In a recent article, I asked the question is Cucho a serious MVP candidate. MLS answered that question with a resounding “YES!” by naming him as their player of the month for September. It’s recognition that Cucho richly deserves.
The 24-year-old native of Pereira, Columbia turned in a memorable month where he scored eight goals and added an assist. His fourteen goals on the season place him in a tie for fourth in the league and just one behind the leaders for the MLS Golden Boot award, which is given to the league’s top scorer. But it isn’t just the scoring that has made him so valuable to the Crew as they jockey with multiple teams for playoff seeding in the Eastern Conference, Cucho has made them his team.
When Lucas Zelarayan departed for Al Fateh SC of the Saudi Pro League in late July, it left a void because he was the unquestioned leader of the Crew. Cucho stepped in to fill that void and has become the team’s heart and soul. Much like Zelarayan, each time he touches the ball you know Cucho is capable of making something happen. He’s the most exciting player on the most exciting team in the league.
Cucho is showing why the Crew was willing to pay a club-record $10.3 million dollars to acquire him from Watford of the Premier League in June of last year. In sixteen appearances (fourteen starts) in 2022, he scored an impressive nine goals. His .56 goals per game was good enough for seventh among players who had played at least fifteen games. Expectations were high entering 2023, but a knee injury early in the season got Cucho off to a very slow start. That eight-goal performance in September is a reminder of his potential and why the Crew management was willing to pay such a high fee to bring him to Columbus.
MLS Player of the Month for September, Golden Boot award candidate, heart and soul of his team. The hope is those with ballots are now taking notice and consider Cucho a serious contender for MVP.