Midfielder Luis Diaz only started nine games for Crew SC in 2019 after joining the Black & Gold mid-season as a Young Designated Player, but his speed and skillset shined through from the beginning - literally - and for that, the 20-year-old Costa Rican was listed 17th in MLSsoccer.com's 22 Under 22, the annual ranking list showcasing the top young players in MLS.
Acquired by Crew SC from Club Sport Herediano on July 2, the soon-to-be 21-year-old (his birthday is on Dec. 6) subbed on and played all of 25 minutes before making his first mark on the scoresheet, this time in form of a game-tying assist to Romario Williams in the 90th minute to secure a 2-2 draw at Chicago on July 17.
Diaz subbed on for 16 minutes and 45 minutes in the next two matches respectively - both wins for the Crew - before earning his first start in a 1-1 draw at San Jose, where he delivered the game-tying assist to Gyasi Zardes with a crossing ball nearly identical to that of his assist on Romario Williams.
The biggest highlight of his season came on Aug. 25 at FC Cincinnati, when Diaz scored and assisted in a 3-1 road win.
Not to be entirely outdone, Diaz whipped home a banger for his second and final goal of the season in a 3-1 win over Atlanta United to complete the season sweep over the 2018 MLS Cup champions.
This year marks the second consecutive year in which Crew SC has had a representative on the 22U22 list, with Milton Valenzuela repping the Crew in 2018.
The rankings reflected the votes submitted by a panel of 19 individuals comprising of:
- 6 anonymous technical staffers;
- 2 current MLS players
- 7 members of the MLS Digital team (Charlie Davies, Matt Doyle and Bobby Warshaw, among others);
- 3 members of the MLS Player Department