The celebration has been a dream of Columbus Crew fans since 2017, when the team’s former owner threatened to move their team to Texas. This is the party they have been creating since 2018, when the campaign to stop him gave new owners and new hope. It was the dream that kept them from wreaking havoc with this year’s corona virus schedule and locking them off their ground.
As the party finally started, Columbus won his second league title with the crew beating the crew 3-0 at Seattle Saunders at Columbus’ Mapfree Stadium to win his second league title, the only tragedy being that not many team fans were there to watch it live.
“When I took the job, I had a dream that I would take the MLS trophy to the fans there,” Crew coach Caleb Porter said. Cup. “That’s why I was so emotional.”
As coach of the Portland Timbers five years ago, Porter turned down those fans when he knocked down the crew at Mapfree Stadium and won his own MLS trophy. A few months after the city’s successful campaign to save the team, when he was hired by the team in January 2019, Columbus promised to provide something to cheer fans on again.
On Saturday, those admitted inside – who were instructed by health officials and stadium signs to stay safe there for 90 minutes wearing masks – thanked Porter. Embrace again, when that kind of thing is safe again.
The final match of the 25th season of MLS is, in many respects, a win. This season started on February 29, which is the early start of league history and ended with the latest MLS trophy ever played. There is no other year in between: two weekly matches, followed by a four-month break due to infection; Five-week summer competition; Weeks later the cautious return to the empty – or empty – stadiums.
Along the way, the league conducted more than 130,000 virus tests, with 20 percent of its players reporting positive results A veterans association officer. Dozens of games have been postponed, reviewed or simply not played. To get to the end of the season, the league repeatedly changed its health ethics, adjusted its rules and passed its joint fingers.
The latter does not even have immunity. Columbus’ title hopes were dealt a significant blow on Friday when the team’s most important player, midfielder Darlington Knockby and key member of its attack Pedro Santos were eliminated from the final for medical reasons. Both Knock And Santos Then the league’s worst fears were confirmed: they also tested positive for the corona virus.
“It simply came to our notice then. This is a big blow, ”Porter said Friday. But he expressed confidence that he could fix his players, and his team took the game from the opening whistle to the Sounders.
The first goal came in the 25th minute: a cross from the right by Kiazi Sardes, and a powerful one-time finish from Argentina midfielder Lucas Jellaroyan, who was left out of Mexico’s best league last winter, and then – less – a terrible balance throughout the first half.
Six minutes later, 2-0, after Gelaroen fed an opener Derrick Etienne Jr. – Santos’ replacement in the starting line – up on the left side of the penalty area. To slip behind his defender, Etienne rolled a right-footed shot around Seattle goalkeeper Stephen Free.
Seattle tried to adjust, making two alternatives in half the time, but within that speed – or was that the rule? – There was too much to overcome. In the 82nd minute, Columbus’ third goal, Jellaroyan’s second goal, dispelled all doubts. The Sounders, who are finalists for the fourth time in five years, have never stood a chance of seeking a second title in a row.
“This will be our day,” Porter said. “Our time, our day and our trophy.”
The next season is scheduled to start in March. But in a half-hour interview on Saturday night, Commissioner Dan Carber said the ongoing epidemic could not guarantee it.
Crew, at least for now, the wait is good. The title is theirs again, and they enjoy catching it as much as they can.