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Columbus Crew Programs

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Columbus Crew Programs

Major League Soccer (1996-Present)

Founded: 1994 – Major League Soccer founding franchise


Team Colors:


MLS Cup Champions: 2008
U.S. Open Cup Champions: 2002


The Columbus Crew began play in 1996 as one of the ten founding franchises of Major League Soccer.  The Crew were backed by Lamar Hunt, the iconic American sports entrepreneur and long-time patron of professional soccer in the United States.  After three seasons at Ohio State University’s massive 102,000-seat American football coliseum, the club moved into Crew Stadium in 1999. Crew Stadium was the first professional soccer-specific stadium opened in the United States and signaled the start of a stadium construction boom in the early 2000’s that vastly elevated the status of pro soccer in America.

At the end of the 2014 season, the Crew underwent a modest re-branding, changing their formal identity to Columbus Crew SC.


Columbus Crew Programs 1996-1999


Columbus Crew Programs 2000-2009


Collector Notes

Throughout the 1990’s, all of Major League Soccer’s clubs sold a match day program known as FreekickFreekick was a pretty crummy production. The magazine-style covers were nice enough, but the inside was printed on cheap black-and-white newsprint.

Along with the rest of MLS, the Crew shifted to a smaller Playbill-style format during the 2000’s, also known as Freekick.  These were typically produced only about four times per season, with each edition covering four to five matches.  On the upside, the interiors were now on decent paper with full color photography.

In recent seasons, the Crew have abandoned the centralized Freekick format of MLS’ early years and produced their own programs (now known as Match Day) in unconventional brochure-style formats. For example, each 2013 edition of Match Day folds out roadmap-style into a large player poster.

The Crew also printed attractive annual media guides from 1996 until at least 2008.  The club seems to have shifted to digital (.pdf) media guides only in the late 2000’s, following the trend of most MLS clubs.


Columbus Crew Programs 2010-Present


Written by Drew Crossley

May 21st, 2016 at 3:31 pm

April 20, 1996 – New York-New Jersey MetroStars vs. New England Revolution

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Tony Meola MetroStarsNew York-New Jersey MetroStars vs. New England Revolution
April 20, 1996
Giants Stadium
Attendance: 46,826

Major League Soccer Programs
54 Pages (Tabloid newsprint)


Nice find at the bottom of a box sent over by a former New York sportswriter late last year.  This oversize tabloid-style program is from the inaugural home game of the old New York MetroStars of Major League Soccer back in April 1996.  (The MetroStars are the ancestors of today’s New York Red Bulls).  U.S. National Team goalkeeper Tony Meola shouts from the cover.

There was a big crowd on hand for the first pro soccer game at Giants Stadium since the demise of the New York Cosmos in 1985.  In fact, 62-year old Eddie Firmani, the man who coached the Cosmos to two Soccer Bowl titles in the 1970’s and helmed the club’s final NASL game at the Meadowlands in September 1984, was behind the bench for the Metros.

Firmani’s fleeting cameo – he would be the first MLS coach to resign/get fired, lasting just eight matches – was the closest any of the North Jersey old-timers would come to mistaking the Metros for the powerhouse Cosmos of old.  Twenty years on, the Metros-turned-Red Bulls have never won a game of any consequence.  And the club’s more mystically-inclined diehards apportion some of the blame for those decades of futility squarely back here on the night of April 20th, 1996. The evening that a 33-year old Italian defender brought the “Curse of Caricola” down upon the MetroStars/Red Bulls franchise in the very first home game.

I’d explain the doomed sequence here, but why bother when we have this video…



The Curse of Caricola grabs hold of the MetroStars…


Written by AC

January 31st, 2015 at 1:05 am

August 8, 2004 – MetroStars vs. Los Angeles Galaxy

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Eddie Gaven New York MetroStarsMetroStars vs. Los Angeles Galaxy
August 8, 2004
Giants Stadium
Attendance: 14,687

Major League Soccer Programs
72 Pages


Clash of Major League Soccer’s Eastern and Western Conference leaders at Giants Stadium in early August 2004.

It seemed like this might finally be the breakout year for the MetroStars, who had never won any type of hardware in MLS’ first decade.  Some supporters of MLS’ hapless New York club even believed the team was the victim of “The Curse of Caricola“, dating back to a crushing own-goal defeat in the Metros’ inaugural match back in 1996.

But the 2004 team had talent and carried a four-game undefeated streak into the All-Star Break at the end of July.  17-year old Eddie Gaven, pictured on the day’s FREEKICK match program (above right) became the youngest All-Star Game starter in MLS history a week earlier.  He was joined on the Eastern Conference squad by defender Eddie Pope and Honduran midfielder Amado Guevara.  All three would later be named to MLS’ Best XI for the 2004 season and Guevara would be selected as league MVP.  The Metros also owned the powerful Los Angeles Galaxy club that summer, outscoring the Angelenos 5-1 in two earlier victories in June.

