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Columbus Crew SC Take Care of the Costa Rica U-23s

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It was two early goals from two attacking players that gave Crew SC their 2-0 win in their second preseason contest in Florida.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Columbus Crew SC continued their preseason on Saturday evening in their second match of the IMG Suncoast Pro Classic in Bradenton, Fl. The Black and Gold defeated the Costa Rica Under-23 team, 2-0 with two first half goals.

The match started quickly with forward Kei Kamara coming close after just 11 minutes, but it was in the 15th minute that he opened the scoring for Crew SC. Left back Waylon Francis was played into space down the flank and delivered a perfect cross that Kamara dispatched into the net with ease.

Two minutes later, Columbus doubled their lead, this time through Federico Higuain. Kamara played winger Ethan Finlay down the outside and he sent a low cross into the middle of the 18-yard box. Higuain collected the pass, waited for an opening, and fired the shot into the net to give the Black and Gold a 2-0 advantage.

The Costa Rican U-23s nearly cut the lead in half in the 31st minute. After a Crew SC corner, the Ticos counterattacked and chip shot hit the wood work of goalkeeper Steve Clark's goal.

For the first time this preseason head coach Gregg Berhalter did not make wholesale changes at the halftime break. electing instead to get most of his players some more minutes as they move closer to the start of the regular season. Kamara did exit the game at the break for second-year forward Adam Bedell.

The second half was much less eventful than the first aside from two efforts from a few chances for Crew SC. The first came from a ball played back across the box by Bedell that Ben Speas put over the next and the second, in the closing stages of the game, was another ball played back across the box to Speas that was deflected over the net.

Winger Kristinn Steindorsson also almost found the net for the second time this preseason when Speas laid a ball off to him, but his shot hit the post and was cleared.

Crew SC are now 2-0 in this preseason tournament, having scored nine goals in those two matches.

Columbus will next face MLS side, the Philadelphia Union on Wednesday at 5:00 pm ET. The Black and Gold will have one more preseason game in Bradenton three days later against an opponent that is to be announced before opening the MLS schedule on March 7 against the Houston Dynamo.