Major League Soccer released its 2019 season schedule on Monday and while just the fact that Columbus Crew SC was part of it was reason to excitement, Black & Gold fans are already looking through it and picking the games they cannot miss.
While every game has the same weight when the regular season comes to an end, some are just more exciting than others and Massive Report has selected the ones you absolutely can’t miss. Luckily, all of them are home games and will be played at MAPFRE Stadium.
New York Red Bulls (March 2)
Although season openers are always exciting, there’s much more to this one. This match will represent the start of a new era for the Black & Gold as the Crew will be playing an official match for the first time under its new ownership group. Not only that but it will also be the first opportunity for fans to watch firsthand the team put together by new president Tim Bezbatchenko and head coach Caleb Porter’s debut. On top of all that, you probably remember the Red Bulls were the ones who knocked the Crew out of the MLS Cup playoffs in 2018, don’t you?
Portland Timbers (April 20)
Porter will be under the floodlights again in April, when he faces his former team, the Portland Timbers, for the first time since he left Oregon, at the end of the 2017 season. The coach’s resignation was never well understood among the league and it will be interesting to see him working against players he knows very well. It will also, of course, be the rematch of the 2015 MLS Cup, but now with Porter on MAPFRE’s home team’s bench.
LA Galaxy (May 8)
The Galaxy are always interesting opponents given to their tendency to spend a lot on big names. In 2019 it will be no different as it will presumably be Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s first time in Columbus since last year’s game between the teams was played in California. The match will mark Ola Kamara’s return to Central Ohio, but more than that it will put Crew SC legend Guillermo Barros Schelotto against the Black & Gold for the first time as the Argentinean recently took over as the Galaxy’s new head coach.
Seattle Sounders (July 6)
It will be summertime in Columbus and probably a very emotional day for Crew fans. Goalkeeper Zack Steffen, who was sold to English Premier League giants Manchester City FC at the end of last year, will likely play his last match for the Black & Gold against the Sounders as the Secondary Transfer Window opens on July 9. As goalkeepers will be the topic of the night, what about the duel between Steffen, the 2018 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year, and Seattle’s Stefan Frei, who finished second on the voting?
FC Cincinnati (August 10)
This is probably the most anticipated game of all season for Black & Gold fans as it will be the first match against Ohio rivals FC Cincinnati in Major League Soccer, especially after the team, then in USL, knocked the Crew out of the U.S. Open Cup in 2017. The Hell is Real rivalry is expected to draw quite a bit of attention as it kicks off during the summer at the iconic MAPRE Stadium. It is also the only scheduled nationally televised game of the year for Columbus. Two weeks later, the teams will clash again, now in the Queen City, on national television.
Are there any games we missed that you’re really looking forward to? Let us know in the comment section below.