Matchday Honors

MLS NEXT Rising Star of Matchday 8: Gio De Libera 

MLS NEXT Rising Star MD 8

Crew 2 midfielder Gio De Libera has been named MLS NEXT Rising Star for Matchday 8 after his impressive performance in Columbus Crew 2's 4-0 triumph over Orlando City B, where he scored his first professional goal and provided an assist.

In the 53rd minute of the game, the young Capybara found the back of the net for Crew 2 after receiving a ball in the box and curling it past Orlando City B's goalkeeper Javier Otero.

De Libera continued to impress in the second half, setting up Mataeo Bunbury's goal with a perfectly placed pass after a skillful run into the OCB half, doubling Columbus Crew 2's lead to 2-0.

Columbus Crew 2 would go on to score two more times in the second half, earning the three points and their third victory in a row.

“I can’t thank the guys enough for pushing me every day, I mean what a great feeling, to score one of my first professional goals,” said De Libera during a post-game interview.

“His contribution today was incredible, took the initiative to score, to shoot, he can do that and hopefully believes now,” said Columbus Crew 2 Head Coach Laurent Courtious.

De Libera has been part of the Black and Gold's Academy from a young age and was named Academy Player of the Year in 2022. During the same year, De Libera helped the Columbus Crew U-17’s reach the final of the MLS NEXT Cup. The midfielder's performances on the pitch led him to be selected to represent the East in first-ever MLS NEXT All-Star Game, where he helped his side earn a 2-1 victory over the West.

De Libera will aim to continue his impressive form on Matchday 9 as Columbus Crew 2 travels to face FC Cincinnati 2 on May 21.