It's the most wonderful time of the year - the MLS off season. A time where there is no risk of losing a game and ruining my weekend. A time when hope abounds for new transfers (or great players staying put). And a time when speculation and leaks begin for what the 2016 MLS kits will look like.
To get in the spirit of the holidays I decided to make public my letter to Santa for Columbus Crew SC for the coming year. Santa did a great job last year and he proved that he gives gifts year round.
Kei Kamara to stay healthy
I don't know if Kamara's health limited him in the MLS cup game, but he didn't look quite himself. From where I was sitting in the stands he didn't appear to have the vertical leap or third gear we saw from him in the rest of the playoffs. Santa, please bring Kei Kamara health for the 2016 season. He was undoubtedly the Crew SC's MVP and they will need another 20 goal season from him to win the 2016 MLS cup.
A Game Changing Goal Keeper
This one hurts me the most. I love what Steve Clark brings to the fanbase. The YES! chant has become iconic and it will likely end if Mr. Clark is no longer this team's #1. I want to win the cup next year though, and I don't think Crew SC can do it with such an inconsistent keeper. We saw Clark's career summed up in the final game of the 2015 season. He was dreadful early, and fantastic late. He is too inconsistent to rely on in a knock out round type game. He also struggles to command his area and organize a backline. Santa, please bring Crew SC a game changing, commanding keeper. Though the 2014 version of Steve Clark would be pretty good too.
Lifelike Set Piece Defense
Somehow this didn't end up costing Columbus the MLS Cup (stupid mistakes did), but it could have put the game out of reach if Michael Parkhurst's arm wasn't in the way. Columbus was dreadful on set pieces all year and it was the source of great frustration for me. Please Santa, make it better in 2016
A Cool new Yellow, White, and Red Kit
Just kidding Santa. I don't want this. Please bring me another year of the Black 2015 kits. Easily the best in the League.
Better Weather for Big Games
Weather delays for LA Galaxy and NYCFC were annoying and ruined the games. In 2016 Santa when Columbus has a nationally televised game or a sell out, please keep the lightning away.
Better Parking Lot Exiting
The most terrifying moment of the 2015 season for me is when my 9 month pregnant wife and I were sitting in the inexplicable traffic jam leaving Mapfre stadium when she was having Braxton-Hicks contractions (false labor). I do not understand why, but getting out of the parking lot is nearly impossible in under 40 minutes. Please find a way to make this more user friendly so no children have to be born there.
An entrance on the north end of the stadium for walkers
If you have ever walked to the game from Hudson you know how annoying it is to walk around the entire stadium to get to the ticket taker, just to walk all the way back if you have seats on the north end. Please Santa, add an entrance and ticket takers to the north west portion of the stadium.
A TV deal where the fans can actually watch the team
The expiring TV deal has locked out fans not on Time Warner (and the old Insight customers never did get HD). Sure, there were ways to get around it... VPN solutions recalled the (very) old habit standing in a certain area of the room with antenna in hand to get the signal. The new cable deal should not remind viewers the 1970's. (ed. and having the option to online stream without blackout would be great too.)
A Brand new MLS Cup for 2016
We came so close. Early rumors are making it look like crucial members of this team may not be here next year. Santa don't let this be as close as we get, give us the darn thing next year.
P.S. I am not the only one who wants things from you this year. In the comments below some of my fellow supporters have also included things to the wishlist (Hint-hint guys. Santa can't bring us presents if we don't ask for them)