Answers Coming For Columbus Crew

Positive signs from the Ohio franchise arriving on and off the pitch
by Al DiFranco   |   Monday, March 24, 2014

John Hefti Photography - Columbus Crew, Labor Strike, MLS, SoccerNewsday

The Columbus Crew’s first home match of the season resulted in a 2-1 victory over the Philadelphia Union on Saturday in front of 17,517 fans on a blustery night in Columbus.

Bernardo Anor scored 2 goals in the first half – a header off a beautiful corner service from Federico Higuain, and an absolute strike from about 30 yards out just before halftime that many are calling one of the goals of the season so far.

Anyone who has watched the Crew over the past couple years knows of the enigma that is Bernardo Anor. Some matches, Anor provided a spark from the left side. In others, he would be virtually invisible.

Two years ago, Anor showed early promise, only to be lost midseason to an ACL injury. He came back in the middle of last season, but his contributions and playing time were both inconsistent.

On Saturday night, Anor provided 2 goals and just missed out on a third goal. Much of the Crew’s attack came from the left side of the field due to Anor’s pace and creativity.

The 25-year-old Venezuelan has loads of talent and could be a big key to the Crew’s newfound open style of play this season.

Steve Clark: undisputed No. 1 goalkeeper

No disrespect to Matt Lampson, the Crew’s backup goalkeeper, but the Black and Yellow seem to have found this season’s answer in net - Steve Clark.

Clark had 3 saves on Saturday, but that doesn’t do his effort justice. All 3 saves were tough ones. He also charged out of the box a couple times to thwart potential scoring opportunities. Clark seems to be barking out orders like the veteran he is – an important trait considering the inexperience of the backline working together.

Fan experience drastically improved from last season

When Anthony Precourt became the second investor-operator in the nearly 20-year history of the Columbus Crew, you could sense that fan experience was a key priority for him in the short term. The only question was what would he change and how long would it take him to do so.

The home opener featured a new scoreboard, better audio, creative tifos, an energetic Nordecke, an improved premier seating area, a family seating section, and more fan interaction with flags and t-shirt tosses. Even leaving the stadium – often a frustratingly slow process – seemed smoother than in the past.

In less than one year, Precourt has certainly proven to be a man of action.

NEXT UP: March 29 – Columbus Crew vs. Seattle Sounders, CenturyLink Field, Seattle, Wash. 10 p.m. EST, TWC SportsChannel, MLS Live.

Al DIFRANCO

Nationality:
USA
College:
Ohio State
Club Domestic:
Columbus Crew
Club Foreign:
AC Milan, Everton
Passionate fan of the USMNT, Al is a member of the Cleveland Chapter of the American Outlaws. He also loves to follow and discuss Premier League and Serie A. Named his daughter Mia after a certain soccer legend.
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