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Columbus Crew SC Home Openers Through the Ages

Crew SC are set to open their home slate of the 2015 season so we took a look back at the previous 19 home openers in team history.

Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Columbus Crew SC prepares for their 20th home opener in team history on Saturday, as they welcome Toronto FC to MAPFRE Stadium.

The Black and Gold are 10-2-7 in home openers, with one of those wins coming via the old shootout format. The last time Crew SC lost a home opener was 2004 to the then New York/New Jersey Metrostars.

If patterns mean anything, the match between Columbus and Toronto will end in a draw, as Crew SC has alternated between a win and a tie each year since 2007 where they drew with the New York Red Bulls.

The Black and Gold will look to introduce fans to their newly renamed stadium with a result this weekend to continue their streak of 10 matches without a loss in home openers.

Before the excitement kicks off on Saturday, let's take a look back at the 19 home openers in Crew SC history.

1996 - D.C. United 0 Columbus Crew 4

It was the inaugural game for Crew SC (the Crew back then) as they welcomed United to town. D.C. had played in the opening MLS game the previous week, falling 1-0 at the San Jose Clash.

A week later, the Black and Gold dismantled the team that would be crowned the first MLS Cup Champions at the season's conclusion in front of a sellout crowd of 25,266 at Ohio Stadium.

After an own goal by United defender Thor Lee became the first goal in Columbus' history after 18 minutes, soon-to-be legend Brian McBride went to work. Crew SC's No. 20 scored an unassisted goal in the 29th minute, before providing the assist to Pete Marino shortly after halftime.

McBride capped the day with a spectacular play and finish just four minutes from full time. After a long punt from goalkeeper Bo Oshoniyi, the striker headed the ball over the defender before calmly tucking the ball into the far net to complete the 4-0 victory and earn Columbus the team's first win in its short history.

1997 - Colorado Rapids 1 Columbus Crew 1 (Columbus wins shootout 3-2)

The attendance wasn't quite the same for year two's home opener, but the Black and Gold began the season in front of a respectable 14,485 fans at the Horse Shoe on March, 29 1997.

The Rapids opened the scoring six minutes before halftime thanks to a goal from defender Steve Trittschuh.

Despite dominating much of the game and outshooting Colorado 18-11, Crew SC couldn't manage a goal until the 79thminute. It was Marino with the finish that eventually sent the game to penalty kicks and gave the Black and Gold a win over that year's MLS Cup runner up.

The game marked the debut of United States National Team goalkeeper Brad Friedel, who played 29 games for Crew SC that year, recording seven shutouts on his way to winning the MLS Goalkeeper of the Year award, the only Columbus goalkeeper to win the award in the team's history.

1998 - D.C. United 1 Columbus Crew 2

After beginning the season with a 2-1 win at the Tampa Bay Mutiny, Crew SC fell 2-1 to the Dallas Burn the following week. It wasn't until week three of the MLS season that Columbus came home to play their first game in front of their fans.

The April 4, 1998 game had a cloud surrounding it, as the Black and Gold faithful knew they would not be able to play their home games at Ohio Stadium, the place they called home their first two years of existence, the following year due to renovations taking place after the season, but had not yet been approved for a stadium of their own.

It was defender Mike Lapper who opened the scoring just 13 minutes into the contest, but United responded quickly through talented striker Jaime Moreno just eight minutes later.

Brian McBride broke the deadlock in the 56th minute with his third goal in as many games that season and U.S. goalkeeper Juergen Sommer made four saves to earn the team the full three points and their third win in as many home openers.

The game marked the first time fans of the Black and Gold saw MLS Golden Boot winner and Scoring Champion for 1998, Stern John, in person.

1999 - New England Revolution 0 Columbus Crew 2

The most anticipated home match in Crew SC history took place on May 15, 1999, as the Black and Gold opened the nation's first professional soccer specific stadium, Columbus Crew Stadium.

After opening the season with seven consecutive road games, an MLS record at the time, the Black and Gold took on the New England Revolution in front of an overflow crowd of 24,741.

Second-year forward Jeff Cunningham brought the crowd to their feet in the 10th minute, when he took a pass from Stern John and finished the first goal in the new stadium's history, his third on the year.

In the second half, Cunningham returned the favor to John, providing the helper for MLS' leading scorer from the previous season.

