Columbus Crew's 2022 MLS season by the numbers

Luis Diaz had a polarising season for the Crew
Luis Diaz had a polarising season for the Crew / Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports

Columbus Crew's season is over, alas, thanks to a dramatic Decision Day defeat to playoff rivals Orlando City on Sunday.

The recriminations can begin (and indeed already have, bye bye Caleb Porter) but before we look ahead to the offseason, free agency, the Superdraft, the World Cup(!) and all the rest of it, it's time for a glance back at the Crew's season – through some standout numbers.

14: Two Eastern Conference teams qualified for the playoffs with a goal differential 14 goals worse than the Crew's +5. Inter Miami and the aforementioned Orlando City both ended the season having scored nine goals fewer than they conceded (and with equal win-loss-draw records, fancy that) to leave Columbus joining Seattle as the only teams to miss out on the playoffs with a positive differential.

16: The number of games Cucho Hernandez featured in this season, after his July debut following a $10m move from Watford. Despite playing 15 games fewer than Lucas Zelarayan, Cucho finished just one goal behind the Armenia international at the top of the club's scoring charts, leaving room to imagine just how firmly entrenched in a playoff spot the Crew would be if he'd arrived in the off-season.

2: The length of the club's current playoff drought. Only once have Ohio's finest gone longer than that without making the postseason, a three-year run in the mid-2000s which reached its nadir when Jason Garey and Joseph Ngwenya jointly topped the club's scoring charts...with five goals each. That cannot be allowed to happen again.

1: The number of red cards picked up by the Crew all season. An impressive record, but that one dismissal might've been the difference between the playoffs and the ignominy which led to Caleb Porter's dismissal. 2-0 up away to Montreal with just 15 minutes left, Luis Diaz was sent off – and the Crew collapsed late, leaving Canada with just one of the three points on offer. The gap from Columbus to the playoffs? That's right, two points.

16 (again): It wasn't an MLS record (that belongs to the 2014 Chicago Fire, with 18) but the Crew's 16 draws led the league by some margin this year, while only three teams in all of MLS had fewer than their ten wins. The math's pretty simple: if you can turn four draws into two wins and two defeats, you can two extra points. The Crew were sat on the borderline all year, and it cost them.

9: As Elliot Reeder broke down earlier this season on this site, the Crew have two players eligible for free agency this summer (Derrick Etienne and Marlon Hairston), with club options on a further seven. That's a lot of potential turnover, but it could be just the clean slate a new manager wants. On the other hand, the club options leave the Crew holding most of the cards – and they could opt to keep together a group who underperformed their potential this season, and give them a new guiding hand.