In the Columbus Crew’s championship crusade, plenty of things went right. Arguably the biggest happened in the preseason.
As head coach Caleb Porter tried to forget 2019’s festival of injuries which confined the team to a 10th-placed Eastern Conference finish, he got a gift in hitting on the signing of MLS Newcomer of the Year, Lucas Zelarayán, whose abilitiy to create and finish seemed limitless in the campaign.
The team previaled when things went wrong, too.
As the season came to a wrap, the team was short six men in the run up to the MLS Cup Final, and on that day, found a way to embarass the Seattle Sounders without the services of Darlington Nagbe and Pedro Santos.
Before the playoffs were in sight, the team looked like a cheat code in a handful of stretches in 2020 the season, particulrly in the beginning.
All to say, they scored a lot of goals this season. 47 in all competitions, to be exact. SBI has reviewed them all to put together the top 5 of the historic season, with importance, skill, and aesthetics in mind, among other things.
Here are SBI’s Top 5 FC Columbus Crew goals of 2020:
1. Lucas Zelarayán vs Seattle Sounders, Dec. 13
The Argentine’s importance to the Crew in his foray to MLS can not be overstated, and his first of two goals in the MLS Cup Final showcased his ability to stay cool in the highest of high-pressure moments on the American stage.
Harrison Afful deserves a lot of credit for finding the opportunity, which looks to be out of thin air, but when Zelarayán is the target, anything is possible and he proved it with this point-blank volley.
The strike took the air out of the Sounders, who went on to take a beating 3-0 beating heard around the world.
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) December 13, 2020
2. Darlington Nagbe vs Inter Miami, Aug. 20
This is definitely not your first time seeing Nagbe’s show stopper, but if you’re anything like the staff here at SBI, the strike never gets old.
Known primarily for his defensive acumen, the fact that Nagbe has goals like this one in him shows just goes to show that there are weapons everywhere when you’re billed against Columbus.
Not to be overly critical, but it is impossible to tell what the plan was when the play was set up. Was it an errant touch from Gyasi Zardes?
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. He pulled it off.
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) August 21, 2020
3. Artur vs New England Revolution, Dec. 6
The MLS Cup playoffs proved to be wildly unpredictable on more than one occasion in 2020.
So, while Artur’s left-footed, second-half skipper to win the Eastern Conference Final may not be the flashiest on the list, it was against a Bruce Arena-led Revs side proven to be more than capable of creating the chaos needed to throw the Crew’s historic season in jeopardy if the deadlock was not broken here.
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) December 6, 2020
4. Gyasi Zardes vs Nashville SC, Sep 19.
A back-heel finish can not go ignored, simply put.
The goal, which served as Zardes’ 75th in regular-season MLS play, was the closer to seal the deal in making his team unbeaten in five at the time in which the Columbus engine was firing on all cylinders.
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) September 20, 2020
5. Lucas Zelarayán vs FC Cincinnati, JUL. 12
One way to introduce yourself to your new rival is to hit them square in the jaw at your very first opportunity.
That is what Zelarayán was seen doing here in the MLS is Back tournament days, where he started the scoring in what ended up being a merciless 4-0 rout of FC Cincinnati in the first of four Hell is Real rivalry matches in 2020.
The night was Manchester United legend Jaap Stam’s first-ever match in charge of FC Cincinnati, and Zelarayán, the club-record bank breaker’s set-piece skills on show went a long way in building his trademark as one of the league’s most cold-blooded in front of goal.
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) July 12, 2020
Lucas Zelarayán vs New YORK CITY FC, MAR. 1
You guessed it, another Zelarayán strike. Perhaps he deserves his own top 5 list.
It is worth a mention that it took him only 56 minutes to get acclimated to the new gig. He gave Crew fans a memorable demonstration of what was to come in his first very first match, which was pre-pandemic and at home.
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) March 1, 2020