Three weeks ago, Columbus Crew 2 played the first game in the history of the newly-created reserve team. Last week, the Black & Gold’s second side earned their first win.
That victory came courtesy of a 1-0 result against Chicago Fire II at Seatgeek Stadium. Crew 2 midfielder Noah Fuson scored the only goal in the game, which was another first fo the team as the first goal in Crew 2 history.
“It was a really big deal.” Crew 2 head coach Laurent Courtois said on Thursday about getting the first win of the season. “It was a big step for our guys”.
The Black & Gold reserve team looks to build momentum from that first win when they travel to Chester, Pennsylvania to play Philadelphia Union II on Sunday. This will be the team’s third straight road game to open its inaugural season prior to the home opener next week at Historic Crew Stadium.
“It’s not easy for sure, but at the same time, it is kind of awesome for everyone,” Courtois said of this opening stretch.
While playing away from home week after week isn’t easy, it has helped the team come together. Being the first year of Crew 2, this group was only formed over the last couple of months and bonds are being formed while the players and coaches travel early in the first season.
Another first will occur on Sunday as the game against the Union II will be the first time that the reserve team will get to play in the same stadium as the first team. The Crew’s first team fell 1-0 to Philadelphia on Saturday and the reserve side will attempt to best that result. Massive Report has also learned that select first-team players in need of minutes are expected to play for Crew 2 this weekend.
As the first team did the day prior, Crew 2 will take on the top team in the Eastern Conference.
“The challenges they are going to pose to us is the way they have a lot of numbers centrally,” Courtois said when asked about the challenges the Union II present. “They keep the field really, really compact in terms of numbers, so they are very hard to break through.”
Goalkeeper Patrick Shulte, who started last week after Brady Scott started the first game, will look to have another good game and consecutive clean sheets.
“He did great. I was amazed by him and Brady Scott with how involved and committed they are to the team and the project” Courtois said about Shulte’s first game and his goalkeepers in general.
A second win in team history will put Crew 2 into the top four in the Eastern Conference and possibly to the top of the Central Division of the newly formed MLS NEXT Pro. While this is a developmental league, results are still important for the players and coaches.
The Black & Gold reserve team takes on Philadelphia on Sunday at 5 p.m. ET. All MLS NEXT Pro matches can be streamed live on mlsnextpro.com.