Another day, another batch of Columbus Crew alumni reactions following Tres a Cero. Let’s keep the afterglow glowing, shall we? Like the others, some of these are condensed from longer conversations.
DAVID WINNER (1996-1998)
“We wouldn’t be texting right now if it weren’t for Doc Edwards and the Haslams, so I’m thankful and appreciate of them. Caleb…what can you say? The guy is a winner through and through! Really happy for him and the rest of the staff. More than anything, they are great people who have taken the Crew’s culture to a different level. The fans will and always have been the best in the league. I got a little emotional seeing the Crew faithful’s posts and sentiments last night and this morning. I was up late texting and reading posts and messages. As much as 2020 has sucked and had its challenges, social media made it memorable with all the alumni and Crew supporters. My mom was texting me from South Florida and I guess she scared the cat after Lucas’s first goal!”
ERIC GEHRIG (2011-2014)
“Very happy for the city and people of Columbus. It’s the culmination of perseverance in the face of adversity for everyone involved. Had the chills watching the club raise the trophy. Brought back a lot of memories in the city and surrounding area. Congrats to the players, staff, and the fans. Fully deserved. Enjoy it! Go Crew.”
BRAD EVANS (2007-2008)
(Note: Let there be no confusion about which team received Brad’s rooting interest in MLS Cup 2020. Brad will always rightfully be a Seattle Sounder first and foremost. He spent almost his entire career with Seattle, won six trophies there, and is one of the pillars of that club and community. Lucky for us, he started his career with the Crew and was a starter on the 2008 MLS Cup championship team, so he will always have a special place in the hearts of Crew fans too. That feeling is mutual, as evidenced by his gracious text after a tough loss. A heart can hold multiple simultaneous emotions.)
“Being with the Sounders for nearly a decade, I’ve formed an extremely close relationship with the team, the city, and its fans. We share a special bond. My time in Columbus was extremely short, essentially only playing one full season, and we accomplished something that nobody can ever take away. If my time there hadn’t had an MLS Cup championship or Supporters Shield, I’d be singing a different tune. But that’s what championships do. They connect a player with a team and a certain point in time forever. Congrats to my Crew family on their second… now it’s a race to see who can get three first!”
(I told Brad since his Sounders play in MLS Cup every year, hopefully the Crew will also be next year’s opponent so we can settle the race for number three ASAP.)
BRIAN DUNSETH (2002-2003)
“This one is different. The 2002 Open Cup was special because it was Lamar. It was his tournament in his soccer-specific stadium. Winning in 2008 with Sigi in LA was special because it was the first MLS Cup trophy the club had ever had. But this one is so romantic, right? You think about Caleb at Akron, then winning with Portland at Crew Stadium and now coming back and lifting the trophy. You think of Tim Bezbatchenko leaving Toronto FC and is a homegrown kid now running the club. For the fans, you have Save the Crew and all that the fanbase went through underneath Anthony Precourt, only to have the Haslams and literally the team doctor become the new owners. To see the infrastructure of the team off the field in terms of the new stadium and training facility, to see the savviness of getting Darlington Nagbe from Atlanta and Lucas Zelarayan from Tigres, to playing the final big match at the stadium and winning the trophy in that stadium. And now, for the first time in MLS, we’re walking away from a soccer-specific stadium and building a new one. So when you think about that type of growth in the context of an MLS original 25 years later, I can’t see a better story. Especially with everything that’s gone on this year and the sacrifices made by the players, coaches, staff, and all their families. To be honest with you, if you had a screenwriter or director or producer trying to pitch a story like this, it would be too unbelievable based on what has transpired over the last three years.”
ALEJANDRO MORENO (2007-2009)
“Seeing the Crew remain in Columbus, where they belong, gave me a great sense of pride and accomplishment. Watching the Crew win MLS Cup gave me a great sense of validation. These last few years, I have seen a lot of tears from Crew fans. At first, those tears came from fear, sadness, and emptiness as a potential move seemed all but certain. Last night, however, those tears came from unbridled joy and true happiness while these players and coaches fully embraced the challenge in front of them. I am so proud of the city of Columbus and Columbus Crew fans. They truly deserve this overwhelmingly powerful moment. I love you Cbus! Crew for life!”
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