It's early, but signs point to a special season
After a spectacular 3-1 victory over OG rivals D.C. United on Saturday, March 24, I couldn't suppress the smile or the chant. “We are top of the league! I said we are top of the league!”
At 10 points, this is Crew SC's best-ever start to a season through four games. For the few of us still masochistically watching, that's made it far easier to repress —thanks, Lamar — any thoughts of You Know Who and You Know Where.
But it's far more than score lines and standings that have me this unexpectedly giddy. The offensive performances have been damn exhilarating, and even the shakier defensive moments are now imbued with a bend-don't-break confidence that previous Gregg Berhalter teams have lacked.
It's early, yes, but all the signs of a great —maybe even legendary —Crew SC team are there.
The attack is balanced, and the threats are varied. Goals have come from set-pieces and penalties, dynamic counterattacks and sustained possession. Opponents have been punished for mistakes and lulls in attention, but there's also a strong sense a goal could materialize from anyone, anywhere, at any time.
The defense, despite a few nervy moments versus D.C. United, is also becoming a strength. They're giving up less than a goal a game, and that's with human-metronome Wil Trapp and goalkeeper Zack Steffen, the most athletic brick wall you'll ever see, each missing a game for national team duty.
The team is marching, it appears, toward glory. But make no mistake, they're marching mostly alone. Despite all this success, Columbus is, by and large, not seeing any of it. Saturday's home game featured an announced crowd of fewer than 8,500 people, and though Crew SC attendance is always depressed by the second-winter weather of March, it's not typically this low.
You can blame the league and You Know Who for that — and many, rightly, have. A conspiracy is most certainly afloat; recognizing this fact will only make you angrier. I won't belabor that point except to add that herein is the single, most gut-wrenching irony in this whole sad, completely avoidable affair.
At a time when this Crew SC team deserves to be not only watched, but witnessed and celebrated, You Know Who and his compadres have made attending games as unpalatable as cheering for Chicago or Toronto.
But it's not too late, friends —it's never too late! For those estranged and alienated Crew SC fans, of which there are legion, consider this your red sky at night. Because if there's one thing I'm sure of, it's this: A delightful morning awaits us, maybe even sooner than we think. I've seen the signs in the heavens and on the pitch.
And this, too, I know: a rare double awaits. We have the chance to destroy our enemies not only on the pitch, but off as well. Our voices are needed, and I'll be damned if anyone, but most especially You Know Who, is going to keep me from proclaiming glory to Columbus.
The time, if ever, is now. Let's show the world how truly massive we can be.