Soccer: Welcome back, Crew

  • Dispatch file photo
    Danny O’Rourke
By Columbus Alive
From the March 8, 2012 edition

When fans last saw the Crew in serious action, the Colorado Rapids were ousting them from the 2011 MLS Cup Playoffs. This Saturday, the Crew’s new season begins where they left off as Columbus travels to Denver to face the Rapids.

Considering Colorado also eliminated Columbus in 2010, revenge must be percolating, right? Coach Robert Warzycha doesn’t think so.

“First game is the first game,” Warzycha said. “It’s a new season for everybody.”

Defender-midfielder Danny O’Rourke is more vengeful.

“They’ve knocked us out twice, two years in a row, so if there’s payback then they’re definitely the team,” O’Rourke said. “It is only the first game of the season, but we still have a bitter taste in our mouths from the past two years.”

O’Rourke struggled with quad and back injuries last season, but he feels 90 percent healthy and is likely to start Saturday, as will new acquisitions Milovan Mirosevic, Kirk Urso and Carlos Mendes. Tony Tchani, who debuted for Columbus in last year’s playoffs, also will start. Familiar faces Chad Marshall, Sebastian Miranda, Eddie Gaven, Dilly Duka and Emilio Renteria round out the expected lineup. Andy Gruenebaum and William Hesmer are still competing for the starting goalkeeper slot.

…and so long, Hooligans bar

Fans looking to watch Saturday’s opener among the faithful have numerous options, with viewing parties set for The Three-Legged Mare (the official Crew party), Fourth Street Patio Bar & Grill (the Crew Union party) and Ruby Tuesday (the Hudson Street Hooligans party).

Absent from that list is the Hooligans’ private club, which shut down during the offseason.

The Summit Street bar opened during World Cup 2010 and operated for more than a year before an inspector discovered code violations necessitating $50,000 in renovations. The city revoked Hooligans’ certificate of occupancy July 28; in October, club management gave up after a bid to buy the building fell through.

“It was definitely a great attempt,” Hooligans spokesman Blake Compton said. “And I don’t think it will be the only attempt.”