After a 10-day break in early July, the Crew is in the midst of another mercilessly busy stretch. A visit from the expansion Portland Timbers this Saturday will be the Crew's third match in eight days; Tuesday's exhibition against Newcastle United of the English Premier League will make four games in 11 days.

After a 10-day break in early July, the Crew is in the midst of another mercilessly busy stretch. A visit from the expansion Portland Timbers this Saturday will be the Crew's third match in eight days; Tuesday's exhibition against Newcastle United of the English Premier League will make four games in 11 days.

Thus, Columbus will be tired when their latest international foes roll into town. Fear not, Crew fans. Your favorite squad has a surprisingly strong record against foreign competition.

The Crew has faced international competition 34 times, not including bouts with Canadian MLS teams (especially Toronto FC, who might as well be a minor league squad as far as Crew fans are concerned). In those competitions, Columbus is 17-10-7.

When you remove international tournaments and stick to exhibitions, the Crew's record is even better, registering at a whopping 9-3-2.

Against English Premier League teams, the record evens out to 2-2-2, including a 2-2 draw against the same Newcastle United club exactly 11 years before Tuesday's match. The Crew has approached these matches confidently ever since toppling Premier League side Leeds United 2-1 in their very first international friendly in 1997. (Coach Robert Warzycha, playing midfield for the Crew in those days, netted one of the Crew's goals that drizzly night in Ohio Stadium.)

So the Crew has a decent shot at beating Newcastle on Tuesday, assuming they can muster the energy after so many hard-fought MLS matches.

Whether an exhibition like this proves much about Major League Soccer's ability to contend with the big boys is another question entirely. After all, these international bouts are usually at home, in the summer, which is the offseason for almost every other league in the world.

No matter the significance in the grand scheme, these games tend to be a lot of fun, and the Crew hasn't hosted one lately, since they've been so busy with serious business like the CONCACAF Champions League. So sit back and enjoy yourself - or stand up and scream unprintable insults at Newcastle, if that's how you enjoy yourself.

All-time Crew international results (all matches home exhibitions unless otherwise noted)

May 14, 1997: Crew 2, Leeds United (England) 1

May 24, 2000: Crew 4, Hamburg SV (Germany) 2

July 26, 2000: Crew 2, Newcastle United (England) 2

April 4, 2001: Saprissa (Costa Rica) 2, Crew 0 (at Saprissa, CONCACAF Giants Cup)

April 11, 2001: Crew 1, Saprissa 1 (CONCACAF Giants Cup)

May 29, 2001: Crew 4, Bayer Leverkusen (Germany) 3

May 15, 2002: Crew 7, FC Nurnberg (Germany) 2

June 26, 2002: Club Tigres (Mexico) 2, Crew 1

March 16, 2003: DAU (Panama) 2, Crew 1 (at DAU, CONCACAF Champions Cup)

March 23, 2003: Crew 3, DAU 0 (CONCACAF Champions Cup)

April 9, 2003: Morelia (Mexico) 6, Crew 0 (at Morelia, CONCACAF Champions Cup)

April 16, 2003: Crew 2, Morelia 0 (CONCACAF Champions Cup)

June 4, 2005: Crew 4, Catolica (Chile) 1

July 27, 2005: Crew 2, Fulham (England) 1

July 26, 2006: Crew 1, Everton (England) 1

Nov. 8, 2006: Crew 2, CSD Municipal (Guatemala) 1

July 28, 2007: Aston Villa (England) 3, Crew 1

Nov. 13, 2007: Crew 2, Tecos UAG (Mexico) 0

July 9, 2008: Crew 2, Independiente (Argentina) 1

July 20, 2008: West Ham United (England) 3, Crew 1

Aug. 18, 2009: Crew 2, Puerto Rico Islanders 0 (CONCACAF Champions League group stage)

Aug. 26, 2009: Cruz Azul (Mexico) 5, Crew 0 (at Cruz Azul, CONCACAF Champions League group stage)

Sept. 16, 2009: Crew 1, Saprissa (Costa Rica) 0 (at Saprissa, CONCACAF Champions League group stage)

Sept. 23, 2009: Cruz Azul 2, Crew 0 (CONCACAF Champions League group stage)

Sept. 29, 2009: Crew 1, Saprissa 1 (CONCACAF Champions League group stage)

Oct, 20, 2009: Crew 1, Puerto Rico Islanders 1 (CONCACAF Champions League group stage)

March 9, 2010: Crew 2, Toluca (Mexico) 2 (CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal;)

March 17, 2010: Toluca 3, Crew 2 (CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal)

Aug. 18, 2010: Crew 1, Municipal 0 (CONCACAF Champions League group stage)

Aug. 24, 2010: Santos Laguna (Mexico) 1, Crew 0 (at Santos, CONCACAF Champions League group stage)

Sept. 14, 2010: Columbus Crew 3, Joe Public (Trinidad) 0 (CONCACAF Champions League group stage)

Sept. 21, 2010: Crew 1, Santos Laguna 0 (CONCACAF Champions League group stage)

Sept. 29, 2010: Municipal 2, Crew 1 (at Municipal, CONCACAF Champions League group stage)

Oct. 21, 2010: Crew 4, Joe Public 1 (at Joe Public, CONCACAF Champions League group stage)