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Crew to face Nashville SC, Minnesota United, Toronto FC to begin MLS Phase 2 of 2020

The next three games of the Black & Gold’s season have been announced.

FC Cincinnati v Columbus Crew SC Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

Get ready, Columbus Crew SC fans. The 2020 Major League Soccer season is far from over. With Phase One of the league’s return to play model set to end this weekend, MLS announced on Friday its schedule to begin Phase Two.

The Crew is set to host Nashville SC on Saturday, Sept. 19 and Minnesota United on Wednesday, Sept. 23. The Black & Gold will then travel “to” Toronto FC — the Reds won’t play home games at BMO Field and instead host teams at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut due to Canadian border restrictions due to COVID-19 — on Sunday, Sept. 27. All three games are scheduled to kick off at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Columbus Crew Phase 2 schedule

DATE OPPONENT REGIONAL TV NETWORK TIME (ET)
DATE OPPONENT REGIONAL TV NETWORK TIME (ET)
Saturday, September 19 Nashville SC FOX Sports Ohio 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, September 23 Minnesota United FOX Sports Ohio 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, September 27 @ Toronto FC SportsTime Ohio 7:30 p.m.

The next slate of the schedule marks three interesting games for Columbus. The Crew will face Nashville, a 2020 expansion side, for the first time in team history when the two clubs meet at MAPFRE Stadium to being Phase Two. Minnesota, featuring former Black & Gold players Ethan Finlay and Aaron Schoenfeld, was the side that knocked Columbus out of the MLS is Back Tournament in a penalty kick shootout. This is also the first time this year the Crew will play a Western Conference opponent in the MLS regular season. The meeting with Toronto will be the first Trillium Cup game of 2020, an Eastern Conference rivalry dating back to 2007.

Similar to the final home game of Phase One against FC Cincinnati, the Crew will allow a limited number of supporters to the two games at MAPFRE Stadium against Nashville and Minnesota.

“We are excited to host a pair of home matches at MAPFRE Stadium as part of the start to Phase Two of the League’s continuation of play,” Crew Executive Vice President and Chief Business Officer Steve Lyons said of the announcement of the next three 2020 games. “In following Governor DeWine’s order, we were pleased to welcome a limited number of supporters (1500) on September 6 as fans returned to the venue for the first time since March and our requirements for the upcoming two matches continue to include face coverings for all individuals entering the venue.

“As part of a shared responsibility to keep us all as safe as possible, we must abide by all of our Responsible Restart Plan protocols. While enjoying the match, when not actively eating or drinking, masks must remain on at all times and our Experience Team ushers will be increasing the number of trips up and down the stands during match action, continuing to enforce this rule as it is critical to the success of hosting matches. Six-feet distancing between fans’ self-selected known and trusted pods will also continue and we will be increasing the amount of signage at the bottom of seating sections as well as increasing our halftime messaging to continue to reinforce protocol throughout the match. All of these measures continue with one thing in mind: keeping the health and safety of everyone entering the building as the top priority on matchday.

“Our plans continue to maximize flexibility and the ability to adapt to changing circumstances. For these two matches ahead, we look forward to executing our Responsible Restart Plan to create a matchday experience that is as safe and enjoyable as possible. We will continue to collaborate with public health experts, government officials and MLS throughout Phase Two.”

The Crew sits in first place in the Eastern Conference and Supporters’ Shield standings through 10 games. The Black & Gold will conclude Phase One with a trip to the Chicago Fire on Saturday. The game is scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m. ET.