There are plenty of question marks hanging over Columbus Crew SC as the offseason progresses, but we have at least one answer now: who the Black & Gold will face when they step back on the field for the first time ahead of the 2018 MLS season.
On Tuesday the club announced its 2018 preseason schedule, which will span the month of February and feature travel to both sides of the country as well as clashes with Atlanta United, Minnesota United, a Japanese opponent and more.
Crew SC will take part in the Pacific Rim Cup in Honolulu, Hawaii, from Feb. 8-11. Fellow MLS side Vancouver Whitecaps will also take part in the event, along with Japanese clubs Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo and Iwaki FC.
Columbus will take on Sapporo on Feb. 9 with a yet-to-be-determined opponent to follow.
The Black & Gold will then attempt to defend their title at the Carolina Challenge Cup in Charleston, South Carolina. This will be the team’s fifth appearance in the event, in which it finished atop the four-team standings last year.
The event, which runs Feb. 17-24, features a round-robin format and will also include Atlanta United and Minnesota United, along with USL host Charleston Battery.
Just over a week after the Carolina Challenge Cup, Crew SC will open the regular season, traveling to face the defending MLS Cup champions Toronto FC on March 3.
Columbus’ regular-season home opener will be March 10 vs. Montreal Impact.
Crew SC will open its preseason training camp Jan. 24, spending two days at SuperKick in Lewis Center, before setting up preseason shop for 10 days in Casa Grande, Arizona.
Here is the full preseason schedule:
Jan. 24 – 25: Training at SuperKick in Lewis Center, Ohio
Jan. 26 – Feb. 6: Training in Casa Grande, Arizona
Feb. 6 –11 Pacific Rim Cup (Honolulu, Hawaii)
Feb. 9: Crew SC vs. Sapporo (Pacific Rim Cup)
Feb. 10 or 11: Crew SC vs. TBD (Pacific Rim Cup)
Feb. 15 – 25: Carolina Challenge Cup (Charleston, South Carolina)
Feb. 17: Crew SC vs. Atlanta United (Carolina Challenge Cup)
Feb. 21: Crew SC vs. Charleston Battery (Carolina Challenge Cup)
Feb. 24: Crew SC vs. Minnesota United (Carolina Challenge Cup)