This weekend’s match against Toronto FC is the 250th all-time regular season contest for Crew SC at historic MAPFRE Stadium. The Black & Gold have played in the iconic venue since 1999, recording a record of 126-65-58. Over that span, Crew SC has scored 380 goals at MAPFRE Stadium while only conceding 267, a differential of +113. Columbus begins its 17th season at MAPFRE Stadium with this match. Over the years, the stadium has also hosted eight U.S. Soccer FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – specifically four consecutive “Dos a Cero” victories for the U.S. over Mexico (2001, 2005, 2009, 2013) – FIFA Women’s World Cup matches, MLS Cup 2001, two MLS All- Star Games and a number of concerts.
Crew SC has gone unbeaten over its last 10 Opening Matches at home, with a 5-0-5 record over the span. The club has a goal differential of +10 (14 goals four, four goals against) in those contests. Crew SC has kept a clean sheet in six of those Opening Matches, including a stretch of three in a row from 2010 - 2012. Last season, Colum- bus defeated Philadelphia by a final score of 2-1 in the Opening Match.
The Black & Gold begin the eighth-annual Trillium Cup rivalry series with this match against Toronto FC. The two teams have battled for the rivalry cup during each season since the Reds’ entry into Major League Soccer in 2008. Crew SC has earned the Trillium Cup five of the previous seven seasons, but Toronto FC captured it last season after winning all three meetings between the sides. Total points in the teams’ matches decides the winner, with the first tiebreaker being away goals and the second tiebreaker being overall goal differential.
OPENING WITH A BANG
Crew SC has experienced success in recent home openers, going unbeaten over its last 10 such contests at MAPFRE Stadium ... the Black & Gold have gone 5-0-5 in their last 10 Opening Matches, accumulating a goal differential of +10 (14 goals four, four goals against) ... Crew SC has kept a clean sheet in six of those Opening Matches, including a stretch of three in a row from 2010 - 2012.
The MLS Disciplinary committee has suspended Columbus Crew SC midfielder Tony Tchani one game and fined the player an undisclosed amount for his 77th minute challenge in the club’s match last weekend at Houston ... Tchani will miss the Opening Match at MAPFRE Stadium as a result of the suspension.
NINE-TENTHS OF THE LAW
Following a season in which Crew SC kept the ball at a 54.12% rate, good for fourth in MLS, the Black & Gold continued their strong possession ways last weekend in Houston ... Columbus recorded the second-highest rate of possession among any MLS club on the League’s opening weekend, holding the ball at a 59.43% rate against the Dynamo ... only Philadelphia (62.06%) notched a higher rate.
Crew SC forward Kei Kamara joined renowned soccer commentator Glenn Davis for a segment on his radio show, Soccer Matters, on ESPN 97.5 Houston. Kamara talked about his return to MLS and shared some stories about growing up in Sierra Leone, moving to the United States and his career thus far.
Despite falling in Houston over the weekend, Crew SC did not lose much ground in the weekly Power Rankings. The Black & Gold placed as high as fifth in MLSsoccer.com's weekly ratings, and as low as 12th in SI.com's standings.
See the full rankings below (last week's ranking in parentheses).
MLSsoccer.com: 5 (4)
ESPNFC: 10 (5)
SI.com: 12 (N/A)
Columbus Crew SC kicks-off its 20th season this weekend as one of Major League Soccer’s 10 charter clubs. All-time, the club has compiled a record of 247-232-115, scoring 856 goals through 19 seasons while conceding 817. Crew SC is one of just five MLS clubs to break the 850 goal mark all-time.
In 2014, Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter’s first year at the helm, Crew SC totaled 52 goals in its 34 regular-season matches. That marked the fourth time in club history that the Black & Gold broke the 50-goal mark for a full season, joining 1998 (67), 1996 (59) and the MLS Cup championship season of 2008 (50).
Of the current active Crew SC roster, 12 different nations are represented, with a 13th (DR Congo) slated to be added via the summer arrival of attacker Cedrick Mabwati. The full list of countries represented on the Black & Gold roster is as follows: USA (16), Argentina (2) and one each of Austria, Cameroon, Iceland, Israel, Jamaica, Sweden, Iraq, Trinidad & Tobago, Costa Rica and Sierra Leone, with Cedrick to add DR Congo to that list.