Looking back, the Metros’ 2004 season crested on this match.  It was a violent engagement, with five yellow cards and a red (to L.A.’s Chris Albright in the 68th) and another one-sided MetroStars victory.  Guevara opened the scoring on a penalty in the 36th minute, and Gaven beat Galaxy keeper Kevin Hartman in the 61st to break the game open.  The Metros went on to win 3-0.

After this afternoon, the Metros returned to form.  They were winless for the remainder of August and 2-6-2 for the rest of the regular season en route to a 3rd place finish in the Eastern Conference.  Eventual MLS Cup champion D.C. United routed the Metros 4-0 on aggregate in the first round of the 2004 playoffs.

The MetroStars brand lasted one more season (ill-fated, of course) before Red Bull purchased and re-branded the club in 2006.  Gaven also stayed  just one more season in New York.  He was traded to Columbus before the 2006 season and enjoyed a long and solid career with the Crew (2006-2013), but never again was named to the MLS Best XI as he was in 2004 as a 17-year old teenager.



Eddie Gaven, The Oddest Goalkeeper in MLS History, Retires“, Barry Petchesky, Deadspin, October 13, 2013



August 8, 2004 MetroStars-Galaxy Roster Card

August 8, 2004 Los Angeles Galaxy Game Notes

August 8, 2004 MetroStars Game Notes


Written by AC

January 8th, 2015 at 2:47 pm

2005-2014 Chivas USA

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Chivas USA Media GuideMajor League Soccer (2005-2014)

Born: August 2, 2004 – MLS expansion franchise.
Folded: October 27, 2014.


Team Colors:



Chivas USA was Major League Soccer’s second Los Angeles franchise, sharing the Home Depot Center in Carson with the Los Angeles Galaxy.  The club started out as an expansion franchise in 2005.  Billionaire investor-operator Jorge Vergara also owned the popular Mexican club C.D. Guadalajara (colloquially known as “Chivas” or Goats).  The concept was that the Chivas USA would be a sister team to C.D. Guadalajara and might create appeal for a Latino fan base that had thus far shown only tepid support of the Galaxy in L.A. and Major League Soccer more broadly.  One of Guadalajara’s claims to fame in Mexico was its nationalism – the club exclusively employs Mexican players.  This policy would draw notice in Chivas USA’s final seaons, after Vergara and his wife acquired sole control of the franchise and allegedly began to harass and dismiss non-Spanish speaking employees.

Chivas USA’s early years seemed promising.  Future U.S. National Team head coach Bob Bradley guided Chivas to a playoff berth in its second season in MLS in 1996 before departing take over the U.S. Men.  Replacement Predrag Radosavljevic (better known as “Preki“) took over as manager in 2007 and led Chivas to a 1st place finish in MLS’ Western Conference.  This turned out to be the franchise’s high water mark.  They were bounced in the first round of the 2007 playoffs and would never win a playoff series.

Chivas USA ProgramBeginning in 2010, Chivas USA began a downward spiral that saw the club fail to ever again finish higher than 7th in MLS’ Western Conference.  The franchise also became something of an embarrassment to MLS.  Home attendance plummeted more than 50% between 2011 and 2014, bottoming out at 7,063 per match in 2014.  In 2013 two former MLS players who had coached in Chivas USA’s youth academy, Dan Calichman and Ted Chronopoulos, filed a discrimination suit against the team, claiming they were dismissed from the team because they were not of Latino descent.  Separately, an African-American former HR manager of the team filed a discrimination suit against Chivas USA a few months after Calichman and Chronopoulos.

In February 2014, Major League Soccer purchased Chivas USA back from Jorge Vergara and his wife, Angelica Fuentes.  The sale price was not officially disclosed, but both  Sports Illustrated and The Los Angeles Times reported the figure to be in the neighborhood of $70 million.  MLS operated Chivas USA through a lame duck final season before shuttering the franchise one day after the club’s final game on October 26, 2014.  Also in October 2014, MLS sold the former Chivas franchise – now effectively a new L.A. expansion team – to a large investeor group led by venture capitalist Henry Nguyen and Mandalay Entertainment CEO Peter GuberThe group intends to launch a re-branded MLS club in L.A. in 2017, eventually playing in its own soccer-specific stadium.

During Chivas USA’s 10-year run, it was part of the only European-style local derby in Major League Soccer.  Chivas and the Los Angeles Galaxy met 34 times in those ten seasons, with the Galaxy enjoying a wildly lopsided advantage of 22 wins, 8 draws and just 4 losses in the so-called “SuperClasico” derby.


