The Columbus Crew lost 1-0 to the Montreal Impact on Saturday night in their final preseason game against professsional opposition. The team looked a step slower than their opposition throughout the game, frequently losing possession cheaply as they transitioned through midfield. Justin Mapp scored the game's only goal in the 54th minute, pouncing on a loose ball at the top of the penalty area after a corner kick.
Coach Robert Warzycha kept to his familiar 4-4-1-1 lineup for this game, as he has played for most of his coaching tenure. Newcomers Tyson Wahl (left back) and Glauber (center back) joined Chad Marshall and Josh Williams on the back line, while Danny O'Rourke anchored the midfield with Eddie Gaven (left wing), Agustin Viana (center) and Dominic Oduro (right). Federico Higuain and Jairo Arrieta were the first-choice strike pair.
The team made frequent substitutions through the second half, starting with inserting Matias Sanchez and Tony Tchani in the heart of midfield at halftime. Other players getting significant playing time were Ethan Finlay, Ben Speas, and Ryan Finley. Drew Beckie entered the game in the 87th minute.
Of some concern for Crew fans will be the departures of Dominic Oduro and Matias Sanchez, both of whom left with injuries. No further information was immediately available about their status for next weekend's season opener.
Saturday's game, the championship of the Disney Pro Classic Championship, was the fourth game the team has played in Orlando since February 9th. Columbus reached this game by rattling off consecutive victories against Toronto (1-0), Philadelphia (4-0), and Orlando (3-2). Before this tournament, the team played a trio of games in Bradenton, Florida against DC, Chicago and New York.
The team will conclude their preparations for the 2013 season on Sunday with a game against the University of North Carolina. The game, to be played at UNC Greensboro's stadium, will be played in honor of Kirk Urso, the rookie player from UNC who died in the middle of last season.
Columbus will begin the 2013 season on the road to Chivas USA on March 2nd, with a second road game in Vancover on March 9th before their home opener against San Jose on March 16th.