In the aftermath of Friday night’s rivalry tussle between Columbus Crew SC and the Chicago Fire, much of the focus was centered on the “as late as late can get” goal scored by the Fire’s Jason Johnson (assisted by former Crew SC defender Eric Gehrig) that salvaged a draw for the road team. Despite having the lead for 82 minutes of regulation plus four minutes of stoppage time, what seemed like a surefire win for the Black and Gold quickly morphed into a tie that had the postgame aura of a loss.
Still, there were some positives to be gleaned from what took place on the pitch. Even though Crew SC looked severely depleted in the defensive midfield going into the game, they got a perhaps unexpectedly good performance out of Kevan George, making his first start of the season.
Replacing the suspended Mohammed Saeid who himself has filled in well for Wil Trapp as the team’s number six, George played the full 90 minutes and registered an assist on Kei Kamara’s 55th minute goal that gave the club a two-goal cushion. It’s the first time in the Trinidad and Tobago native’s MLS career that he has appeared on the score sheet.
Despite his superb performance, him and the rest of the club felt they let a win slip away.
“Obviously we didn’t get the three points that we wanted but, (my first start) went OK. We just have to learn from this experience,” George said after the game.
In addition to his assist, the 25-year-old showed a great deal of adeptness both distributing the ball and winning it from the opposition. His passing accuracy rate of 88 percent on the game was bested only by Federico Higuaín who finished with 90 percent. Only Tony Tchani (14.5 percent) and Michael Parkhurst (13.61 percent) finished with a higher percentage of Crew SC’s total passing, with George sporting an 11.38 percent usage rate during the game.
His defensive prowess was particularly on full display at MAPFRE Stadium Friday evening. Of the Crew SC field players, he finished with the highest number of ball recoveries for the game with 10. In fact, Chicago’s Matt Polster was the only other player who equaled that number on the night.
George has earned ten caps for Trinidad and Tobago during his international career since his debut in 2013. Should he continue to get a noticeable amount of playing time in Columbus, it will be interesting to see if his role with the Soca Warriors becomes more pronounced.
The graduate of the University of Central Florida, who incidentally was teammates with Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson in college, just wants to take things one step at a time as regards his international career.
“I’m just taking it as it comes and thankful for the opportunity,” he remarked.
With the 2015 Gold Cup a little more than a month away, the potential is there for him to become a part of his country’s campaign should he get called up to their squad. Either way, expect to see more of George in the Black and Gold’s lineup during the club’s summer friendlies as well as their U.S. Open Cup campaign.