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
It's beginning to sound like a broken record: the Crew dominated nearly every statistical category at home against the Houston Dynamo on Saturday, but failed to earn three points in front of the home crowd once again. A second-half Federico Higuaín penalty kick salvaged a draw at Crew Stadium following Warren Creavalle's 31st-minute tally for the Dynamo.
Despite a 1-2-3 record at home, Robert Warzycha isn't frustrated with his team's performance. The Crew Head Coach is staying positive, hoping the goals eventually come as the Black & Gold continue to create numerous chances in the final third.
"We created chances," Warzycha said after the match. "I'm not frustrated, I think the guys left everything on the field. The effort was good, the speed of play was good, the passing was good and I can't remember how many times [the Dynamo] blocked the shots inside the box.
"I'm not frustrated. Obviously, I wish that we scored the goals, then the atmosphere would be much better and then people would like it. Everybody would be more happy and we would probably be higher in the standings."
Added goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum: "I still think we're a confident bunch. Obviously the results at home haven't been what we've drawn it up, but having said that, I thought we were the better team. I thought we dictated the pace. We need to continue to do that and not have one mental lapse. I think that one mental lapse of focus or communication or breakdown and just a little bit brilliance on their part, you get punished."
Perhaps it's just been a little bit of bad luck on the Crew's end. On Saturday the Black & Gold out-shot Houston 22-12, but only found the net once in the match.
"Playing well is not good enough anymore. We've got to win games," Dominic Oduro explained. "I want to say we've been just a little bit unlucky, especially in this game. Jairo [Arrieta] hit a couple of balls that were saved by the goalie. There were a couple of other chances we just couldn't put in the net, but it was just a little bit unfortunate. I think we've done well in terms of trying to take it easy in the attacking half and keeping the ball, it's just a matter of putting it in the net."
BARSON IMPRESSES ON THE BACKLINE
With nagging calf soreness, defender Josh Williams was a scratch for Saturday's match against the Dynamo. Williams' misfortune handed Chad Barson his first career MLS start in front of his hometown friends and family. The Homegrown Player impressed his coaches and teammates with his defensive poise and ability to get forward in the attack against Houston.
Despite it being his debut in the starting 11, Barson showed little nerves.
"I feel like I settled in pretty quickly and was able to adjust to the game and it was all smooth sailing from there," Barson said after the match.
"If he is frazzled, he really does a good job of containing it," Gruenebaum added. "I thought he was very poised and did a great job of both attacking, getting behind and serving the ball with defending as well."
Combining with Dominic Oduro on the right side of the field, Barson helped create numerous chances for the Black & Gold throughout the second half. Barson's offensive instinct paid off as the defender drew the equalizing penalty for the Crew.
"[Barson] had a good second half, to be honest with you," Warzycha said of the rookie. "In the first half I don't think we gave him the ball enough. In the second half I think that space was open and obviously he was combining with Dominic and Pipa [Higuaín]. A factor in that was the penalty that we got."
Barson's play earned him high praise from Oduro, the Crew's leading scorer.
"I gave him kudos after the game," the veteran forward said. "I thought he did very well, especially for his first game starting. He was really massive, he played with his heart and I thought he did great.
"Hopefully this a statement to the coaches, telling them he's ready to play at anytime."