The Columbus Crew is set to kick off the 2022 regular season on Saturday when the Vancouver Whitecaps come to Lower.com Field. But fans have been eagerly awaiting an update on when Crew 2, the Black & Gold’s new reserve team, will begin play. That question was answered on Thursday when the new MLS Next Pro league announced its 2022 schedule.
Crew 2 will play a 24-game schedule in the team’s inaugural season. The first match for Columbus’ reserve side will take place on Saturday, March 26 against Inter Miami CF II at DRV PNK Stadium kicking off at 6 p.m. ET. Crew 2 will then be on the road against Chicago Fire II and Philadelphia Union II the following two Sundays before the home opener versus Orlando City B on Friday, April 15 at 7 p.m. ET.
In 2022, the Black & Gold reserve team will play 12 of the team’s 24 games at home, all but one of which will take place at historic Crew Stadium, the home of the Crew's first team until last season. The one exception will be the Saturday, May 21 game against Toronto FC II. This will be part of a double header with the first team, who will welcome LAFC to Lower.com Field at 3:30 p.m. ET.
All but one of these home games for Crew 2 will take place over the weekend, with one Friday match, three on Saturday and the remaining seven on Sunday. The team will host Inter Miami II on Thursday, June 9.
“Our staff has been hard at work the past few months, so we are thrilled that we are a little over a month away from the beginning of our season,” Crew 2 general manager Corey Wray said in the release announcing the team’s schedule. “As we have said before, bridging the existing gap in our academy to professional level pathway is crucial to our long-term viability, and this is an important moment as we continue to evolve as a club. We can’t wait to begin the 2022 MLS NEXT Pro season and look forward to seeing everyone back at historic Crew Stadium for the Crew 2 home opener on April 15.”
In addition to the schedule, MLS Next Pro announced how the league will be formated in its first year. Like MLS, MLS Next Pro will feature an Eastern and Western Conference, but unlike the senior league, these conferences will be divided into two divisions. Each team will play its division opponents two to three times and the other teams in their conference at least twice. The teams will play four non-conference games as well.
Crew 2 will be in the Central Division of the Eastern Conference in 2022, alongside FC Cincinnati 2, Inter Miami II, Orlando City B and Chicago Fire II.
The MLS Next Pro postseason will be comprised of eight teams the top four from each conference. This will include the top team from each division and the two teams with the next most points in each conference.
All MLS Next Pro matches will be streamed live on mlsnextpro.com.
2022 Crew 2 schedule
|Saturday, March 26||at Inter Miami II||6 p.m. ET|
|Sunday, April 3||at Chicago Fire II||7 p.m. ET|
|Sunday, April 10||at Philadelphia Union II||5 p.m. ET|
|Friday, April 15||Orlando City B||7 p.m. ET|
|Sunday, April 24||Toronto FC II||2 p.m. ET|
|Sunday May 8||at New Englannd Revolution||2 p.m. ET|
|Sunday, May 15||at New York City FC II||4 p.m. ET|
|Saturday, May 21||Toronto FC II||7 p.m. ET|
|Sunday, May 29||Rochester New York FC||2 p.m. ET|
|Saturday, June 4||at Chicago Fire II||6 p.m. ET|
|Thursday, June 9||Inter Miami II||7 p.m. ET|
|Sunday, June 19||Orlando City B||2 p.m. ET|
|Friday, June 24||at Rochester New York FC||7 p.m. ET|
|Thursday, June 2||Philadelphia Union II||7 p.m. ET|
|Sunday, July 10||at Toronto FC II||7 p.m. ET|
|Saturday, July 16||FC Cincinnati 2||7 p.m. ET|
|Sunday, July 24||New England Revolution II||5 p.m. ET|
|Sunday, July 31||at Philadelphia Union II||7 p.m. ET|
|Sunday, August 7||New York City FC II||5 p.m. ET|
|Sunday, August 14||at FC Cincinnati 2||6 p.m. ET|
|Saturday, August 20||at Orlando City B||7 p.m. ET|
|Sunday, September 4||Chicago Fire II||4 p.m. ET|
|Sunday, September 11||at Inter Miami II||7 p.m. ET|
|Sunday, September 18||FC Cincinnati 2|