Crew Make History in Costa Rica

Thursday, September 17, 2009 | View Comments

The Columbus Crew did something last night that no other American team has ever been able to do; they won at Estadio Saprissa in Costa Rica, taking down their hosts 1-0 in the CONCACAF Champions League on a fifth minute goal by Eddie Gaven.

Not only does the victory give the Crew a leg up on getting out of their group, something only the Houston Dynamo were able to do representing MLS last year, it is the first solid evidence that an American club can compete in road venues that traditionally give them terrible fits. To overstate and trumpet it as a sign of things to come would be naive; but to discount as lucky aberration would be unfair to Columbus and their accomplishment.

It remains my belief that Major League Soccer will continue to fail in tournaments like the CONCACAF Champions League as long as salary and roster restraints handicap them against their bigger, wealthier, competitors. The Crew's landmark win is a great thing, but it will likely have no bearing on their ultimate success in the Champions League (other than potentially helping them get out of group play, of course).

Kudos to the Crew, who's biggest achievement might be in holding the Costa Ricans scoreless.

The Crew, along with Houston, continue to be the standard bearers for American club soccer. While not a Crew fan myself, I'm rooting for them to go deep into the CCL and defend the honor of the league, despite the handicaps they are operating under.

Now if an MLS club could just break that winless record in Mexico...
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