Patrick Guldan of Massive Report answers a few of our questions to preview the Crew' preseason and the tribute game to Kirk Urso.
Sofiane -- Both clubs want to win and keep the competitive level at a very high level. Will this pre-season final set the tone for the month of March for the Columbus Crew?
Patrick -- I think the tone has been set, finding a rotation with so many new starters in the lineup. The team will likely start five players that weren't on the squad last season. That's a big transition.
It's most important to see how Glauber and Tyson Wahl fit in on the back line and how the Matias Sanchez and Agustin Viana mesh as the two central midfielders in the Crew's 4-2-3-1.
Crew fans certainly want to see a win, but it's better seeing a fit and healthy Federico Higuain running the attack with hopefully a stouter defense behind him.
Sofiane -- Many followers of the Impact feel that the club can pick up where it left off. Between a new look defense for the Crew and a potential full season for Higuain, can the Crew pick up where it left off?
Patrick -- I think it will be a slower start than expected. There was a loss of continuity with so many offseason transactions. It's going to take more than the few weeks off the offseason to get all of the players new and old on the same page.
This is likely a make or break year for Head Coach Robert Warzycha. He's had four years to build his team and a slow start will put some pressure on the head man.
Sofiane -- An emotional game is coming up this Sunday with the first annual Kirk Urso Memorial Match in Greensboro, North Carolina. What is your take on this tribute and how much effect does it have on the community around UNC and the Crew?
Patrick -- I can't speak to the UNC community, but the Crew have truly committed to honoring Kirk. The whole team talks about the effect Kirk had on this team. He was a quality human being he touched a lot of people.
The Crew has gone above and beyond to remember him. The team has the Memorial Fund, the game tomorrow, a symposium they hosted last year on heart health.
Beyond that, they have a memorial next to Lamar Hunt's in front of the stadium and a remembrance in the locker room. They also haven't reissued his number 15 for the season.
The club, staff, and players have strove to honor a quality player that was truly an even better human being. He was with the team for such a short time, but had an amazing impact.