There weren’t many things Pedro Santos hadn’t done in his first 1,370 minutes with Columbus Crew SC. A versatile two-way player, the Portuguese has been deployed in several roles since he joined the Black & Gold last August and has proven to be effective on both sides of the ball, but he was still missing that special moment every player dreams about: scoring a goal.
The 29-year-old winger ended his wait in great fashion as he scored the goal that sealed Crew SC’s 3-1 victory against D.C. United on Saturday night. The left-footed finish from inside the penalty box also ended a drought that was about to complete one year, as the last time Santos scored was April 15, 2017, when he still played for Braga, in Portugal.
“I feel relieved,” he said after the match. “I had this long time without scoring a goal and it was something I wanted to change this year. I’ve had other opportunities to score before and I don’t know why, but I missed them.
“I hope that now that the first one is down, there will be many more to come. It was a good thing that the first goal came at home too. It’s great that I could send a message to the supporters than I can help the team with more goals.”
The happy event inside the field coincides with an important moment in Pedro’s personal life, as he announced this week that his wife, Ana, is expecting their second child for September. It will be a boy, who will join the couple’s first son, Martin, who is four years old now.
“It’s a good moment for us,” Santos added. “We are very happy to have our second son on the way and this motivates me as well. We knew this week it will be a boy and this first goal is for him.”
Another boy is coming im so happy 2 boys pic.twitter.com/DAT6u9b9jO— Pedro miguel santos (@Pedro32santos) March 22, 2018
Head coach Gregg Berhalter, who frequently praises Pedro’s hard work on the defensive side of the ball, was pleased to see the winger find the back of the net for the first time in a Crew SC uniform.
Just like Santos, Berhalter expects the first goal can prompt more to come as the season progresses.
“It’s important for him to score,” he commented. “Pedro is such a smart player, so good offensively. It’s good to see his hard work pay off with a goal. I thought he had an excellent game, both defensively and offensively”.
Berhalter might actually have played a part in Pedro scoring his first goal for Crew SC, but not only by helping him to adjust to MLS and develop his game or through technical adjustments.
During preseason, the coach suggested the Portuguese to change his jersey number for the 2018 season. Pedro, who used to play in Portugal with the number 23, which was taken by Zack Steffen when he was signed with Crew SC, picked the 32 in 2017.
Since the start of 2018, however, he wears the number nine, which became vacant when Justin Meram left the club.
“We were talking during preseason and he asked why I didn’t change my number this season as I didn’t like the 32 before,” Pedro told Massive Report. “And I said ‘Yes, if I can, I want to change it.’ I had played with the number nine in Portugal before, so it was an easy choice. I was hoping the new number could bring me better luck and it has worked out pretty well so far.”
Coincidentally or not, Pedro’s good moment early in the season, which translated in to one goal and one assist so far, matches with a time when other teams are clearly paying more attention to his game.
After four matches, Pedro is the player that has been fouled the most in Major League Soccer in 2018, with 14 infractions called against rivals so far. But that’s not something that will stop him the winger says.
“Because of my style, that’s something I have always had to deal with”, he added. “I try to get contact when I have an opportunity and with me being aggressive, it happens and is part of the game”.