Columbus Crew SC has three players contributing the vast majority of goals this season. Fans know them well.
Forward Ola Kamara leads the team with 12 finishes. Justin Meram is just behind him with 10 and Federico Higuain has nine goals. Of the 37 goals Columbus has scored in 2017, 31 have been procured by this trio.
While the production numbers are fantastic for the attackers, there is a stark falloff when viewing goals from everyone else on the roster. Granted, attacking players should be contributing the lion's share to this aspect of the game, but it's certainly not uncommon for other, deeper positioned players, to get their own tallies.
Apart from Kamara, Meram and Higuain, only Niko Hansen (one goal, injured), Ethan Finlay (one goal, traded to Minnesota United), Kekuta Manneh (three), and Adam Jahn (one) have put the ball across the goal line.
The addition of Designated Player Pedro Santos is expected help alleviate some goal scoring pressure, but other players must better seize opportunities when the ball falls kindly for a chance at goal.
While Santos is expected to score goals, he’s also going to be involved in Columbus’ set pieces, a place Crew SC has not been very good this year.
Alex Crognale is the tallest person in the world. Corner kicks, and really any surrounding set piece kick takers need to be aiming for his head, which is located about seven to eight inches above most other people on the field. We've seen glimmers a few times, but his chances have mostly been off the mark.
In the rotation-based system that is Gregg Berhalter's backline, a goal could help the rookie center back stand even taller among his teammates.
There's not just Crognale with potential at the back, however. Jonathan Mensah, another Designed Player, has been known for his aggressive aerial ability. Highlights from his days in Europe suggest his knack for powerfully driven headers toward the back of the onion bag. If he wants to reestablish himself as a rightful holder of the vaunted DP spot (and develop a fanbase apart from a few sympathizers), he needs to capitalize on a set piece. He needs a statement.
Another facet of the Crew SC attack that's been missing is the spectacular form Harrison Afful. At times during his tenure with the Black & Gold, the right back has looked like a winger. And we all know he can whip a shot from distance.
Currently, Afful’s spot is in contention with Hector Jimenez putting in serviceable performances, while there's also rookie Connor Maloney who made good on his second appearance for Crew SC at Real Salt Lake.
Afful will be suspended for Wednesday’s match with the LA Galaxy, but if the Ghanian wishes to remain first choice, a goal could boost his stock. He's overdue for something special.
Finally, there's Artur. The Sao Paulo loanee wasn't brought in to score goals necessarily, but that last game against the Chicago Fire has fans wondering when the time is coming. In the newly preferred 3-4-2-1, Artur has been getting forward with greater frequency. His attacking runs and positioning in the final third are actually quite convincing.
If he can find the back of the net, the desire to see Artur in the black and gold next season will supernova in the Crewniverse.
Who else on the roster do you think could help the boys up top? Let us know in the comments below.