The preseason concludes today for Columbus Crew SC as they take on OKC Energy FC in the consolation game of the Suncoast Pro Classic in Bradenton, Fl.
The Black and Gold were undefeated in the tournament, winning their opening two games by a combined score of 9-0, before taking on MLS side Philadelphia Union on Wednesday. After a 1-1 draw in regulation, the Union defeated Crew SC 5-3 in penalty kicks to book their spot in the Classic's final.
Columbus finished second in Group B on six points behind Philadelphia and faces the second place finisher in Group A. OKC ended the group stage with a record of 1-1-1 and four points.
Results are not what head coach Gregg Berhalter is analyzing in preseason, but he will certainly want to see a better performance from his first team than he did on Wednesday. The group that started the game, which is assumed to be close to the first choice lineup when league play begins, struggled to move the ball out of their defensive third and didn't respond well when put under pressure.
As this is the final game of the preseason, the first team is expected to see the bulk of the minutes in this contest. Berhalter will certainly look for better play - albeit against weaker competition - but will want to see the fitness and intensity he expects from his team heading into the first match of the season.
After this match, the team will return to Columbus on Sunday and continue their preparation for Saturday's MLS opener at the Houston Dynamo.