In addition to signing goalkeeper Eloy Room and winger Luis Diaz, the Black & Gold gained another striker in Romario Williams from Atlanta United. For the former Five Stripes player, joining the Crew is “a fresh start and a brand new opportunity.”
Williams told Massive Report that “I’ve always had a knack for scoring goals. I think with every striker, they need an opportunity. They need trust from the teammates and coaching staff to get out there and get the job done.”
In his two years with Atlanta, Williams played in 19 games and scored one goal while sitting behind star striker Josef Martinez, who took Major League Soccer by storm in his first two and a half seasons, scoring 62 goals in 70 appearances. In his first two years in MLS, Williams played for the Montreal Impact, but again only saw reserve minutes, making two first-team appearances.
In Columbus, the forward hopes to be more involved and demonstrate what he can do.
”I’m looking forward to maximizing my strengths with the group and minimize my weaknesses as much as possible,” Williams said.
When Williams found out he was on his way to Columbus, he spoke to former Crew players Justin Meram, who was recently traded to Atlanta after spending the better part of nine seasons with the Black & Gold and Michael Parkhurst, who was in Columbus for three years, about the city and team itself. He liked what he heard.
”I have a pretty good relationship with both of those guys,” Williams said.
Williams joins JJ Williams, Gyasi Zardes and another recent addition, Jordan Hamilton, to make up the striker quartet on the roster. Zardes is the established starter and plays the bulk of the minutes, but Williams hopes to push him and earn the faith of the coaching staff to provide offensive firepower off the bench.
With the club now making moves in the transfer window after a poor first half of 2019, the summer signings are expected to make an impact.
”I think the first thing that’s important to say is these signings aren’t reactionary signings,” head coach Caleb Porter clarified. “They’ve got nothing to do with how we’ve done. We’re always going to look to get better, even when we’re winning every game.”
Columbus, now sitting in 11th place in the Eastern Conference, has struggled to say the least. With injuries and international duty, the team has been scraping the bottom of the barrel.
But now it appears the striker position is stacked with talent. Porter sees the potential Williams brings, and hopes that his presence can help turn things around offensively for a team that has scored just 17 goals in 20 MLS games.
”In the attack, you have to be involved in the buildup,” Porter explained. “Sometimes showing up to holding the ball to bringing the No. 10 in the game. Sometimes stretching and running in behind. So those are things that are very important in that role, and I think Romario brings that profile that we’re looking for.”
This is what Porter wants from his forward. This is also what Williams brings to the table when he’s on the field.
With four players now available up top, some competition will happen in the striker role for the Crew. However, Porter wants all his player to play. He wants players to provide an impact on the game and believes Williams can do that.
”We never sign guys to sit,” Porter said.