Columbus Crew SC players have found themselves in Major League Soccer’s Team of the Week in four of the first five weeks of the 2019 season. This week was no different. In Week 5, goalkeeper Zack Steffen made his second appearance in the lineup, making the bench in Week 3 as well as this week. Considering his absence in Week 4 due to a minor knee injury, this makes two consecutive appearances for the reigning MLS Goalkeeper of the Year.
Steffen helped the Crew snag their third clean sheet of the season against the reigning MLS Cup champions in Saturday’s 2-0 win. The keeper played an instrumental part in what was an overall solid performance despite the weather.
His first save came in the 24th minute after a header from Julian Gressel. Steffen also managed to get in the way of an incoming rebound with a little help from Jonathan Mensah on the clearance.
Steffen’s second important save came in the 34th minute. A cross and deflection perfectly set up Ezequiel Barco to fire left and low at high speed. Steffen, diving to his right, just got a hand on it to keep the clean sheet. The save was so impressive it left Barco and his teammates visibly shocked.
Perhaps Steffen’s greatest contribution to the win was his ability to make the saves despite standing unsheltered from the intense weather conditions that bombarded MAPFRE Stadium for the entire 90 minutes. The keeper now has three shutouts this season with the only goal he conceded came in the Crew’s first match — just six minutes into the season — against the New York Red Bulls.
Every impressive performance fans see from Steffen add to the uncertainty of the team’s goalkeeping future. Steffen is set to depart Columbus for English Premier League gaints Manchester City this summer, and will leave a gaping hole between the posts. Regardless, the keeper is giving his current team everything he has got for the time being.
Three Black & Gold players have been named to MLS’s Team of the Weeks this year. Defender Gaston Sauro was selected after scoring in Week 1. Forward Gyasi Zardes, along with head coach Caleb Porter, was honored after his brace in Week 2. Steffen received his first Team of the Week recognition, alongside Sauro, in Week 3.
The Crew is back at home this Saturday, April 6 when they take on New England for the second time this season. Columbus topped the Revolution 2-0 on the road in their last meeting and hope to continue the trend this weekend.