It took the Columbus Crew a little bit longer to get to 10 wins this season than most expected, as the Black & Gold hit a four-match winless slump over the last few weeks. But Sunday evening saw a return to form for the Crew, convincingly defeating New York City FC 3-1. The dominant win was not only a return to form for Columbus, but the victory also saw the Black & Gold return to the MLS Cup playoffs.
On Monday, three Crew players got an extra boost. Goalkeeper Andrew Tarbell and midfielders Pedro Santos and Artur were all named to the MLS Team of the Week, with Tarbell as a starter and Santos and Artur on the bench for Week 19.
Sunday night left Columbus with a lot to celebrate, rebounding from back-to-back losses, and clinching a spot in the postseason, but for longtime Crew veteran Artur, the match was extra special. The midfielder found the back of the net for the first time in MLS regular season action and drew a late penalty that led to Gyasi Zardes securing the Crew’s 3-1 victory and spot in the playoffs. This effort saw Artur nominated for MLS Player of The Week and also rewarded with a spot on the MLS Team of The Week for the third time this season, albeit on the bench.
Joining Artur on the honorary bench was fellow Columbus midfielder, Pedro Santos. Santos is no stranger to the Team of The Week, finding himself on the list several times in his impressive 2020 season. One of the most consistent presences on the pitch for the Crew, Santos has been vital to the Black & Gold’s ability to find the back of the net this season. Sunday night was no different, as Santos tacked on his sixth goal of the season, and Crew’s second of the match.
If any player could feel better about their performance on the pitch than Artur, however, it was goalkeeper Tarbell. With starter Eloy Room finding himself on the injury list, Tarbell found himself on an unfortunate streak being scored on four times in his previous two starts in the Crew’s first back-to-back losses of the season. While the defeats could hardly be pinned solely on Tarbell, the win that snapped the streak can certainly be credited to the former All-American.
Boasting an impressive five saves on six shots against, Tarbell came up big for Columbus in a game where the Crew was desperate for a win. The 27-year-old backup for the Black & Gold demanded his presence be felt Sunday night, coming up with some impressive saves and holding NYCFC to only one goal against. The impressive performance saw the keeper land himself a spot in the starting 11 in the MLS Team of The Week for the first time this season.
The Crew now have a bit of a break before facing the Houston Dynamo on Saturday night.