Columbus Crew SC's 2017 preseason finale ended with the Club's second hoisting of the Carolina Challenge Cup. The Black & Gold won the first tournament's trophy in 2004, and again — via a 1-0 scoreline off 2017 MLS SuperDraft selection Niko Hansen's debut goal — in the 2017 tournament. The victory over the defending MLS Cup champion Seattle Sounders on Saturday cemented Crew SC's unbeaten preseason (2-0-1, 7 points in the Carolina Challenge Cup).
Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter fielded a strong lineup — including both Designated Players, Federico Higuain and newcomer Jonathan Mensah — with Homegrown product Wil Trapp as captain against a full-strength Seattle side. Through three games in #CCC17 action, Trapp was the fourth Crew SC player to wear the armband.
Despite numerous chances for Crew SC and nine corner kicks in the first half, neither team could break away before halftime. It wasn't until the 82nd minute that Columbus' second pick in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft (ninth overall), Hansen, served the difference maker. A quick turnover deep in Seattle's half allowed Trapp to slip Hansen through the Sounders backline and in on goal. In a 1-v-1 with goalkeeper Stefan Frei, Hansen coolly slid the ball just inside the near post.
It was Hansen's first goal for Crew SC in a public match.
Statistically, Columbus led in nearly every recorded category: 14-6 shots, 8-3 shots on goal, 9-4 corner kicks.
In one week, 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.