COLUMBUS – Columbus Crew SC, in conjunction with Major League Soccer, today announced that goalkeeper Zack Steffen has been named to the 2018 MLS Best XI, a season-long recognition honoring the most outstanding performers in the League over the 2018 campaign. The 2018 MLS Best XI recognizes the League’s top 11 players in a common soccer formation as nominated by MLS players, club management and media. This is the first time that Steffen has been named to the MLS Best XI.
Steffen, 23, becomes the 11th player in Crew SC history to be named to the League’s Best XI, as well as the first Black & Gold goalkeeper to earn the honor since Brad Friedel was named to the Best XI in 1997. Steffen is the third player to be named to the MLS Best XI under Crew SC Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter, as well as the first player named to earn the honor since 2015, when Ethan Finlay and Kei Kamara were named to the MLS Best XI.
“We want to congratulate Zack on earning this recognition as one of the top players in MLS in 2018,” said Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter. “Zack has been one of our key performers since earning the starting goalkeeper role, leading the team to two consecutive playoff appearances. He consistently raises his game on bigger and bigger stages. We are thrilled for all the recognition he has earned this season and we look forward to his continued maturation as a player.”
FOR MEDIA DOWNLOAD: Goalkeeper Zack Steffen and Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter provide soundbytes on the honor, courtesy of Columbus Crew SC Communications – http://bit.ly/2qFvyz1
A 2018 MLS All-Star and the 2018 MLS Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year, Steffen made history during the regular-season by setting a new Crew SC club record for the longest shutout in regular-season action, maintaining a clean sheet for 525 minutes. Steffen’s streak spanned from the 46th minute of a home match against the San Jose Earthquakes on April 28 to the 30th minute of a home contest against Atlanta United FC on June 13. Notably, the 23-year-old’s 525-minute streak is also the eighth-longest regular-season shutout streak in MLS history. Steffen’s efforts in the month of May led to him being named the MLS Player of the Month presented by EA SPORTS™.
Steffen finished the regular season with a career-best 1.28 goals against average in 2,610 regular-season minutes across 29 starts. Steffen’s 10 shutouts during the 2018 MLS regular season marked not only a new MLS career-high for the goalkeeper, but also tied him with Jon Busch (2004) and William Hesmer (2008) for second place on Crew SC’s list of most clean sheets by a player in a single regular-season.
Steffen made three saves and earned his third career postseason shutout during Leg 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals on Sunday, November 4, helping Crew SC defeat the New York Red Bulls 1-0. In just shy of 700 career postseason minutes (690), Steffen has a postseason goals-against average of 0.78 and played a critical role in two playoff shootouts in the last two postseasons.
Along with his stellar performance for Crew SC in 2018, Steffen also made his debut for the U.S. Men’s National Team, regularly appearing for the Stars and Stripes throughout the year en route to earning six caps and recording two shutouts. In doing so, Steffen’s tied with Kasey Keller and Troy Perkins for most caps by a goalkeeper in his debut year with the U.S. Men’s National Team. Steffen most recently earned a call-up from the Stars and Stripes ahead of friendlies against England and Italy.
Crew SC returns to the pitch this evening for the decisive Leg 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs against the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena. The match kicks-off at 7:30 p.m. ET and is set to be broadcast nationally on FS1 and FOX Deportes, as well as available locally on the radio on CD102.5 FM in English. The club’s official website, ColumbusCrewSC.com, is set to stream the English-language radio broadcast online as well as host the Spanish-language audio broadcast.
2018 MLS BEST XI
Goalkeeper: Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew SC)
Defenders: Kemar Lawrence (New York Red Bulls), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls), Chad Marshall (Seattle Sounders FC)
Midfielders: Luciano Acosta (D.C. United), Miguel Almirón (Atlanta United), Ignacio Piatti (Montreal Impact), Carlos Vela (Los Angeles Football Club)
Forwards: Zlatan Ibrahimović (LA Galaxy), Josef Martínez (Atlanta United), Wayne Rooney (D.C. United)
ALL-TIME CREW SC PLAYERS TO EARN MLS BEST XI HONORS
1997: Thomas Dooley, Brad Friedel
1998: Thomas Dooley, Stern John
2002: Jeff Cunningham
2004: Robin Fraser
2007: Guillermo Barros Schelotto
2008: Chad Marshall, Robbie Rogers, Guillermo Barros Schelotto
2009: Chad Marshall
2015: Ethan Finlay, Kei Kamara
2018: Zack Steffen