Every team needs a Christian Ramirez

Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

A veteran player, who may not be happy with his role, but works at it and looks to contribute in any way he can when given the chance. He sees the big picture and puts the success of his team ahead of his own ego. Every team needs a guy like this. Every team needs a Christian Ramirez.

Staying Ready

Since Diego Rossi moved into the starting lineup, Christian Ramirez has started just once in the Crew’s last 12 games. In three of those, the native of Garden Grove, California played just one minute, in another he appeared for two minutes, and there was even a game where he did not appear at all. Through it all, he did not complain. He kept himself ready because he believed he’d be needed. It turned out he was needed in a big way.

Seizing The Moment

His opportunity to help his team came not long after entering the scoreless Eastern Conference semifinal against Orlando City at the beginning of extra time. After a steal by Aidan Morris, Ramirez worked to get open just enough to beat the defender to the ball and put Morris’ cross into the net for what proved to be the winning goal. Speaking to the media after the game, he said,

"Anybody who knows me knows I put my heart and soul into this and being ready. Obviously, the last 10 weeks I haven’t played as much as I did early on in the year, but I never once complained. I just stayed ready and I knew my job wasn’t done this season and there would be a moment where they would need me. Hopefully, the story continues to be written."

You Can’t Make Up This Stuff

The story did indeed continue to be written and in a big way. Not 36 hours after he was the hero in Orlando, Ramirez and his wife, Valerie, celebrated the birth of a son. If you didn’t already know the story, you’d think there is no way it could possibly get better than scoring a winning goal in a playoff game and then being there for his child’s birth. You’d be very wrong. In the waning minutes of second extra time session in the Eastern Conference final against Hell is Real rival FC Cincinnati, Ramirez deposited a perfect header from Cucho into the back of the net to give the Crew a 3-2 lead. After holding off Cincinnati for what Ramirez described as the longest five minutes of his life, the Crew had punched its ticket to the MLS Cup final.

So, you think the story ends there? You should know better by now, because it gets even better. Ramirez scored the goal while still wearing the hospital bracelet from his son’s birth. You just can’t make up this kind of thing.

He could have pouted and been a cancer to the team. He could have made things very difficult for head coach Wilfried Nancy, but he didn’t. When he was needed by his team, he was ready and delivered in a big way. This is why I say every team needs a Christian Ramirez.