Know Your Foe Minted- Columbus Crew

History

The Columbus Crew have a rich history as one of the founding ten members of Major League Soccer. They would go on to make playoffs in their first three seasons in the league, but they weren’t a team that would ever come close to contending MLS Cup in their initial years.

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Columbus Crew and USMNT Striker Brian McBride in the inaugural 1996 MLS Season

In 1999 they would begin playing in the first-ever soccer-specific stadium build for an MLS club, a historic moment not just for the team but for the entire league. Three years later, the Crew would win their first trophy, the 2002 U.S. Open Cup against the L.A. Galaxy.

Their second trophy would come in the form of the Supporter’s Shield in 2004, which is awarded to the team with the points in regular season. But arguably the Crew’s best season came in 2008.

A year prior to 2008, the Crew responded to L.A. Galaxy’s signing of David Beckham, by signing legendary Boca Junior forward, Guillermo Barros Scheletto, as well as MLS forward Alejandro Moreno.

Their first year at the Club was disappointing but the 2008 season more than made up for it. Scheletto led the team to their second Supporter’s Shield trophy as well but even more significant, their first MLS Cup win.

They followed up their 2008 success with their third Supporter’s Shield in the 2009 season. However, the Crew would go through an eleven-year trophyless drought despite remaining competitive for most of that time. But in that period the Crew almost ceased to exist...

The Crew’s owner at the time was Anthony Precourt, he became the second investor-operator in 2013, but in 2017 to relocate the franchise to Austin, Texas if a downtown stadium could not be secured in Columbus. The response to this was not only uproar from local Columbus fans, but throughout the soccer community in the United States.

A movement coined #SaveTheCrew spread throughout the country, eventually leading to new ownership of the Crew when Cleveland Browns owner, Jimmy Haslam, bought the team while Precourt got the rights to start his new team in Austin.

The Crew’s first year new under new ownership in 2019 was one to forget but in 2020 they won their second MLS Cup led by Portland Timbers head coach Caleb Porter. The next year, they won the Campeones Cup beating Mexican giant Cruz Azul 2 – 0.

This year, construction on the Crew’s new state-of-art stadium was completed, the last piece marking the start of a new era for the club.

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2020 MLS Cup

Present

The Crew have had as mixed of a season as you can have: four wins, five losses, and four draws so far. That puts them in 10th in the East but they still have two games in hand. Their performances mirror their record, in some matches, the Crew look like a playoff quality team, and in others the complete opposite. Regardless of their form, the talent and quality on their roster is unquestionable, but the lack of a reliable striker has hurt them.

Key Players

Lucas Zelarayan: The Crew’s 2020 MLS Cup final MVP, Zelarayan remains as the Crew’s star playmaker. He has four goals and three assists so far this season and is the type of player who can single handidly win games for you.

Darlington Nagbe: Nagbe has won everywhere he has gone. He won the MLS Cup first with the Portland Timbers, then with Atlanta United, and most recently with the Columbus Crew. He is the heartbeat of the midfield, dictating tempo for his entire team.

Pedro Santos: The Portuguese winger turned left-back continues to terrorize the left flank of the Crew. Always willing to make the difficult passes, Santos is instrumental in the team's chance creation.