Crew head coach Robert Warzycha will have a chance to thank the Montreal Impact next weekend for being Major League Soccer's latest expansion team. MLS's 19th team gives the league an unbalanced schedule and the Black & Gold a Week 2 bye to regroup following Columbus's 2-0 defeat in Colorado on opening weekend. The club will stay fit by hosting exhibitions against Michigan State and West Virginia at Crew Stadium on Saturday.
The exhibitions will give Warzycha a chance to evaluate all of his players ahead of the home opener against the Impact on March 24.
"It's a bye week for us, so we obviously have to keep our fitness," Warzycha said after the team's training session in Obetz on Thursday. "It's going to be good for the guys to try something new. It will be important for us to work on formations, set pieces, and things like that."
The exhibitions also give more time for Crew veterans to build on-field chemistry with new arrivals such as Milovan Mirosevic and Ethan Finlay.
"We have a very good group of guys. It's a very friendly atmosphere. It's a very good environment for both younger and older guys," Warzycha said of the meshing of his team.
Unhappy with his team's result in Colorado, Crew captain Chad Marshall hopes Saturday's exhibitions will give the team a chance to correct mistakes that led to last week's defeat against the Rapids.
"We'll try to keep the ball more and assert ourselves on the field," Marshall said Thursday. "We didn't do much right in Colorado, so we need to work on every aspect of the game. Most importantly, we need to score some goals."
The Crew kick off against Michigan State at 11:00am EST on Saturday, followed by West Virginia at 1:30pm EST. Admission and parking is free to both matches.