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Crew’s Steven Moreira earns Team of the Week honor after stoppage time equalizer

After scoring a goal in the final minute of stoppage time, Moreira earns an individual honor for his performance against FC Cincinnati.

MLS: Columbus Crew SC at FC Cincinnati Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

With six minutes of stoppage time announced, it felt like the Columbus Crew would need a lot to salvage a point from FC Cincinnati. In stepped fullback Steven Moreira. The Frenchman put his boot through a volley at the death to pull the Black & Gold level with the home side and earn a 2-2 draw on Saturday night. That effort, and a solid match on defense, earned Moreira a spot on the MLS Team of the Week.

Saturday, Columbus on the back foot for much of the game against the in-state rivals. FC Cincy had far less possession and passing but created nearly all the chances in the match. In the second half, the Crew looked better, scored a controversial goal and made the match back into a competition.

Tied 1-1, Moreira was involved in a play that put Cincinnati back up. On a corner kick, the Black & Gold didn’t close down a secondary attempt that center back Matt Miazga shot on goal. Moreira did his best to block the shot, diving in its path, but it deflected off the fullback, through other players and passed goalkeeper Eloy Room for a 2-1 lead.

Down a goal, Moreira and Columbus didn’t back down from the deficit. In the sixth minute of second half stoppage time, center back Milos Degenek sent a pass from midfield into the Crew’s offensive penalty area. The Cincinnati defense headed the ball up in the air, arching down to the top of the penalty area for a charging Moreira. On the volley, Moreira sent a shot across his body, burying it into the left corner of the net from the right corner of the penalty area.

Moreira has been known as more of a facilitator than a goal scorer during his time with the Crew. Across 33 appearances with the Black & Gold, Moreira has eight assists but Saturday was his first goal for Columbus.

Monday’s honor is the second Team of the Week appearance for Moreira. In the final match week of 2021, the Crew beat the Chicago Fire at Lower.com Field, trying to squeak into the 2021 MLS Cup playoffs. The Black & Gold didn’t achieve their goal but Moreira provided an assist in the match to give Columbus a fighting chance.

So far in 2022, the Crew has 10 players who have received this weekly honor. Of the group, three players have won the award multiple times this season. Midfielder Lucas Zelarayan has the most of any Black & Gold member with five. Behind him is forward Cucho Hernandez (4), who assisted on the first goal Saturday, and winger Derrick Etienne Jr. (3).

While the team has accumulated individual honors in 2022, Columbus now has a chance to make a dent in working towards a team award with eight matches remaining. The Crew sits in the final playoff position in the Eastern Conference with at least one game in hand over every opponent.