Wednesday, January 28, 2009

US-Mex Tix Available at Claddagh, Practice Cancelled

If you didn’t get tickets to the Feb. 11 USA-Mexico game or you didn’t want to spend the $90 plus surcharge and tax at Ticketmaster, try this special deal at Claddagh Irish Pub (585 S. Front St.): $75 gets you a ticket to the game, special deals at the pub before the game (discounted drinks, appetizers, etc.) and a seat on the bus that will be running between the pub and Crew Stadium. Call (614) 224-1560.

There’s now more information and a page up on Facebook for the Feb. 12 Crewzers Pre-Valentines Day Pajama Party. El Luchador may make an appearance.

The Crew has released the full 2009 schedule. Buzz kill: There are a lot of Sunday games, and not a whole lot of TV coverage.

The Crew started reporting to preseason camp on Sunday, and their first training was scheduled for today. However, it was cancelled because of the snow. Stay tuned.

Beckham Out, Friedel Rolls, Palermo On Tap

El Luchador has some shout-outs, observations and predictions:

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Dispatch's Soccer Coverage Sucks

If you relied exclusively on the Columbus Dispatch for your sporting news, you wouldn’t even have known that the U.S. National Team was playing on Saturday, much less that several Crew members were on the roster.

OK, here it is brothers and sisters. I don’t want to hate the players or the game, but Ohio’s “Greatest Hometown Newspaper” actually has contempt for soccer. It’s not indifference or ignorance, it’s contempt.

El Luchador has sat on this one for a long time, but Saturday brought it to a head. The U.S. Men’s National Team was facing off against Sweden on national television. The Crew’s Robbie Rogers was set to make his debut with the senior team. Three other Crew players were on the roster.

The Columbus Dispatch didn’t even list the game on its “On Air” section. There were listings about obscure women’s basketball games and some bullshit golf match in Abu Dhabi. But there was no mention of the U.S.-Sweden game. Then on Sunday, there was no game recap.

Routinely, the Dispatch ignores major soccer news, doesn’t feature the games on its listings, and instead covers silly Ohio State minutiae. Just look at their Web site: They have a listing for “OSU Sports” and a separate listing for “More Sports.”

The fat Republican philistines who comprise the Dispatch sports desk sit and jerk off to every last detail of Ohio State football. You can read entire articles about the injured ankle of obscure NFL players. But when it comes to coverage of soccer, they are willfully ignorant.

Columbus has a huge soccer community and a gigantic audience for coverage of the beautiful game.

Sports Editor Ray Stein’s refusal to acknowledge this and his fetish-like obsession with Ohio State Football is an embarrassment to journalism.

Memo to Shawn Mitchell: If the provincial, narrow-minded douche bags in charge of your newspaper don’t get a clue, they are in danger of extinction.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Robbie Rogers to Get First Cap

Tune in tonight as Robbie Rogers makes his national team debut before his hometown fans in the stadium he watched be built as a youngster and where his Crew won the MLS Cup just two months ago.

While the line-ups won’t be released until game time, El Luchador has learned that it is a done deal: Coach Bob Bradley will start the 21-year old Crew stand-out in the friendly against Sweden at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. Rogers will earn his first cap in front of family and friends.

Rogers is listed as a midfielder and will play in an attacking role in a 4-4-2 formation, El Luchador predicts. The game starts at 8:30 p.m. EST and is available on Fox Soccer Channel.

Rogers played for his country at the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Canada. And of course was outstanding as a starter for the men's 2008 US Olympic Team in Beijing. But this will be his first appearance with the big boys.

Unless the Chicago Fire’s Jon Busch (MLS goalkeeper of the year) gets injured and other things break his way, Wil Hesmer will warm the bench tonight.

Eddie Gaven and Brian Carroll could see action as substitutes in the midfield because injuries and overseas obligations have left Bradley with a somewhat shallow squad, and he will need to give some of the youngsters a chance.

Many of the U.S. regular starters are competing overseas, including Landon Donovan, Tim Howard, Carlos Bocanegra and Oguchi Onyewu. So, Bradley is anxious to give playing time tonight to other players before the first World Cup qualifier Feb. 11 against Mexico in C-Bus.

Big Chad Marshall had to leave the training camp due to knee injury, but he is reported to be recovering well. He should be good to go as the Crew report for preseason this Sunday.

Watch the game at Claddagh Irish Pub (585 S. Front St.) where Frankie Hejduk will be on hand, according to brother Crewfighter.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Ezra's First Coaching Job Good For Him, Good For Seattle, Bad For Crew

The Seattle Sounders’ hiring of veteran former Crew defender Ezra Hendrickson as an assistant to Sigi Schmid does not bode well for the Crew. Why you ask? Because Sigi has a history of bringing players from his old teams with him when he jumps ship, and it is likely we will see more of this.

Top of the list of potential Schmid defections from the Crew to the Sounders is Alejandra Moreno.

Dec. 22, Schmid told “Fox Football Fone In,” that he would not hesitate to pillage: “… As players become available, just like I brought Alejandro Moreno to Columbus and he was very helpful to me, if people become available and I think there’s somebody who can help the team, I will do it.”

Any questions?

El Luchador has inside knowledge that Hendrickson was in negotiations with Schmid before he announced his retirement Jan. 8, and the possibility of going to Seattle under Schmid as a coach played a huge factor in Ezra’s decision.

Whether it is Moreno or others, make no mistake, Ezra will not be the last player to leave Columbus for Seattle this year.

With his years of experience, warm presence and strong leadership, Ezra will make an excellent assistant. For the second time in two months, what's good for Seattle is not so good for the Black and Gold.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Crew Fan Party @ Sugar Bar

It’s cold. You could use a drink. The only soccer to watch is thousands of miles away. What to do?

Warm up with free drinks in the company of the beautiful Crewzers, Crew players and fans.

Feb. 12 the Sugar Bar will host a celebration of the 2008 season that was and a midwinter kick-off to what will be.

All Crew Fans and supporters will receive free drinks from 10:30 to midnight. You heard me right Crew faithful: Free drinks.

The Crewzers are hosting the party and also doing a Charity Date Auction. Some of the players have been contacted, but Lindsey Merryman tells El Luchador there is still no word on who will show.

You better be there. More info to follow. Columbus till I die, brothers and sisters.