It's a few days after the fact, but since Easter was spent churching, relaxing, cooking, and conversating, and since yesterday I was unable to get internet connection, I figure I'll drop my few comments on Crewsmas here.
First of Crewsmas is a time of celebration. The Crew's home opener has been referred to by many of my friends out there as Crewsmas as long as I can remember. It's a time of celebration and a time to reunite with old friends. MLS's national footprint being only 11 cities large. you get fans from well beyond the city of the team coming out for the game. And this somewhere around my 40th or 50th trip to Columbus Crew Stadium you tend to develop friendships there. I entered the parking lot round noon for a 4pm kickoff. And I hopped between two tailgates. Amazingly at both tailgates gifts were being handed out by friends. Crewsmas is no joke. Myself, I recieved Weezer's Pinkerton CD and a yellow and black rosary (thanks Chels!). The team was 0-2 coming into the game but with beers flowing around for everyone and grills burning, and my very own delicious BBQ Tempeh with apples available spirits were high and everyone was in a good mood. Catching up with old friends was more the business of the day. And while surely there will be some questioning of tactics and gnashing of teeth in discussing the state of the team at future tailgates this year, this was all about celebration.
About 10 minutes before kickoff I walked in to the stadium, and it felt just as comfortable as I had remembered. The Crew tied Chicago 1-1." This was likely a fair result no matter what Jim Curtin says. After the game, Jim stated that he thought the PK call was weak that gave the Crew the tying goal. It may have been, but Rozental still needed to convert the PK and he did.
There were definite signs of life and encourgement for the Crew. The defense looked much better, giving up only 1 goal. Rozental played much better than in week 1. Jason Garey came off the bench late and looked like the real deal. Danny Szetela looked more than solid in defensive midfield.
And of course there were negatives. The aforementioned Szetela is out two months with an injury. This leaves us incredibly thin at d-mid. How I miss the stability that Magic Simon Elliot brought to the fold for us there. And also, as Bob Hunter states, while it is a building block, a point is still just a point.
All in all it was a great Crewsmas nonetheless. It's always great to see friends, and the positives of the teams play far outweighed the negatives for me. Your future 2006 MLS Cup Champion Columbus Crew are still a work in progress. It will be fun (and frustrating at times) to watch them progress.