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Mariners to host Columbus Crew March 12

January 25, 2005 - USL First Division (USL-1) - Virginia Beach Mariners News Release

The Columbus Crew will travel to the Virginia Beach Sportsplex on Saturday, March 12 to face the Virginia Beach Mariners in a preseason exhibition. Former Mariners Dante Washington and Jon Busch are currently on the Crew squad that will face the Mariners at the Virginia Beach Sportsplex at 7:30 p.m.

Washington registered 40 points on 17 goals and six assists while with the Mariners in 2004. His 17 goals were tied for the league lead and he was one of three finalists for A-League MVP. He was also named to the All A-League First Team. Busch was a finalist for 2004 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year, posting at 1.07 goals against average and 10 shutouts in 29 appearances. Busch posted a 0.94 GAA with the Mariners in 2000 in 14 appearances. A torn PCL suffered in a match against Richmond on June 23rd of that year, ended his career with the Mariners.

Ticket Prices for the match are $10 through March 11, and $15 on March 12 (game day) for ages 8 and over; children 7 and under are free. Military (active duty and retired) and seniors over age 60 with proper ID are $10, up to and including on game day. Tickets are $8 for groups of 20 or more through March 11. Group tickets must be purchased in advance. Season ticket holders will be admitted free. Tickets can be purchased by calling 430-9800 or online at

Season tickets for the Mariners’ 2005 season are $100. Season tickets include all preseason, post-season, exhibitions, Open Cup and regular season matches plus a free Mariners t-shirt courtesy of Soccer Plus. Also included is reserved seating, use of a Sportsplex Sky Suite and preferred parking. Season tickets can also be ordered online at or by calling 430-9800.

"We're very excited about traveling to Virginia Beach to play one of the A-League's premier teams,” said Crew head coach and MLS 2004 Coach of the Year Greg Andrulis. “The Mariners are known for running a first class operation, playing great soccer and also the support of their fans. It will also be a nice return to watch Jon Busch and Dante Washington play against their old team. The Mariner fans are in for a fantastic night of soccer."

“Columbus was the regular season MLS champion and had a great run,” said Mariners’ head coach Shawn McDonald. “Jon Busch, one of our former players, played a big part in that. I’m sure the fans as well as our staff and players will enjoy seeing Dante and Jon Busch again. We have a lot of respect for their coaching staff and program.”

Columbus registered a league-record 18-game unbeaten streak last season. During the streak, the Crew allowed only 16 goals and registered seven shutouts clinching the top spot in the Eastern Conference. Although the Crew started the season with three consecutive losses, the team dropped only three more matches in all competitions during the rest of the season, finishing 12-5-13.

The Mariners closed out 2004 in sixth place in the Eastern Conference going 11-14-3. Returning players so far for 2005, include midfielders Hamisi Amani-Dove, Jeff Bilyk, and Daniel Alvarez and goalkeeper Matt Nelson.

Complete rosters for the match will be released closer to the day of the game.

For more information, please call 430-9800.

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