Crew Notes: New-look back line impresses; Five players loaned to Dayton; and more

Crew Notes: New-look back line impresses; Five players loaned to Dayton; and more

MLS- Columbus Crew

Crew Notes: New-look back line impresses; Five players loaned to Dayton; and more

Michael Parkhurst

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By DAN KARELL

While the Columbus Crew’s attackers took home the plaudits for the impressive goals scored in the Crew’s 3-0 victory at D.C. United last Friday, the new-look defensive line also deserves plenty of credit for the win.

In their first MLS game together as a unit, the Columbus Crew’s back line performed more like a well-oiled machine than a group of players who had never played together before this season.

With Michael Parkhurst and Giancarlo Gonzalez together in the middle, and Waylon Francis and Josh Williams flanking those two on the outside, the Crew defense perfectly executed its plan to shut down D.C. United forwards Eddie Johnson and Fabian Espindola.

Saturday also wasn’t only the Crew debut for three-fourths of the back line. The match against D.C. United amarked the debut of goalkeeper Steve Clark, who earned a clean sheet in his first MLS match.

“It gives us confidence going into the rest of the season,” Parkhurst told Crew media after the match. “Especially with Eddie [Johnson] and Fabian Espindola up top, it’s a tough duo. Overall, I thought the team defensively played very well. It was a great defensive effort.”

Here are some more notes on the Crew:

CREW SEND FIVE PLAYERS ON LOAN TO DAYTON

As expected, the Crew announced this week that they have sent five players to the Dayton Dutch Lions of USL Pro on season-long loans.

The Crew have sent Homegrown signings Matt Walker, Ross Friedman, forward Ryan Finley, defender Kevan George, and goalkeeper Brad Stuver to the Dutch Lions for their 2014 campaign. Though Stuver is eligible to play for the Dutch Lions, he will train during the week with the Crew.

“We’re excited about the new partnership with Dayton and the additional opportunities it provides to develop more players on our roster,” head coach Gregg Berhalter said in a statement. “It provides our new professionals with a smoother introduction to the rigors of professional soccer. Other players need minutes and experience to continue their development and Dayton provides them with an opportunity to play games at a very competitive level. And then you have a third group of guys that need confidence and we hope that Dayton provides them an opportunity to play, find some rhythm and ultimately perform.”

The Crew are obliged to send a minimum of four players on-loan to the Dutch Lions this season after signing an agreement with the club. The Crew can recall the loaned players at any time.

CREW PRESIDENT MCCULLERS REVEALS REASONS FOR CREW-TIME WARNER BLACKOUT RESTRICTIONS

In the fallout of the Crew’s new television deal with Time Warner Cable, plenty of fans unable to watch the team expressed their frustrations over social media to the club.

On Monday, Crew President Mark McCullers took time to speak with some supporters and revealed that there was no league-mandated blackout restriction, with the whole deal coming as a compromise with Time Warner Cable. The Crew wanted no blackout, Time Warner wanted a state-wide blackout, and the two eventually settled on a 75-mile radius around Crew Stadium.

“I think I misspoke on that, but the blackout rule is a local and regional negotiating point,” McCullers told the Massive Report podcast. “It is not league mandated. We have a 75-mile commercial territory, where there are some mandates and restrictions, but the local television broadcast and the blackouts are part of the negotiating process.

“For example, as part of our last deal with Fox Sports Ohio, the entire state of Ohio was blacked out for (MLS) Direct Kick and for MLS Live. Time Warner wanted the entire state blacked out. We didn’t want any black out. So this was a compromise in order for them to make the investment that we wanted them to make and in consideration for that, this is where we were able to land.”

In that interview and reportedly at the 2014 Crew Supporters Summit on Tuesday evening, McCullers and the Crew front office said they would be busy looking for ways to increase their viewership through Time Warner Cable.

OTHER NEWS AND NOTES

  • The Crew tied the University of Notre Dame, 2-2, in a scrimmage on Wednesday morning at Westerville Central High School.
  • The Crew will also take on the “NAIA All Stars” in a scrimmage on Friday. A Crew spokesperson said that because the matches are closed to the public and media, the team won’t be providing post-game reports.
  • With a bye week this weekend, the Crew players will have both Saturday and Sunday off before returning to training next Monday.

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What do you think of these notes? How impressed were you with the Crew’s back line? Do you like the loan moves to Dayton? What do you think of McCuller’s explanation?

Share your thoughts below.

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