Continuing with the 2018 Season Rewind, we turn our attention to Columbus Crew SC defender Gaston Sauro, who following a left knee injury against Toronto FC on May 21, 2016, was eventually forced to undergo surgery and resultantly sidelined for the entire 2017 campaign.
Despite only being given a 50-50 chance of returning to action, Sauro defied the odds and returned to the field in 2018, making his first of seven regular-season appearances on May 27 against Sporting Kansas City.
The 28-year-old Argentine earned his first start back with the Black & Gold on June 30 against Real Salt Lake, playing the full 90 minutes as Crew SC went on to win 2-1. The start marked Sauro's first since Oct. 1, 2016.
2️⃣0️⃣1️⃣8️⃣ @MLS STARTING XI DEBUTS INCOMING ⤵️— Columbus Crew SC (@ColumbusCrewSC) June 30, 2018
Gaston Sauro is 🔙 in the Starting XI for the first time since October 1, 2016!
Eduardo Sosa is manning the midfield for his first career MLS start!
Welcome to this year's XI, fellas!#CrewSC | #CLBvRSL pic.twitter.com/BWpIZqAmeG
After nearly two years of being sidelined due to injury, Sauro played the full 90 minutes against Real Salt Lake and spoke on its meaning after the match.
Playing a full 90 minutes can be hard when it's your first chance since October of 2016, but we know the guy that achieved just that! 👇— Columbus Crew SC (@ColumbusCrewSC) July 2, 2018
Hear from Gaston after #CrewSC's weekend win. 🎥▶️ pic.twitter.com/pET18cALUm
Sauro went on to start five more 2018 regular-season matches in addition to two postseason starts and stood as a nominee for MLS Comeback Player of the Year.
In his first postseason appearance since 2015, Sauro started and played the full 120 minutes of Crew SC's Knockout Round match against D.C. United, as the Black & Gold advanced 3-2 on penalty kicks.
Against D.C., Sauro tied a match-high in interceptions (4) and blocks (2) while totaling five clearances, nine possessions gained, and one tackle.