Gruenebaum Leads Crew to U.S. Open Cup Finals

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Former Kentucky standout goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum helped lead the Columbus Crew to a 2-1 win over D.C. United, clinching a berth in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup final on Wednesday night at RFK Stadium.

Gruenebaum, a UK letterwinner from 2002-05, was good in goal on Wednesday night in leading the Crew to the U.S. Open Cup finals. A 6-foot-1, 200-pounder, Gruenebaum was called upon in goal in place of regular starter Eric Hesmer. The native of Overland Park, Kan., saved three shots in the game, allowing one early goal.

“I am pleased that Andy is doing well,” UK head coach Ian Collins said. “I know he has been bitten by the injury bug, but am really glad he is up and back in the starting lineup.”

A 2005 first-team All-Conference USA selection at UK, Gruenebaum spent every minute in goal as a senior, posting a 0.91 goals-against average with 21 shutouts in his 66 career contests. In the 2006 MLS Supplemental Draft, Gruenebaum was picked with the third overall pick. In his MLS career, Gruenebaum has appeared in 24 games with 23 starts, posting a 6-8-9 career mark and a 1.39 career goals-against average, with four shutouts.

“When coach (Ian) Collins recruited me to come to UK the whole thing was that they told me they would put me in a situation to go play professionally,” Gruenebaum said during an interview with following the 2008 Columbus Crew championship season. “Playing for UK was on the best experiences I ever had. Playing soccer, the school and the friends I made will be something I will never forget or would ever trade for another school. We played the most competitive teams in the nation and we competed in every game. It really prepared for the next level. We had a blue-collar mentality and we didn't take anything for granted. Coach Collins was very adamant about teaching this to the guys. I think UK was a launching pad for my professional career. It was the message that was conveyed to me when I came here and it came true."