Surrounded by those who have been the most vocal supporters of the winger all season, Ethan Finlay and Gregg Berhalter made it official.
At a special Q&A with Crew supporters at Hendoc's Pub, the two broke the news to the fans that the man tied for the club lead in both goal-scoring and assists had agreed to a new pact with the Crew. He even physically signed the piece of paper right in front of the supporters, with flash bulbs and cheers erupting around the room. It was a poignant way to deliver the exciting news for Finlay and the club that the breakout winger is here to stay.
"It's an amazing feeling. Our fans are a huge part of what this club is all about," said Finlay. "They've been passionate since 1996. It's great to be able to give them this opportunity and for them to give me the opportunity to play for this great club."
"The relationship with the fans is very important, both for myself and the team," added Berhalter. "We only want to build a stronger bond with the fans. They're crucial to our success and we enjoy doing things like this."
Finlay, the consummate professional, was quick to credit those around him for the success he has had this year that led to this new contract.
"I'm extremely excited. It's a great honor and a great reward for a great season," said the winger. "I couldn’t have done it without my teammates and the coaching staff in place. I'm extremely happy to be part of the future."
Berhalter said that Finlay's intelligence, ability to make smart runs and get into good positions were the key reasons why he has been so lethal this season. He also credited Finlay's speed and endurance for supplementing his smarts nicely -- a big reason why he has bagged 11 goals and seven assists this season, all over his last 22 appearances.
"He's been a performer. He's a guy that since he's gotten a starting role has never let up," said Berhalter. "He keeps producing game in and game out, and you need that. To have a person in his position with that amount of goals and assists, it's pretty good. We're excited to have him part of it."
All of those qualities are things that Crew fans can look forward to seeing develop even further on the field over the next couple of seasons.
"We have a nice, young team," said Finlay. "With the new rebrand, the way we're playing this year is exciting. We're going to continue to get better and we're going to continue to bring players in to push us to the next level."