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
Facing a revamped Chivas USA side in its season opener Saturday night, the Crew picked up its first three points of 2013 with a 3-0 win over the Rojiblancos behind second half goals from Federico Higuaín, Josh Williams and newcomer Dominic Oduro.
Not knowing what to expect from José Luis Sanchéz Solá's side, the Crew stuck to its gameplan to dictate the pace for much of the 90 minutes.
"We didn't know too much about [Chivas] coming into the game," Williams revealed post-match. "We watched one game, when they played Colorado and they basically controlled that game. We didn't really know what to expect and we really just wanted to play our style. That's exactly what we did and we were able to dictate the play. I thought we didn't ease up. We came out at halftime wanting to go at them, step on their throat and score early. [Higuaín's] blast lifted us and we were able to score two more late."
The victory was the Black & Gold's first road win to start a season since 1998 when the Crew defeated the Tampa Bay Mutiny. The club was happy to take three points from the Home Depot Center, where it had previously beaten Chivas USA just once in seven attempts.
"Its good to go on the road and get a win," Oduro said. "[The Home Depot Center] is not an easy place to play. I think we did well defensively staying disciplined."
THE BEST IS YET TO COME
With Oduro and other newcomers arriving in the middle of preseason, the Crew has yet to find an optimum chemistry among new additions and returnees. Despite scoring three goals on Saturday, the team feels the quality could be better.
"We did well. There's always room for improvement, but it certainly feels good to get a W and put some goals in the net," Oduro said.
"Right now, we still haven't really clicked," Williams added. "We're still figuring out how each other plays and how we're accustomed to different styles of play. We're still getting comfortable with each other. It was good to come out here and win. It was kind of a statement game, but we're going to watch some film, build on it and get accustomed to each other's style of play."
The Crew will remain on the West Coast this week ahead of next week's match at Vancouver.
WILLIAMS HITS THE NET
Within the first minute of Saturday's match, Josh Williams suffered flashbacks of his 2012 season when his powerful volley from the right side of goal was brilliantly saved by Chivas USA netminder Dan Kennedy. Last season, Williams had a plethora of chances deflect off the woodwork, miraculously saved or errantly called offside.
"[The shot] was actually the first touch of the year for me," Williams recalled the sequence. "When I saw [Kennedy] push it wide, I was having flashbacks of last year."
The defender wouldn't be denied later in the match as he showcased his athleticism to volley Eddie Gaven's corner kick service past Kennedy while falling away from goal.
"To see that ball hit the back of the net was huge for me and my confidence," he said. "Hopefully we can take this win into Vancouver and keep the momentum going."
The tally was Williams' second of his career and if his performance on Saturday night was any indication, many more should follow in 2013.