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MATCH NOTES | Crew SC at Toronto FC

CREW SC FACES TORONTO FC FOR FIRST MATCH OF 2018 MLS REGULAR SEASON CAMPAIGN
Columbus Crew SC faces Toronto FC for the first of two regular-season meetings between the two clubs in 2017. This is the 32nd all-time regular-season match between the Black & Gold and Toronto dating back to the 2007 MLS regular season, with the Black & Gold holding a winning 13-8-10 record against Toronto over that span.

LAST REGULAR-SEASON MEETING
Crew SC and Toronto FC last met at BMO Field on May 26 for the third of three regular-season meetings in 2017. Toronto won the contest 5-0 with goals by Victor Vazquez (6’, 59’), Justin Morrow (39’), Jonathan Osorio (86’) and Jordan Hamilton (90+3’). 

BLACK & GOLD WIN 2018 CAROLINA CHALLENGE CUP
During the 2018 preseason, Crew SC participated in the 2018 Carolina Challenge Cup, going undefeated with a record of 3-0-0 en route to winning the tournament for the second consecutive year. The Black & Gold opened the tournament with a 3-1 victory over Atlanta United FC thanks to goals by Pedro Santos, Cristian Martinez and an own goal by Atlanta’s Josef Martinez. The second match of the tournament saw Columbus face off against the hosts, the Charleston Battery, and walking away 2-1 victors thanks to a brace by Gyasi Zardes. Crew SC secured the title following a 2-0 victory over Minnesota United FC through goals by Federico Higuain and Gyasi Zardes.

CREW SC SET TO FEATURE PLENTY OF NEW FACES IN 2018...
Crew SC’s roster underwent several changes during the o season and is set to feature nine new faces during the 2018 MLS regular season. The Black & Gold additions include 2018 MLS SuperDraft picks Ben Lundgaard (goalkeeper), Edward Opoku (forward) and Luis Argudo (midfielder); MLS veterans Jon Kempin (goalkeeper), Mike Grella (midfielder), Gyasi Zardes (forward) and Ricardo Clark (midfielder); and the South Americans Eduardo Sosa (midfielder) and Young Designated Player Milton Valenzuela (defender).

...AND CREW SC ALSO HAS A STRONG VETERAN PRESENCE
The current Crew SC roster boasts of ve players who have made 50 or more appearances for the Black & Gold. 

YOUNG PLAYERS MAKE UP LARGE CHUNK OF CREW SC’S ROSTER
In 2017, Crew SC had one of the youngest rosters in MLS. This season, youth continues to be prominent in the Black & Gold squad, as 12 of the 27 players (44.4% of the squad) on the current roster are 23 years or younger.

CREW SC ROSTER HAS LARGE INTERNATIONAL CONTINGENT
Crew SC’s 2018 roster features 13 players from seven countries outside the U.S. and four different continents: Midfielder Federico Higuain (Argentina); defender Gaston Sauro (Argentina); defender Milton Valenzuela (Argentina); midfielder Artur (Brazil); midfielder Niko Hansen (Denmark); midfielder Mohammed Abu (Ghana); defender Lalas Abubakar (Ghana); defender Harrison Afful (Ghana); defender Jonathan Mensah (Ghana); forward Edward Opoku (Ghana); midfielder Cristian Martinez (Panama); mid elder Pedro Santos (Portugal); and mid elder Eduardo Sosa (Venezuela). Of the 12 players, Federico Higuain has the longest tenure with the club, having joined the Black & Gold halfway through the 2012 season. 

VALENZUELA: FIRST YOUNG DP IN CREW SC HISTORY
Argentine defender Milton Valenzuela joined Crew SC as a Young Designated Player on loan from Newell’s Old Boys of Argentina’s First Division. The 19-year-old is a product of Newell’s Old Boys Academy and has also represented Argentina’s Under-20 squad, at the 2017 South American Youth Football Championship and at the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup. Valenzuela is the first Young Designated Player in club history and is now one of three Designated Players on the squad, alongside fellow Argentine Federico Higuain and Portuguese midfielder Pedro Santos.

GYASI ZARDES ALREADY SCORING FOR CREW SC
Forward Gyasi Zardes – who joined Crew SC in January – has gotten off to a bright start for Crew SC, scoring six goals in four pre-season friendlies. Zardes tallied three goals during the Pacific Rim Cup, registering a brace against Consadole Sapporo before tallying a strike against Iwaki FC. Additionally, Zardes also scored three goals during the 2018 Carolina Challenge Cup, recording a brace against the Charleston Battery and a goal against Minnesota United FC.

BLACK & GOLD TRIO WEARS RED, WHITE AND BLUE
Crew SC midfielder Wil Trapp, goalkeeper Zack Steffen and newly acquired forward Gyasi Zardes all featured for the U.S. Men’s National Team during the Stars and Stripes recent friendly against Bosnia–Herzegovina. Trapp – the Black & Gold captain – made his first start (third appearance) while also captaining the senior National Team for the first time. Similarly, Steffen earned his first cap with the U.S. at the senior level. Meanwhile, Zardes made his 30th start (38th appearance) for the Stars and Stripes. 

WHERE TO WATCH/LISTEN
Saturday’s contest against Toronto FC kicks-off at 1:00 p.m. ET and is set to be televised regionally on ABC-6, Spectrum Sports and BCSN2. Neil Sika (play-by-play) and Dwight Burgess (analyst) are set to have the call in English. Coverage begins at 1:00 p.m. ET. Exclusively on Spectrum Sports and BCSN2, “Crew SC Post-Match” begins immediately following the action. Locally, the contest is available via the radio in English on CD102.5 FM. The English radio broadcast also is set to stream live on ColumbusCrewSC.com. New this year, a broadcast of the match is set to be streamed in Spanish on ColumbusCrewSC.com, with Juan Valladares on the call. The complete list of places to catch the Black & Gold on TV is available here. For complete regional television listings, please visit ColumbusCrewSC.com/broadcast


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