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
Despite out-shooting Vancouver Whitecaps FC 15-8, it was two costly mistakes that handed the Crew its first loss of 2013.
Vancouver drew first blood in the sixth minute as Gershon Koffie scooped up an errant lay-off from Danny O'Rourke to Dominic Oduro. Koffie then found Darren Mattocks, who then slipped the ball to Daigo Kobayashi. The Japanese playmaker launched a 40-yard rocket into the back of the net to beat Crew 'keeper Andy Gruenebaum.
The Whitecaps' second tally came in the 57th minute when Kenny Miller dispossessed Gláuber to beat Gruenebaum one-on-one.
"It's a game of mistakes and we were punished for our two," Gruenebaum reflected after the match. " The first one we turned the ball over and it was a great strike in the end, but that's going to happen.The second one, it was a decision on my part to play the ball to Gláuber. He wasn't in position to really do anything but play me back. I think I'll just take a touch next time and clear long. Obviously two mistakes, sometimes you're going to get punished for them and sometimes you're not. We were [punished] tonight."
With its 2013 home opener a week away, the Crew will hope not to commit the same costly errors against the San Jose Earthquakes next Saturday in Columbus.
"The mistakes that we've made are very preventable," Gruenebaum continued. "We just have to learn from them and move on. It's a game of mistakes. There is always going to be mistakes, but we can prevent certain things from happening. The two goals tonight can definitely be prevented."
With so many chances unfulfilled on the offensive end, midfielder Ben Speas is confident the scoring opportunities will pay off in the near future.
"Goals are going to come," Speas said. "It was a tough place to play. I thought we did some nice things. Maybe a little unlucky on some chances, but I thought we created chances and did some decent things.
"[The result] was unfortunate. Things are going to happen like that, but we'll learn from it and move on and hopefully grow from it," the midfielder finished.
ARRIETA'S 10TH, SPEAS' FIRST
Coming out of halftime down 1-0, the Crew erased Whitecaps FC's lead right out of the gate to begin the second half. Winger Ben Speas slotted striker Jairo Arrieta into the penalty area less than a minute following the second half whistle. The Costa Rican beat Vancouver netminder Joe Cannon near post to draw the Crew level for a brief period.
The goal was Arrieta's 10 since joining the Black & Gold in the summer of 2012 and Speas' first professional assist.
"I was tucked inside and the centerback mis-headed it," Speas recalled the equalizing sequence. "It came right to my feet, so I was kind of one-on-one with the centerback and then I heard Jairo to my right. I waited for him to kind of get next to me, so I slotted him in. He went near post and we tied it up. I thought it was a great momentum builder and really what we needed coming into the second half."
A match day decision, Speas filled in on the left side of midfield for an injured Eddie Gaven. The Crew Homegrown seized the opportunity to contribute in any way he could in his second career start.
"I found out [the starting lineup] today, but I'm ready always," Speas said. "Injuries happen, so I was ready. I'm just happy to help out the team."