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The Memorable Moments of 2013 for the Columbus Crew

As 2013 comes to a close, here are the moments in which this year’s Columbus Crew team should be remembered.

Jamie Sabau

The Opening month of the season

Though the 2013 season did not end well for the Crew, the beginning of the campaign gave fans a reason to be excited.

It began with a 3-0 road over Chivas USA, featuring a long-range strike from Federico Higuain.

Despite losing their second contest in Montreal, the Black and Gold rebounded to tie the defending Supporter's Shield winners in the home opener.

They concluded the month with a 2-1 win over D.C. United in R.F.K. Stadium, a venue that has historically been a nightmare for Columbus to earn a win.

Injuries

The Crew were plagued with injuries throughout 2013. The most notable were the two season-ending ACL tears to midfielder Eddie Gaven and defender Glauber, both in Open Cup play.

Gaven, a mainstay in Columbus' lineup, left the most notable void of any injured player. Glauber, who was signed in the offseason, was expected to partner Chad Marshall at center back and was just adjusting to life in MLS.

Throughout the season, other key players missed time as well, including Higuain, Matias Sanchez,  and Augustin Viana among others.

The Scoreboard's On Fire!

As players warmed up before the April 27 meeting with D.C. United, the scoreboard caught ablaze. The fire was attributed to an electrical issue and delayed the start of the game for 50 minutes.

No one was hurt and the scoreboard was eventually repaired, but during the match there was no sound because of the fire. The Nordecke stepped up and led the more than 14,000 in attendance in singing the national anthem pregame.

The Crew went on to win to 3-0 with a goal and an assist from Higuain.

Crew Gets New Owners

On July 30, the Hunt Sports Group - the original Columbus owners - announced they had sold the team to Anthony Precourt and his Precourt Sports Venture.

Precourt brought with him a new excitement for the team, taking Twitter questions from fans and participating in a bar crawl with the Crew faithful.

Though the Hunt family had been a huge part of the Black and Gold and MLS' history - building the first soccer specific stadium - it was time to move on and new ownership brings with it new opportunities.

Crew Play Without Robert Warzycha Influence

On September 4, Columbus played their first game without Warzycha involved in some capacity in 18 years. He came to the Crew as a player in 1996 and retired following the 2002 season, immediately taking on an assisting coaching role.

Warzycha was let go as the head coach after the Crew lost five of their previous seven games, including 1-0 at home to a Seattle Sounders team with 10 men for most of the game.

Warzycha departed tied for the most wins (70) in the club's coaching history and should be remembered for his success on and off the field.

Dos a Cero

Though it was not officially a part of Columbus' season, you can't talk about the 2013 without discussing the World Cup Qualifying match between the United States and Mexico at Crew Stadium.

In the past, when the U.S. Men's National Team has needed a clear home field advantage against El Tri, they have turned to Columbus and the city and stadium was a great host once again.

Of course the game doesn't go as planned unless the score finishes 2-0 to the Americans and it did just that, thanks to Clint Dempsey's late penalty kick miss. The win wound up clinching a birth in the 2014 World Cup for the Red, White, and Blue.

Homegrown Players Shine

The Crew Academy had made a name for itself in the youth soccer ranks, but the young players who earned contracts with the senior club earned respect in 2013.

The combination of Wil Trapp, Chad Barson, Matt Lampson, and Ben Speas combined for 68 appearances for the team and generated some of the bright spots of a less than desirable year.

Both Trapp and Barson locked down starting spots during the season and Lampson and Speas played well when called upon. They all demonstrated that the future is bright with the Crew and their academy program.

Gregg Berhalter Takes Over

The Crew's management allowed interim coach Brain Bliss to finish the season, but went outside of the family to get a new head man. They named former U.S. international, Gregg Berhalter head coach and sporting director on November 6.

After his playing career, Berhalter became the first American to coach in a top-ranked European league with Sweden's Hammarby IF. He began his coaching career as a player-coach under Bruce Arena.

Berhalter brings a different outlook to Columbus, one fans hope will get this team back on the winning track.

Bye Bye Veterans

When the Crew opens the 2014 season, it will be without several players even the most casual fan recognized.

At the conclusion of the season, eight-year Black and Gold veteran Eddie Gaven announced he was retiring for personal reasons at the still-young age of 27.

Shortly after, it was announced that former captain Chad Marshall had been traded from the only team he had ever played for professionally.

On top of these two, Danny O'Rourke was not resigned by his home-town team and Andy Gruenbaum was dealt to Kansas City.

This marks the new era in Crew history, but it is always sad to see the familiar faces depart.