To reward their efforts in helping Crew SC earn the team’s first road shutout since August, 2016, rookie defender Alex Crognale and goalkeeper Zack Steffen were named as part of Major League Soccer’s Team of the Week.
Head Coach Gregg Berhalter was honored as the Coach of the Week.
The performance from Crognale and Steffen shouldn’t surprise anyone as both have established rapport in their college years as they both played at The University of Maryland, which is located about 30 minutes away from RFK Stadium in College Park, MD.
In his first start in MLS, Crognale shined when he was asked to step in for the suspended Jonathan Mensah. The Homegrown product commanded the box in front of Steffen as he worked to head away dangerous crosses and escort D.C. attackers away from the Columbus penalty area. He was voted as the Man of the Match in his very first appearance with the club, leaving many fans hungry for more.
Steffen performed well in his third appearance with the Black and Gold as some were concerned with his health earlier in the week. He quickly quelled any doubt about his health and secured his first shutout in MLS. Steffen’s confidence seem to grow as the game wore on and maybe attributed to Crognale’s presence in front of him.
It will be exciting to see how both these prospects look to improve on this performance.
Deservedly, Berhalter was rewarded with his first Coach of the Week honor in 2017. Berhalter dared to venture out of his comfort-zone by abandoning his preferred 4-2-3-1 formation in favor of a modified 3-5-2 with great success.
It remains to be seen if Berhalter will stick with the new look or revert back to the old formation in this coming week’s match versus the Portland Timbers.