Columbus Crew SC got pretty much exactly what they wanted out of the team's preseason first game. They had their first taste of live game action against another team in 2016. Much of the roster got a chance to get 45 minutes of action to get some sharpness back. Perhaps most importantly, everyone stayed healthy. The result, a 2–2 tie, doesn’t matter until the games start counting on March 6th.
As promised, Gregg Berhalter went with a mixed squad against Sporting Kansas City with two different lineups getting 45 minutes. With fitness as the goal, Berhalter mixed in first team and rotational player to get everyone minutes.
In the first half, Brad Stuver started in goal. Chad Barson and Waylon Francis were at wingback with Michael Parkhurst and new signing Amro Tarek at centerback. Wil Trapp paired with Mohammad Saeid in midfield with Federico Higuain ahead of them. Cedrick Mabwati and Hector Jimenez provided width. Conor Casey led the line.
In the second half, Steve Clark played goalkeeper. Harrison Afful and Corey Ashe took over at wingback with Gaston Sauro and Tyson Wahl at centerback. Rodrigo Saravia and Tony Tchani were in central midfield. Ethan Finlay and Emil Larsen were on either side of unsigned rookie Chase Minter in attacking midfield. Kei Kamara in the usual striker spot.
The first half didn’t result in any goals, but both teams struck twice in the second half. Kamara scored in the 46th with Kansas City tying the game in the 52nd behind Soni Mustivar’s effort. Kamara scored a second as he finished off his own rebound from a penalty kick in the 74th minute. Faik Hajderovic tied the game again for Sporting Kansas City in the 88th.
With 22 players getting minutes, only a few players sat out the game. Justin Meram is apparently still recovering from offseason hernia surgery according to Shawn Mitchell of the Dispatch. Ben Swanson is recovering from a concussion sustained in Florida. The team’s latest signing, Ola Kamara, was joining the team for the Arizona leg of preseason. Trialist Matt Pacifici and unsigned draft pick Marshall Hollingsworth also missed out on getting minutes.
Crew SC will play Real Salt Lake on Saturday at 7 pm. Berhalter again plans on playing a mixed lineup. The game will have a video stream.
Preseason Minute Tracker