As the 2021 season approaches for Columbus Crew SC, the debut of the club's new soccer-specific stadium also inches ever-closer.
The downtown Columbus venue is scheduled to be completed this summer, representing a new era for Crew SC as they look to defend their 2020 MLS Cup title. We've seen some of the renderings, but few people are more plugged into what to expect than Crew SC television analyst Jordan Angeli, who stopped by the latest episode of The Call Up to give hosts Susannah Collins and Jillian Sakovits the latest.
"This stadium is ridiculous," Angeli said. "With the Haslem [family] and Dr. Pete Edwards on board and what they have invested into this club, specifically the Haslems have such a knowledge of what works in stadiums because they've been in [the] NFL for a long time.
"There's a few unique features within the stadium that I think are going to be really nice. It's small, but there are really wide walkways underneath the terrace that I think will just be nice to get people moving and give them a lot of space to go check out all the concessions. There's a restaurant that's there, I mentioned the beer garden on the East side of the stadium, I believe. There's the most swankiest club with a patio setting."
The new venue is replacing MAPFRE Stadium, which opened in 1999 as the first MLS soccer-specific stadium. Now, more than two decades later, Columbus are due for a new place to call home.
"It's going to have a really special atmosphere, I know that," Angeli added. "Having the stadium downtown, it's right next to the hockey arena, the baseball field. There's bars and restaurants within walking distance."
Angeli also weighed in on Crew SC's offseason, which has seen them add several MLS-proven veterans in forward Bradley Wright-Phillips, attacking midfielder Kevin Molino and central midfielder Perry Kitchen. Joining a roster that already includes stars like Darlington Nagbe and Lucas Zelayaran could make them only stronger, Angeli believes, ahead of also entering the Concacaf Champions League.
"I'm very excited for what I anticipate to be a Columbus Crew squad who not just won 2020 MLS Cup," Angeli said, "but now goes into this season where there's a lot more games, more competition with Concacaf Champions League, and they have depth to be able to compete in a lot of those."
For the entire The Call Up episode with Angeli, check out more here.