Crew secure draws in Arizona

The Crew arrived in Phoenix, Ariz., last Friday (Feb. 19) to continue preparations for the 2010 MLS season and upcoming CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal series against Toluca of Mexico. The club has participated in two exhibition matches since arriving in Phoenix, earning draws on both occasions.

On Sunday (Feb. 21), the Black & Gold took on the LA Galaxy at Arizona State's Sun Devil Stadium in its first preseason action against an MLS opponent. The match ended in a scoreless draw, after a competitive and even affair which saw limited opportunities for both sides.

On Tuesday (Feb. 23), the Crew faced off against the Colorado Rapids at the Grande Sports Complex in Casa Grande, Ariz., and came away with a 1-1 draw. The Black & Gold struck early in the proceedings when forward Emilio Renteria fed Duncan Oughton, who sent a incisive pass to Steven Lenhart into space. Lenhart controlled the pass and coolly finished the chance to put the Crew ahead, 1-0. Unfortunately, Colorado would equalize just 15 minutes later when the Crew was whistled for a penalty kick. Omar Cummings stepped to the spot and sent his shot past Crew goalkeeper William Hesmer to even the score. The remainder of the match saw back-and-forth play with multiple substitutions and neither side able to find the game-winner.

With the draw, the Crew remains unbeaten with a 3-0-2 record in preseason play. The squad will return to training over the next several days before taking on Chivas USA on Saturday (Feb. 27), followed by matches on March 2, vs. the Arizona Suaharos, and March 4, vs. Kansas City Wizards.

The squad is slated to return to Columbus on March 5, where it will prepare for the first leg of its CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal vs. Toluca of Mexico (see item below).

The Crew will open the MLS regular season - its 15th season overall and 12th in first-of-its-kind Crew Stadium - when it hosts Toronto FC in the first leg of the Trillium Cup on Saturday, March 27.

Upcoming Crew 2010 Preseason Schedule (subject to change):
Thursday, Feb. 25 - Friday, Feb. 26: Training in Arizona
Saturday, Feb. 27: vs. Chivas USA
Monday, March 1: Training in Arizona
Tuesday, March 2: vs. Arizona Suaharos
Wednesday, March 3: Training in Arizona
Thursday, March 4: vs. Kansas City Wizards, Reach 11 Sports Complex, Phoenix, Ariz.
Friday, March 5 - Monday, March 8: Columbus
Tuesday, March 9: CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal vs. Toluca, Crew Stadium, 8 p.m.
Wednesday, March 10: Reserve match vs. Notre Dame, Crew Stadium, 11 a.m.

TICKETS FOR CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE QUARTERFINAL ON SALE
Tickets for the March 9 home leg of the Crew's CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal vs. Mexican club Toluca are currently on sale at the Crew Stadium Box Office, all central Ohio Ticketmaster retail locations, via Ticketmaster phone at 1-800-745-3000 and on-line at TheCrew.com. Ticket prices start at $25 ($20 youth) for the March 9 match that is slated to kick off at 8 p.m. at Crew Stadium. The second game of the two-game, home-and-home total-goals match-up will be played at Toluca on Wednesday, March 17. Should the Crew advance to the semifinal stage, it would face the winner of the Pachuca (Mexico) vs. Comunicaciones (Guatemala) series March 30-April 1 and April 6-8. The Crew advanced to the quarterfinals by finishing the group stage in second place of Group C with 8 pts. The CONCACAF Champions League is the confederation's annual club championship which features 24 teams from CONCACAF's three sub-regions: North America, Central America and the Caribbean. The top two teams from each group qualified for the Championship Round. The Final Round, to be held in late April 2010, will also be two-legged, home-and-away. The champion will qualify for the prestigious seven-team FIFA Club World Cup - which annually pits each continental confederation's champion against the others - in December 2010.

CREW SOCCER ACADEMY RETURNS TO THE FIELD FOR START OF 2010 SCHEDULE
The Crew Soccer Academy 15/16 and 17/18 squads returned to action over the weekend (Feb. 20-21), as they traveled to Michigan to take on Great Lakes Division opponents Derby County Wolves and Vardar. On Saturday (Feb. 20), both squads took on Derby County, with the 15/16s kicking things off with a scoreless draw against the Wolves, while the 17/18s suffered a 4-2 defeat, despite goals from Aaron Horton and Matt Walker. On Sunday (Feb. 21), CSA took on Vardar, and the 15/16s secured a 2-0 victory thanks to goals by Chris Davis and Tyler Woolum. The 17/18s earned a 2-2 draw, with both goals coming from Matt Walker. The 15/16 squad now owns a 5-1-1 record, while the 17/18 squad sits at 4-2-1 on the season. Both teams will now have a month off before once again facing off against Derby County Wolves and Vardar, this time at the Crew Training Facility at Obetz (4156 Alum Creek Dr.) on March 20-21.

GAVEN, MARSHALL AND ROGERS NAMED TO 20-MAN ROSTER FOR TONIGHT'S FRIENDLY AGAINST EL SALVADOR
The Crew's Eddie Gaven, Chad Marshall and Robbie Rogers were each named to the 20-man travel roster for the U.S. Men's National Team's friendly match against El Salvador tonight (Feb. 24) at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. at 7 p.m. ET. The match against El Salvador, the USA's second game of 2010, can be seen live on ESPN Classic. Fans can also follow along at ussoccer.com's MatchTracker and at twitter.com/ussoccer. Tonight's match in Florida will be followed by a friendly against third-ranked Netherlands on March 3 in Amsterdam. The U.S. Men's National Team has been drawn into Group C with England, Slovenia and Algeria for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. The U.S. will open its sixth consecutive World Cup finals tournament against England on June 12 in Rustenburg, and will follow that game with matches against Slovenia on June 18 in Johannesburg and Algeria on June 23 in Tshwane/Pretoria.

CREW STADIUM TO AGAIN SERVE AS COOKIE DISTRIBUTION SITE FOR 2,000 CENTRAL OHIO GIRL SCOUT TROOPS
Crew Stadium will once again serve as the distribution site for over 2,000 Central Ohio Girl Scout troops this Thursday through Saturday (Feb. 25-27). Hours of pick-up will be 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. It marks the second time that all Central Ohio Girl Scout Troops will participate in the cookie distribution at Crew Stadium, as 28 semi-trailers full of delicious Girl Scout cookies will be doled out.

CREWXTRA AIRS WEDNESDAY NIGHTS AT 8 AND 11 P.M. ON ONN-TV
CrewXtra, the Crew's weekly show, airs every Wednesday at 8 p.m. (and again at 11 p.m.) on ONN-TV. This week, host Beau Bishop will be joined by technical director Brian Bliss, former Crew forward and current Crew TV analyst Dante Washington, and Columbus Dispatch beat writer Shawn Mitchell. CrewXtra provides viewers with in-depth coverage and access to the team every week, including game recaps, breakdowns and previews of the upcoming matches, while interspersing other news, interviews, discussion and features.