Goalkeeper Mark Dougherty made five saves and the Crew SC defense held strong to shutout New England for the second time that season and earn the first win in the stadium's history.

2000 - San Jose Earthquakes 1 Columbus Crew 2 (O.T.)

In 2000, MLS made a rule change that put Crew SC in the league's history books. For the first time, the league would go to a golden goal overtime period if the game was tied at the end of regulation. If neither team scored in the extra session, the game would end in a draw.

In Columbus' second game of the year - after being soundly beaten 5-1 in their opener by the Tampa Bay Mutiny - the Black and Gold returned home and midfielder Robert Warzycha immortalized himself with league's first golden goal, a moment that is still displayed in large image hanging in the lower concourse of MAPFRE Stadium.

In a year where Crew SC would struggle, finishing at the bottom of the Central Division and scoring only 48 goals in 32 games, it appeared the team would not score in the opener for the first time in franchise history. That is until speedy midfielder Brian West opened the scoring in the 85th minute.

West's goal appeared to be the winner for the Black and Gold, but forward Ronaldo Cerritos converted a penalty kick in stoppage time, sending the game to overtime.

In the 101st minute, the Polish Rifle stepped up to take a free kick, subsequently curling it into the goal to send his team into euphoria and give Columbus its first of 11 wins on the season.

2001 - Chicago Fire 1 Columbus Crew 1

After opening in 1999, Columbus Crew Stadium was awarded the 2001 MLS Cup and Crew SC wanted to be in the Final at home that year. The team opened the season in that stadium with the first home opening draw in the franchise's history against its rivals from Chicago.

The two teams combined for 32 shots, but each goalkeeper, Tom Presthus for Columbus and Zach Thorton for the Fire, was only each beaten one time.

Chicago opened the scoring 16 minutes in when DeMarcus Beasley found John Wolyniec for the first goal of the season. In the middle of the second half, last year's opening day hero, Robert Warzycha, registered the assist on forward Dante Washington's equalizer.

Crew SC would struggle in the early portion of the season, going 1-3-2 resulting in the firing of head coach Tom Fitzgerald. Assistant coach Greg Andrulis was appointed interim manager and eventually given the position full time.

Although the club finished 12-4-4 over its final 20 games, Columbus was eliminated in the first round of the MLS Cup Playoffs by eventual champion, the San Jose Earthquakes.

The opening game marked the first appearance and start for rookie Edson Buddle who went on to score 42 goals in 106 appearances for Crew SC.

2002 - Chicago Fire 2 Columbus Crew 0

The 2002 season will be remember by Crew SC fans as the year the team won it's first championship, the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, but the season did not begin on a good note for the Black and Gold.

After six seasons undefeated in home openers, Columbus finally lost their first game of the season in friendly confines that year.

For the second year in a row, the Chicago Fire came to town to welcome Crew SC fans in the opening game. After the 1-1 draw a season previous, the Fire came out, well, on fire.

The match did not start well with new defender Chad McCarty, who was acquired via the MLS Waiver Draft that offseason, putting the ball past Tom Presthus for an own goal on his debut. Columbus held tight for much of the rest of the game, but a young Josh Wolff - now a Crew SC assistant - doubled the score in the 70th minute.

The Black and Gold, who started the game in an attacking-minded 4-3-3, threw numbers forward in the second half and brought on striker Dante Washington for McCarty and Edson Buddle for defender Mike Clark, as well as introducing a bright, young talent in Kyle Martino, who would go on to win MLS Rookie of the Year. It was all for nothing though, as Columbus was unable to beat Zach Thorton and fell, and was shutout, for the first time in a home opener.

2003 LA Galaxy 1 Columbus Crew 1

The 2003 season was quite the opposite start to 2002. Although the Black and Gold drew their opening match at home with the LA Galaxy, Crew SC won their next three games to get off to the best start in team history at the time.

The contest with the Galaxy started brightly, with Edson Buddle opening the scoring 10 minutes from halftime on an assist from the U.S. Open Cup Final hero Freddy Garcia.

Despite outshooting LA 18-13, the Black and Gold were forced to settle for a draw thanks to the clinical finishing of forward Carlos Ruiz, who would earn the MLS Golden Boot for the second consecutive season that year.

