The Columbus Crew squeezed the last drop out of its 2008 MLS Cup celebrations this week, but boy did that drop make a big splash.

The Columbus Crew squeezed the last drop out of its 2008 MLS Cup celebrations this week, but boy did that drop make a big splash.

President Barack Obama welcomed the Crew's players, coaches and staff - including departed faces like Sigi Schmid, Brad Evans and Pat Noonan - to the White House Rose Garden Monday afternoon to congratulate them on their championship season and continued community service.

Obama was friendly and respectful, but he spent as much time talking about his daughters' youth soccer league and the U.S. national team's Confederations Cup run as he did honoring the Crew's dream season. (We get it, Mr. President: Don't forget the snacks at halftime.)

The Crew came bearing gifts: a triangular championship banner, a Crew jersey emblazoned with Obama No. 44 and an autographed Crew soccer ball that the president dribbled like a basketball before heading it into the bushes on his way back inside.

All-Stars at last

In other Columbus recognition news, Guillermo Barros Schelotto and Chad Marshall were named to the First XI of the MLS All-Star Team that will face Everton of the English Premier League July 29 in Sandy, Utah.

Incredibly, this will mark the first all-star appearance for Schelotto, who won league MVP honors, led the league with 19 assists and claimed the MLS Cup MVP award last year. It's also the first All-Star appearance for Marshall, last year's MLS Defender of the Year.

It seems the All-Star voters are finally ready to admit Columbus has some top-caliber players. It only took winning MLS Cup to convince them.

Around here, we call that "the Edson Buddle maneuver"

The Crew tried to release rarely seen midfielder Stanley Nyazamba last week, but when news came out that Nyazamba was arrested July 5 on suspicion of drunken driving, MLS tried to force the Crew to enroll Nyazamba in a treatment program before cutting him loose.

Now it's unclear whether the Crew can use Nyazamba's roster spot or cap space until his treatment concludes.

Based on fan reports of Nyazamba's performance in Columbus' June 30 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup loss to the minor-league Rochester Rhinos, the Crew should have released him then and saved itself the red tape.

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