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A Year to Remember

December 31, 2008

I started writing a year ago on January 1st. I was looking to fill a void in for a perennially losing team. In that year, everything has changed. Columbus stormed to the double winning it’s first MLS Cup in the process and numerous blogs started up, covering what would be a special season. 2008 will always be special to Crew fans and I am a bit melancholy to be looking towards 2009. Time marches on and even the greatest teams have to suit up and prove it again next year.

It was also a great year in soccer around the world. MLS kept me busy from March to November, Euro 2008 was a tournament that lived up to it’s billing, and European clubs showed off some of the best collections of talent on earth. All this soccer gave me a list of the eleven most memorable games I saw this year plus three subs. Here is what game I remember from the past year.

Honorable Mentions: April 17th – D.C. 1 – Columbus 2 – The Crew got a rare win in DC. This marked the first of several trips to Ruby Tuesdays for away viewing pleasure. Nothing like watching a game with fellow diehards.

June 9th – Netherlands 3 – Italy 0 – The Dutch totally outclassed the Italians. It was a brilliant display of skill and tactics as the World Champions got roughed up in their Euro opener.

November 30th – Chelsea 1 – Arsenal 2 – A good big 4 battle for a change. Chelsea did everything right, but put the game away. Robin van Persie brought the Gunners back and then put them in front. It was also nice to talk tactics with a fellow Crew fan throughout the game. I was reminded of my old football watching days, debating the finer points of the sport with a fellow fan.

11. June 8th – U.S. 0 – Argentina 0 – I battled a flat tire and a balky DVR to try and watch this game. I saw about 70 minutes of this one as a power outage and ESPNs scheduling conspired to make me miss the end. What I did see was a U.S. team that defended well and did not back down against the number one team in the world.

10: June 15th – Turkey 3 – Czech Republic 2 – The last 15 minutes were as crazy and amazing as I have seen in sports. Goals, Red Cards, in the end Nihat sealed the game with his late winner.

9: June 25th – Germany 3 – Turkey 2 – I will remember this game more for what I did not see. The international feed blacked out several times throughout the game. It was fun watching this at Keegan’s and being able to chat with fellow soccer fans. Games are more fun that way.

8: March 29th – Columbus 2 – Toronto 0 – The atmosphere was special as the Nordecke rose to cheer on the Crew against Toronto and 2500 traveling fans. It was the ideal curtain raiser to the 2008 season: a Crew home win.

7: December 5th – Bayern Munich 2 – Hoffenheim 1 – I was the only person at Claddagh watching this Friday afternoon treat. The surprise of the year in Germany, Hoffenheim stood toe to toe with the giants of Bayern. They even pulled ahead before Bayern would come back to win it. A great advertisement for the Bundesliga and a reason to get GolTV.

6: December 26th – Aston Villa 2 – Arsenal 2 – Every Villa-Arsenal game this year was one to watch, but my favorite happened just a couple of days ago. Aston Villa’s comeback from 2 goals down was great and the action was end to end. Maybe Villa has what it takes to break into the top 4.

5: July 5th – Columbus 2 – Chicago 2 – Two teams playing end to end soccer. Chicago goes up two before Columbus brings one back before the break. Chicago almost came away with a point, but late game heroics by Lenhart pulled the Crew back. Ties can be exciting.

4: April 12th – Columbus 4 – Chivas USA 3 – This was a cold and miserable night at Crew Stadium, but the 6,700 that did show up were treated to a fantastic offensive display and Robbie Rogers coming out party.

3: May 21st – Manchester United 1 – Chelsea 1 – The atmosphere at Fado’s was amazing. I got the last seat at the bar a full hour and a half before kickoff. The place erupted after Terry’s miss in the penalties. The United fans could be heard half was to the parking garage in celebration.

2: November 13th – Columbus 2 – Chicago 1 – This was supposed to be the stumbling block. The Fire were the better team supposedly. McBride gave Chicago the lead, but Schelotto cemented his status as a true Crew legend, spurring a comeback with two key plays. The atmosphere in Crew stadium was amazing.

1: November 23rd – Columbus 3 – New York 1 – This may not have been the best game, but it was my favorite experience. The hospitality of the L.A. fans to the sun coming out for the game. Schelotto and the Crew once again proved they were the team of the year by dispatching an overwhelmed New York team. I will remember lifting the MLS Cup for quite some time, even if the memories of the game fade.

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