Monday, February 23, 2009

A Look At the Limey Opposition

The Crew have four more away pre-season exhibition matches starting this Sunday, March 1, when they take on the reserve squad of new Coach Robert Warzycha’s old club, Everton Blues at Halton Stadium in suburban Liverpool, England.

El Luchador takes a look at these final games in the home stretch of the preseason campaign. Today, we look at the English leg. Later, we will look at Austin Aztex FC.

Everton March 1. Everton’s senior squad currently sits 6th in the highly competitive English Premier League, just 10 points below the coveted 4th spot and the UEFA Champions League. One of the most storied clubs in English football, Everton have played more seasons in the top flight than any other English club. Of course, the Crew’s skipper, Warzycha figures prominently in that history, and his return to Merseyside will be an interesting opportunity for the Polish Rifle to showcase his new charges at his old stomping ground.

After a good start to the season, the Everton reserves squad has had a poor run of form lately in the FA Premier Reserve League, having not won a game since Nov. 18, when they beat the Newcastle Reserves 1-0 at Newcastle. They are 4-5-5 overall and sit in 5th place. They have scored just 14 goals in 14 games, conceding 17. Look for the Crew to win this one, but it will be hard fought, as the boys will still be fighting jet lag.

Guiseley AFC March 3. (EDITOR'S NOTE: THIS GAME WAS RAINED OUT.) Guiseley is a small town outside Leeds in the county of West Yorkshire, England. At 2:45 p.m. ET, March 3, the Crew take on Guiseley AFC at their home ground of Nethermoor Park, a tiny grandstand with a capacity of just 3,000. Guiseley are currently in 7th place in the Unibond Premier League, a semi-pro division of English football. They have earned 45 points in 28 games with 12 wins, 9 draws and 7 losses. They lead the league in offense with 61 goals, but also have given up 46 goals placing them in the bottom half of the league in defense. Look for this to be a high-scoring affair with the Crew eking out the win.

Unibond is part of the system of teams that play one level below the Football Conference, itself the fifth level of English football. In other words, Guiseley are six divisions below the English Premier League. In Case you were wondering, yes the league is named after tile grout.

Since 1990, Guiseley have reached the 4th Qualifying round of the FA Cup six times, reaching the 1st round of the knockout tournament just once in 2002-03, when they lost 0-4 at Luton Town. Every man on their roster is English, except goalkeeper Peter Skiba of Poland.

Crewture has a good recent video of the Lions in action.

Liverpool March 5. Liverpool Reserves play in the Barclays Premiership Reserve League, where they won the division championship in 2000. The Crew take them on at their Halliwell Jones Stadium, the home ground of Warrington Wolves RFC.

Coincidentally, the most recent match for both Everton and Liverpool reserves was against each other where they tied 1-1 on a freak goal.

Legendary Liverpool manager Bill Shankly, famously once trash-talked local rivals Everton by declaring, “There's only two teams in Liverpool: Liverpool and Liverpool Reserves.”

Liverpool reserves currently sit 9th in their 13-team division. They have only 13 points in 13 games played with 3 wins, 4 draws and 6 losses. They have scored only 11 goals on the season while giving up 13. The Crew win this one handily.

What do you think? Am I too optimistic calling this Limey series 3-0 for the Black & Gold? Columbus Till I Die Brothers and Sisters.

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