The Last Season? : Hope springs anew

Justin McIntosh
Wil Trapp in a match against Deportivo Saprissa on July 3

I'm not lying when I say I've watched Wil Trapp's 92nd-minute, 35-yard wonder-bomb at least once a day since it scorched the Columbus skyline like an apocalyptic comet nearly two weeks ago.

Even after all those viewings, it hasn't lost its charm — not even remotely. If anything, its ability to inspire has only grown stronger with each re-watch.

Like one of those professional wrestlers who pop back to life just before being counted out, my arms, once limp and languid, have now been jolted alive with adrenaline. Where they once hung lifeless, they now clap and shoot toward the heavens in victory formation. “Co-lum-bus!” (clap, clap, clap) “Co-lum-bus!” (clap, clap, clap).

See? It's doing it to me again. (I just re-watched it.)

After those long, practically scoreless weeks of July, I needed some positivity. Even beyond Trapp's golazo, there's been much to cheer for Crew SC faithful.

Take, for instance, last week's win against New York Red Bulls, arguably the best team in MLS. Despite nearly blowing a 3-0 halftime lead, the win still somehowmanaged to impress.

So, for those keeping track, that's two consecutive 3-2 wins against Eastern Conference foes. The rest of the league is certainly taking notice.

“For us, Columbus is the strongest team because of the way they play. It's always complicated to play against them,” Atlanta United midfielder Miguel Almirón said,as reported by soccer writer Charles Boehm.

Then there's the recent success of the Save the Crew movement, which recently announced it has received pledges from 10,000 people to buy some form of season tickets next year if You Know Who sells the team to local owners.

Sure, they're just pledges, but they were also achieved by a scrappy band of fans who've basically MacGyver'd their entire marketing campaign. In months, they've done more with a stick of gum, some duct tape and ingenuity than the entire Crew SC marketing team has in years. (See Exhibit A: 2011'sGoal 10K.)

Now just imagine what an active, invested local ownership group could accomplish. (A recent report by ESPN, by the way, suggestslocal investors are currently negotiating with MLS to buy Crew SC.)

The game, in other words, is not over. We're in stoppage time, gridlocked.

A few obstacles stand in the way, such as the preliminary agreement between You Know Who and You Know Where for a stadium at McKalla Place.

But there's reason to be optimistic there, too, as my colleague at theDispatch, Michael Arace,clearly spells out.

Of course, none of that matters if another local hometown hero can deliver for us another last-second wonder-bomb. A scenario exists in which You Know Who moves to You Know Where and Crew SC stays where it belongs.

In that event, you can likely find me like you could have immediately after the July 21 Orlando City game. Which is to say, alone in my living room, shuffling in circles, two fists clutching my hair, and muttering, “What in the world just happened? Did that actually happen? DID WE JUST DO THAT? WE JUST DID THAT!”

“CO-LUM-BUS!” (clap, clap, clap) “CO-LUM-BUS!” (clap, clap, clap).