Columbus Season In-Review
Picture Credits: Columbus Crew Twitter (@ColumbusCrew)
Season In Review
It was a crazy season for the 2020 MLS Cup Champions. Columbus came into the season looking to repeat as MLS Cup Champions. As we all know know, they fell well short of that goal, even failing to qualify for the postseason. In a season that most would say was derailed with injuries, it still was a disappointing season for the Columbus Crew. Lets discuss the highlights of this crazy MLS season.
Offseason Depth Signings
With the signings that the Crew made going into the season, they were heavily favored to win the east, and make a strong push to lifting the MLS Cup trophy for the second consecutive season. Having signed veterans like Bradley Wright-Phillips and Kevin Molino, they were supposed to help the depth of the reigning MLS Cup Champions. But, Molino would suffer a season ending ACL injury, and Wright-Phillips would not see much of the field, especially with the emergence of Miguel Berry.
Picture Credits: (The Nordecke)
The Crew also went out and got other veterans like Saad Abdul-Saalam, Marlon Hairston, Perry Kitchen and Liam Fraser on loan. All of these signings played a vital role in the Crew production, including Marlon Hairston who was super versatile for the Crew.
What Went Wrong?
Perhaps the biggest reason this season turned out the way it did is because of all the injuries that the Crew endured. With the likes of Jonathan Mensah, Darlington Nagbe, Gyasi Zardes, Eloy Room, Josh Williams, among many others who missed time with injuries. The injuries in which the Crew sustained throughout the season really hindered what they could do, as they very rarely could field a team that was at 100% strength. But, with the injuries, the Crew were Las able to find some diamonds.
Who Stepped Up?
Throughout the injuries the Crew had to deal with, there were positives. The biggest positive is that of forward Miguel Berry. In the 18 matches Berry played in this season, he had 8 goals. He also proved to be the difference maker in matches against Cincinnati, where he found the back of the net for the equalizing goal, as well as the match winner in the return fixture. Berry was brought back from his loan for the San Diego Loyal after Gyasi Zardes was injured.
Picture Credits: J.D. Smith
Out With The Old, In With The New
While the on-field product was not what was expected, the Crew really upgraded everything off the field. The Columbus Crew were the first MLS team to have a soccer specific stadium, and 2021 would be the year that they would say goodbye to Historic Crew Stadium, where both Major League Soccer was born, as well as Dos a Cero. But with the Crew saying goodbye to a stadium, they must have somewhere new to play. And that is exactly what happened.
Picture Credits: @tarheel_in_ohio
The Columbus Crew officially opened Lower.com Field July 3rd, 2021 when the East and Supporter Shield Winners New England came to town. That game would officially end in a 2-2 draw, and the Lower.com Field era would officially be underway.
Picture Credits: @KristaWBNS
Not only did Columbus get a brand new stadium, they also got a state-of-the-art training facility to go along with the new stadium. The OhioHealth Performance Center is a site to behold, and really is magnificent. Built right outside Historic Crew Stadium, this new facility gives Crew players, coaches and staff members to enjoy the amenities that come with it.
Picture Credits: Columbus Crew
With the disappointment of the end of a season, brings the opportunity to forget about it. The Columbus Crew will look to bounce back next season. The Crew should return most of their core of players, which in turn should allow the Crew to make another run at the MLS Cup trophy.