At 6 a.m. last Thursday I piled onto a bus to Harrison, New Jersey, with about 50 Nordecke zealots to watch the Crew face the New York Red Bulls at shiny, new Red Bull Arena. We each paid $50 for transportation, a ticket to the match, Chipotle burritos and nearly unlimited beer.

At 6 a.m. last Thursday I piled onto a bus to Harrison, New Jersey, with about 50 Nordecke zealots to watch the Crew face the New York Red Bulls at shiny, new Red Bull Arena. We each paid $50 for transportation, a ticket to the match, Chipotle burritos and nearly unlimited beer.

The Crew gives the three main supporters clubs - Crew Union, Hudson Street Hooligans and La Turbina Amarilla - a combined $3,000 per year to subsidize trips like this, and they funneled $2,100 of that toward making this outing extra affordable to ensure a sizable weeknight crowd.

It worked.

Booze was flowing by 7 a.m., but the ride up was mostly muted until the final hour, when we popped in the 2008 MLS Cup DVD to rampant chanting, stomping and clapping. By the time we parked at the stadium and marched to a nearby bar, excitement and volume were at fever pitch. Other Crew diehards from as far as Boston and Indianapolis helped us smother O'Donnell's Pub in black and gold.

The march back to the stadium was electric as Jersey locals gawked at our massive mob. Remembering the Crew's 3-1 MLS Cup victory over New York, we chanted, "If you've ever won a cup, clap your hands!" among other taunts. Rabble rousers among us loudly wondered, "Where's Snooki?"

Stadium security escorted us to our section and gave three rules: No throwing objects, no smoking, no profanity. They kept a close eye on us and turned S.S. severe after someone detonated a yellow smoke bomb to celebrate the Crew's second goal.

That didn't keep our 100-strong mobile Nordecke from out-shouting the approximately 11,000 New York fans and helping Columbus win to claim first place in the East by a pleasantly familiar 3-1 score. We earned an ovation of our own from the players afterward.

We waited 10 minutes for the crowd to clear out, then returned to the bus, exhausted. Security became our allies again as some disgruntled New York fans tried to instigate, but cooler heads prevailed.

By 11 p.m., the overnight return trip was underway, and the boisterous mob settled back into satisfied slumber, having helped their beloved Crew prevail once again.