Columbus Crew look for historic start to the season

Paul Frederiksen-USA TODAY Sport

On Saturday, the Columbus Crew take on the Philadelphia Union with the opportunity to begin the year 2-0. This would be the first time in team history that the Black and Gold have started with two wins.

After 19 seasons of a league's existence there are usually few firsts left to be had. As a charter member of the MLS, the Columbus Crew has even fewer opportunities to do something for the first time, but this weekend one of those rare occasions presents itself.

After opening the season with a 3-0 win over D.C. United, the 2014 Crew has the chance to be the first team in history to begin their quest for the MLS Cup with a 2-0 record.

This may be surprising, but it is indeed the case.

Year Game 1 Game 2
2013 Crew 3 Chivas 0 White Caps 2 Crew 1
2012 Rapids 2 Crew 0 Crew 2 Impact 0
2011 D.C. United 3 Crew 1 Crew 0 Red Bulls 0
2010 Crew 2 Toronto 0 F.C. Dallas 2 Crew 2
2009 Dynamo 1 Crew 1 Crew 1 Toronto 1
2008 Crew 2 Toronto 0 Red Bulls 2 Crew 0
2007 Crew 0 Red Bulls 0 Salt Lake 0 Crew 0
2006 Wizards 3 Crew 1 Rapids 3 Crew 1
2005 Crew 3 Galaxy 0 Revolution 3 Crew 0
2004 Metrostars 3 Crew 1 Wizards 1 Crew 0
2003 Crew 1 Galaxy 1 Crew 1 Metrostars 0
2002 Fire 2 Crew 0 Crew 1 Metrostars 0
2001 Crew 1 Fire 1 Crew 2 Mutiny 1
2000 Mutiny 5 Crew 1 Crew 2 Earthquakes 1
1999 Metrostars 1 Crew 0 Crew 3 Mutiny 2
1998 Crew 2 Mutiny 1 Burn 2 Crew 1
1997 Crew 2 Rapids 1 Rapids 2 Crew 0
1996 Crew 4 D.C. United 0 Mutiny 2 Crew 1

Columbus has opened the season undefeated over the first two games five times in the team's history. The first time was 2001 when they began the season with a tie against the Chicago Fire and a win over the Tampa Bay Mutiny. 2003 and 2010 saw the team open with the same record. In 2007 and 2009 the team began the year with two draws, but this is as close as they have come.

The opportunity, where the Crew won the first game of the season, presented itself seven times in the past. Last year was the most recent, when the Black and Gold won 3-0 over Chivas USA but fell 2-1 to the Vancouver White Caps the following weekend.

The biggest opening day win was 1996 when Columbus thumped United 4-0 in the first ever game for both teams. The Crew followed that up with a disappointing 2-1 home loss to the now defunct Tampa Bay Mutiny the next week to start this trend.

This season, the Black and Gold opened the campaign on the road before the home opener. This setup has only occurred four times and historically has not gone well. The best the Crew achieved was a win and a loss in 2000.

The first season was the only time Columbus opened a year with two home games to start the season. As it is difficult to win on the road in MLS, this could help explain this otherwise unbelievable fact.

"Is that true," defender Josh Williams asked. "Wow! I had no idea about that stat, that's pretty amazing."

This will be the third time Williams, the longest tenured Crew player who has been with the team since 2010, began the season 1-0, but his team's have never been able to get over the hump.

"It's something we want to go out and bring to the fans... We want to go out there and start off 2-0 and that's just one of many wins we hope to accomplish on the season."

New Head Coach Gregg Berhalter was quick to shy away from discussing something that hasn't occurred.

"Well, we haven't done it yet," he said when asked about being the first team to start 2-0.

Berhalter is a major part of the new era for the Crew and would love to begin his tenure with something historic.

There is a lot of local excitement for this team and beginning 2-0 would create more momentum and allow them to make their mark early in the season with the best start in team history.

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