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Artur is happy to produce offensively when the Crew needed

The Brazilian midfielder hadn’t scored in nearly three years, but came up big in an important match.

MLS: New York City FC at Columbus Crew SC Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

During his four seasons with the Columbus Crew, Artur has made far more impact on the Black & Gold with his defensive hard work than with his offensive production. He has roamed the midfield, helping to prevent attacks and send the ball back toward goal, but rarely is involved when it reaches the penalty box. But every once in a while, things turn out differently.

That was certainly the case on Sunday, when the Brazilian midfielder was as active as it gets in the final third of the field, helping the Crew to build a 3-1 win against New York City FC with a goal and by drawing the penalty kick that sealed the team’s first victory in five matches. Twice, Artur popped up in spots he doesn’t often find himself in, and both times had the wherewithal to do the best thing possible for his team.

Artur’s 25th minute opening goal gave the Crew in advantage in the match and it was largely celebrated by Artur’s teammates. And deservedly so. That’s because the last time the 24-year-old midfielder found the back of the net was almost three years ago when he coincidentally scored his first goal for the Crew in a 4-1 MLS Cup playoff win against the same New York City FC.

“I’m very happy to have helped the team win the match and also for being able to score,” the midfielder reflected. “I’m typically more of a defensive player and offensively I try to help on the build-up of plays, but I was looking to score again for quite some time.”

Artur’s goal and the penalty kick he earned were only part of another strong performance of the Brazilian, who again didn’t have his usual midfielder partner Darlington Nagbe and Lucas Zelarayan by his side. His play helped Columbus end a four-match winless run and stop a very disappointing two-game losing slide that saw the team fall from the top of the MLS standings to third place in the Eastern Conference.

Despite the uncharacteristic offensive production, Artur was as active as usual on the defensive side of the ball, registering a team-high six tackles. He also moved the ball well, connecting 85.7 percent of his passes and the solid overall performance earned him a bench spot on Major League Soccer’s Team of the Week.

“I’m glad I managed to score and it was an important goal, one that helped the team clinch a playoff spot,” the Brazilian added. “Now we can keep working without so much pressure as we want to finish the regular season in the best possible position in the Eastern Conference.”