Penn State’s Connor Maloney Trying To Find His Stride In MLS
Last August, former Penn State men’s soccer captain Connor Maloney could be seen darting across Jeffrey Field, pressing opposing defenders, scoring goals, and setting the tempo for a team that often struggled to find its footing during his final season in Happy Valley. He finished his senior season with a team-high eight goals, five assists, and a smattering of accolades, including a unanimous First Team All Big Ten team selection.
He hasn’t slowed down since his time with the Nittany Lions ended — starting a professional career after the Columbus Crew selected him in the third round of the MLS SuperDraft.
Maloney traveled with the Crew to Brazil for its preseason training camp, where he reportedly impressed head coach Gregg Berhalter. Although he was named to the crew’s 18-man roster for the team’s first game against Chicago, he didn’t make his professional debut until the following match against the Houston Dynamo, playing 45 minutes at right back after being subbed on at halftime.
The Crew lost that game 3-1, and Maloney wouldn’t see the field again for three months. He was loaned to USL side and Crew affiliate Pittsburgh Riverhounds, current team of former Penn State striker Corey Hertzog, on a “game-by-game basis” in May. He made one appearance for the Riverhounds.
Columbus recalled Maloney for its July 29 league match against Real Salt Lake, playing as an outside wingback in a 3-4-3 formation. He assisted teammate Ola Kamara in the 15th minute with a low, cut-back cross from the end line to give the Crew a one-goal lead going into halftime. Two second half goals from Salt Lake and a late equalizer from Kamara sealed a 2-2 final score. Maloney was subbed out in the 82nd minute.
Maloney continued to train with the Crew’s first team, but has not played for Columbus since the team’s draw against Real Salt Lake. The Crew is currently ranked fourth in the MLS Eastern Conference, and host FC Dallas in Ohio on Saturday.