taste of MLS; and he wants to get there on a full-time basis.

But, to do that, he knows he’d have to prove his worth in NASL.

Before coming to FC Edmonton on trial, the Canadian striker was training with the Columbus Crew where his cousin, Trinidad and Tobago international Kevan George, is under contract. Adur wants to attract the attention of MLS scouts. He wants to one day wear the Canadian national jersey. But, even though he boasted a solid scoring record in Thailand, it wasn’t going to put him on the radar of the national program.

Adur began his trial with the Eddies on Saturday, playing in an intrasquad game. So far, FCE coach Colin Miller has liked what he has seen. On Tuesday, Miller said he’ll be able to see how the trialist acts in front of goal as the club will be focusing its training session on attacks.

“He’s made a good impression,” said the coach. “He’s scored some goals wherever he’s been.”
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