COLUMBUS – Reigning champions Columbus Crew 2 will host Austin FC II in the MLS NEXT Pro Cup at Lower.com Field at 5:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, Oct. 22 (5 p.m. ET / MLS Season Pass on Apple TV). Tickets for the single-elimination cup final are available for as low as $10 for Season Ticket Members via their Account Manager and $15 for the public via Ticketmaster.
“We are very excited to be hosting the MLS NEXT Pro Cup again,” said Corey Wray, Crew 2 General Manager. “As a Club, it is our goal to secure postseason games in efforts to provide our athletes with a greater number of meaningful matches each season. On behalf of the entire Crew 2 players and staff, I want to thank everyone for all of the support this season. We can't wait to showcase Columbus to the League, our fans, and the world once again.”
Crew 2 supporters can enjoy pre-match festivities at the Chase Plaza on Sunday, where current First Team players Patrick Schulte, Will Sands, and Isaiah Parente, all players who were part of the 2022 championship run, as well as former Crew 2 players Mohamed Farsi, Jacen Russell-Rowe will take part in an autograph signing from 4:00 P.M. to 4:45 P.M. Notably, Russell-Rowe earned the 2022 MLS NEXT Pro Golden Boot, as well as earning the MVP award. Additionally, Schulte was named Goalkeeper of the Year. Furthermore, Farsi and Parente were named to the 2022 MLS NEXT Pro Best XI.
As a result of Crew 2 (54 points) ending the regular season with five more points than Austin FC II (49 points), Columbus is hosting 2023 MLS NEXT Pro Cup at Lower.com Field with the opportunity to secure back-to-back championships at home.
Crew 2 captured the Eastern Conference title on Saturday, Oct. 14 with a 1-0 win at New England Revolution II, courtesy of a stoppage time goal from Gibran Rayo. Crew 2 led the match with 24 shots, 54.8 percent possession, 579 passes completed, and 89.5 pervent pass accuracy.
Western Conference No. 4 seed, Austin FC II, advanced to the NEXT Pro Cup after defeating the Western Conference number one seed, Colorado Rapids 2, 4-1 in a spot kick shootout, after ending regulation and two 15-minute halves of extra time even at 0-0 on Oct. 15.
The Capybaras finished the regular season in third place of the Eastern Conference (16-9-3, 54 points) and as such earned selection rights and homefield advantage in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. Crew 2 selected Orlando City B and earned a 2-1 win at Historic Crew Stadium to advance to the MLS NEXT Pro Eastern Conference Semifinals. In the Eastern Conference Semifinals, Crew 2 were chosen by the Eastern Conference No. 1 seed Crown Legacy FC. The squad captured a 1-0 win away from home to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals.