Going into the 2022 Major League Soccer season, head coach Caleb Porter said the Columbus Crew was going to be a team that would often grind results out. He didn’t want to disparage the offense, but said this year’s Black & Gold side would be a difficult one to beat and may not be very high scoring.
I the opener against the Vancouver Whitecaps is any indication, this team will have no issues scoring goals. The Crew defeated the Whitecaps 4-0 on Saturday in an absolute rout at home, entertaining the fans at Lower.com Field.
A new tradition at Massive Report this year will be named the “Three Hard Hats of the Game,” honoring the best players from the previous match. We have a good one to start with after the Black & Gold’s first performance of the season. Let’s get to it.
Derrick Etienne Jr.
Coming into his third season with the Crew, Etienne has just one goal in each of the last two years. It didn’t take him long to tie that total, as he scored the second goal against Vancouver.
For the finish, newcomer Yaw Yeboah sent a brilliant cross into the penalty box, that somehow found a wide-open Etienne. The touch from the winger was otherworldly, as he took it down with ease, took a few steps and toe tapped it past the Whitecaps keeper to make it 2-0. That whole sequence was brilliant and awe-inspiring.
Overall, Etienne played a solid game for the Black & Gold. He had five shots in the game, three on target. Etienne had the pace to keep Vancouver on the back foot for all 88 minutes that he was on the pitch. He did commit a couple of fouls but nonetheless, Etienne had a game that could see him get more confidence to score more goals this season for Columbus.
Coming into this year, Santos moved from midfield to play left back for the Crew. This left some questions for fans to see how he would play in the position even though Porter was confident in Santos to play the position the player looked forward to the position as well.
As the game went on against Vancouver, it was clear that Santos had no trouble playing defense. He finished the game by successfully making all four of his tackles. Furthermore, Santos two interceptions and completed 77 percent of his 61 total passes. This was not a bad start to a new position for Santos.
Although he did commit four fouls in the game he did manage to bring some attacking to the game for Columbus as well. Santos had two shots on goal that could have given the Crew a bigger lead at points.
All in all, not a bad way to start the season in a new role for Santos.
Welcome back, Artur. The Brazilian was greatly missed last season and in his first game back, and at the new stadium, fans could tell right away that this team is lethal with him on the pitch. Artur has a huge chance on a goal but the crossbar got in the way. Nonetheless, Artur made his presence known right away and throughout the match.
While he only played 69 minutes, Artur still made an impact on the game. He completed 84.9 percent of his 53 total passes in the match. Not bad for his first game back in the Black & Gold.
Offensively, Artur did have three shots but the aforementioned one went off the crossbar. Passing wise he completed 83.9 percent of his passes on the Whitecaps side of the field. Artur only committed one foul, which is pretty impressive for how the game played out.
Artur was named Crew’s first Man of the Match this season in his first game back. Well done Artur, we missed you in the lineup.
What do you think of the first edition of the Three Hard Hats of the Game Crew fans? Anyone that we missed? Did you agree with the three picked? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.