This is my first article and where better to start than a report looking ahead to tonight’s friendly fixture against Columbus’ ‘The Crew’.
Our pre-season so far has been criticised by many, particularly the decision to go on a Stateside tour where the teams are in mid-season and the because of the geography of the country, the teams are many, many miles apart. The amount of plane journeys our lads have had to make, I’m sure, is exhausting and to add to that they have felt temperatures over 100F pretty much every day since they arrived. It can’t be easy and I’m sure it’s more tiring that you or I imagine.
The last game was a bit of a joke in my opinion and although Orlando played well, we were definitely at a big disadvantage playing on a crap pitch and having a stroppy Fraser Forster in front of the net as the Orlando supporters taunted him with a continuous wave of streamers.
However, we’re back onto a grass pitch tonight and I’m getting excited as to what this fixture will bring. The lads have been training hard in Ohio and I imagine they have adjusted to the heat levels in the States now as they prepare for their third and final US Tour match.
Columbus Crew or “The Crew” as they’re referred to by their banjo-duelling fans, have been established as a club since 1994. This motley crew currently play in the 20,455 capacity Crew Stadium that will host tonight’s game and in 2010 they finished 5th in the American Major League Soccer table.
Tonight should be a fun match and kicks off at 19:30 local time. That’s 00:30 UK time for you insomniacs out there.
Our last and only clash with Columbus was exactly 11 years ago today on July 26th 2000 (The Crew’s official website counts it as 10 years somehow?), when Sir Bobby lead our boys to a 2-2 draw in what was voted by mlssoccer.com as the 9th best match of all time at the Crew Stadium. Jeff Cunningham, who scored one of those goals for Columbus, will also be featuring in tonight’s squad so he’s one to look out for.
Not much info on who will be playing tonight but I imagine it will be Timmy Krul in goal and Ooh Ah Demba Ba up front. Ryan Taylor will miss out after picking up a slight groin strain whilst Fabricio and Coloccini and Cheik Tiote are rated as doubtful after picking up niggles against Orlando.
Danny Simpson is back on Tyneside because he got a bit homesick (understandable of course!), and perhaps because of the minor event of the birth of his new-born baby. It will also be interesting to see if where Jose will start today after the weeks events!
No news on match coverage yet for those staying up tonight but that’s what these little threads are for – so you guys can all share your news and updates when something like a live commentary or video stream becomes available!
Howay the lads!
Note from Toonsy – Thanks to Jamie Vicente for writing this up for us. Why not give him a follow on Twitter @jamievincente. I’ll once again be staying up although this time it will be because I’m at work until 1:30am so hopefully I’ll catch the second half.