Soccer / columbus crew

MLS Week 2: Happenings Around the League
Big winners, new losers, transfer news and some fan controversy. Everything that happened in MLS Week 2 all right here for you. I’m back, delivering another breakdown of the MLS season. Today we are picking apart Week 2 of league action. We’ve got several things to discuss on and off the pitch. Most teams are starting to find some rhythm, while 3 teams are still without any poitns. Columbus Crew got a big away win against New England and now sit atop the Eastern table. There was some transfer news that we will cover, and I’ll touch on a fan controversy brewing in New York. Although we are only 2 matches into the season, a few trends are starting to emerge. Some familiar faces have already found themselves high in the table, while a few under-performing teams are still figuring out how to get their seasons started. Let’s see who the winners and loser were of week 2. No Points Club The 2019 season hasn’t started great for Philadelphia, Vancouver or San Jose, who are all still without any points. The early season was always going to be difficult for Vancouver, who if you remember me saying, had the most amount of transfers this year (15 players in & 21 players out). Vancouver was always going to have a settling period with that many changes. In regards to San Jose, I’m not sure what is happening there. They’re on the West Coast, and I haven’t got to watch them play yet this season. For Philadelphia, it feels more like their chronic condition rearing its nasty head again. Philly has always been the ugly step-child in the Eastern Conference. Having done nothing in its franchise history to get excited about, Philly leaves me questioning what the organization’s goals and aspirations are. I’ve never had ill-feelings towards manager Jim Curtain, but it’s desperately time to get rid of him and bring in a new face. Someone, or something, needs to interject some life into this club. And soon. Sporting KC Acquire Gedion Zelalem from Arsenal It’s likely not many of you will have heard of Gedion Zelalem, and had he not been born to an American parent, neither would I. However, Zelalem is a German-born American who played and developed at Hertha Berlin before moving around to a handful of clubs. In 2013 he was purchased by Arsenal, then loaned out to Scottish side Rangers. He had 21 league appearances for the Rangers, helping them win the Scottish league title, before he was loaned to VVV-Venlo in the Netherlands, where he had 9 apps. He’s also featured in the German National Team U15-U17 squads before eventually switching to the USMNT. The 22 year old holding-midfielder is now set to join Sporting KC on a one year contract with a 2 year option extension. Zelalem has always been a perplexing player for USMNT fans. He was supposed to develop in Germany and be the next big American player, but it never happened like that. The foundation of a great player was there, but he never reached the next step of polishing that talent into something special. I hope this move is what his career needs. If he doesn’t flourish at Sporting KC, I don’t know if there is any hope at all for him. He really needs to make a noticeable impact right away to undo years of doubt that have been seething. Columbus Crew atop the Eastern Conference The season has started off quite well for Caleb Porter and the Columbus Crew. The home-opener draw was a bit disappointing, especially since the result was due to a silly early goal the Crew conceded. However, things were quickly rectified after they traveled to New England and got a 2-0 shutout win at Gillette Stadium. I don’t think there is a sports owner/franchise I despise more than Robert Kraft and the New England Pats/Revs. I’m not a fan of the NFL, so I don’t care too much about the Pats. If you ask me, I’d rather lose fairly than win as a cheater, but that’s just me. Obviously, slimy Robert Kraft will sink to any low for an opportunity to stand on a podium, but what do you expect from a man who cheats at sports and pays for sex. Respect and honor are words not in the New England franchise vocabulary. With that said, nothing pleases me more than watching the Columbus Crew travel to Gillette Stadium and play the New England Revs off their shit-tier turf field. The Crew were disciplined in defense and energetic in offense. Gyasi Zardes got both goals. The first coming in the 26’ off a wonderfully delivered cross by Pedro Santos. Zardes headed it in for the opening goal. He had to wait until the 96’ before he got his brace. The second goal came off a route one attack from Crew keeper Zack Steffen that resulted in a 1-1 opportunity. Zardes buried the shot in the back low corner sealing off the match and putting Columbus in first place in the Eastern Conference. But it wasn't just Zardes stealing the show. In the 