With exactly seven days until the 2017 Major League Soccer regular season kicks off at MAPFRE Stadium, Columbus Crew SC is concluding its preseason on Saturday with a trophy on the line. The Black & Gold's final preseason match at the 2017 Carolina Challenge Cup lines the defending MLS Cup champion Seattle Sounders in opposition, with a Crew SC victory cementing the Carolina Challenge Cup trophy.
The match will stream live on ColumbusCrewSC.com.
In the preseason round-robin tournament's table, Crew SC (1-0-1, 4 points in #CCC17) sits one point ahed of Atlanta United (1-1-0, 3 pts.) and two points ahead of Charleston (0-0-2, 2 pts.) and three points ahead of Seattle (0-1-1, 1 pt.).
If Crew SC draw or lose to Seattle, the trophy will come down to the evening's finale between MLS-expansion side Atlanta United and the tournament host Charleston Battery.
Crew SC is unbeaten in open-to-the-public preseason action at the #CCC17 — along with Charleston, which is also winless. In Saturday's #CCC17 opener, Crew SC came from behind en route to a 2-1 victory, with Federico Higuain welcoming Atlanta United to its first MLS competition with a second-half brace. Matchday 2 saw the Black & Gold finish level with the tournament hosts on Wednesday at MUSC Health Stadium. The sides swapped goals for a 1-1 draw and a point apiece.
So far on the field in Charleston, Crew SC Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter has employed 24 different players — including both Brad Stuver and Zack Steffen in goal. Wednesday saw the Crew SC debut of Ghana international and Columbus Designated Player Jonathan Mensah, after his return with Harrison Afful from the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.
Crew SC started Wednesday's match in a traditional 4-2-3-1 shape, but shifted to a three-man backline after Berhalter made nine changes at halftime.
Seattle, coming off the shortest offseason in MLS after hoisting MLS Cup in December, has yet to register a win in 2017. Saturday's match will mark the preview of the two clubs' May 31 regular-season showdown at MAPFRE Stadium. In #CCC17 action, Seattle tied 1-1 with Charleston before falling 4-2 to Atlanta on Wednesday.
The 2017 Major League Soccer regular season opens on March 4 against the Chicago Fire at MAPFRE Stadium, presented by MAPFRE Insurance. The full Crew SC preseason and regular schedule can be downloaded and synced on iOS and Android devices.