Crew midfielder Birchall set to face old club

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Former LA Galaxy midfielder Chris Birchall will play his first game against his former club as a member of the Columbus Crew.

The Trinidad and Tobago International was an important cog in the Galaxy midfield for three years, but left following the 2011 season to pursue his options in England.  On Tuesday, I caught up with Birchall and provided this story on 

Below is a complete transcript of my interview with Birchall. 

(On playing the Galaxy…)

BIRCHALL: "Ever since I came back to MLS and signed with Columbus, it was the first game that I was looking for on the schedule. It’s a game that I’m really looking forward to. To see the Galaxy again and see how they’re all doing and to play against them and try to get the three points will be tough, but I’m just trying to play well and have a nice night as well."

BIRCHALL: "It’s the same nucleus as the championship team last year. I’m excited about seeing Josh [Saunders] who I was really close with, Jovan [Kirovski], Robbie [Keane] and David [Beckham]—I know that he didn’t make the trip, but all the players, Franklin, Omar. I was with them for three years so it’s kind of the same squad and I’m just really looking forward to seeing them all and see how they’re all doing."

(On watching LA’s early slide from afar…)

BIRCHALL: "It was just one of those periods where it was such a good season last year. Something was bound to come into a set where there were a few cracks. I think that there was a few new players coming together and getting them together and injuries hurt. When Omar got injured that was a massive blow, but you could always tell that they were going to bounce back. Just about now, they’re getting their back four together and are starting to play well. From now on, I think that they’re a really tough team to beat."

(On what he took from his time with LA…)

BIRCHALL: "I was honored to be a member of the Galaxy during one of their greatest seasons in MLS. What we did last year was unbelievable; it would be hard for any team to emulate that. But I was just privileged and honored because I played a lot of games and I’ve got nothing but fond memories of the fans and the players. I’ve also got some fond memories of winning an MLS Cup so it will be something that I’m always grateful for and I’m always looking out for the Galaxy to do well."

(On the importance of the Galaxy came for Columbus…)

BIRCHALL: “We’ve got a lot of games in hand over our opponents. We’ve got six games in hand on Montreal and three or four games in hand on most teams. So these are the kind of games where we need to go out and get three points, we missed the game on Saturday, but soccer came second to what happened. It was emotional and now we’ve got to go out and try and play well. The last month, we’ve been playing really well and we’ve got to keep that going and try to pick up points at home. This is a game where it will be good to get anything out of the game, but we’ve got to go in with the mentality that we’re trying to win it.”

(On how emotional Wednesday’s match will be…)

BIRCHALL: “It’s been a week that the event happened with Kirk, but a lot of players are still caught up about it. Last week was a really emotional week and we had a chance to say good bye and see his family and go to the funeral. The guys carried him off well and this will be the final farewell tribute to him. There are a few things at the game and we’ve got t-shirts and a memorial video as well. It is going to be emotional, but once the whistle blows, we’ll be fine.”