The Columbus Crew kicked off their 2005 preseason schedule over the weekend with a pair of scrimmage games at the squad's camp in Bradenton, Fla. A mix of Crew veterans, new acquisitions and unsigned talent made up a Columbus team that faced off with the U.S. U-17 national team Friday afternoon and D.C. United on Saturday morning.
Friday's contest was a 90-minute affair divided into three 30-minute intervals. The young national team members took an early lead against a group of Crew newcomers before the more experienced players from the Crew took the field for the final half hour. The forward combination of Edson Buddle and Kyle Martino connected during that span to tie the score, Martino burying a shot after a pass from Buddle.
The following day Columbus met their first professional opposition of the 2005 preseason, lining up against the reigning MLS Cup champion. Again the Crew allowed every camp attendee a chance to play, but Peter Nowak's side ran out 1-0 winners. Jaime Moreno scored the only goal of the game in the first half.
Six non-roster, non-drafted players have joined the Crew in camp: Mark Shulte, Lee Morrison (Portland/USL first division), Mira Mupier (University of Charlotte), Ricky Charles (Grenada), Chris Robinson (Pittsburgh/USL first division) and Ryan Mack (Syracuse/USL first division).
The Columbus Crew preseason camp continues this week as the team trains at the IMG Academy in Florida. They are expected to face a pair of college sides in exhibition matches in the early part of this week before challenging the MetroStars on Friday.
Jonathan Nierman is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.