Crew to host San Jose Earthquakes on March 16 in 2013 home opener

Black & Gold welcome reigning Supporters’ Shield winners for Crew Stadium opener

Josh Williams Steven Lenhart

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COLUMBUS — Major League Soccer announced the home openers for each of its 19 clubs on Tuesday morning. The Columbus Crew will host the 2012 MLS Supporters’ Shield-winning San Jose Earthquakes on March 16 to open the home portion of the 2013 season. Times and broadcast information will be unveiled in the coming weeks as part of the complete 2013 regular season schedule announcement. Each club will again play 34 games during the regular season.

"We couldn't have asked for a better First Kick opponent to begin our season," said Crew President and General Manager Mark McCullers. "We expect 2013 to be a breakout year for our organization on and off the field, and San Jose provides an exciting matchup to kick things off. Most importantly, this is an opportunity for us to showcase our passionate home atmosphere against one of the top teams in the League."

The Crew returns the dynamic strike partnership of 2012 MLS Newcomer of the Year Federico Higuaín and Costa Rican Jairo Arrieta in 2013, as well as the 2012 MLS saves leader Andy Gruenebaum in net. The Earthquakes’ roster is headlined by 2012 MLS Most Valuable Player and Budweiser Golden Boot winner Chris Wondolowski, alongside 2012 MLS Coach of the Year Frank Yallop. San Jose’s roster also features former Crew striker Steven Lenhart and goalkeeper Jon Busch, both of whom helped deliver silverware to Columbus during their respective tenures in Black & Gold.

Tickets to First Kick 2013 are currently part of the Crew’s Holiday Pack. Starting at only $75, the Holiday Pack includes two tickets to the San Jose game on March 16, along with two tickets to any 2013 match of choice. Complete details can be found via TheCrew.com/holiday or by calling the Crew sales office at 614-447-CREW (2739). Single game tickets will go on sale following the complete MLS schedule announcement.

Before the Crew squares off against the Earthquakes, the Black & Gold open the 2013 season at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. on March 2 against Chivas USA as part of MLS First Kick 2013. Columbus defeated Chivas 1-0 in the only meeting between the two sides in 2012 on September 19 at Crew Stadium.