Columbus Crew SC won the second championship in the club’s Major League Soccer history, defeating Seattle Sounders FC 3-0 in the 2020 MLS Cup at Mapfre Stadium on Saturday evening.
Lucas Zelarayán was MLS Cup MVP after scoring two goals and adding one assist, involving in all three Crew SC goals, just the second player in MLS Cup history to be involved in three goals in a single final. Derrick Etienne Jr. scored the other goal for Columbus.
Zelarayán became just the third player to score two goals in MLS Cup, along with Landon Donovan (San Jose, 2003) and Alecko Eskandarian (DC, 2004). He’s also becoming the second player in MLS Cup history to be involved in three goals in a single final. The first was Guillermo Barros Schelotto, who recorded assists on all three goals for the Columbus Crew in MLS Cup 2008.
From “Save The Crew!” to a league title in a handful of years is incredible. It’s safe to say that Columbus showed up as a team and won as a team. The Ghanian duo of Harrison Afful and captain Jonathan Mensah were a force on the backline, making a number of match-saving clearances and physical challenges. The club captain mentioned after the match that, “the fans, community, everyone behind the ‘save the crew’ movement, for this to be possible today? It’s by their efforts, their fight off the field, their resiliency, got us to where we are now to accomplish this mission.”
Aidan Morris of Columbus Crew SC became the youngest player in history to start an MLS Cup final, at age 19 years, 27 days. He is just the second teenager to start in MLS Cup, after Landon Donovan (19 years, 231 days) in MLS Cup 2001. The teenager had enormous shoes to fill as Darlington Nagbe’s substitute. The Ohio native had a COVID positive test emerge just days before the final and was excluded from the lineup. But Morris did such a great job in midfield, the team carried on without a hitch, the sign of a great bench and second team.
COLUMBUS vs. SEATTLE
|5||SHOTS ON TARGET||2|
|5||SHOTS OFF TARGET||9|
|13||SHOTS INSIDE THE BOX||5|
|2||SHOTS OUTSIDE THE BOX||8|
|11||OPEN PLAY CROSSES||21|
A wise man once told me in regards to football, “possession means nothing if you can’t score.” As you can see from the post-match figures above, the Sounders dominated in that category with 64.8%. They took more chances, more crosses, and boasted a match without a single offside call, yet, they lost 3-0. The statistic that screams loudest are the 13 shots inside the box from the Crew. That type of onslaught would pressure even the world’s best goalkeeper and the Crew’s counterattack was relentless.
Sounders FC saw their winning streak in the MLS Cup Playoffs put to an end after eight games, the longest postseason winning streak since the end of the shootout era (since 2000), and the second-longest in league history. Nicolás Lodeiro saw his streaks of seven consecutive games in the MLS Cup Playoffs with an assist, and eight consecutive games with a goal and/or an assist – both all-time MLS postseason records – come to an end.
As the 2020 MLS regular season officially comes to a close, remember that clubs are gearing up to finish Concacaf Champions League next week. Atlanta United, LAFC, Montreal Impact, and NYCFC will take the pitch in Orlando to see who will be crowned Continental Club Champion.
Cover photo: Devin L’Amoreaux and Jared Martinez