MLS honors trio from Columbus Crew for exceptional play

Columbus Crew

Columbus Crew defender Jonathan Mensah (4) during the first half of an MLS soccer match Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The Columbus Crew was awarded a trio of honors Friday by Major League Soccer.

Defender Jonathan Mensah was named to the Best XI team, midfielder Darlington Nagbe won for goal of the year, and keeper Eloy Room won for save of the year.

Mensah, 30, is in his fourth season with the Crew and his first as team captain. He led MLS in blocks (30), passes (1,473) and clearances (114) during the regular season.

“He has been pivotal to the success of our backline this year and a large reason why we had one of the best defensive records in the league during the regular season,” Crew president and general manager Tim Bezbatchenko said.

The Best XI is MLS’ all-star team, with members selected by a panel of media, players and front-office staff. This is Mensah’s first appearance on the team.

Nagbe won for a goal in the 81st minute of a 3-0 win over the Chicago Fire on Aug. 20 with a volley from outside the box.

Room won for a double save against Orlando City on Nov. 4. During the sequence, he saved a shot from inside the box with his right foot and then stopped a second shot, also from inside the box, seconds later.

The Crew next plays Saturday at Mapfre Stadium against the New York Red Bulls in the opening game of the playoffs. The game begins at 3 p.m. Because of a stay-at-home advisory for Franklin County, fans will not be allowed to attend.

Here is the complete MLS Best XI team:

  • Goalkeeper: Andre Blake (Philadelphia)
  • Defenders: Mark McKenzie (Philadelphia), Jonathan Mensah (Columbus), Walker Zimmerman (Nashville)
  • Midfielders: Brenden Aaronson (Philadelphia), Diego Chara (Portland), Nicolas Lodeiro (Seattle), Alejandro Pozuelo (Toronto)
  • Forwards: Jordan Morris (Seattle), Diego Rossi (Los Angeles Football Club), Raúl Ruidíaz (Seattle)

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