Trapp's Hometown Heroics The Stuff of Legend
When you plan to attend a sporting event and then aren’t able to go, this is the risk you run. My cross-country drive unexpectedly got me back to Columbus Saturday afternoon instead of Sunday. Suddenly, I had the ability to attend the Crew game. I was excited to do so, except I was utterly exhausted and took an unplanned way-too-long nap and ended up watching on TV instead. Whoops.

It was an expensive nap because it cost me one hell of an experience. Wil Trapp scored the goal of his life to lift the Crew to a stunning 3-2 comeback victory over Orlando. Trapp’s blistering long-range missile into the upper corner of the net in the 92nd minute was notable for two statistical reasons, which I will get into in the Mr. Numbers Nerd section in a bit, but emotionally, it was off the charts.

With the fate of the franchise in doubt, the local kid known as The ‘Chise played hometown hero to the hilt. Trapp recently opened up to Tom Reed of The Athletic about the impact of Anthony Precourt’s attempted theft of the Crew from Columbus. Trapp is a Gahanna native who attended Crew games since he was a little boy. The Crew, and the community that surrounds it, mean a great deal to him on a personal level. As he told Reed, and I highly recommend that you subscribe to The Athletic to read the full story and other consistently terrific sportswriting:

“We have grown up with it. We have seen it. To not have it would be difficult. It’s managing your emotions, and those emotions shine through in a lot of ways. It’s good to see that emotion not only with my family, but also with a lot of other people in the community.”

As I watch and re-watch and re-watch and re-watch that Trapp goal, I am fixated on the emotion on his face. Yeah, it’s the hit of a lifetime and a big three points for the team, but man, he just exudes pure joy. He scored a legendary goal in his hometown for his local team in front of his friends and family and community. The fans are losing their freaking minds. That entire stadium is pulsing with pure emotion.

A monumental goal of the people, by the people, and for the people of Columbus, Ohio.

#SaveTheCrew

*****

“I think it’s a captain’s performance,” Crew coach Gregg Berhalter said after the game. “You’re looking at dropping two points, and Wil comes up with a bit of magic…”

Trapp certainly wasn’t thinking of himself as a magician in that moment.

“You don’t think about a whole lot,” he said. “I just played one in, a driven ball that got cleared, so I thought, you know what, let’s shoot this one. I was 42-yards out, so it was kind of an irresponsible distance, but hey, you gotta shoot your shot.”

As a great man once said…


*****

Mr. Numbers Nerd: Tie-Breaking Stoppage-Time Game-Winning Goals in Crew History

Trapp’s 92nd minute bomb was the 15th tie-breaking stoppage-time game-winner in Crew history. It’s also the second this year. Gyasi Zardes banged in a 94th minute penalty kick against Montreal on March 10. That means that 2018 is the fourth time the Crew have scored two stoppage-time game-winners in the same season, joining 2004, 2009, and 2012.

Here’s the list broken down by home and away…

Home:

3/25/2000: Robert Warzycha, 101+, vs. San Jose. (2-1, OT)
8/18/2004: Kyle Martino, 91+, vs. Kansas City. (2-1)
7/20/2005: Jamal Sutton, 92+, vs. MetroStars. (1-0)
7/25/2009: Jason Garey, 93+, vs. Toronto. (3-2)
9/13/2009: Eddie Gaven (PK), 91+, vs. Houston. (2-1)
5/8/2010: Robbie Rogers, 91+, vs. New England. (3-2)
9/1/2012: Emilio Renteria, 93+, vs. Montreal. (2-1)
3/10/2018: Gyasi Zardes (PK), 94+, vs. Montreal. (3-2)
7/21/2018: Wil Trapp, 92+, vs. Orlando. (3-2)

Away:

6/12/2002: Edson Buddle, 101+, at New England. (2-1, OT)
9/8/2004: Tony Sanneh, 91+, at San Jose. (1-0)
4/22/2006: Kyle Martino, 96+, at Los Angeles. (1-0)
8/29/2012: Eddie Gaven, 95+, at Philadelphia. (2-1)
3/29/2014: Justin Meram 94+, at Seattle. (2-1)
5/13/2017: Justin Meram 91+, at Montreal. (3-2)

[Note: Robbie Rogers technically scored a GWG on 10/27/2007 at DC in the 91st minute to make it 3-1. DC then scored to make it 3-2. It was a technically a retroactive stoppage-time GWG, but not a dramatic tie-breaker, thus why the list includes the tie-breaking caveat. Also, overtime goals in the OT era are only counted if they occurred in stoppage time of overtime.]

