Crew SC's goalie talks tikka masala, his vinyl collection and more
One underrated storyline this MLS season is the growth of Crew SC goalkeeper Zack Steffen. The 23-year-old has kept Columbus in some games and counts two penalty stops among his 81 saves, including one against U.S. World Cup veteran Jozy Altidore.
“As a goalkeeper, the more games you get, the more comfortable you feel,” Steffen said. “So getting all these games this year has been really good for me.”
Steffen, acquired from Germany's SC Freiburg last summer, has also been acclimating to Columbus. Via phone this week, the Downington, Penn. native revealed some of his interests around town, including this weekend's Breakaway Festival at Mapfre Stadium.
Where in Columbus do you like to hang out?
When I first got here I was in Gahanna. I lived at Alex Crognale's house with his family even though he wasn't there. We became really good friends, and our families became really good friends, through the Maryland years. (Steffen and Crognale were college teammates.) So when I came here they welcomed me with open arms, and I stayed there for a year. I moved down to Italian Village about a month and a half ago, so I really love the Short North area.
Do you have a favorite Columbus restaurant?
I would pick Aab [India] out in Grandview.
Are you a fan of Indian food in general?
Yeah, I am. My parents got me into it. I love the naan, which is their bread, and the basmati rice is always good. I always get the chicken tikka masala, which is kind of a red tomato paste, but you can get it spicy. It's so good. You put that on the rice and then put both of them on the naan and kind of make a little wrap — it's so good.
How'd you end up making an official playlist of artists performing at Breakaway Festival for the team website?
I went to Alex Stec, our social media person, and she said if I made a playlist they'd give me tickets. So I was like, “Hell yeah, that's mad easy.” So I made a playlist, and they got me tickets.
Is there an album or song you've been playing on repeat?
You know what? I just got this record player — it was a gift — so I just ordered a bunch of records. I'd say my favorite records are Tame Impala, their Currents album, and then I like J. Cole's  Forest Hills Drive. The throwback Kid Cudis are all awesome — Man On The Moon. I got some old-school, some Dr. Dre. It's all over the place.
One soccer question: Were any of your saves this year particularly memorable for you?
The one in Philly — the [penalty kick] save in front of all my family and friends — was really cool.