The match did mark the debut of two new faces for Columbus fans. Both Frankie Hejduk and Ross Paule, acquired in the offseason, started this game for the Black and Gold.

2004 New York/New Jersey Metrostars 3 Columbus Crew 1

It was a year to remember for Crew SC fans. The Black and Gold set the record for longest unbeaten streak in MLS history (18 games) and the team won its first Supporter's Shield and Eastern Conference title.

Unfortunately, the home opener was one of the low points of the 2004 season, as they were handed one of only five losses on the year.

Frankie Hejduk got Columbus off to a good start, scoring an unassisted goal 30 minutes into the match, but it was all New York after that.

Second-year forward Mike Magee bagged his first goal of the season just before halftime to tie the game at one. Shortly after the break, John Wolyniec (with an assist from future Columbus midfielder Eddie Gaven) gave the Metrostars the lead before Amado Guevara made it 3-1 just before the final whistle.

Crew SC would lose their next two games and not earn their first win - 1-0 over the New England Revolution at home - until mid-May. After that the Black and Gold took off and had a remarkable regular season.

2005 LA Galaxy 0 Columbus Crew 3

The 2005 campaign began with a bang with a 3-0 thrashing of one of the league's darlings, the LA Galaxy. Edson Buddle had a big day to start the year with two goals in the win.

For many fans, the win tasted a bit strange due to a striker Ante Razov playing a major part in Columbus' win. The former Chicago Fire forward was acquired by Crew SC in the offseason, but was someone many Black and Gold fans detested and were not happy to have at their club. Razov registered a goal and an assist in his first game for the team, but was traded by midseason, as he caused issues in the locker room.

Buddle began the scoring just eight minutes with an assist from another new face, Manny Lagos. Just after halftime, Buddle doubled the lead and his season total with his second goal of the game, this one coming from a ball played by Razov.

Razov finished the scoring, and the day for LA, with a free kick goal seven minutes later.

Although the season began brightly, a series of season-ending injuries and national team call-ups derailed the campaign for Crew SC and head coach Greg Andrulis was fired halfway through the year and Robert Warzycha was named interim head coach.

2006 Chicago Fire 1 Columbus Crew 1

During the offseason between the 2005 and 2006 seasons, Crew SC hired former LA Galaxy head coach Sigi Schmid and there was much rejoicing.

The Black and Gold began the season with two road games, two 3-1 losses to the Kansas City Wizards and the Colorado Rapids, before they returned home. Once again it was the Chicago Fire who came to town.

The game was a rather uneventful one with each goalkeeper only having to make three saves. Chris Rolfe scored just after halftime on an assist from Chad Barrett, but the Black and Gold equalized just six minutes later on a penalty kick converted by new signing Sebastián Rozental.

Kei Kamara, who presently just returned to Columbus for this season, made his home debut for the club in this game, starting alongside Rozental, after scoring in the opening game of the season.

2007 New York Red Bulls 0 Columbus Crew 0

Crew SC had a horrid start to the 2007 season and the opening game draw with the Red Bulls didn't help matters.

Hometown hero Danny O'Rourke made his first start for his local club after four years at Indiana University and a year each with the San Jose Earthquakes and New York. Also, forward Andy Herron made his debut after Columbus traded a second-round pick to acquire him from the Chicago Fire.

In this match, the Black and Gold fired 17 shots but only put five on goal, all of which were saved.

This game was the start of a poor stretch run by Crew SC where they went 1-4-5 to start the campaign.

Columbus made two moves mid-season that changed the course of the franchise forever. Schmid acquired his former forward, Alejandro Moreno and then signed Guillermo Barros Schelotto on April 19.

Chad Marshall and new goalkeeper William Hesmer returned from injury late in the season and Columbus lost only three times over a near two-month stretch. The season ended on a bad note but there was promise on the horizon heading into 2008.

2008 Toronto FC 0 Columbus Crew 2

It was a great start to a great season for Crew SC in 2008. The Black and Gold began the season with a game against second-year side Toronto FC and took advantage of the young club.

In the match, each team fired 13 shots and put five on goal. Columbus' more clinical finishing was the difference though.

Adam Moffat, who was signed before the conclusion of the 2007 season, scored the first goal of the season, and the first of him MLS career, in just his second game with the club in the 26th minute.

The Black and Gold controlled much of the game and finally doubled their lead in the 76th minute through Alejandro Moreno, who was setup by winger Eddie Gaven.