*****

Mr. Numbers Nerd: Crew Comebacks When Trailing After 75 Minutes

As of tonight, there have been 718 regular season games in Columbus Crew history. The 3-2 win over Orlando marked only the 9th time the Crew have trailed after 75 minutes and came back to earn the full three points. (Getting a single goal and then prevailing to “win” one point in the shootout era does not count.) That means that what we witnessed on Saturday night is something that has happened in just 1.25% of Crew league matches ever played. It’s something that happens about once every 80 games or so. But that happened on Saturday is something that has happened once in 718 games. It's the very first time the Crew have ever earned three points when trailing in the 88th minute or later. The Gyasi Zardes equalizer in the 88th minute broke the previous record for latest comeback initiation, which was Pete Marino's 87th minute equalizer against New England in 1996.

I have now updated my recap list for all league games in which the Crew have earned three points despite trailing after 75 minutes. If you are inclined to relive euphoria, here's the list...


#1. May 11, 1996

Opponent: vs New England

The deficit after 75 minutes: 2-1

The goals: Pete Marino 87th, Brian McBride (Mike Clark) 89th 

Comment: This was the famous pitch invasion game, where hundreds of deliriously disbelieving fans rushed onto the field at the final whistle in order to celebrate the stunning comeback. I can still see midfielder Doctor Khumalo hurdling the sign boards while seemingly sprinting for his life en route to the locker room. 


#2. September 26, 1999

Opponent: vs Miami

The deficit after 75 minutes: 1-0

The goals: Brian McBride (Robert Warzycha) 76th, Brian McBride (Robert Warzycha) 81st

Comment: Two corner kick goals by two guys who excelled at their corner kick roles.


#3. July 1, 2000

Opponent: vs San Jose

The deficit after 75 minutes: 1-0

The goals: Robert Warzycha (pen) 83rd, Dante Washington (Brian West, Robert Warzycha) 84th

Comment: This was the latest in a string of late-game Crew Stadium calamities for Joe Cannon and the Clash/Earthquakes.


#4. July 25, 2009

Opponent: vs Toronto

The deficit after 75 minutes: 2-1

The goals: Steven Lenhart (Brian Caroll, Jason Garey) 76th, Jason Garey (Frankie Hejduk) 92nd+

Comment: With the Trillium Cup firmly in their grasp, Toronto FC saw it ripped away by the original Bash Brothers, Lenhart and Garey. The latter’s stoppage time goal claimed the cup for Columbus. #LOLTFC


#5. June 8, 2011

Opponent: vs Salt Lake

The deficit after 75 minutes: 1-0

The goals: Andres Mendoza (PK) 76th, Josh Gardner (Andres Mendoza) 82nd

Comment: Somewhere, Morgan Hughes is pumping his fist after reading this while wearing his Andres Mendoza jersey.


#6. September 1, 2012

Opponent: vs Montreal

The deficit after 75 minutes: 1-0

The goals: Chad Marshall (Federico Higuain) 80th, Emilio Renteria ( Federico Higuain) 92nd+

Comment: This was during the prolonged stretch of uncanny late game heroics following Kirk Urso’s tragic passing as Columbus nearly made a miraculous run up the table and into the playoffs.


#7. October 11, 2014

Opponent: at Philadelphia

The deficit after 75 minutes: 2-0

The goals: Ethan Finlay (Hector Jimenez, Tony Tchani) 78th, Justin Meram (Jairo Arrieta) 79th, Jairo Arrieta (Tony Tchani, Bernardo Anor) 82nd

Comment: Unfrigginbelievable. Three late goals in the span of four minutes and 22 seconds to steal a 3-2 road win. I still can’t believe that actually happened. 


#8. August 22, 2015

Opponent: vs Kansas City

The deficit after 75 minutes: 2-1

The goals: Tony Tchani (Tyson Wahl, Federico Higuain) 80’, Jack McInerney 88’

Comment: What a time for Jack Mac to score his first goal for Columbus, huh?


#9. July 21, 2018

Opponent: vs Orlando

The deficit after 75 minutes: 2-1

The goals: Gyasi Zardes (PK) 88’, Wil Trapp 92+’

Comment: Hometown hero Wil Trapp with the goal of his life to win the game in front of friends, family, and fans, then witnesses report that he joins the crowd in chants of “Save The Crew” after the match. A legendary night in Crew history.



*****

email: [email protected]

twitter: @stevesirk