1996: The “Hardest Working Team in America,” which featured stars such as midfielder Brian McBride, goalkeeper Brad Friedel, center Brian Massonueve and South African transfer Doctor Khumalo, began play at home on April 13 against DC United. The game resulted in a 4-0 rout win for the Crew in front to 25,266 at Ohio Stadium. 22 games into the season, head coach Timo Leikoski resigned and was replaced by Tom Fitzgerald. Under Fitzgerald’s guidance, the Crew would qualify for the playoffs with a record of 15-17, but they would get beaten by the Tampa Bay Mutiny in three games.
1997: The Crew started the season on a high note and were in first place by the middle of the season. But a midseason slide dropped them to fourth place. Eventually, the Crew would make the playoffs with a similar record of 15-17. In the playoffs, the Crew would sweep the Tampa Bay Mutiny in two games, exacting revenge for the previous year’s defeat. In the next round, they were swept by eventual champion DC United in two games.
1998: The Crew had big plans going into the season. The team would have to adjust to losing goalkeeper Brad Friedel who was transferred to Liverpool in England. On May 12, the Crew would land a new stadium deal with the State of Ohio to build a new stadium on the grounds of the Ohio Exposition Center for the 1999 season. The Crew would make the playoffs behind new star Stern John’s 26 goals with another 15-17 record. In the playoffs, the Hardest Working Team defeated the MetroStars in three games, the last one being in a shootout. The next round would have the Crew going up against DC United again and like the previous year, United prevailed, this time in three games.
1999: On May 15, American soccer was put on the map with its first ever soccer specific stadium: Columbus Crew Stadium. The Crew would take advantage of the historical day by blanking the New England Revolution 2-0 on two Jeff Cunningham goals. The magical day seemed to spark the Crew as they made the playoffs again with their first winning season of 19-13. The club kept the momentum going in the playoffs as they swept the Tampa Bay Mutiny. But they would go down to DC United in the Conference Finals for a third time. At the end of the season, their star, Stern John was transferred to English Premier’s Nottingham Forest.
2000: Even with the loss of Stern John, the Crew hoped to continue the momentum of being the only team in MLS with its own stadium. But there would be a drop-off for the Black and Gold, missing the playoffs for the first time in club history, finishing in last place in the Central Division with a record of 11-16-5.
2001: Hoping to become only the second team in MLS history to host an MLS Cup and play in it, the Crew struggled to start out and in the summer, fired coach Tom Fitzgerald and replaced him with Greg Andrulis. Under Andrulis, The Crew regained consistent play and made the playoffs with a record of 13-7-6. In the playoffs, the 4th seeded Black and Gold would be swept by eventual MLS Cup Champion San Jose Earthquakes.
2002: In their first full season under coach Greg Andrulis, the Crew played an up-and-down season and made the playoffs despite a dismal record of 11-12-5. In the playoffs as the 6th seed, the Crew would get revenge and dethrone the San Jose Earthquakes by sweeping them. The Crew were in the conference final for the fourth time, this time against the New England Revolution. The red-hot Revolution would shut the door on the Crew, beating them in three games. On a side note, the Crew earned their first piece of hardware by winning the US Open Cup.
2003: Hoping to take it one step further than four other occasions, the Crew suffer through a dismal season and miss the playoffs for only the second time in club history with a record of 10-12-8, in last place in the Eastern Conference.
2004: America’s Hardest Working Team was anything but at the start of the season, losing all 3 of their matches in April. Their losing streak would become a winless streak in May, tying 2 and finally winning their first game on May 15, the 5-year anniversary of the opening of Columbus Crew Stadium. Fittingly, they beat the New England Revolution, their first opponent in the stadium. On June 26, the Crew would drop a 2-1 decision to the Colorado Rapids at home. They would not lose again in the regular season. The Crew would put together an amazing run, finishing the season with a record 18-game unbeaten streak, while setting a league record for ties in a season at 12-5-13. Nevertheless, it secured their first Supporter’s Shield. However, as everyone knows, such regular season accomplishments mean absolutely nothing once the playoffs arrive. The Crew’s unbeaten streak came to a crushing end at New England with a 1-0 in Game 1 of an aggregate goal series. In Game 2, the Crew had 2 golden penalty kick opportunities to derail the Revs, but ‘keeper Matt Reis saved both of them. The Crew would get one goal back, but it would not be enough, as they became the first Eastern Conference top seed to bow out of the first round.
2005: Dedicating the season to their former coach, Tom Fitzgerald, who was killed in a motorcycle accident in the off-season, the Crew would suffer through a year after a record unbeaten streak. After winning two of their first three games, the Black-and-Gold would be largely inconsistent after that. A six-game winless streak would cost Greg Andrulis his job and he was replaced by Robert Warzycha Warzycha would do better, but it wasn’t enough to keep the Crew out of last place with a poor record of 11-16-5.
2006: The Crew would acquire Eddie Gaven from New York to help for improvement. While he certainly did provide a glimmer of hope for the Crew, and the fact that the team would hang tough with the rest of the pack for much of the year, the team would slump to the bottom of the East with a 8-15-9 record, thanks in large parts to only one win in both June and July.
2007: The Crew started the season out badly, winning just one of their first ten matches which left them in the East cellar. After a come-from-behind 3-3 tie against New England in mid-June, the Crew suddenly caught fire, winning five of their next ten. But the team would struggle down the back end of the season, missing the playoffs again with a record of 9-11-10 for sixth place in the East.
2008: After missing the playoffs three straight seasons the Crew made a big turnaround capturing the supporters shield for their second time in their franchise history with a record of 30-17-7. Leading the way was Midfielder Guillermo Barros Schelotto who captured the MLS MVP award in his second season with the Crew, while Chad Marshall won the Defender of the Year. In the playoffs the Crew advanced in the playoffs for the first time in six years with a 3-1 aggregate win over the Kansas City Wizards. Facing the Chicago Fire in the second round the Crew reached the MLS Cup for the first time with a 2-1 win.
