Approximately four months ago, Columbus Crew SC played the team’s second game of the 2020 season against the Seattle Sounders in the Pacific Northwest. Just days later, commissioner Don Garber decided to postpone matches and eventually the season was brought to a grinding halt due to the outstanding number of cases concerning COVID-19.
Since then, social distancing and face masks or covers have become the new normal in today’s society. It’s also become normal to play sports behind closed doors. The German Bundesliga was the first league to return to play during the coronavirus pandemic. Soon, La Liga and the English Premier League followed.
Now that Major League Soccer is back through a World Cup-style tournament in Orlando, Florida. Fans can finally see their beloved Black & Gold in action. The Crew first match of the MLS is Back Tournament is Saturday as the Black & Gold face-off against their I-71 South rivals, FC Cincinnati, in this year’s first meeting of the Hell Is Real derby.
For Columbus’ first match back since played stopped, thee Easton Sunset Series Drive-In theater located at Easton Town Center (160 Easton Town Center, Columbus, OH 43219) is hosting a social distancing watch party to get fans out to support the Crew safely.
What would normally be acceptable to gather and socialize during the mega-tailgate or at bars is not acceptable during this time. This event is set to replace that.
Gates open at 9 p.m. ET and fans are encouraged to get there early to pre-game, grab food and tune in to the pre-match show. Tickets are $10 per car and must be purchased in advance. The drive-in is located just north of Forbidden Root, Forty Deuce, and Beeline in Easton’s newest district. Game time is set for 10:30 p.m. ET, and can be seen on FS1.
Of course, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are rules and regulations to be adhered to while watching Crew take on FC Cincinnati. You can find those here.
For fans viewing the game from the comfort of their homes, the Black & Gold is set to host a Live Virtual Fan Experience through Zoom on Saturday which will provide supporters the opportunity to engage with one another, as well as be featured for cut-ins during the nationally broadcasted match. Brett Hiltbrand will emcee the event beginning at 10:15 p.m. ET and will feature appearances by the Crew’s on-screen talent Neil Sika and Jordan Angeli as well as DJ AXCESS. Special guests, including Dante Washington, Duncan Oughton and William Hesmer, are set to make an appearance.
Beginning Saturday, supporters can listen to the call locally on 97.1 The Fan and streaming online via “Listen Live” with Chris Doran on the call. The club’s official website is also set to stream Spanish-language audio broadcast with Juan Valladares behind the microphone.