This has been a big news week for the Columbus Crew as the team prepares for its first playoff action in four years this weekend. Top-seeded Columbus will visit the Kansas City Wizards Saturday at 8 p.m. with TV coverage by ONN. (Confused by the MLS playoff system? I do my best to explain it here.)
Perhaps the biggest news is that owner Clark Hunt confirmed to The Dispatch that MLS is no longer making its one-team-per-owner policy a priority, so even if the Las Vegas-based investor group successfully buys a share of the Crew, the Hunts have no plans to divest control of the team. In short, he promised that the Crew will be playing in Columbus for "the next 50 years." There's a big relief! Hunt covers much more in the interview, which is definitely worth a read.
Monday the team held its annual awards ceremony, where Guillermo Barros Schelotto unsurprisingly won team MVP honors. The other award winners are listed here.
Meanwhile, the Crew have four finalists in league-wide awards races, led by Schelotto as the favorite to win MLS MVP. Chad Marshall (defender of the year), William Hesmer (goalkeeper of the year) and Sigi Schmid (coach of the year) are also nominated.
The New York Times ran a profile on Schmid. MLS redesigned the MLS Cup trophy and named it after Phil Anschutz, one of the founders of MLS and owner of the LA Galaxy and Houston Dynamo.
Lastly, Brad Evans won the season's final Goal of the Week award for his sick strike that sunk DC United's playoff hopes. That qualifies him as a contender for the Sierra Mist Goal of the Year along with scores from Crew players Emmanuel Ekpo, Brian Carroll and Robbie Rogers. My pick goes to Rogers; let's watch that beautiful shot once more.
You can watch all the league's nominees and vote for the top 10 here. Besides the Crew goals, be sure to check out Geoff Cameron (Week 2), Marcelo Gallardo (Week 5), Juan Pablo Angel (Week 17), Davy Arnaud (Week 25) and Andy Williams (Week 28).
If you've ever cared about the Crew, be sure to watch Saturday night. It's been a long time, and this is the best squad Columbus has ever fielded. There's no guarantee the magic will endure past this year, so enjoy it while it lasts.