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
As the USA vs. Mexico FIFA World Cup Qualifying clash on September 10 at Crew Stadium approaches, TheCrew.com will showcase past U.S.-Mexico matches in Columbus through the eyes of the players and coaches who took part in each of the three 2-0 United States victories.
The series continues with former Crew and U.S. Men's National Team forward Brian McBride, who played in World Cup Qualifiers against Mexico at Crew Stadium in 2001 and 2005. Here is McBride's account of why Crew Stadium is the stateside home of the rivalry.
"The first thing that comes to my head is that Crew Stadium is the first soccer-specific stadium in America. You add in the fact that Mexico has come in and never done well there, and the game seems to always take place on the worst day of weather within a two-month period. It's normally an advantage for us, because it's usually cold.
And then there are the fans. It's mostly a pro-U.S. fan base and it's one of the first places where we sort of had that experience. At the time, it was probably a bit of a shock for the Mexican players. They were used to going to LA and having 90,000 fans behind them and only 4,000 against them. Taking away from the personal side of it, I think those things are just huge for a player on the U.S. National Team, but it's also why I think [playing at Crew Stadium] creates some mental blocks for the Mexican players coming in."