Columbus Crew SC's 25th Regular Season to Continue as Major League Soccer Announces Plan to Return to Home Markets
COLUMBUS - Columbus Crew SC in conjunction with Major League Soccer today announced that the 2020 MLS regular season - the 25th campaign for Crew SC and the League - is slated to resume later this month in home markets. Crew SC, unbeaten in 2020, returns to regular-season action with a home match against the Chicago Fire at MAPFRE Stadium on Thursday, August 20 at 7:30 p.m. ET [FOX Sports Ohio, FOX Sports GO (Stream) / 97.1 The Fan & 971TheFan.com (English), ColumbusCrewSC.com (Spanish)].
The Crew's August 20 match against the Chicago Fire begins Phase One of the continuation of play schedule, which includes six matches from August 20 - September 12. For the three matches at MAPFRE Stadium in Phase One, whether the Club will be able to host any spectators is still an open question, but Crew SC will distribute additional details on each match in the near future. Accordingly, the Club hopes to be in touch soon regarding a possible selection and ticketing distribution process for 2020 matches available to Season Ticket Members. Season Ticket Members with questions are encouraged to contact the Membership Services Team (614-447-2739, ext. 1 or [email protected]) or visit www.columbuscrewsc.com/covid-19 for updated information.
"We are pleased to resume our 25th season and to do so safely in our home market," said Crew SC President and General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko. "The team's performance in the Group Stage of the MLS is Back Tournament placed us in a solid position for the regular season and we will look to build off of the strong performance from Orlando. As we continue our season, health and safety continue to be the Crew's and Major League Soccer's highest priority."
The Club's 3-0-0 run and nine regular-season points secured in the group stage of the MLS is Back Tournament in Orlando has set the Club up for success as the season resumes with the team atop the Eastern Conference standings (4-0-1, 13 points). Over the span of Phase One, the Black & Gold are also set to face New York City FC (August 24) on the road; FC Cincinnati on the road (August 29) and at home (September 6); the Philadelphia Union at MAPFRE Stadium (September 2); and Chicago Fire on the road (September 12).
Each club will play 18 additional regular season games in a phased approach, culminating with Decision Day on Sunday, November 8. In an expansion of the postseason for 2020, 18 clubs will compete in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs - up from 14 teams last year. MLS Cup will be played on December 12.
Due to travel restrictions between the U.S. and Canada, MLS announced the initial phase of the league's revised schedule with each U.S. club playing six matches against other U.S. teams by September 14. MLS plans to announce the balance of the regular season schedule by early September as the league continues to work with infectious disease experts, league and club medical personnel, and government officials in all markets.
As with the MLS is Back Tournament, COVID-19 testing protocols will again play an important role in MLS' competition framework. MLS continues to work closely with the league's infectious disease advisors as well as advisors for the MLSPA on the plan for testing. All clubs are forming testing partnerships with a local certified lab, and all players, technical staff, and essential club staff will be tested every other day, including the day before each match day. Also, guidelines will be provided to players, coaches and essential staff to avoid the risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19 during their time away from club facilities.
In addition to adhering to health, safety and medical protocols, another focus of the new schedule is efficient travel. Teams will take chartered flights, or buses, and for the majority of road trips will arrive in the host market on matchday and depart after the match later that evening.
All six Crew SC matches in Phase One are set to be televised locally on FOX Sports Ohio and SportsTime Ohio, with a full schedule available below. Similarly, the Black & Gold's first five matches will be aired locally on the radio in English on 97.1 The Fan and streaming online via "Listen Live" at 971TheFan.com, featuring Chris Doran broadcasting the contests. The club's official website, ColumbusCrewSC.com, is set to stream Spanish-language audio broadcasts of all six matches with Juan Valladares behind the microphone. Radio broadcast information for Crew SC's road contest against the Chicago Fire on Saturday, September 12, will be announced at a later date.
For a schedule of Crew SC's upcoming 2020 MLS regular season matches in Phase One, please see below:
DATE OPPONENT REGIONAL TV NETWORK TIME (ET)
Thursday, August 20 CHICAGO FIRE FOX Sports Ohio 7:30 p.m.
Monday, August 24 @ New York City FC FOX Sports Ohio 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, August 29 @ FC Cincinnati SportsTime Ohio 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, September 2 PHILADELPHIA UNION FOX Sports Ohio 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, September 6 FC CINCINNATI SportsTime Ohio 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, September 12 @ Chicago Fire SportsTime Ohio 7:30 p.m.
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