The departure of Wil Trapp, announced as a trade to Inter Miami last Friday, leaves Columbus Crew SC with a shortage of options the center midfield spot, but that’s not the only reason the Black & Gold will miss him in 2020. Over the last three years, Trapp wore the team’s captain armband and led the team on and off the field.
Without Trapp, head coach Caleb Porter will have to select another player for the role and there are no straightforward choices here as was the case when the midfielder took over following the departure of his predecessor, center back Michael Parkhurst, in 2017.
Midfielder Federico Higuain, who used to wear the armband when Trapp was out, is no longer with the team and fullback Hector Jimenez and center back Josh Williams, the longest-tenured players on the roster, won’t likely be starters.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t a number of options for Porter to choose from. Here are Massive Report’s top four options to be the Crew’s captain in 2020:
It’s not often that goalkeepers get to be team captains, given they are often stuck on one end of the field, but it does happen from time to time. Eloy Room certainly has all the skills needed for the role. The 30-year-old keeper is the vocal commander of the Crew’s backline and possesses enough international experience for the duty due to his time with Dutch sides Vitesse and PSV and his five years with the Curacao national team. It’s harder for goalkeepers to talk to referees during matches due to their restricted positioning, but Room checks all other boxes for the role.
The Ghanaian is easily the most experienced player on the roster at the top international level as he has competed in two World Cup Finals and had stints in Italy, Spain, France and Russia. He also wore the Crew’s captain armband in three matches last season, which makes of him a more than viable candidate. Jonathan is not the most talkative player on the field, but he took a lot of steps forward in that regard since he arrived in Columbus, three years ago and was a member of the Black & Gold’s leadership council under former head coach Gregg Berhalter. He will also be one of the longest-tenured starters in 2020, which strengthens his connection with the team and the fans.
It’s not usual for players to become a captain in his first season with a club, let alone those who never wore the armband before in their careers, but Darlington Nagbe is probably an option here too. He’s developed great chemistry with Porter during their time together at Akron and with the Portland Timbers and would be probably the best in voicing the coach’s ideas to his teammates on the field. He also has a similar profile to Trapp as he’s a player with limited international experience, but stronger connections with the city/state.
Last year, Santos lived up to the billing as a game-changing player in the middle of the field, breaking out of his shell to score 11 goals and register six assists. In the process, he worked his way from being a player who frustrated supporters into a fan favorite. In the locker room, Santos is well liked and respected and, as one of the older players on the field who will be in the starting 11 likely whenever he is healthy, the winger could be asked to take on a bigger leadership role as captain this year.
Who will be the Crew's captain in 2020?
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