When Gilbran Rayo took a return pass from Marco Micaletto and buried his shot in the back of the net in the 91st minute against the New England Revolution II early Saturday evening, it sent Crew 2 to the MLS NEXT Pro finals for the second straight year and continued the impressive run of the Columbus Crew organization over the past four seasons.
It began with the 2020 MLS Cup won by the Crew and continued the next season when they defeated Cruz Azul in the Campeones Cup. Two cups in two seasons. But the organization wasn’t finished. Crew 2 buzzsawed their way through the 2022 MLS NEXT Pro season and captured a championship in the league’s inaugural campaign. Three cups in three seasons. Now, they’re looking to add a fourth cup in four seasons for the organization.
Or will it be…
Five? While the Capys have positioned themselves to add more hardware to the organization’s collection, the Crew are a legitimate threat to make it five cups in four years. They’re healthy, seem to have found themselves on defense, and are on the verge of securing home field advantage for the first round of the playoffs. They are not going to be an easy out for anyone in the postseason.
It starts at the top
As a Cleveland Browns fan, I can tell you the Haslam’s have made few good decisions. But things have been different with the Columbus Crew-they’ve put good people in place. GM Tim Bezbatchenko has made good personnel decisions and shrewd moves in the transfer market. After missing the playoffs for two straight seasons, head coach Caleb Porter was replaced by Wilfried Nancy, who has turned the team into one of the most exciting in MLS. Let’s not overlook the contribution of Capys head coach Laurent Courtois. He’s obviously doing an outstanding job handling the young players in the Crew organization.
When you look at the amount of young players on the Crew roster and combine the success of Crew 2, it isn’t hard to envision this organization stacking more cups. The Columbus Crew is built to have a very bright future.