OBETZ, Ohio — Getting away from the game for a few days was just what the Columbus Crew needed at this point of the season.
After last Wednesday’s 1-0 win at Vancouver to start the second-half of the 34-game schedule, head coach Robert Warzycha (pictured above right) didn’t regroup his team again until Monday and many players scattered across the country.
“It was a nice refresher, a chance to get away and take our minds off things,” forward Tommy Heinemann said Monday.
He and his wife spent the weekend about two hours south of Columbus in Cincinnati strolling the riverfront and downtown and visiting an aquarium across the Ohio River in Newport, Ky.
Water was a big attraction, which is no surprise for anyone living in landlocked Columbus. Chilean defender Sebastián Miranda went to Chicago to enjoy its beaches, and Warzycha and his wife went to Niagara Falls. Goalkeeper William Hesmer, meanwhile, opted returned to his native North Carolina.
“I got a chance to go to the beach, enjoy the ocean,” he said. “It’s always good to go back and see my family.”
Forward Jeff Cunningham, fresh off scoring the goal at Vancouver that tied Jaime Moreno for the all-time MLS lead, was able to enjoy the mini-vacation with his wife and child in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
“They have a big Jamaican community,” the Jamaica-born former US international said. “So I was able to get some good food and get to the beach. I missed the ocean.”
Midfielder Robbie Rogers went to New York City, but defender Josh Gardner and his wife and two young children decided to stay in Columbus and utilize their season pass at a suburban water park to survive the 90-degree-plus days.
“It was a good break at a good time,” Gardner said. “We needed it because this month is extremely difficult.”
The Crew likely wouldn’t have had time off if they hadn’t lost a Lamar Hunt US Open Cup match to third-division Richmond on June 28 because the quarterfinal match would have been Tuesday night at Sporting Kansas City. Instead, the Crew have the week to prepare for the arrival of San Jose on Saturday to start a stretch of four league games and a friendly, against England’s Newcastle United, on July 26.
Warzycha liked the energy and rejuvenation he’s seen at practice since reconvening.
“After so many games it’s nice to get a break,” he said. “They got to spend some time with their families and go where it’s a peaceful place. Hopefully they were thinking about how to get a championship this year.”