A pair of century-mark appearances came to fruition for Columbus Crew SC's Hector Jimenez and Patrick Mullins over the weekend as Jimenez garnered his 100th career appearance under the Black & Gold, while Mullins, a recent acquisition, earned his 100th appearance in Major League Soccer.
Certainly anything but a one-trick pony, Jimenez - who became the fifth current Crew SC player to eclipse the century mark - has logged 66 starts while appearing in a variety of positions for the Black & Gold, including along the backline, as an outside midfielder, and as a central attacking midfielder.
"Obviously, it’s a great milestone to hit," said Jimenez when asked about his 100th appearance. "It's a great honor and just shows that the coaching staff has a lot of trust and belief in me to be able to step on the field and perform. A big part of getting those hundred caps is staying injury free. I haven’t had a major injury, knock on wood, since I have been in the League, and that kind of puts me in a situation where I can get in the games."
“Hector is the glue,” said Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter following Jimenez's milestone achievement over the weekend. “He’s the guy that keeps the locker room together, mixes well with everyone, understands the work it takes to be a pro. He’s been a pro. This is his eighth season, so he really understands what that means. We couldn’t be happier for him and this accomplishment."
In response to Berhalter's praise, Jimenez touched on the value it adds to his achievement.
"It feels great, it adds value," Jimenez said. "I’ve never heard that one before, honestly, but it’s awesome to hear. It’s not an easy thing sometimes, being on and off the field, but at the end of the day, I’ve grown as a person. It just goes to show the environment and culture that we have here. I take a lot of pride in that and I’m sure some of the guys in the locker room notice the amount of work I do on and off the field to have these relationships with everyone, so I’m very happy and thrilled to be here."
Acquired from the LA Galaxy following the 2013 campaign, Jimenez made his Columbus debut in the team’s 2014 season opener against D.C. United on March 8, as he went on to deliver the game-winning assist to Jairo Arrieta as part of a 3-0 victory. Since then, Jimenez has recorded 13 assists and one goal for Crew SC.
Gyasi Zardes, who played with Jimenez during his time at the Galaxy, recognized the accomplishments of his long-time teammate.
"Hector means a lot, especially to myself. When I first became a pro, Hector was driving me to and from training. I always have respect for Hector, and I love playing with him each and every moment I get. Congratulations to him, and I really look forward to playing many more games with him."
Mullins, who came to Columbus on July 11 from D.C. United, recently made his fourth appearance with Crew SC after netting his first career goal with the Black & Gold on July 28 in a 3-2 win over the New York Red Bulls.
Following 52 appearances with New York City FC, Mullins appeared in 44 matches at D.C. United. After hitting his MLS century-mark, Mullins spoke on what the achievement meant to him.
"It feels very good to be able to achieve one hundred matches," Mullins said. "It’s something I always wanted to do coming in as a pro, and I think it makes me very grateful to be able to be healthy for one hundred matches and then to be at a good level to perform, and also hungry to get another hundred."
To make 100 appearances, Mullins noted, it ultimately comes down to more than one's ability to play well.
"I think it just shows that you have to bring a level of consistency every day in your mental, physical, and psychological approach," Mullins said. "I think that’s something I’ve done well in my five years in the League, and something that I still enjoy coming in each day and getting that feeling of being with a team and being able to play the game I love. It’s something that I always wanted to do, and I don’t take it for granted any day."
Catch Crew SC back in action on Thursday, August 23 as the Black & Gold take on the Chicago Fire. The match kicks off from Toyota Park at 7 p.m. ET.