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A Season Filled With Disappointment
November 19, 2021
If only that rang true for the standings of the Eastern Conference.
Columbus was slowed by a midsummer slump that found them under the playoff line come late season. Although the Black and Gold had a strong finish to the season, flat second half performances and poor road play hurt them throughout the season.
Although it’s true the Crew didn’t wake up until September ended, there was a reason for their dormant autumn. Players like Gyasi Zardes, Luis Diaz, Jonathan Mensah, Harrison Afful, Liam Frasier, and Derrick Etienne Jr. all missed time on international duty.
Help came from an unlikely source. Instead of league great Bradley Wright-Phillips, the next man up was none other than Miguel Berry, a 24 year old striker who had been loaned away from Columbus earlier this year.
Berry was the scorer of several clutch goals, including iconic shots against FC Cincinnati in the “Hell is Real Derby”, the rivalry between the two Ohio clubs. While Berry held down the fort, Zardes proved his worth in his returns, scoring goals and being the steering wheel for the Columbus attack.
While players on the Crew roster saw competition both foreign and domestic, the roster was plagued by injury, causing further changes. Young and promising midfielder Aiden Morris missed the year with a torn ACL, and Zardes, Molino, Diaz, midfielder Artur, defenders Josh Williams and Milton Valenzuela, all missed time with various injuries.
The main frustration wasn’t that the Crew didn’t have good players; it was that the moves they made just didn’t pan out. Wright-Phillips had minimal impact, and Molino’s season was cut short by a season-ending injury.