Michael Bradley: Columbus is one of the few MLS markets that has not kept pace

A sell-out crowd of 21,289 fans turned out at Mapfre Stadium for the first leg of the Eastern Conference finals between Columbus Crew SC and Toronto FC.

Enemy No. 1 for most Crew fans is Columbus owner Anthony Precourt, who is considering a move to Austin, possibly as soon as in 2019.

The Precourt Sports Ventures CEO was nowhere in sight, so Crew fans took it out -- all game -- on Enemy No. 2, Michael Bradley. The Toronto FC captain's crime? Not getting the USA to the World Cup.



So just like at Red Bull Arena against the New York Red Bulls in the conference semifinals, Bradley was booed throughout the game. Only this time he did not have suspended U.S. teammate Jozy Altidore on the field to defect some of the boos.

Without Sebastian Giovinco and Altidore, Bradley and his TFC teammates still managed to take the crowd out of the game. TFC coach Greg Vanney said Bradley did a great job of controlling the game and get out of Columbus with a 0-0 draw.

Vanney said 0-0 is not a perfect result -- the Crew goes through if it wins or ties and scores in Toronto next Wednesday -- but it's certainly a lot better than New York City FC did in the first leg of the conference semifinals when it lost in Columbus, 4-1.

Asked how the booing affected Bradley, Vanney said, "At this point, I think he thinks nothing of it." Bradley's response? "I've got bigger things to worry about than whether a few people in Columbus don't like me."

On the future of the Crew in Columbus, Bradley didn't exactly come out in support for the #SavetheCrew movement.

“On one hand," he told reporters afterwards, "you feel for the small group of loyal supporters that they have, who have been here since the beginning, who continue to support the team and come out week after week. On the other hand, you can't deny the fact that things here have really fallen behind in terms of the atmosphere in the stadium, the quality of the stadium, what it’s like to play here."

Bradley doesn't know who is at fault.

"From what I gather," he said, "there’s a lot going on and I get that. And as an outsider, I don’t know what that falls on, but again the reality is just that, as the league has continued to grow and grow, and this is not the only one, but this is one of a few markets that has not kept pace."

2 comments about "Michael Bradley: Columbus is one of the few MLS markets that has not kept pace".
  1. I w Nowozeniuk, November 22, 2017 at 11:06 a.m.

    Crew had a couple of golden opportunities and wasted them. I wouldn't underestimate them Mr. Bradley.

  2. R2 Dad, November 22, 2017 at 10:59 p.m.

    MB has a valid point, but discretion is the better part of valor. You recently failed to qualify for Russia next year, and may never wear the shirt again. Sometimes, not having an opinion doesn't mean you are without ideas.

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