SBI 2021 MLS Season Preview: Columbus Crew – Soccer Sports

Every team in the league had the advantage of turning pages from 2019 to 2020 as much as the Columbus Crew.

Worrying about the team leaving town to become the MLS Cup champion from 10th place at the Eastern Conference is a big change in status.

Here are some questions for the coming season: Is the team ready to scale up to meet expectations and successfully carry MLS Monica at international competitions?

Head coach Caleb Porter makes it clear that the pressure is real, as the crew does. Set as Gauntlet for Opening WeekKicked off at the CONCACAF Champions League match on Thursday in Nicaragua.

“It’s not always possible to sail smoothly all year round,” Porter said. “We’re going to lose some games. () The tendency to win trophies is: I think I’ll be undefeated all year round. No hardships.”

Apart from the 34-game regular season and CCL missions, the 2021 campaign will charge crews for action at the Campeones Cup and, if the team is in charge of the MLS business early, at the US Open Cup. Will be done.

We already know about the team’s best XI, but in seasons with a lot of games, support casts will be there.

“There will be some struggles, some ups and downs,” Porter said. “We follow our process, analyze and keep our hands stable. We know where to go in the end.”

With the most chances of winning, anything other than hardware will eventually disappoint.

The crew will also open as well as move to a new training facility New Crew Stadium Held in July, the last five games will conclude the glory of the historic and first-ever American soccer-specific stadium.

In recent years, there have been a lot of black and gold fans on the market. 2020 was the reward.

The acquisition of several headliners in the off-season certainly makes the rich look more talented. 2021 is about establishing staying power.

Champions have goals on their backs, and this year is about managing everything that comes with the territory.

Here are the details of the crew heading for 2021.

2021 Columbus Crew Season Preview

Finishing in 2020: MLS Cup Champion, 3rd at Eastern Conference (12-5-6, 41 points)

Main additions: Kevin Molino, Bradley Wright-Phillips, Perry Kitchen, Marlon Hairston, Alexandru Mățan

Main loss: Youness Mokhtar, Emmanuel Boaten, Fanendo Adi, Andrew Tarbell

Featured newcomer

Kevin Molino

Molino, who was last seen contributing to four goals in his three-game stay in the Minnesota United playoffs, appears to be an overkill addition to the team already loaded in the Midfield / Winger division. I did.

He is the starting rock for most teams in the league and needs to give the crew enough production in a support or perhaps starting role.

Under pressure

Vito Woormgoor

It’s always unfortunate to see players lose their place due to injury. The 2020 rookie centre-back worm ghoul had high hopes, but was injured in the MLS is back tournament and recorded only two starts.

The Dutch have had successful ankle surgery but may not be ready to play for some time. Whether fair or unfair, the crew found a way to win the championship without him. His ties to international roster spots mean that an all-star caliber season will be needed for the team to feel that they can’t live without him.


Expectations for the crew are high. Playoffs are minimal. A serious battle to maintain the MLS Cup and extracurricular trophies should be your mission.

Which trophy is it? After seeing them challenge Real Esteri, we’ll learn more this week. Bouncing from the CCL in the first round is a big disappointment and it doesn’t make the schedule so bright with everything in mind.

They need to be a shoe-in to qualify for the US Open Cup and should be able to do well in the Campeones Cup.

Looking at the league match, the crew was a 2020 playoff lockout. This should remain the same in 2021. As long as you get stronger on each line and your team maintains a healthy season, you can finish in 7th place or higher. Eastern Conference on Autopilot.

That said, it would have been wise for everyone else in the league to scrutinize Columbus’ 2020 victory tape. Porter expects that to be the case.

“One of the things I learned is when you win the championship … All teams want to beat you further next year. They will study you further. In many ways. It duplicates what you did, “Porter said.

Expecting the crew to overcome the lackluster deficit at this week’s CCL opener is a big question, but as we’ve seen, it doesn’t necessarily require perfect performance to move beyond the first round. Not really.

There is no doubt that they have the talent to get cold and push Real Esteri a little. And most of the time, you have the elements to get things started.

According to the latest update from Porter, Woormgoor is unlikely and Brazil’s midfield fixture Artur will be on a CCL trip.

