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Crew to open 2010 on March 27 against Toronto FC

COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Columbus Crew announced Thursday that the club will kick off its 15th Major League Soccer season on Saturday, March 27, 2010, when it plays host to rival Toronto FC at 4 p.m. ET in the first match of the 2010 Trillium Cup competition, marking the third straight season the two clubs have opened the season at Crew Stadium.

The Trillium Cup, which refers to the official flower of the province of Ontario and official wildflower of the State of Ohio, is awarded annually to the winner of the season series between the geographic rivals, Columbus and Toronto. The Crew has won the competition in each of its first two seasons, posting identical 1-0-2 records against the Reds, clinched this year with a dramatic 3-2 victory at Crew Stadium on July 25.

The complete 2010 league schedule has not yet been finalized and will be released early next year, but it will feature a balanced 30-game regular season, with every MLS team playing each of the other 15 home and away, followed by playoffs among eight qualifying teams. The 2010 regular season will conclude Oct. 24. The MLS Cup Playoffs will culminate in the championship match, MLS Cup 2010, on Nov. 21. Of the 16 teams that will compete in 2010, eight will be in the Western Conference and eight will be in the Eastern Conference, where the Philadelphia Union is the newest addition.

For the first time in its history, MLS will not play league games during the group phase of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The group phase includes the first 48 games of the 64-game tournament that begins on June 11, 2010 in South Africa. The last MLS game prior to the World Cup will be played June 10 and MLS will not schedule any additional league games until after the group phase concludes June 25. MLS does not plan to schedule games on the days of either World Cup Semifinal or the World Cup Final.

For information on Crew Soccer Nation memberships - season ticket packages - please call 614-447-CREW or visit TheCrew.com.

Founded by American sports pioneer Lamar Hunt, the Columbus Crew is Ohio's Major League Soccer club, anchoring a diverse sports and entertainment enterprise. One of the league's Charter Members, it is the reigning MLS Cup Champion and has also won the 2002 U.S. Open Cup championship and MLS Supporters' Shield titles in 2004 and 2008. It is currently in its 14th season overall and 11th season in first-of-its-kind Columbus Crew Stadium.