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Crew’s Zardes, Santos named to the MLS Team of the Week

For the first time in the 2021 season, two Black & Gold players are included in the Team of the Week.

MLS: Chicago Fire at Columbus Crew SC Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

It’s another week in Major League Soccer and once again there is Columbus Crew representation on the MLS Team of the Week. For the third weekend of play in a row, the Black & Gold had players on the team of the week with Gyasi Zardes and Pedro Santos included within the Week 8 group.

Zardes was chosen as one of the starting strikers in the Team of the Week after he scored two first-half goals in Saturday’s 2-0 win against the Chicago Fire in the last ever match at historic Crew Stadium. Santos started his second consecutive game at left back and put in another solid shift of attack and defense and was included on the Team of the Week bench. Santos was also named to the MLS Team of the Week as a left back after his two-assist performance against Toronto FC on May 29.

Santos and Zardes join Lucas Zelarayan as the three Crew players to be named to the MLS team of the week during the 2021 season.

MLS Team of the Week (Week 8)

Goalkeeper: Matt Turner (New England Revolution)

Defenders: Kyle Duncan (New York Red Bulls), Jackob Glesnes (Philadelphia Union), Yeimar Gomez Andrade (Seattle Sounders), Andy Najar (D.C. United)

Midfielders: Carles Gil (New England Revolution), Damir Kreilach (Real Salt Lake), Diego Chara (Portland Timbers), Franco Fragapane (Minnesota United)

Forwards: Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew), Tesho Akindele (Orlando City)

Coach: Bruce Arena (New England Revolution)

Bench: Brad Stuver (Austin FC), Ryan Hollingshead (FC Dallas), Pedro Santos (Columbus Crew), Brooks Lennon (Atlanta United), Alejandro Pozuelo (Toronto FC), Maxi Moralez (New York City FC), Maxi Urruti (Houston Dynamo)

Both Zardes and Santos got off to slow starts to the 2021 MLS season. After each was a major part in the Crew winning the 2020 MLS Cup, it took until the late-May match against Toronto for Zardes to find the back of the net in MLS play. The Columbus forward battled a shoulder injury suffered in the April 28 game against Monterrey, but now appears healthy and finding his form with three goals in the previous two matches.

Santos similarly was slow out of the starting blocks but rounded into form in recent matches. Moving to left back against the Reds seemed to spark something in the Portuguese, who was more active both in attack and defending in those contests. Santos also spent time playing on either wing and as a defensive midfielder in these last two games.

Coming off its third straight win of the 2021 season, the Crew has a busy week ahead. The Black & Gold travel to face the Philadelphia Union on Wednesday night in a battle of two of the top teams in the Eastern Conference before another road trip to Austin FC. The Crew then returns home to open the new Field on Saturday, July 3 in a match against the New England Revolution.