Crewsmas Eve has fans ready for home opener

March 16, 2013

Crewsmas Eve is just as it sounds—the excitement and anticipation of the Columbus Crew home opener tonight was as palpable as a kid’s on Christmas Eve.

“I hope Crewsmas Santa brings us three points,” laughed former Black and Golder Duncan Oughton, now a TV analyst. “The team’s really come together. It’d be nice to get 3 points against San Jose. It’s exciting.”

The club comes into Crew Stadium at 5:30 p.m. tonight with a 1-1 record and second place in the Eastern Conference for its first and only match against the San Jose Earthquakes.

“It should be a really good game,” said John Clem, president of Crew Union, the supporter group that’s hosted Crewsmas Eve for the last seven years. For the last three, it’s been at the Fourth Street Bar & Grill, where free food and drink specials are served up for Crew fans. “I want to see the defense shore up a little better than they did last week and see the offense playing like it did against Chivas (USA). Hopefully, we can get some goals.”

Goals or not, many Columbus fans are just looking forward to cheering on the Crew in the super fan section, Nordecke.

“There’s no where else to sit in the Stadium. If I had tickets anywhere else, I don’t know if I’d go,” said three-year Crew fan James Phillips, who got season tickets this year as a present from his wife. “The environment is crazy and there’s just a comradery there that’s awesome.”

Phillips has attended Crewsmas Eve for three years and said it’s the same every year: “People are so excited for the season…They just get crazy and I love it!”

Phillips buddy, Mike Owens, is the one who “dragged me to my first game kicking and screaming,” said Phillips. Owens, who’s been playing soccer since he was 4-years-old, attended the first Crew game ever played in Columbus.

“I’m really excited about the new guys they’ve brought in and about the defense,” said Owens, who’s been away at college and just attended his first Crewsmas Eve last night. “I’m really excited about what I’ve seen so far (of the team). They’ve got all the components to make it work.”

You can catch the Crew tonight at Crew Stadium, on Fox Sports Ohio or 610 WTVN.