Columbus Crew 2 has been among the best teams in all of MLS NEXT Pro this season. Crew 2 sits at the top of the Eastern Conference where the team has been for a majority of the year after losing their first game of the season to Inter Miami II.
The Black & Gold are coming off a 4-0 victory against in-state rival FC Cincinnati 2 in the first-ever Hell is Real Derby in MLS NEXT Pro. This win extended Crew 2’s unbeaten run to six matches. Technically, the two results prior to the derby win for Columbus ended in draws, but MLS NEXT Pro goes straight to shootouts, both of which the Black & Gold but still received a point in the standings.
Next up on the schedule for Crew 2 is the New England Revolution II. These teams met earlier this season, with Columbus winning that match 4-0 in the fourth match of the Black & Gold’s seven-game win streak earlier this season.
This match on Sundays follows an event earlier in the day where the club is hosting a “Meet The Team” event exclusively for season ticket holders at Historic Crew Stadium. This will allow fans to mingle and interact with Crew first-team players before watching the second team take the pitch.
Sunday will be the first and only time this season that the New England Revolution II will travel to Columbus.
Crew 2 will have leading goal scorer Jacen Russell-Rowe available after being loaned back to the Black & Gold reserve team. The young forward signed with the first team in late June during a spell of injuries for Columbus after using up his two allotted appearances up from MLS NEX Pro.
Russell-Rowe, who leads Crew 2 in goals this season, is also tied for the league lead in goals scored. With the arrival of Designated Player striker Cucho Hernandez for the Black & Gold, Russell-Rowe has been able to continue playing with the developmental team.
Though Russell-Rowe will be with Crew 2 for Sunday’s match, the team will be without one of its best players in Mo Farsi. The fullback, who leads Columbus in assists and sits tied for second in that category in MLS NEXT Pro, signed a first-team contract Friday and played in the Black & Gold’s 0-0 draw with the New England Revolution on Saturday night.
Columbus has been very good defensively this year, with the team’s two rotating goalkeepers both in the top five for clean sheets. Rookie Patrick Schulte is third in MLS NEXT Pro with five shutouts, while Crew 2’s other goalkeeper, Brady Scott, is fourth in the league with four.
Offensively, the Black & Gold have been just as good. Crew 2 sits third in goals scored with 34, only behind the Tacoma Defiance and New York City FC II. The team also sits second in the league in total assists with 28, only behind the Defiance, who has 30.
Columbus look to continue winning ways and extend the team’s unbeaten streak against Revolution II on Saturday. Kickoff for this match is scheduled for 5 p.m. ET at Historic Crew Stadium. All MLS NEXT Pro matches can be streamed live at mlsnextpro.com.