As much as I enjoyed the comfort of the press box in the frigid early weeks of April, my experience Saturday night made me want to save the running diaries for away games (assuming I ever watch one in real time again-d'oh!) and party with the fans on match day. I suspect I'll strike some sort of balance of press box vs. bleachers over the remainder of the season.

The fact is Crew games are best enjoyed in the midst of glorious summer weather, a visit to my parents' seats and a large helping of the rowdies that inhabit the northeast corner of Crew Stadium. And besides, if I'm mimicing Bill Simmons, shouldn't I be watching from the fan's perspective anyway? Then again, word is I'll be doing more Crew coverage in the paper (besides this Thursday's catch-you-up spectacular), so we'll just have to see what happens.

Anyway, some thoughts on Saturday's match, the fervent supporters' clubs and the Crew's recent resurgence:

As much as I enjoyed the comfort of the press box in the frigid early weeks of April, my experience Saturday night made me want to save the running diaries for away games (assuming I ever watch one in real time again—d'oh!) and party with the fans on match day. I suspect I'll strike some sort of balance of press box vs. bleachers over the remainder of the season.

The fact is Crew games are best enjoyed in the midst of glorious summer weather, a visit to my parents' seats and a large helping of the rowdies that inhabit the northeast corner of Crew Stadium. And besides, if I'm mimicing Bill Simmons, shouldn't I be watching from the fan's perspective anyway? Then again, word is I'll be doing more Crew coverage in the paper (besides this Thursday's catch-you-up spectacular), so we'll just have to see what happens.

Anyway, some thoughts on Saturday's match, the fervent supporters' clubs and the Crew's recent resurgence:

•I was shocked at just how loud it got in the North End. I hadn't been down there for so long, and the ardent supporters, spearheaded by the newish Hudson Street Hooligans, really impressed me with their volume. I was also impressed with their range of chants, from vulgar taunts about pedophilia to the classic "We all root for a yellow soccer team." The group's origins are completely organic, which I appreciate. Founder Grant Thurmond explained that he spent two years in Germany with the Air Force and was inspired by the passionate fans of the Bundesliga. He rallied his friends, and their match day posse has been gradually growing all season. I must say, though, I was surprised that they seemed so upset about the folks from Local 103 abandoning the North End. Speaking of which...

•I hope that even though the fans formerly known as V-Army have vacated the North End and become Local 103, they continue to indulge in hilarious exploits like the Greg Andrulis pink slip incident of 2005. (For the uninitiated, the group bombarded former Crew coach Andrulis with pink slips as he exited the field. Andrulis eventually got the axe later that season.) That kind of tomfoolery is what makes supporters' clubs so great. Local 103 keeps in contact with the Crew brass, but they'd be best to keep enough distance so as to lob a few rotten eggs now and again. They seem to be succeeding in that department thus far. The Crew's very helpful Chris Keeney, a veteran of DC United's front office, suggested that Local 103 was modeling itself after DC's Screaming Eagles. But the members said that comparison was a load of bollocks. Seems like they're striking a good balance so far.

•Creating Spanish-speaking fan group La Turbina de Las Amarillas was a stroke of genius on behalf of Keeney and Eddie Carvacho, the Crew's liaison to the Hispanic community. Having a constant drumbeat and Latin American flair has elevated the Crew Stadium experience. I'm particularly intrigued by the idea that a Hispanic fan base is there, it just needs to be mobilized. Mario Quiroz, a member of La Turbina, said he has been coming to the games since the first season in 1996. There must be others out there. It's a good thing they're starting to band together and make their presence felt.

•As for the team, it's so much fun to watch them again. They're playing really solid soccer and getting results, though I don't think they've nearly reached their full potential. Still, everyone seems to be pulling out of their individual slumps (Eddie Gaven) or recovering from injury (Chad Marshall, Jacob Thomas, Andy Herron). Guillermo Barros Schelotto and Alejandro Moreno have been genius acquisitions on the offensive end. Kei Kamara is beginning to find his way up there as well. When Herron can stay healthy (and not suspended), he has been a consistent spark. Ned Grabavoy, a beacon of hope during the early season drudgery, has been solid. Stefani Miglioranzi, who did not impress me with his first few goes, has been an essential cog in recent weeks. Marcos Gonzalez is an all-star defender if I've ever seen one. I swear I take Frankie Hejduk for granted. Will Hesmer (a.k.a. Ricky Bobby) is making up for a shaky first couple matches and earning the starting job.

Things that could be better: •Thomas' ball placement. He's all speed and strength with no control. Sigi seems enamored with him, so if he's going to be in the game, let's hope he can play a more accurate cross. He should let Schelotto and Herron give him a few lessons.

•Rusty Pierce might have toughed it out against New York's Dane Richards, but the Crew defender has been a weak link so far this season. If he can't maintain Saturday's stellar form, here's hoping Miglioranzi takes his spot at left back.

•Herron has to get on the field more. I mentioned that he is often injured or suspended, and that needs to be resolved because when he's in the game, particularly with Moreno and Schelotto, the Crew scores goals. His assist to Kamara was a thing of beauty.

Enjoy the July 4 match at Colorado, and maybe I'll see some of you Saturday evening at Crew Stadium.