Cucho honored as one of the best of MLS

Clare Grant/The Columbus Dispatch / USA

For the first time since midfielder Jonathan Mensah in 2020, the Crew has someone named to the MLS Best XI. Columbian goal-scoring ace Cucho is quite deservedly among the three forwards honored by the league.

 An Analogy

Cucho’s 2023 season can be compared to a train on a slow climb and picking up speed after it reaches the crest of the hill. The early part of his season was hampered by a knee injury that caused him to miss six weeks and he did not score his first goal until late April. After another month without a goal, he caught fire and scored in three straight matches. Still, the train had not quite picked up much speed-he had only five goals in 16 games.

Once Lucas Zelarayan departed and the club returned to MLS action after the Leagues Cup break, the 24-year-old freight train came roaring down the hill. In a three-game stretch in September, he had seven goals, including two hat tricks. He finished the regular season with 11 goals in the Crew’s final 11 games. Add in the four he’s scored so far in the playoffs and it isn’t hard to see why some consider him the league’s best player over the last few months.

What About His Teammates?

Unfortunately, no other Crew player was named to the league’s squad of elite players. You can make a case for Darlington Nagbe or Aidan Morris in midfield, but they are not what the voters are looking for. The three midfielders chosen are all guys who score a lot of points. Although Morris had four goals and seven assists, that’s not near enough to get the attention of those with ballots.

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Crew fans are certainly hoping the Cucho train can continue to pick up speed in the postseason and barrel its way through Cincinnati in the Eastern Conference final on Saturday.