COLUMBUS – Columbus Crew SC, in conjunction with Major League Soccer, today announced that forward Gyasi Zardes has been voted the 2018 MLS Comeback Player of the Year. Zardes, who joined Crew SC ahead of the 2018 season, is the first player in Crew SC history to win the award. The forward earned the most votes in polling among three voting groups: current MLS players, MLS club technical staffs (coaches, technical directors/GMs) and a select group of media members.
“We are immensely proud to have Gyasi as a member of our club,” said Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter. “Since his first day joining the team in preseason, Gyasi has been committed to learning our system, embracing our culture and representing our club in the community. Gyasi’s work ethic and openness to improve is a great example for younger players and we are very happy for his well-earned success this season.”
FOR MEDIA DOWNLOAD: Forward Gyasi Zardes and Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter provide soundbytes on the award, courtesy of Columbus Crew SC Communications – http://bit.ly/2OtXcZe
Zardes, 27, led Crew SC in 2018 by scoring a career-high 19 goals in regular-season action, more than any other American player in MLS. In addition to setting a new career-high in goals, Zardes’ 19 strikes moved him into third place on Crew SC’s list of most goals scored in a single MLS regular season, behind only Stern John (26 goals in 1998) and Kei Kamara (22 goals in 2015).
After suffering a season-ending injury in August of 2016 while playing for the LA Galaxy, Zardes underwent knee surgery in early 2017. The forward went on to make 24 regular-season appearances for the Galaxy that season, scoring two goals before suffering another injury in October of that year.
Following the 2017 season, Zardes joined Crew SC, scoring in the Black & Gold’s first match of the 2018 MLS regular season on the road against defending MLS Cup Champions Toronto FC. Of his 19 goals in regular-season action, 17 came in Crew SC home matches, with Zardes registering three braces at MAPFRE Stadium before capping the year with his first career hat trick in a 3-2 home win over Minnesota United FC on October 28.
In the First Leg of the Eastern Conference Semifinals on Sunday, November 4 – in which Crew SC defeated the New York Red Bulls 1-0 –Zardes scored the game-winning goal in the 61st minute, handing the Black & Gold a one-goal advantage heading into Leg 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
In addition to leading Crew SC in goals during the 2018 regular season, Zardes also led the club in the following categories: game-winning goals (four), minutes played (2,948), shots (88) and shots on goal (40). Alongside his stellar performance with the Black & Gold, Zardes also featured for the U.S. Men’s National Team, earning three caps in 2018 and featuring against Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil and Mexico.
Crew SC returns to the pitch for the decisive Leg 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs against the New York Red Bulls on Sunday, November 11 at Red Bull Arena. The match kicks-off at 7:30 p.m. ET and is set to be broadcast nationally on FS1 and FOX Deportes, as well as available locally on the radio on CD102.5 FM in English. The club’s official website, ColumbusCrewSC.com, is set to stream the English-language radio broadcast online as well as host the Spanish-language audio broadcast.