Mohammed Saeid is listed on Columbus Crew SC’s roster as 5-foot-7 and just over 140 pounds.
But don’t let the Swedish midfielder’s small stature fool you: The offseason acquisition is making a far bigger splash in Columbus than his size belies.
Saeid made his Crew SC debut in the club’s 2-0 win over Toronto FC on Saturday, when Columbus Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter slotted him into the starting lineup for suspended midfielder Tony Tchani ahead of players like Kevan George and Hector Jimenez.
The 24-year-old midfielder impressed, helping Crew SC register nearly 200 more passes than 10-man Toronto before coming off in the 76th minute.
“It felt good,” he said after the match. “From the first minute we kind of dominated possession, moving it from side-to-side. It was just a matter of taking our chances when we got them.”
Jokes about his stature aside, teammate Justin Meram was impressed as well.
“Little Mo, man; I didn’t know he had it in him,” Meram said. “He’s a great guy on and off the field. [He has] a lot of positivity, he’s a good person with a good heart… He came out today and was extremely good.”
That off-the-field camaraderie has helped Saeid’s progression with Crew SC. He spent some time in the offseason with his new teammates, and moved to Columbus sooner than other acquisitions. By the time preseason rolled around, he was already a part of the group.
“Everyone helps everyone,” he said in February. “It makes it easier for us new guys to get into the team. It’s been an easy transition.”
Saeid said Berhalter didn’t give him any specific instructions before the match, but that he was perfectly comfortable playing in Crew SC’s possession-based style.
“It was just going out and enjoying my soccer and trying to do a job for the team, and that’s what I did,” he said.
And in his first chance to impress Berhalter, Saeid made the Crew SC Head Coach take notice.
“I think he did a great job, I really did,” Berhalter said. “You hope that when guys get their chance, they step up. He certainly did. For a little guy, he has a big heart. And he never stopped going.”