2. Darlington Nagbe
Darlington Nagbe cannot be ignored coming home to Ohio.
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In Atlanta, Nagbe made it clear two years ago that his priority was returning back to Ohio where he played college soccer at Akron and high school soccer at Cleveland area power St. Eds. To complete the coming home story, the Columbus Crew head coach Caleb Porter happened to coach Akron during Nagbe’s career and was the midfielder’s manager in Portland, too, where the pair won an MLS Cup together.
As a long-time MLS veteran, what Nagbe brings to the table should be no secret. For those that don’t know, he is an elite midfielder in possession, specifically linking defense to attack. When the opposition presses, Nagbe can be a one-man press breaker, shimmying his way out of trouble and finding one of the attacking frontmen.
In the Columbus 4-2-3-1, Nagbe will form a very exciting duo with Artur. A season ago, Wil Trapp combined sat alongside Artur, but Nagbe will help form a partnership where they act as a pulley system, covering for each other to provide balance when in the attack. This will be the crux of the Porter midfield, and Nagbe has the skill set to flourish at the heart of it.