Really, when you think this way, you don’t have to panic for Black and Gold fans: imagine a MLS Cup starter, replace Darlington Nagbe with Arthur and Pedro Santos with Derrick Etienne Jr. Please give me. Rework to open the season.

Going miles forward, the young people on the team can get a glimpse of the future.Midfielder The story of Aidan Morris began last year, The team went well to sign 21-year-old offensive midfielder Aboubakar Keita, and defender Aboubakar Keita continues his rise.

It can be argued that the attack may require another depth piece.

Again, the role of the first striker belongs to Gyasi Zardes and is, of course, uncontested after his 16 goals and 5 assists 2020.

“Gyasi is Gyasi and his game is his game. He doesn’t really have many dropoffs,” Porter said. “Last year was a great year for him. I expect the same thing this year. I don’t think there will be much deviation for him as a player.”

He is backed up by 36-year-old Bradley Wright Phillips, who scored nine goals in a LAFC supporting role last year.

You don’t have to knock on Light Phillips, but Zardes should not only reduce the workload, but also cover when the US men’s national team asks for his service.

Porter revealed his thoughts on those situations, and the team is working on various forms, but of course, named there as a 90-minute option for Zardes’ expected absence. Did not throw.

“We have several situations. You will probably lose a particular person at some international window. In fact, there are many people in one position, that is, another. The players here in the formation are probably better in our shape. The style doesn’t change the formation and can really bring out the best in the people we have. “I will,” Porter said, referring to his wing, as well as when Zardes and Wright-Phillips face injuries.

There is no other true center forward option and the team will probably continue to look at Machan or Molino to fill the void.

It’s no wonder support for attacks. Pedro Santos, Luis Diaz and Molino will be the headlines for the wings and should take enough time for everyone.

Of course, it was Argentina’s Lucas Serrarayan who relied on this plan, and his advance into the league was suitable for eight goals and three assists in all tournaments of the truncated season.

In the midfield defensive section, nothing beats Darlington Nagbe last year. The reliable partnership with Artur may have been put on hold for some time, but the team brought in Perry Kitchen. This serves as another quality depth option that allows you to get started comfortably when you need it.

“I think we’re looking at the tournament we’re in, also in terms of team rotation and getting another league-proven guy in there,” Nagbe said of the kitchen. With Perry here, I think not only will the team be better, but it will also be more competitive in the midfield and the game will be better. So I’m glad he’s here. Obviously, someone I knew for a long time. He will be a great person and will do a great job for us. “

The backline hasn’t changed since last season. It also had little room for improvement, given that it was the second best target allowed in 2020, with only 21 allowed.

With Milton Valenzuela pushing left and Harrison Afful holding right, Jonathan Mensah becomes the main force in the center. He will once again partner with Josh Williams and Kieta’s platoon until Volmgur is healthy.

In the goal, Eloy Room is not contested, as he is a clear starter and newcomer Evan Bush is likely to be his back-up.

Needless to say, the team didn’t have much room for an overall upgrade and deliberately moved to create a team that should be ready to survive the storm while being shot by a cannon in the first week.

“As always, we chose the people we signed based on their personality, their performance, and their type,” Porter said. “If you can’t get the right people, it’s difficult to bring players to an established team.

“They did great things, but they became humble, came to learn, and became part of the next, preferably trophy. Then everyone spread their arms and welcome them. And that’s exactly what it is. Is the way new people have come.

Columbus Crew roster

Goalkeeper: Evan Bush, Eric Dick, Matt Lampson, Eloy Room

Defender: Harrison Afful, Waylon Francis, Marlon Hairston, Aboubacar Keita, Grant Lillard, Jonathan Mensah, Milton Valenzuela, Josh Williams, Vito Wolmgur

Midfielder: Artur, Sebastian Berhalter, Luis Diaz, Derrick Etienne, Jr., Perry Kitchen, Alexandru Matan, Aidan Morris, Darlington Nagbe, Isaiah Parente, Pedro Santos, Lucas Zelarayán

forward: Miguel Berry, Kevin Molino, Bradley Wright Phillips, Gyasi Zardes

– Soccer Sports

SBI 2021 MLS Season Preview: Columbus Crew SBI 2021 MLS Season Preview: Columbus Crew

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