Members of The Nordecke, the club's longstanding supporters’ group, gathered at MAPFRE Stadium to bid farewell to players and coaches as they embarked on Orlando. They stayed at a safe social distance, of course.
“I just want to say thank you to all of them that came here just to see us and to support us,” midfielder Artur said. “We are very thankful for that, and we are going to do our best to make them happy.”
Columbus are drawn into Group E alongside Atlanta United, FC Cincinnati and the New York Red Bulls. They’ll begin group play July 11 (10:30 pm ET | FS1, TUDN, TSN) with a Hell is Real derby against FC Cincy, looking to build off last year’s 1-0-1 record against their Ohio rivals. All games during the tournament will be played without fans due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Crew were widely deemed the offseason winners of 2020, and then supported the hype with a 1-0-1 start before the COVID-19 stoppage. Some of their new centerpieces are midfielders Darlington Nagbe and Lucas Zelarayan, and there’s the long-awaited return of left back Milton Valenzuela from a season-ending injury.