Friday was another day with more Columbus Crew players walking away with awards. It was announced that midfielder Darlington Nagbe won MLS Goal of the Year award with his thunderbolt against the Chicago Fire on Aug 20. To add to that, goalkeeper Eloy Room took home the award for MLS Save of the Year with his double-save against Orlando City SC on Nov 4. Both of these awards are voted on by the fans of MLS.
This is the second time in MLS history that members of the same team won both the goal and save of the year awards. In 2017, Atlanta United players won both awards with Brad Guzan winning the Save of the Year and Hector Villalba taking the Goal of the Year. In 2020, Black & Gold players snatched up both awards.
Nagbe’s strike against the Fire becomes just the second Crew goal to win the Goal of the Year award, the first being Brian McBride’s scissor kick in 1998, which was also scored against Chicago. Nagbe also joins an exclusive club becoming just the third player in the 25-year history to win two Goal of the Year awards. The first two were D.C. United’s Marco Etcheverry (1997, 99) and the San Jose Earthquakes Dwayne De Rosario (2004, 05). Nagbe’s first Goal of the Year winner came in 2011 with the Portland Timbers.
Here is the 2020 MLS Goal of the Year, which helped the Black & Gold to a 3-0 victory at MAPFRE Stadium:
Room is the first Crew goalkeeper to take home the MLS Save of the Year, an award that was introduced in 2009. Room, a Curacao international, is now the fourth non-American goalkeeper to win the award, joining Canadian Pat Onstad (2009), Ghanian Adam Kwarasey (2015), and Swiss Stefan Frei (2018). The incredible double-save effort against Orlando City proved to be the best goalkeeping highlight of the regular season.
Here is the 2020 MLS Save of the Year that, through no fault of Room’s, was part of a 2-1 defeat at Exploria Stadium:
Room and Nagbe join teammate Lucas Zelarayan as 2020 MLS individual award winners. Zelarayan grabbed the MLS Newcomer of the Year last week. As for other finishes in individual award standings, center back Jonathan Mensah finished third for the Defender of the Year but was named to the MLS Best XI, head coach Caleb Porter finished fifth for the Coach of the Year and Room finished third in Goalkeeper of the Year voting.
Porter, Room, Nagbe, Mensah, Zelarayan and the entire Crew squad return to action on Saturday against the New York Red Bulls in the first round of the MLS Cup playoffs at MAPFRE Stadium. The game begins at 3 p.m. ET.
The Crew’s all-time MLS Goal of the Year winners:
1998: Brian McBride
2020: Darlington Nagbe
The Crew’s all-time MLS Save of the Year winners:
2020: Eloy Room