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The Crew announces 2021 preseason schedule

The Black & Gold’s work to defend the team’s MLS Cup starts very soon.

Seattle Sounders FC v Columbus Crew SC: - MLS Cup Final Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

It’s almost time for another Major League Soccer season, Columbus Crew fans. The Black & Gold’s journey to a second straight MLS Cup title, and third overall, is set to begin in a month and a half, but preparations for the new season are getting underway even sooner.

The Crew announced on Monday the team’s schedule for the 2021 preseason. The defending MLS Cup champions will break the preseason into three parts, in Chula Vita California, in Columbus, Ohio and in Orlando, Florida, prior to the opening game of the year against Real Esteli in the CONCACAF Champions League. The Black & Gold will not take part in the 2021 Visit Tucson Sun Cup this year, as originally reported by Massive Report.

Because of the team’s participation in the Champions League, Crew players will report to Columbus on Wednesday, Feb. 24 prior to the start of the preseason. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, MLS requires a seven-day quarantine period for all teams prior to beginning preseason training as part of the league’s health and safety protocols. The Black & Gold, along with Atlanta United, the Philadelphia Union and the Portland Timbers can all report on Feb. 24, while the remainder of the league — with the exception of Toronto FC — can report on March 1 prior to the start of the 2021 MLS season on the weekend of April 17.

Columbus will have its entrance physicals in Central Ohio on Saturday, Feb. 27 and Sunday, Feb. 28. The club will then travel to Chula Vista where the team will hold its first training session of the new season on Wednesday, March 3. The Crew will remain in California through Saturday, March 13. Players will be off until Tuesday, March 16 prior to training in Columbus through Saturday, March 20.

The Black & Gold’s second training camp of preseason will be held in Orlando. The team will remain training in Orlando until Monday, April 5 ahead of the Champions League game against Real Esteli on Thursday, April 8.

While no preseason matches have been announced at this time, the club will have friendlies throughout to prepare for the 2021 season. The schedule for the 2021 MLS season is expected to be announced by the league in the coming weeks as well.

2021 Columbus Crew preseason schedule

Wednesday, Feb. 24 Crew players report for preseason camp
Wednesday, Feb. 24 Crew players report for preseason camp
Saturday, Feb. 27-Sunday Feb. 28 Physicials in Columbus
Wednesday, March 3-Saturday, March 13 Crew training camp in Chula Vista, California
Sunday, March 14-Tuesday, March 16 Players off
Wedneday, March 17-Saturday, March 20 Crew trains in Columbus
Sunday, March 21-Monday, April 5 Crew training camp in Orlando, Florida
Thursday, April 8 CONCACAF Champions League Round of 16 Leg 1 vs. Real Esteli
Thursday, April 15 CONCACAF Champions League Round of 16 Leg 2 vs. Real Esteli
Saturday April 17 2021 MLS regular season begins