Age at MLS Cup: 27
Hometown: Northville, MI
ALL COMPETITIONS IN 2020 (Crew stats only):
Defensive midfielder Fatai Alashe had one of those weird sports years. He only made three appearances totaling 25 minutes for dreadful Cincinnati before getting traded to Columbus in August. Then he made eight appearances, including six starts, down the stretch for Ohio’s vastly superior soccer team. And then he was one of the 11 Crew players on the field when the final whistle blew and the Crew were officially crowned the 2020 MLS Cup champions. So another guy who found his way to the #HeavenIsReal side of the #HellIsReal rivalry. Although he will not be back with the Crew in 2021, Alashe will forever be a Massive Champion. He may have been in Columbus for fewer than four months, but championships are eternal.
THROUGH JOSH’S EYES:
“Fatai was a great addition who came in mid-year. I played against him for years and I always thought he was a good talent. He’s one of those quiet guys that blends into the locker room. He’s a quiet guy but he always has his witty jokes. He’s just another great teammate, which I swear you can say about 1-30 on this team. He’s a really good guy and I got along with him well.
“Coming from Cincinnati, I liked seeing him in those games because you have a little extra motivation to prove those guys wrong. He’s a fiery guy who can always put in a tackle, but he’s also skillful. He’s a bigger body you can put in the middle there and he reads the game very well. He’s also a very technical player. So to me, he was another great addition. A high-level soccer player.
“He even scored a goal in the Chicago Fire game that glanced off his face. He stole a goal from G, but it was just an incredible finish by Fatai.”
“But all this had to hurt a little bit for Cincinnati. You get rid of a guy who comes here and flourishes and helps us win the championship. Fatai even played in the final and I thought he did well. It’s funny because it was one of those things where I remember Artur was hurt and I asked him if he was going to finish and then I turned around and talked to Eloy and Milton and then play started again. I remember going up for a header and seeing Fatai and thinking, ‘That’s not Artur!’ And then there was a moment in stoppage time where I started my celebration a little early and Fatai was like, ‘We’ve gotta finish this game.’ And it was like, ‘Oh shit, you’re right. We do.’ I was glad he got in. He put in a lot of work this year, and as good of a guy as he is, I was glad he was able to be part of that game.”
[NOTE: To see a clickable list of earlier installments of this Josh Williams series or other MLS Cup related posts, please click HERE.]
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