Now entering his seventh year as the radio play-by-play announcer for Major League Soccer’s Columbus Crew, Neil Sika has also spent the past nine years providing coverage of numerous NCAA Division I athletics.
Additionally, he has worked several national and regional events on television (Big Ten Network, STO, TWC) and radio (Monarch Sports).
Buckeyes, Blue Jackets and more
The Columbus Crew reserve squad earned its second-consecutive MLS Reserve League East Division title on Sunday, defeating the D.C. United reserves 2-0 at United's training complex at RFK Stadium. The Crew were led by goals from Dilly Duka and Ethan Finlay. With the win, the Black & Gold become the top MLS Reserve squad among all three divisions.
The first half was back-and-forth affair between the two Eastern Conference rivals. The first big chance of the match came in the 22nd minute on a through ball from Tony Tchani to Ethan Finlay. United goalkeeper Joe Willis rushed off his line to close the gap to Finlay and block the young midfielder's shot. Just four minutes later, United midfielder Stephen King weaved through multiple Crew defenders and had a powerful shot stopped by Crew goalkeeper Matt Lampson at point-blank range.
The Crew had the momentum at the end of the first half and capitalized on it during a counterattack lead by Emilio Renteria. The Crew forward slipped a nice pass to Duka who fired his shot into the right corner of the goal.
The second half opened up with a chance for the Black-and-Red, when United defender Robbie Russell headed a cross in just wide of the Crew goal. Less than ten minutes later, in the 56th minute, Finlay put away a loose ball inside the box after a poor clearance from United's backline.
The Columbus Crew continued to press throughout the second half with numerous chances created by Renteria, Duka, and Finlay. United defender Conor Shanosky did well on multiple occasions to bail United's defense out, saving two Crew shots off the line.
United didn’t go quietly, though, with Russell, D.C. United U-16 Academy player Michael Seaton, and midfielder Stephen King all creating chances in the final ten minutes. Seaton missed a cross from Russell by inches while Lampson came up big on a one-on-one chance with King.
D.C. United Starting XI:
Willis; Russell (C), White, Dudar, Dainkeh*; Rozeboom, Shanosky, Augusto, King; Seaton*, Tan
Columbus Crew Starting XI:
Lampson; Balchan, Crognale*, Gehrig, Vukovic; Geroge, Tchani, Finlay, Speas; Duka, Renteria
* denotes academy player
** denotes trialist
45’: Columbus Crew – Duka (Renteria)
56’: Columbus Crew - Finlay
CLB – Tchani (caution) 44’
DCU – Augusto (caution) 60’
DC – Dykstra on for Willis; 46’
DC – Robinson* on for Tan; 46’
DC – Yusuf* on for Dudar; 58’
CLB – Evans** on for Duka; 64’
DC – Doll* on for Rozeboom; 71’