59' the Revs are awarded a pk. Diego Fagundez steps up to the spot and drills a low shot at the bottom right corner. Zack Steffen, Crew keeper, chose the right way, gets down to the ground so quickly and gets a hand on it to deflect the shot wide. Steffen once again showing why he should be the USMNT #1 pick. MLS Commissioner Responds to NYCFC Hate Groups The start to the 2019 season has been all but peaceful for league commissioner Don Garber. He first stated his season-opening PR tour by addressing the designated player (DP) rule that was currently being skirted by the LA Galaxy, who are now in the process of buying out the contract for Giovani dos Santos, reducing the number of DP players back down to three. Still a shady dealing there, if you ask me. But the story in LA was quickly forgotten about when, after the U.S. Open Cup match against rivals NY Red Bulls, reports began to surface about far-right white supremacy groups infiltrating NYCFC’s supporter groups. These accusations are nothing new for the club. The exact same criticism has been leveled towards them since the conception of the club, citing the use of Nazi iconography, hate chants being used, and the political background of some of the most notable members of Empire State Ultras, as some of the most convincing evidence. Reports are now revealing that white-supremacy gangs are using the guise of sports groups as a means to organize and to recruit. By transitioning a street gang into a supporter group centered on a sports team, the far-right gangs look to expand their numbers and influence. The majority of NYCFC fans, who do not share the far-right ideology, have begun to fight back. They’ve taken to the press, podcasts and social media in an attempt to raise awareness. Many fans claiming they no longer feel safe at matches and can no longer support the club until this is addressed. Don Garber took to the mic in an attempt to fix the problem. His first response, that can be read here, upset a lot of people. Many saw it as a refusal to address the problem and a reluctance to condemn the actions of the guilty party. Once the league realized it was tone-deaf and missed the mark yet again, Don Garber strutted out for a second time on record to issue another statement. One that was a bit more poignant. The whole issue here is an absolute mess. New York City FC needs to do a much better job policing their venue to prevent gangs from running amok. New York isn’t the only club to have issues with bad actors in their supporter groups; however, the issue is they are the only ones who refuse to take action. In my opinion, I don’t need another reason to hate a lame expansion club that plays soccer on a baseball field. The entire franchise is one dumb joke and makes the entire league look bad. I'll leave it at that. Yeesh. Returning Champs Atlanta United Still Winless Followers of European football should be familiar with new Atlanta United manager Frank de Boer. Yes, the same guy who lasted at Inter Milan for 85 days and only made it 10 weeks at Crystal Palace. Yes the same guy Jose Mourinho once referred to as the worse manager in Premier League history. Yes, that Frank de Boer. Yet for some strange reason, the Atlanta’s FO, the same group who had made such smart decisions for two years, decided to go after de Boer as the replacement for Tata Martino after he left the club to take charge of the Mexico National Team. It didn’t take Frank de Boer long to tear down what was built before him, and Atlanta United fans are not happy. Last weekend’s home draw against new expansion team Cincinnati has many people questioning Atlanta’s choice in manager. While criticism of the manager builds, fans across the league are having a good laugh at an Atlanta franchise that has yet to face real hardship. Their introduction to the league and quick rise to champions have spoiled a lot of fans with nothing but success. It’s easy to fill a stadium and be happy when everything is going according to plan, but the real question is how Atlanta United will cope with total derailment if Frank de Boer ends up not being the right choice for the job. Every fan from every club not Atlanta will be thrilled to watch it go up in flames if it does. Final Thoughts Well that’s it for this week guys. Thanks for stopping. To be honest, I really didn’t want to cover the NYCFC story this week. It’s such an ugly story and one that is quite sad that we are even having to deal with it nowadays. I guess the old adage is true: the more things change, the more they stay the same. With that said, this week in MLS was great. I’m so happy to see the Crew sitting atop the table. That will always put a smile on my face. Be sure to stop back next week for another recap around the league. _______________________________________________________________________________________