It wasn't that long ago that the Columbus Crew's future in their home city was in jeopardy, but Tuesday's developments are a sign of just how far things have come over the last year.
After the Haslam and Edwards families took over from owner Anthony Precourt and promised a new downtown stadium to replace the historic but dated Crew Stadium last winter, the club has unveiled just what that new stadium will look like. The venue, which has a groundbreaking slated for Oct. 10, is expected to be ready for the summer of 2021, meaning Columbus has another season and change in its current confines before moving to the Arena District.
The stadium will seat 20,000 and feature a full wrap-around roof along with a safe-standing supporters' section that seats 3,400 fans. The peek at the stadium is a dose of good news for a fan base whose team is unlikely to make the MLS playoffs. With two matches remaining, Columbus is six points out of the final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference and has to overcome four other teams to improbably snag it. If the immediate future isn't bright, at least the distant future is full of hope and excitement.
Whether Columbus remains the home of USA-Mexico in World Cup qualifying and puts on the rivalry bout in its new stadium remains to be seen. Mexico ended its dos-a-cero curse in Columbus during the last World Cup qualifying cycle, beating the USA 2-1 thanks to Rafa Marquez's header. Much will depend on the stadium's opening (and if there are any delays in getting it up and running) and the Concacaf World Cup qualifying schedule before U.S. Soccer ultimately has its say.
Regardless, Columbus will retain its place in MLS and do so in a pricey, sparkling and modern new home.