Third time’s a charm. Columbus Crew SC is looking for its first win of the year in its third preseason match of 2016. The Black & Gold are taking on the Swope Park Rangers in the Desert Diamond Cup in Tucson, Arizona at 8 p.m. ET today.
Crew SC is undefeated in preseason having tied both previous Desert Diamond Cup matches. A week ago, the Black & Gold played to a 2-2 draw with Sporting Kansas City on the heels of a Kei Kamara brace. On Saturday, Kamara found the back of the net again, as Columbus tied Real Salt Lake 1-1.
In both matches, Crew SC featured two sets of 11 players. They went 45 minutes each against Sporting Kansas City, while the Black & Gold swapped their entire line-up after 62 minutes of action against Real Salt Lake.
As Columbus is preparing for its Major League Soccer opener at the Portland Timbers on March 6, the competition for starting 11 spots continues tonight against the Swope Park Rangers. The Rangers are owned by Sporting Kansas City and will begin competition in the United Soccer League this season as USL’s 30th franchise. They are coached by Canadian Marc Dos Santos, who led Ottawa Fury FC to the NASL Soccer Bowl in 2015.
The young team celebrated its first win in its first match as a professional franchise last week, when it defeated the Colorado Rapids 3-1 in the opening match of the Desert Diamond Cup. Forward Kris Tyrpak scored just 40 seconds in and forward Alberto Sanchez (63rd) and midfielder Will Little (90th) sealed the win in the second half. The Rangers played to a scoreless draw with USL’s Arizona United on Saturday.
Following today’s match against the Rangers, Crew SC will take the pitch in the Desert Diamond Cup once more this Saturday. The time and opponent will be determined by today’s tournament results.
Crew SC Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter has indicated that Black & Gold supporters can expect a more solidified starting 11 in the final two Desert Diamond Cup matches.
Find out who gets the start tonight and follow the action on ColumbusCrewSC.com with a live audio stream of the match. Crew SC voice Neil Sika will have the call.