When a season goes wrong, it can be hard to find something to remember. It might be easier just to jettison everything about 2016, but a few of us were able to grab hold of something that stood out above disappointment.
Sam Fahmi - Afful’s goals
All of Afful's goals. It is delightful when defenses score. Harrison Afful showed glimpses of having a good shot through your the year and eventually showed that he can score. He has flair: 2 blasts from long distance and a goalie chip were his 3 contributions to the score sheet this year. I look forward to seeing him take more shots in 2017. We could have a very unusual scoring threat coming from the back.
Josh Mlot - July 3rd at Sporting Kansas City
I had to think long an hard about this, with nothing coming to mind — the season has mostly been a long, hard slog of things going wrong. Sure, there were some great goals and plays along the way, but to lift one off the top of my head is difficult, as they've been sucked down into the muck and mire of 2016. So, for me, my favorite moment of this Crew SC season was much more personal. All of my fellow Massive Report writers live within shouting distance of Columbus, but I do not. So it was special for me to get to be at the game at Sporting Kansas City on July 4th weekend. It was a 3-2 loss during one of the season's most dire stretches, but I got to see Ola Kamara score a brace. More importantly, it was the first time I'd watched Columbus in person in probably six or seven years, as I've long been living outside the reach of an MLS market. It also happened to be my 4-year-old son's first ever soccer game. So that is the game that will stick out to me, probably for a lifetime.
Patrick Guldan - July 13th vs. Toronto FC
I can recall something about every season of Crew (SC) soccer. Some are easy. I have a dozen from 2008, but I can even think of a few for the worst of seasons: the brutal cold of the 2003 opener, Eric Vasquez’s blast in Chicago in 2005, or Dan Popik’s only Crew game in 2006 (a 5-1 loss). This year is easy.
My daughter hates soccer. She had been to games, but really wasn’t interested. She wouldn’t sit still and often wanted to go to the playground. She even skipped last year’s family outing since she knew she wouldn’t have fun. So we both had low expectations when the family went to the midweek game against Toronto.
A funny thing happened though, she actually liked it. Even after my wife and son had to go for a walk in the 60th minute (three year old attention spans aren’t 90 minutes strong), my daughter wanted to stay until the end. She cheered the Crew SC goal and wasn’t too disappointed when Toronto scored (that way neither team lost).
I’m sure I’ll remember a few other things that happened in 2016, but I’ll never forget the final minutes of a terrible game that ended in a draw on a weeknight in July. Those moments to bond with family can be so rare. I feel lucky that I got to share something that is both frivolous and meaningful with my daughter.
P.S. She kept asking until we went to another game (a 2-0 win over New England) and she’s putting up the pressure to get season tickets in 2017. I think she’s caught the soccer bug.