The Columbus Crew had a roller coaster match on Sunday, going down, going up a goal and then giving the lead away in a 2-2 draw with Atlanta United. While the team and supporters wonder what went wrong, Major League Soccer handed forward Cucho Hernández another MLS Team of the Week award after his brace against the Five Stripes.
Hernández helped a Crew side that looked like they’d barely have a chance at goal, let alone score, within the first 60 minutes to a team that added another point in the standings. It began for Hernández in the 66th minute. After a fantastic forward pass from midfield substitute Kevin Molino, winger Luis Díaz sent a low cross in front of the face of goal to a charging Hernández, who buried the chance.
Within six minutes, Hernández was making magic again. This time, it was rookie fullback Will Sands, another substitute, who singlehandedly brought the Columbus attack down the field. Sands broke through multiple defenders before passing to Hernández who patiently waited for defenders to try to take the ball away before slotting in his second of the night.
Its Hernández’s eighth goal in eight Major League Soccer matches, the fifth player in league history to accomplish the feat.
“I mean, scoring two goals and you know, the form that he’s in, he is every bit as good as we thought and is a massive, massive signing for us,” said head coach Caleb Porter following the match. “He showed his quality today.”
Sunday isn’t the first time he’s shown his quality this season. Hernández averages 1.23 goals per 90 minutes in his eight appearances and six starts. Only twice has Hernández not scored in a match since joining the Black & Gold, with two of the six matches featuring a double-goal performance.
A start like that garners a lot of attention, and it surfaced mainly in the form of weekly awards. Hernández’s place on the bench of the Team of the Week is the forward’s fourth this season out of a possible seven since his debut.
Hernández’s four awards rank only one behind teammate Lucas Zelarayán, who leads the team with five. Winger Derrick Etienne Jr. is the only other member of the Crew who has more than one this year, earning three in a career year for the 25-year-old. There are six other winners of the award for Columbus in 2022, including goalkeeper Eloy Room who had eight saves on Sunday and center back Jonathan Mensah, who helped the Crew earn a point with Atlanta pressing for a match-winner.
Weekly awards are great, but with the Crew fighting for a spot in the playoffs, and maybe even hosting a match themselves, they’d gladly trade it for three points.