The win was one of 17 on the year, as Crew SC won their second Supporter's Shield en route to their first MLS Cup Championship.

2009 Toronto FC 1 Columbus Crew 1

After beginning the season with a 1-1 draw at the Houston Dynamo, the defending champions put up its championship banner and the players received their MLS Cup rings before the first home match of the year.

There was a different feel though as championship-winning head coach Sigi Schmid had moved on to expansion side Seattle Sounders to be closer to his family. With him, went midfielder/defender Brad Evans, who was a big part of the team's playoff run from the year before.

Guillermo Barros Schelotto scored the first goal of the season for Columbus from the penalty spot. Crew SC would have begun the home slate of the season with a second-straight victory over their Canadian rivals, but left back Gino Padula inadvertently put the ball past William Hesmer for an own goal and a 1-1 draw.

It was the beginning of a rough start to the year for the Black and Gold, who didn't earn their first win until the eighth match of the season. Despite the slow beginning to the year, Crew SC was able to win their second-straight Supporter's Shield, but was bounced from the playoffs in the first round.

2010 Toronto FC 0 Columbus Crew 2

Once again, Toronto FC and Crew SC met in the home opener for the Black and Gold. Once again, the home side was the victor by a 2-0 score.

It was another great game for Guillermo Barros Schelotto, who finished the match with a goal and an assist.

In the 29th minute, a Schelotto set piece found the head of Andy Iro and the big center back put it home for the first goal of the year. Then, late in the second half, Schelotto doubled the lead.

Once again Crew SC dominated TFC and it was a beginning to a good start to the year for Columbus.

2011 New York Red Bulls 0 Columbus Crew 0

After a major roster overhaul, the Black and Gold began the season with a tough 3-1 loss on the road to D.C. United.

A week later, the club returned home to face the New York Red Bulls, but still struggled and were unable to find a goal to earn them a win.

New signings, defender Julius James, midfielder Dejan Rusmir, and defender Sebastian Miranda all made their debut in this contest.

The Black and Gold had 10 shots in the game with four on goal, but were unable to find the back of the net.

2012 Montreal Impact 0 Columbus Crew 2

After losing 2-0 to the Colorado Rapids on the road to start the season, Crew SC returned home to take on expansion side Montreal Impact and earned a 2-0 victory.

Milan Mirosevic opened the scoring with a penalty kick in the 30th minute, the Black and Gold's first goal of the MLS campaign. 33 minutes later, new forward Olman Vergas scored his first and only goal in his one season in Columbus.

The two teams combined for 37 shots, but only put a total of 13 on goal.

2013 San Jose Earthquakes 1 Columbus Crew 1

After a 3-0 opening win over Chivas USA followed by a loss to the Vancouver Whitecaps on the road, Crew SC welcome the San Jose Earthquakes to Crew Stadium.

New signing, central defender Galuber scored the first goal from a Federico Higuain set piece in the 68th minute, but San Jose captain Romario Corrales found defender Justin Morrow for the equalizer five minutes later. The Earthquakes outshot Crew SC 15-10.

It was another disappointing season for the Black and Gold that led to the firing of head coach Robert Warzycha.

2014 Philadelphia Union 1 Columbus Crew 2

The Black and Gold began the Gregg Berhalter era with a 3-0 win on the road against D.C. United. After a bye week during the second week of the season, Crew SC played their first home game against the Philadelphia Union.

With a new possession-based style, the Union had some success pressing Columbus high up the field and forcing them to possess the ball along the back line. It took two moments of brilliance from midfielder Bernardo Anor to give Crew SC a 2-0 halftime lead.

The first goal came thanks to a Federico Higuain corner kick. Anor got free in the box and headed the ball into the net. Just before halftime, Anor found the net again with a shot from over 30 yards out to double the advantage.

Columbus looked the better team in the second half, but couldn't convert their chances. Philadelphia pulled one back against the run of play thanks to Sebastien Le Toux finding Leo Fernandes in the 18-yard box.

This was the beginning of a 3-0 start to the year under Berhalter, the best start in Crew SC history.

For the fourth time, Toronto comes to town to open the newly named MAPFRE Stadium. Crew SC fans will be out in numbers and will be looking to cheer their team to another home-opening victory Saturday night.