The long-awaited league return of the Cleveland Crunch happened this weekend at the SoccerPLex in North Olmstead, Ohio, and without question, the Crunch showed they were back in a big way!
I have to be honest.
If you are a true soccer fan, you have to understand that the Crunch are a Staple here in Cleveland sports lore. I’ll put this weekend into perspective really quickly.
The Crunch opened their 10-game season against the visiting Colorado Inferno Saturday night. By 9 p.m Saturday night the inferno knew this was going to be a long weekend as they got absolutely mauled. Losing by a score of 17-6 in game one Saturday. Spragling, Minick, and Derezic all scored hat tricks for the Crunch. Sunday afternoon was more of the same as the Crunch piled on more goals. Leading 4-0 at halftime, I caught up with Crunch head coach Lou Kastelic about how he felt about the team going into the second half:
” We hope that the defense will fuel the offense. We’ve made that a point of emphasis. The goal is the shut out so if our defense can accomplish that or get close to that then that should fuel our offense to put up more goals.”
I also caught up with “Big Mac” Spragling and got his thoughts as well.
“Just been trying to be there for my team on and off the field. We have a good group of guys and the chemistry is awesome. I’m just making sure I’m there for my guys 100%.”
The second half of Sunday’s game was tragic for the Inferno as the Crunch exploded with a five-goal third quarter which put the score at 9-0 going into the fourth quarter. I’m going to count the game itself as a shut-out because the Inferno didn’t score their only two goals of the game until garbage time (five mins left in the game) so we are going to call it what it is… the Inferno got beat on all weekend. The Crunch put out a fire Smokey the Bear would have been proud to see. Once again Derezic had a hat trick and Spragling contributed a goal as well.
I stopped coach Kastelic at the end of the game for his final thoughts and here’s what he said.
“I don’t know if I envisioned scoring that many goals but I’ll take as many as we can get. I told the guys we set the bar pretty high this weekend so we have to make sure that we play with that same intensity every time we step on the field.”
Maybe I’m biased, but if the Crunch continues to play with this intensity all season, they will be a contender quickly. The Crunch have a few off but will be back on the field for a three-game road trip starting in April against the Muskegon Risers on April 3rd. This was a hell of a return for an endeared and adored Cleveland team.