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
Just a few moments after Montreal Impact striker Marco Di Vaio beat Andy Gruenebaum from distance to put the first-place home team ahead in the 68th minute, Crew forward Dominic Oduro matched Di Vaio's skill to equalize and help the Black & Gold to a crucial road point.
"I think heads went down a little bit right after [Di Vaio's] goal because we were playing so well," Oduro said after the match. "We had so many opportunities, but we couldn't capitalize on that. That goal was more like a relief to us to tell we were doing something really good."
Added Head Coach Robert Warzycha: "Scoring right after [Montreal] scored was huge. They didn't get any momentum and we could have scored another one."
Oduro did his best to knock down a Josh Williams cross from the right side and struck the ball one-time with his left foot to beat Impact 'keeper Troy Perkins to the far post to draw the Crew level in the 72nd minute.
The tally- Oduro's 36th in eight MLS seasons and third in 2013- was one the Ghanaian speedster will be remembered for in years to come.
"It was one-of-a-kind, I guess," Warzycha described the equalizer. "He took it pretty well. The first touch was pretty good and even the ball bounced pretty high. He was able to put a foot on it, and he put it in the right place: upper-90."
"It was an amazing goal, I think it's one of the goals I will probably cherish in my MLS life," Oduro said.
"It's not everyday you score a goal like that."
CREW AND IMPACT VS. MOTHER NATURE
Sunday's match was postponed 22 hours from the initial start time of 2:00 p.m. ET on Saturday afternoon due to the snowfall that blanketed Montreal earlier in the weekend. Neither team was at an advantage as crews worked tirelessly to get the Stade Saputo playing service in a playable condition following the snowstorm.
The weather warmed up to mid-40s Fahrenheit temperatures with sunshine in time for Sunday's noon kickoff.
"The field was perfect," Warzycha complimented the Stade Saputo groundscrew after the match. "I'm sure the guys that worked on the field today worked very very hard to get it in a condition that everyone would love to have. Obviously with the winter and everything else, we had what we had. I think the field condition was fine. I don't have any complaints."
"We knew it would be a tough match here," Gruenebaum added. "The field was tough, the actual weather turned out to be pretty nice. They like to play it around. We knew how we wanted to play them and I think it was a fair result. [The goals were] two good finishes, we'll take the point and move on."
ROAD SUCCESS CONTINUES
The Crew has played four of its first six matches to begin the 2013 season following Saturday's road draw. In those matches, the Black & Gold have nabbed seven points on the road against teams that have gone 10-9-5 so far this season.
Following the postponement and Sunday's early start time, the team is relieved to leave Canada with a point against the first-place Impact.
"It's always good when you can get points on the road, especially against a quality team like this who is where they are in the standings," defender Chad Marshall said after the match.
The Crew will play its fifth road match of 2013 next week as the Black & Gold travel to Chicago to take on the Fire.
To get a point here, especially with the conditions we had; staying an extra day and playing a noon game, you never know what to expect," Gruenebaum said.
"I thought we did a great job and we can build off of that and head to Chicago now."