==Chivas USA Programs on Fun While It Lasted==

Year Date Opponent Score Program Other


2007  4/14/2007 @ Houston Dynamo L 1-0 Program
2007 7/26/2007 @ New York Red Bulls W 2-0 Program


2008 5/26/2008 Los Angeles Galaxy L 5-2 Roster Card
2008 6/5/2008 @ New York Red Bulls L 1-0 Program Game Notes
2008 7/10/2008 Los Angeles Galaxy T 1-1 Roster Card
2008 9/11/2008 @ New England Revolution L 4-0 Program


2009 4/11/2009 Los Angeles Galaxy T 0-0 Roster Card
2009 8/29/2009 Los Angeles Galaxy L 1-0 Roster Card
2009 11/8/2009 Los Angeles Galaxy L 1-0 Roster Card


2010 5/5/2010 @ New England Revolution W 4-0 Program
2010 6/5/2010 @ New York Red Bulls L 1-0 Program


2012 3/11/2012 vs. Houston Dynamo  L 1-0 Program
2012 9/19/2012 @ Columbus Crew L 1-0 Program


2014 9/27/2014 @ Seattle Sounders L 4-2 Program


==Key Players==

  • Jonathan Bornstein
  • Dan Kennedy
  • Sacha Kljestan
  • Ante Razov



Highlights of Chivas USA’s final match on October 26, 2014 against the San Jose Earthquakes at the StubHub Center.



2011 Chivas USA Media Guide

2012 Chivas USA Media Guide

2014 Chivas USA Media Guide


1996-2004 Dallas Burn

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Dallas BurnMajor League Soccer (1996-2004)

Born: June 6, 1995 – MLS founding franchise.
August 2004 (FC Dallas)


Team Colors: Red, Black & Green


  • 1996-2002: Major League Soccer
  • 2003-2004: Hunt Sports Group (Lamar Hunt)


Not truly a defunct franchise, but rather an abandoned brand identity from the early years of Major League Soccer.  The Dallas Burn were one of 10 founding franchises for MLS in 1996.  The club plays on today as “FC Dallas” following a 2004 brand re-boot that preceded the opening of the team’s soccer-specific stadium, Pizza Hut Park, in 2005.

Dallas’ greatest accomplished during the Burn era (1996-2004) was to capture the U.S. Open Cup in 1997.  The Burn defeated defending Open Cups champs D.C. United on penalty kicks on October 29, 1997 at Carroll Stadium in Indianapolis.  In MLS play, the Burn qualified for the playoffs in each of their first seven seasons, but were knocked out in the opening round five times.  The Burn’s deepest playoff runs came in 1997 and 1999 under Head Coach Dave Dir, when they reached the MLS Cup semi-finals.

Off the field, the Burn were considered a weak point for MLS as the young league’s financial losses accumulated in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s.  At the end of MLS’ sixth season in 2001, the Burn were one of two franchises still owned directly by the league, along with the Tampa Bay Mutiny.  According to the Sports Business Journal, the Burn lost about $3M per year at this time and Dallas’ continued survival in the league depended on the willingness of other MLS team owners (still facing the substantial deficits of their own clubs) to continue underwriting the red ink.

When word got out that MLS was looking at contracting the 12-team league in late 2001, fans and media speculated that the Burn were a likely vicitim.  When the axe came down in January 2002, however, MLS chose to drop its two Florida franchises instead.

The franchise’s salvation and bottoming out happened more or less simultaneously in 2003.  After seven years as a ward of the league, Hunt Sports Group stepped to operate the team.  HSG, which already owned MLS’ Columbus Crew and Kansas City Wizards clubs, was headed by longtime soccer patron Lamar Hunt.  Hunt previously owned (and lost many millions on) the Dallas Tornado of the North American Soccer League from 1967 until 1981.  While the Hunts’ arrival gave the Burn a stable future, one of their first moves was to pull the team out of the Cotton Bowl and play the 2003 season at Dragon Stadium, a suburban high school stadium with artificial turf and no beer sales.  The move, intended to be temporary while the Burn worked on plans for a proper soccer stadium in Frisco, Texas, did not play well with fans generally and, specifically, helped to crater the club’s Hispanic fan base.

After one season at Dragon Stadium, and with the 2005 opening of Pizza Hut Park in Frisco on the horizon, the Burn pulled an about face and moved back to the Cotton Bowl for one final campaign in 2004.  Two-thirds of the way through the 2004 season, Hunt Sports Group announced the re-branding of the club as “FC Dallas” to coincide with the opening of Pizza Hut Park the following spring.


==Dallas Burn Programs on Fun While It Lasted==

Year Date Opponent Score Program Other


1996 6/19/1996 @ New York-New Jersey MetroStars 0-0 Program
1996 7/10/1996  @ New York-New Jersey MetroStars L 3-2 Program


2002 5/4/2002 @ MetroStars W 2-1 Program Game Notes


2004 6/5/2004 @ MetroStars W 2-0 Program Game Guide
2004 8/15/2004 @ MetroStars W 1-0 Program Game Notes


==Key Players==

  • Leonel Alvarez
  • Jason Kreis
  • Oscar Pareja
  • Hugo Sanchez


==In Memoriam==

Long-time Burn/FC Dallas midfielder and broadcaster Bobby Rhine died of a heart attach on September 5, 2011 at age 35.



Highlights of the Burn’s 1997 U.S. Open Cup final victory over D.C. United. October 29, 1997.


Burn at Los Angeles Galaxy, June 4th, 1998.  Dallas 8-1 loss remains the record holder for most lopsided defeat in MLS history:



Major League Soccer Media Guides

Major League Soccer Programs



Written by AC

September 14th, 2014 at 2:25 pm