COLUMBUS – Columbus Crew SC today announced its 2019 Team Awards — including the Acura Most Valuable Player, Golden Boot Winner, Defender of the Year, OhioHealth Humanitarian of the Year, Kirk Urso Heart Award and Crew SC Academy Player of the Year.
In 2019, Pedro Santos led Crew SC in regular-season assists with six helpers while also scoring a single-season career-high 11 goals in League play. Four of the midfielder’s six assists were game-winners, with the Black & Gold going undefeated with a record of 5-0-0 in matches in which Santos provided one or more helpers.
Santos’ 11 goals were the second-most by a Crew SC player during the 2019 regular season, with the Portuguese player tying with forward Gyasi Zardes for most game-winning goals (two). In addition to regularly getting on the scoresheet, Santos led the Crew in the following categories, per Opta: minutes played (2,763), completed dribbles (61), successful crosses from open play (23) and duels won (240). In 2019, Santos was named to MLSsoccer.com’s Team of the Week on four occasions (Week 14, Week 21, Week 23, Week 30), more than any other Crew player this year.
Forward Gyasi Zardes claims his second consecutive Crew SC Golden Boot award after scoring a team-leading 13 goals in regular-season action in 2019. Zardes’ 13 tallies included two game-winning goals – tied with Pedro Santos for most on the team in 2019 – as well as nine goals on the road, making him the highest-scoring American on the road in MLS this season.
Notably, Zardes’ 13 goals brought his total to 32 goals in regular-season action since joining Crew SC ahead of the 2018 season, which ties him with Kei Kamara for 10th place on the Black & Gold list of all-time regular-season goal scorers. In addition to his scoring output, Zardes played the second-most regular-season minutes (2,478) and won the second-most aerial duels (65) for Crew SC during the 2019 regular season, according to Opta.
Jonathan Mensah made 24 appearances (23 starts) during the 2019 MLS regular season, providing a stabilizing presence for a Crew SC backline that was plagued by injuries throughout the year. The Ghanaian defender led the Black & Gold in each of the following categories, per Opta: clearances (109), headed clearances (62) and aerial duels won (72), despite missing some matches himself due to injuries.
Over the last 13 matches, Crew SC lost only twice in their last 13 matches, compiling a record of 5-2-6. Remarkably, Mensah played a total of 2,151 minutes of regular-season action this past season, more than any other Crew SC defender in 2019. With the award, Mensah joins Brad Friedel (1996, 1997) and Chad Marshall (2008, 2009, 2010, 2013) as one of only three players in Club history to win the award on more than one occasion, and becomes the first player since Chad Marshall to win the award in consecutive years.
Luis Argudo became quite involved in the Columbus community in just his second season as a Black & Gold player. This year, Argudo served as the face of 2019’s Get a Kick Out of Reading program with the Milo Grogan Boys & Girls Club, helping promote the importance of reading and education among the local youth.
Additionally, the midfielder spent time volunteering in local youth soccer clinics; participated in the Columbia Gas Community Clean-Up Day to assist the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department in beautifying Goodale Park; and hosted a bowling and pizza party for pediatric cancer patients/survivors and their families in cooperation with Nellie’s Champions for Kids as part of MLS WORKS’ Kick Childhood Cancer campaign.
Jon Kempin is the seventh player to receive this award after Kirk Urso was posthumously honored in the inaugural year of the special recognition in 2012.
Voted by his teammates, Kempin was chosen as the player that best exemplified the qualities in a teammate and became “the heart” in the Black & Gold’s locker room. This year, Kempin made five appearances (all starts) across all competitions for Crew SC, registering one shutout.
In recognition of his bright future and his contributions to the Black & Gold's Under-16/17 Academy team, JT Harms has been named the Crew SC Academy Player of the Year. A goalkeeper, Harms completed the 2018-19 season with 23 appearances (all starts) for the Under-16/17 squad, registering six shutouts. The 17-year-old has competed for Crew SC Academy since 2018, making 38 appearances and recording eight shutouts across all competitions over that span.