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Crew’s Artur thriving heading into the MLS Cup Final

The Brazilian midfielder has stepped into a new level of contribution with the Black & Gold.

New England Revolution v Columbus Crew SC: Eastern Conference Final - MLS Cup Playoffs Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

As the Columbus Crew continues to grow and evolve in a new era under second-year head coach Caleb Porter, there remain fewer and fewer constants from past years. One constant many never saw coming, however, is Artur.

The Brazilian has been an off-and-on but always hard-working contributor to the Black & Gold midfield for four seasons now, playing counterpart to Wil Trapp, Federico Higuain, Pedro Santos and others. Recently, Artur stepped into a more riveting offensive role for the Crew, something fans had not seen from the 24 year old until recently.

Artur was signed on loan from Sao Paulo FC in February of 2017 at 21 years old. He was a player then-head coach Gregg Berhalter and his staff saw while the team was on a preseason trip to Brazil.

It wasn’t long before the midfielder solidified his spot with the Black & Gold. In his first 20 matches, he started 17 times and contributed two assists.

“It’s one of these signings that you look back on it and you are really happy it was done,” Berhalter said at the time, “because it’s such a positive impact on this club.”

It was a harsh transition for Artur, coming in after preseason to a new city and country while trying to learn a new language. Just two months into his time with the Crew he suffered a gnarly injury, breaking his wrist in a loss to the New York Red Bulls.

“That was by far my toughest moment here,” Artur said at the time. “Being injured and having surgery in a different country, without my family, and not being able to speak English was really hard.”

His brother moved to the city, which helped Artur adjust. Despite the rocky start, he grew to love Columbus.

It wasn’t until December of 2017 that the Crew signed Artur to a permanent deal from Sao Paulo.

In the summer of 2019, an out-of-form Artur lost his starting position to David Guzman following his acquisition under the newly instated Porter. Up until this point, Artur had been an essential part of the Crew midfield but the Brazilian took the opportunity to get better and fight for his starting position.

“I know all I can do is work hard and try to do better to help the team and that’s what I’m doing,” he said at the time.

He did just that and quickly worked himself back into the starting lineup where he has stayed ever since.

“It’s been a pleasure to play with him,” center back Josh Williams said of Artur last week. “We picked him up off the streets of Brazil a couple of years ago. He’s an absolute animal.”

And for the first time in three years, Artur is scoring goals.

Last Saturday, Artur scored the game-winning goal to secure the Crew’s Eastern Conference championship win and the right to host the MLS Cup Final. It was only his fourth career ever, the first of which was also in postseason play in 2017. The midfielder has also contributed a career-high four assists this season, showcasing his development as an all-around player.

This was his goal all along.

“This year I was determined to help the team more on offense too,” Artur said. “I wanted to do more than tackling and winning the ball back and to help with goals and assists too. I think this is the right mindset and my teammates have been helping me a lot with that.”

On Saturday, Artur will get to take his success to the big stage for the first time when the Crew takes on the Seattle Sounders in the MLS Cup Final. After popping up all over the field in big moments in 2020, this will be Artur’s chance to thrive.