The Players That 'Could Have Been' for the Crew

With the unfortunate departure of Kevin Molino this past week, here is a look at Columbus Crew players that never reached their full potential.
Toronto FC v Columbus Crew SC
Toronto FC v Columbus Crew SC / Jamie Sabau/GettyImages

The story of Kevin Molino's time with the Crew is emblematic of unfulfilled promise, a tale of talent stifled by injury. Molino’s release serves as a poignant reminder that potential doesn’t always translate into consistent success. Although he showed great sparks at times, his recent release promoted us to ask the question, "Who else from Black & Gold history didn't quite live up to their full potential?" Lets take a look at a few Crew careers that 'could have been'...

Kevin Molino (Years with Crew 2021-2023)

Kevin Molino, a talented midfielder, arrived at Columbus Crew with high expectations. Unfortunately, injuries plagued his time with the team. Molino possessed creativity, vision, and flair, but persistent setbacks prevented him from reaching the heights he could have achieved. His departure left fans wondering what might have been had he remained injury-free. His greatest moment in a Crew uniform may be the single most significant goal in Hell is Real's short history - see below!

Cedrick Mabwati (2015)

Cedrick Mabwati, originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, made his way to Spain and honed his skills in Atlético Madrid’s youth academy. In 2015, Mabwati joined Columbus Crew from Real Betis, bringing pace and one-on-one ability. His time in MLS showcased glimpses of brilliance, but consistency eluded him. Despite his potential, Mabwati’s impact remained sporadic, leaving fans yearning for more. His Black & Gold claim to fame is similar to Molino's - a playoff cross leading to a critical goal at the 3 minute mark below.

Emmanuel Pogatetz (2014-2015)

Emmanuel Pogatetz, an Austrian defender, arrived in Columbus in 2014. His experience in European leagues hinted at defensive prowess, but injuries and limited appearances hindered his impact appearing in just 24 games over two seasons. Pogatetz’s brief stint with the Crew saw him play a supporting role, making substitute appearances in crucial moments. His signing brought high hopes, but ultimately, he couldn’t establish himself as a defensive linchpin.

Milton Valenzuela (2019-2021)

Milton Valenzuela, an Argentine left-back, arrived on loan in 2018. His attacking flair and defensive tenacity impressed fans, but injuries disrupted his progress. Valenzuela’s permanent transfer solidified his status as a Young Designated Player. His crosses and tackles stood out, making him one of the league’s top outside backs. However, he appeared in only 33 matches over a 3 year period from 2019-2021 and was not resigned, in part, due to his injury history.

It's Never Straightforward...

These players remind us that potential doesn’t always translate into consistent success. Their stories serve as cautionary tales and testament to the unfortunate and unpredictable nature of a professional athletes career. As Columbus Crew continues its journey in 2024, fans hope for new stars to rise and fulfill their promise.