Crew drop preseason opener to Swedish side Malmö FF
The Crew played its first game of the preseason Wednesday at the IMG Academy Fields in Bradenton, Fla., dropping a 2-1 decision to Malmö FF of Sweden. Crew forward Emilio Renteria struck first before Malmö responded through Mathias Ranegie and Jimmy Durmaz to overturn the deficit in a match that consisted of three 45-minute segments.
The Black & Gold got on the board right away, as Dilly Duka dribbled down the field and took a strong shot on goal in the first minute. Malmö goalkeeper Johan Fahlin made the save, then another on Renteria’s first follow, but the Venezuelan’s second effort found the back of the net.
In the 24th minute the Swedes equalized, when midfielder Erik Friberg picked up a rebound off a corner kick cleared by Andy Gruenebaum and found an open Ranegie who proceeded to fire the ball past the Crew keeper. Five minutes later Durmaz volleyed another corner kick clearance past Gruenebaum for a 2-1 lead.
Malmö nearly increased its advantage in the 33rd minute, but Duka was quick to clear the ball off the line – and two minutes later he initiated the play that almost resulted in an equalizer. The Crew midfielder brought the ball down the left side and found an open Cole Grossman who barely missed his chance.
Head coach Robert Warzycha changed all but one player at the 65-minute mark, leaving Gruenebaum to play two full 45-minute segments. The Black & Gold continued to attack and almost got on the board again in the 103rd minute, with Shaun Francis hitting a diagonal ball to Justin Meram on the right wing. Meram crossed the ball into the box finding Tommy Heinemann’s head but the shot was saved by Fahlin.
The Black & Gold will return to action on Saturday, Feb. 11, to face the U.S. Under-17 National Team at IMG Fields in another preseason matchup. The Crew will face its first MLS opponent of the preseason on Wednesday, Feb. 15, as the Seattle Sounders visit Bradenton.
Malmö FF 2, Columbus Crew 1
CLB – Emilio Renteria (unassisted) 1
MALMÖ – Mathias Ranegie (Erik Friberg) 24
MALMÖ – Jimmy Durmaz (unassisted) 29
Columbus Crew first 65 minutes– Andy Gruenebaum, Aubrey Perry, Carlos Mendes, Chad Marshall, Lance Laing*, Ethan Finlay, Cole Grossman, Kirk Urso, Dilly Duka, Milovan Mirosevic, Emilio Renteria
Columbus Crew final 70 minutes – Andy Gruenebaum (Matt Lampson, 25) Korey Veeder, Josh Williams, Eric Gehrig, Shaun Francis, Justin Meram, Danny O’Rourke (Silvio Spann*, 55), Tony Tchani, Bernardo Anor, Olman Vargas (Darren Amoo, 68), Tommy Heinemann (Aaron Horton, 49)
Substitutes not used: Javier Avial*, Andrew Bulls, Nermin Crnkic*, Kevan George
Malmö FF starting lineup: Johan Fahlin, Ulrich Vinzents, Markus Halsti, Pontus Jansson, Ricardinho, Jiloan Hamad, Simon Thern, Erik Friberg, Jimmy Durmaz, Mathias Ranegie, Alexander Nilsson