CHARLESTON—With just 10 days separating the Black & Gold from the 2018 Major League Soccer regular season, they are sure to finish the preseason in style. Crew SC has now scored 13 goals through its first four preseason matches, with the latest goals coming in a 2-1 victory over United Soccer League's Charleston Battery in the 2018 Carolina Challenge Cup on Wednesday night at MUSC Health Stadium.
While the Battery seemed to have the upper hand in the opening moments of the first half, the Black & Gold maintained their composure. Both sides delivered several close calls, but it was Ian Svantesson (32') - a Charleston forward - who was able to send it to the back of the net and open the scoring.
The 6-foot-6-inch forward didn't stop there, continuing to threaten Columbus' goal. Crew SC's goalkeeper, Zack Steffen, pounced into action a few minutes later and punched the ball out of danger before Svantesson could get his head on it.
After the break, the Black & Gold wasted no time as Gyasi Zardes forced Charleston's goalkeeper off his line two minutes into the second half. The key for Columbus to find the back of the net was to attack through the wings and in the 56th minute midfielder Edward Opoku found the room to send a cross in for a brilliant Zardes header to the back of the net and even the score 1-1.
Similarly, in the 82nd minute, midfielder Harrison Afful created enough space on the right side to send a cross in for another Zardes header, which put the Black & Gold up 2-1, giving them the victory.
Crew SC is back in action on Saturday to battle Minnesota United FC for a 5 p.m. ET kickoff at MUSC Health Stadium in their final match of the 2018 Carolina Challenge Cup before kicking off the 2018 MLS regular season on the road against Toronto FC on March 3.
FIRST HALF LINEUPS
Columbus Crew SC: Zack Steffen; Connor Maloney, Jonathan Mensah ©, Aboubacar Keita**, Hector Jimenez; Sean Zawadzki**, Mohammed Abu; Cristian Martinez, Eduardo Sosa, Pedro Santos; Adam Jahn
**Crew SC Academy player
Charleston Battery: Odisnel Cooper; Quinton Griffith, Taylor Mueller ©, Skylar Thomas, Jarad van Schaik; Victor Mansaray, Neveal Hackshaw, Tah Brian Anunga, Kotaro Higashi; Ataulla Guerra; Ian Svantesson
SECOND HALF LINEUPS
Columbus Crew SC: Logan Ketterer; Harrison Afful, Alex Crognale, Lalas Abubakar, Milton Valenzuela; Artur, Ricardo Clark; Edward Opoku, Federico Higuain © , Luis Argudo; Gyasi Zardes
Charleston Battery: Odisnel Cooper; Quinton Griffith (Clifton Woodbine 65’), Taylor Mueller © (Kyle Bjornethun 71’), Jay Bolt, Jarad van Schaik; Nico Rittmeyer, Vincenzo Candela, Tah Brian Anunga (Angelo Kelly 62’), Ryan Arambula; Kyle Murphy; Ian Svantesson (Manolo Sanchez 62’)
CHS – Ian Svantesson (Tah Brian Anunga) 32’
CLB – Gyasi Zardes (Edward Opoku) 56’
CLB – Gyasi Zardes (Harrison Afful) 82’