2008 MLS Cup: On November 23rd at the Home Depot Center in Suburban Los Angeles, the Columbus Crew faced Red Bull New York, who made the playoffs as the lowest seed and shocked the two time defending champion Houston Dynamo on the way to MLS Cup 2008. Led once again by Midfielder Guillermo Barros Schelotto who assisted on all three goals the Crew claimed the MLS Cup with a solid 3-1 win.
2009: The Crew would have a hard time continuing the momentum from their first championship as they started their first seven games winless. But the Crew would put it together over the summer and aided by a nine-match unbeaten streak, earn the top spot in MLS with a 13-7-10 record. But their season would come to a stunning end in the first round of the playoffs as they were beaten by Real Salt Lake 4-2 on aggregate.
2010: In a reversal from the previous year, the Crew came flying out of the gate with an eight match unbeaten streak and led the top of the MLS table early on. The club would alternate wins, ties and losses the rest of the way as they finished second in the East at 14-8-8. In the playoffs, the Crew would battle the Colorado Rapids to a 2-2 tie, but lost out 5-4 in penalty kicks.
2011: The Crew would have a so-so start to their season as they lost only three of their first ten games, but struggled to put the ball in the back of the net. It would be this difficulty that led to a mediocre 13-13-8 record and a playoff berth in the wild card round where they were shut out 1-0 by the Colorado Rapids.
2012: Early on in the season, the Crew seemed doomed as two of their key players, Will Hesmer and Tommy Heinemann, had their seasons end prematurely to injuries. Despite a brief four-game winning streak at the end of the summer, the Crew would slump to a record of 15-12-7 and miss the playoffs by one point.
2013: The Crew were unable to find their form all season as inconsistent play and roster instability conspired to cause the team to finish in eighth place in the East with a mark of 12-17-5. In late July, Anthony Precourt purchased the club from Clark Hunt and pledged to bring good times back to Ohio’s Capital.
2014: To start the season, the Crew won three straight before sliding in the late spring and summer that included a six game winless streak. But thanks to Frederico Higuain’s team leading 11 goals, the Crew embarked on a 6-1-1 run to end the year and land in third place at 14-10-10. In the playoffs, the Crew would hit a brick wall, getting crushed by the New England Revolution 7-3 on aggregate.
2015: The Crew had a mediocre start, winning just four of their first nine matches. This pace would continue for most of the season as the team couldn’t put together any sustained winning streaks, but played well enough to hover around the top spot and wound up in second place with a 15-11-8 record. Kei Kamara was a huge cog in the team’s makeup, scoring 22 times during the year. In their first game against the Montreal Impact, the Crew dropped a 2-1 decision, but bounced back at home to win 2-1 to send the series to extra time, where Kamara scored the only goal to move the club onto the East Final. In the first leg against the New York Red Bulls, the Crew wasted no time at all taking control as Justin Mehram scored eleven seconds in and Kamara scored later. The Crew would concede a consolation goal in the second leg to win the series 2-1 on aggregate and advance to MLS Cup for the first time in seven years.
2015 MLS Cup: The Crew and Portland Timbers were tied in the overall standings at 53 points with the exact same record, but the Crew’s +5 goal differential to the Timbers’ +2 earned them the right to host MLS Cup at Mapfre Stadium. The home crowd barely had time to cheer on their team before Diego Valeri pounced on Steve Clark’s mental break and kicked the ball into the net just 27 seconds in. six minutes later, Rodney Wallace scored to make it 2-0 Portland and the Crew and their faithful were stunned. Kei Kamara wasable to bring one back in the 18th minute, but that’s as close as the home team would get as the visitors left Ohio with the championship.
2016: Looking to return to the championship game, the Crew stumbled out of the gate, winning only two of their first eleven matches. The club would fall victim to midseason infighting amongst players. During a May 7 match against Montreal, a disagreement between Kei Kamara and Gonzalo Higuain over a penalty kick came to the forefront. Higuain wound up taking it and converting, leaving Kamara furious and he sniped at his teammate afterwards. The Crew shipped Kamara, who would have had a hat trick if he took the penalty kick, to New England and the season would spin out of control. Despite Ola Kamara’s (no relation to Kei) 16-goal surge from then on, it wasn’t enough to help the Crew as they finished next to last in the East at 8-14-12.
2017: After winning three of their first five matches to start the year, the Crew alternated wins and losses throughout the spring and summer never putting any consistent run together. But by mid-August, the team went on a 6-0-2 stretch to finish in fourth place with a record 16-12-6, helped along by Ola Kamara’s 18 goals. The playoff berth would quickly become a backstory as owner Anthony Precourt’s ultimatum to the City of Columbus to build a new downtown stadium or have the team relocated to Austin, Texas had supporters on the defensive, sparking a Save the Crew campaign. Despite this, the Crew would focus on the field and eliminate Atlanta United FC 3-1 on penalties in front of 67,221 people. The team wouldn’t stop there as they ran all over New York City FC 4-1 in the first leg of the East semifinals before holding them off in the second leg to win 4-3 on aggregate. But after holding Toronto FC scoreless in the first leg of the East finals, Jozy Altidore’s goal in the second leg ended the Crew’s vision of a miraculous run.
©MMXVIII Tank Productions. Stats researched by Stephen Mulvoy, all information, and team names are property of Major League Soccer. This site is not affiliated with the Columbus Crew or the MLS. This site is maintained for research purposes only. All logos used on this page were from Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos Page.
Page created on June 13, 2004. Last updated on July 22, 2018 at 1:55 am ET.