There were a number of performances that stood out after the Columbus Crew’s much-needed 2-1 win against Toronto FC on Saturday. A big story from the match was Pedro Santos, a veteran winger who stepped in at the left back position. Thanks to his two-assist performance, Santos was named to the Week 7 MLS Team of the Week.
This marks a Crew player’s first appearance in the Team of the Week since Week 4 and Santos’ first of the season. He made the cut several times during the 2020 season.
Santos has not been high on anyone’s radar thus far in the season in terms of stats. He has yet to score in the 2021 season and the two assists on Saturday were his first of the season. He has nine shots and three on goal.
Santos contributed assists in both goals for the Black & Gold despite it being his first defensive appearance in over two years. Having played the position a handful of times under former head coach Gregg Berhalter, making left back completely foreign, Santos filled in for regular starter Milton Valenzuela and reserve defender Waylon Francis, both players who are out with injuries.
Francis has been in the left back position fairy consistently as of late, taking the spot of Valenzuela who hasn’t played since the 2-2 home draw against Monterrey on April 28 in the quarterfinal first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League. With Francis out with a thigh injury, head coach Caleb Porter was forced to make an untraditional decision, but going with Santos proved to be just right.
Santos used his offensive prowess to create several chances for the Crew. His two assists put him as the team leader in assists so far this season. It has overall been a season of low offensive production so fans have felt relief to see two multi-goal games back to back.
Late in the game, Santos moved from the left back spot to a holding midfielder position after Artur had to be removed. With Columbus up 2-1 on Toronto, Santos did well to help the Black & Gold see out the rest of the contest and earn the team’s third win of the young MLS season.
The Crew is now on a three-week break for international play before the team says goodbye to historic Crew Stadium in the last game ever played in the first professional soccer stadium in the U.S. against the Chicago Fire on June 19. Columbus finishes this first portion of the season sitting at sixth place in the Eastern Conference with 11 points through seven matches.