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Crew begin preseason and add friendlies to schedule

Black & Gold begin 2020 preparations

MLS: Arsenal Training Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

Columbus Crew players, new and old, began preparations for the 2020 season in Chula Vista, California after weekend entrance physicals in Columbus.

The team posted galleries of the first few days of training, offering the first glimpses of new arrivals Lucas Zelarayan, Darlington Nagbe, Vito Wormgoor, and Chris Cadden in Black & Gold.

The team also rounded out the preseason schedule. The Crew returned to Chula Vista for the second straight year. They will spend nine days in California to open preseason. The team will play USL League Two team Ventura County Fusion on Friday, January 24th and the Vancouver Whitecaps on January 28th.

Details for the games were not released, but the coaching staff will use the early friendlies to build fitness throughout the squad. Early games are often broken up into three periods to limit minutes.

Columbus immediately departs California for a week long training camp in Cancun, Mexico from the 29th through February 6th. The team plays two more matches during the trip, facing Orlando City on Saturday, February 1st and the San Jose Earthquakes on the following Monday, the 3rd.

The team likely will continue to focus on fitness while honing the finer points of Caleb Porter’s system during their time in Cancun.

The final leg of the preseason begins on Monday, February 10th in Tucson after three days off. The team faces Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday the 12th before beginning the final stretch of preparation by playing in the Visit Tucson Cup. The Crew play USL Championship Phoenix Rising on the 15th, then the New York Red Bulls on the 19th, and ending against the Houston Dynamo on the 22nd, eight days before the season opener.

The team likely will be set by the time they get to Arizona. Focus will switch to getting into a regular season rhythm, with the starters set to play on the Saturday dates and a reserve heavy lineup for the midweek matchups.

After a thirty five day road trip, the Crew will arrive back in Columbus to prep for the opening game of the season, the March 1st matchup against New York City FC.