KANSAS CITY, Kan. - Columbus Crew SC 'keeper Zack Steffen burst onto the scene with a stunning postseason performance on the road against Atlanta United last October. His clean sheet in that Knockout Round match, and subsequent performance in the penalty-kick shootout brought to light how good he had been all season.
His 2018 campaign has been no different.
Steffen recorded his sixth straight clean sheet in Crew SC's 0-0 draw against Sporting Kansas City on Sunday evening. During that match, he also set his club’s record for most consecutive shutout minutes.
It turns out he's been doing all this while playing through a broken pinky and torn ligaments, a fact first revealed by FOX sideline reporter Katie Witham.
“Zack, you know, he’s a warrior,” said Columbus coach Gregg Berhalter. “He got a little banged up with his finger, but it’s not too severe. He’s like most guys, you play through a little pain through the season.”
The injury came via friendly fire, when Crew SC goalkeeper coach (and former Canadian international) Pat Onstad, fired a rocket at his No. 1 during a training session.
Steffen insists the injury doesn’t phase him, though Witham reported there is offseason surgery planned.
“There is adrenaline,” said Steffen. “Once you step out on the field, it’s fine. I just tape it. It’ll heal in a couple weeks and I’ll just tape it throughout the season.”
Berhalter is proud of what the shutout minutes streak means for both Steffen and the rest of his squad.
“It’s a culmination of work by a lot of guys,” said Berhalter. “It’s the whole team. You see it in nights like tonight, the guys work together to achieve their goals.”
Asked about his new team record, Steffen immediately credited his team for the streak.
“Those accolades are nice,” Steffen said. “It’s just not a kudos to me, it’s a kudos to the back line, the guys in front of me, and the hard work that they’re putting in as well.”