Eight appearances and six starts later, five members of Columbus Crew SC return to the Capital City after respective stints on international duty. Read more for game-by-game details about the Black & Gold's efforts over the past week.
In Group F qualifying for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, Ghana fell 1-0 to Kenya on Sept. 8, as all four teams in the group, including Sierra Leone and Ethiopia, remained tied at three points with one win and one loss each.
Afful earned his 77th career cap for the Black Stars as a second-half substitution. Kenya pulled off the upset following a 40th-minute own goal from Ghana’s Nicholas Opoku.
Martinez earned his third cap for Panama during Los Canaleros’ 2-0 loss to Venezuela on Sept. 11. Martinez played the full 90 minutes as a midfielder, while Venezuela secured the result with tallies from Salomon Rondon in the 67th minute and in second-half stoppage time.
Steffen earned his fourth and fifth caps for the United States Men’s National Team with full-game performances against Brazil on Sept. 7 and Mexico on Sept. 11.
Against Brazil, Steffen faced 12 shots, including four on target, while totaling two saves against the five-time World Cup champion, who started the likes of Neymar, Roberto Firmino, Thiago Silva, and Philippe Coutinho.
In the United States’ 1-0 win over Mexico, Steffen made three saves to record his second career clean sheet. The victory marked the first shutout over El Tri since April 15, 2015.
Trapp made his seventh and eighth caps for the U.S., earning the captain’s band in both matches to bring his career captain appearance total to six. Notably, Trapp has worn the armband in every U.S. match this year except for the 3-0 win against Bolivia on May 28.
Trapp subbed out in the 83rd minute against Brazil on Sept. 7, and played the full 90 in the U.S.’s 1-0 win over Mexico. Notably, nine of the Starting XI vs. Mexico are products of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy, including Trapp and Crew SC teammates Zack Steffen and Gyasi Zardes.
Trapp’s appearance vs. Mexico marked his sixth USMNT appearance this year, tied for the most of any player in 2018, as Tyler Adams, Weston McKennie, and Trapp formed the core of the midfield for the fourth straight match.
Zardes earned his 39th and 40th caps with a substitution appearance vs. Brazil on Sept. 7 and a start against Mexico on Sept. 11.
Against Mexico, Zardes logged one shot in 80 minutes of play after earning 20 minutes of action against five-time World Cup champion Brazil. In terms of previous career appearances against Mexico, Zardes ranked as the senior member among the U.S.’s roster with two.
Overall, at age 27, Zardes was considered a veteran of a U.S. squad that posted an average age under 24 years, while the Starting XI vs. Mexico held an average cap number of 11.2.
Catch Crew SC back in action on Saturday, Sept. 15 as the Black & Gold travel to FC Dallas for an 8 p.m. kickoff. Columbus' next home match takes place on Sept. 22 against the Colorado Rapids as part of Hispanic Heritage Night.