With the signing of Argentine midfielder Matías Sánchez finally confirmed, the Columbus Crew headed to Florida for the second time this preseason to partake in the Disney Pro Soccer Classic.
The Crew’s first game in the tournament, and fourth overall preseason game, was against Toronto FC on February 9th. Offseason additions Gláuber, Dominic Oduro, and Sánchez all made their debuts for Columbus. The game ended in a 1-0 win for the Crew. The lone goal came in the 30th minute after Federico Higuaín served in a corner kick from the right side and found Gláuber, whose looping header beat goalie Stefen Frei.
Here is the video of the entire game against Toronto (the goal sequence begins at 42:00):
The second game for Columbus featured quite a bit more scoring, as the Crew beat the Philadelphia Union on February 13th, 4-0. Although the second string started the game and was subbed out in the 61st minute for the first string, all four goals were scored in the first 53 minutes. The first goal came in the 28th minute from SuperDraft pick Ryan Finley after he received a through ball from Justin Meram and slipped by Union goalie Chase Harrison. Ethan Finlay scored the next two goals for the Crew with good finishes in the 39th and 50th minutes, respectively. His first goal was a result of a low cross from trialist Konrad Warzycha, and his second goal was a powerful blast inside the box after some great work by Eddie Gaven. Gaven had a hand in the fourth and final goal as well, as his cross found Finlay on the right side of the box. Finlay then served in a beautiful ball to a wide-open Aaron Schoenfeld, who simply headed the ball down and into the net.
Here are the highlights of Columbus’ four goals against the Union:
Before yesterday’s game against Orlando City, a USL Pro team (third division), the Crew reserves scrimmaged Sporting Kansas City and won, 5-2. Kansas City opened the scoring in the 5th minute, but Columbus quickly equalized three minutes later with a goal from Supplemental Draft pick Shawn Sloan. Ethan Finlay, Justin Meram, and Konrad Warzycha added to the Crew’s total before Soony Saad pulled one back for Kansas City. Ben Speas finished the scoring in the 71st minute, giving Columbus a 5-2 victory.
The game against Orlando City ended in a a 3-2 win for the Crew after some late-game drama. Columbus head coach Robert Warzycha played his preferred starting XI for the majority of the game due to the reserves playing earlier in the day. The goal scoring started early, as Agustín Viana acrobatically got on the end of Federico Higuaín’s free kick in the 4th minute and headed the ball home. However, Chad Marshall got injured on the play and left the game due to precautionary reasons. Columbus’ lead was squandered in the 57th minute after a terrible back pass from Gláuber was intercepted by Jamie Watson, who proceeded to slot the ball past Crew goalie Andy Gruenebaum. An Orlando City red card in the 68th minute forced the third-division side to play with ten men for the remaining twenty minutes. Columbus quickly took advantage, with Josh Williams scoring a beautiful low volley from an Higuaín corner. Despite being up a man, Orlando City equalized once again after a low, hard shot in the 79th minute took a few deflections before ending up in the back of the net. Nonetheless, Eddie Gaven earned a penalty kick for Columbus in the 88th minute, and Higuaín blasted the ball into the top left corner to give the Crew a 3-2 win.
Here is the video of the entire game against Orlando City:
With a sweep of the Disney Pro Soccer Classic group stages complete, the Crew’s preseason record stands at an impressive 6-1-0. The three wins in the tournament qualifies Columbus for the championship game against the group B winners Montreal Impact on February 23rd.