Columbus Crew fans received a holiday present on Tuesday afternoon when Major League Soccer unveiled the 2023 regular season schedule for every club. 

Now that we know who the Black & Gold will play – and when – let the anticipation begin! Here are the top 10 games to watch for in 2023:

Feb. 25 – at Philadelphia Union

The Crew has started the regular season at home the past four seasons, but this time it travels to Philly and faces the reigning Eastern Conference champs. 

Playing an MLS Cup finalist in your first match is a difficult task for head coach Wilfried Nancy, but it’ll be a nice litmus test between the two coaches who finished first and second for the 2022 Sigi Schmid MLS Coach of the Year award. Nancy finished one-tenth of a percentage point behind the Union’s Jim Curtain. 

This is also the first game available on Apple TV’s MLS Season Pass. Every match will be available on the platform, so make sure you’ve signed up ahead of kickoff. Note: Each full-season ticket account will include one subscription to MLS Season Pass on Apple TV. 

Mar. 4 – D.C. United

Merry Crewsmas! The home opener at Lower.com Field is a Saturday night fight with D.C. United, as Nancy coaches his first game in Columbus as the Crew’s coach. Expect an incredible atmosphere that matches Nancy’s first impression of Lower.com Field:

A Good Connection | Wilfried Nancy

“As soon as I came on the pitch, I felt something in term of the fans and the way they stadium is,” Nancy said. “For me, this is a good correlation of the way I want to play on the pitch because this is classy and elegant. What we do on the pitch is entertain people.”

Fans will certainly be entertained by a full season of Juan “Cucho” Hernández and Lucas Zelarayán teaming up since the preseason. Don’t forget that Cucho scored twice against D.C. the last time these clubs met.

Mar. 25 – Atlanta United FC

Matchups between these two have always been entertaining, and don’t expect anything different in 2023. It’s rematch between Cucho and Josef Martínez leading their attacking lines, but defenders get in on the action, too. Captain Jonathan Mensah scored after 57 seconds against Atlanta in 2022 – the fastest goal in club history.

While this game is only a month into the regular season, it’s one that will have massive implications and could even be a preview of a postseason meeting in October or November.

Apr. 29 – Inter Miami CF

Columbus played Miami twice toward the end of 2022 and both games left fans in either euphoria or heartbreak. Luis Díaz produced an amazing individual goal last August at Lower.com Field, but the Crew suffered a late heartbreak when the teams met again in Florida two weeks later.

Only two points separated the teams last season, making this a huge matchup fans won’t want to miss.

May 17 – LA Galaxy

The Galaxy visits Lower.com Field for the first time, and this is the first meeting between the sides since 2019. Plus, we’re treated to another matchup including fantastic playmakers.

Lucas and Cucho will face Javier “Chicharito” Hernández and Riqui Puig in an exciting end-to-end midweek game against a historic Western Conference powerhouse.

May 20 – at FC Cincinnati

Hell Is Real three days after LA? Sure!

The first Hell Is Real match of 2023 arrives in May, as the Black & Gold head to TQL Stadium to face Ohio rivals FC Cincinnati. Crew supporters don’t need any reminders of the Club’s success in this matchup, but if any FCC fans are reading this, maybe they do.

Remember when Steven Moreira scored in the NINETY-SIXTH minute to equalize the match at 2-2 last year? Yep, that was one of the top moments of 2022. Let’s see what awaits in the first rendition of this fight in 2023.

Jun. 24 – Nashville SC

It’s time for the Crew to remind everyone that Columbus is THE Gold Standard. So what if Hany Mukhtar was the 2022 Landon Donovan MLS MVP? This one has all the makings of budding rivalry and will be the second time the teams meet in 2023.

Jul. 15 – at Portland Timbers

Might as well put the coffee on now…

The Crew face the Timbers in a 2015 MLS Cup rematch, and this marks the Black & Gold’s first game in Oregon since 2018. These clubs played to a dramatic 1-1 draw in 2022, which included a second-half stoppage time goal for the Timbers.

At 10:30 p.m., this is the latest kickoff Columbus has all season, but expect some #MLSAfterDark vibes. These teams have combined for 33 goals in their 12 meetings – that’s a clip of 2.75 per game. Anyone staying up past midnight will likely be rewarded as this Saturday night affair is the last league match for a month.

Aug. 20 – FC Cincinnati

Hell Is (still) Real and the Columbus Crew is still unbeaten against Cincinnati in the Ohio capital. In 2021, it was a comeback 3-2 win; in 2022, the Crew toppled FCC, 2-0.

When the regular season resumes following Leagues Cup 2023, it’ll be FCC at the Crew for some intrastate fireworks. Offensively, it’s Lucas and Cucho against Lucho Acosta, Brandon Vazquez and Brenner.

Hell Is Real is always a must-see match and expect this rendition to be nothing different.

Oct. 21 – CF Montréal

The Crew can seal its postseason fate on Decision Day at Lower.com Field. For a club that’s missed the playoffs by a combined three points the two previous seasons, 2023 could all come down to this match in Columbus. Sure, Nancy hosts his old club, but there’s a lot more than bragging rights on the line in this one.

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