With less than a month to go until the start of the 2020 MLS campaign, we are taking a look at how each team has evolved since last year, and their chances this term. This time, we look at Columbus Crew.
For the first time in three seasons, the Columbus Crew failed to qualify for the MLS Cup playoffs, having reached at least the Conference semi-finals in the previous two campaigns. In 2019, the Ohio-based side could only manage a 10th-place finish in the Eastern Conference, ending the regular-season seven points below the playoff line.
The club racked up 38 points across their 34 games during the course of the regular season and only scored 39 times. Their offensive output was a problem throughout the season. Columbus made it to the Round of 16 in the U.S. Open Cup for the first time since 2016 after beating USL Championship side Pittsburgh Riverhounds in the fourth round. However, they lost to the eventual champions, Atlanta United, 3-2 in the fifth round of the competition.
Here is how things are shaping up for the Columbus Crew in 2020.
The only player to average more than a 7/10 WhoScored rating over the course of the 2019 campaign was Portuguese attacking midfielder Pedro Santos, who scored 11 goals during the regular season. Only one other player scored more than twice throughout the term, with star striker Gyasi Zardes bagging 13 goals as the team’s top goalscorer.
The likes of Wil Trapp and Artur were solid presences in the middle of the park, but their best goalkeeper played just 13 times throughout the campaign as USMNT star Zack Steffen made the move to Manchester City in the summer.
With injuries striking Milton Valenzuela and Federico Higuain early in the season, the Crew were left shorthanded of elite quality at times, and it showed in their results, especially early on.