Crew SC’S Gyasi Zardes named MLS 2018 Comeback Player of the Year

United States midfielder Gyasi Zardes, right, and Bosnia and Herzegovina forward Mersudin Ahmetovic miss the header during the first half of an international friendly soccer match on Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Columbus Crew SC announced Wednesday forward Gyasi Zardes is the 2018 Major League Soccer Comeback Player of the Year.

Zardes, who joined Crew SC just before the 2018 season, is the first player in team history to win the award. The forward earned the most votes in polling from current MLS players, club coaches, technical directors/GMs, and a 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.”

Zardes led Crew SC this year, scoring a career-high 19 goals in the regular-season, more than any other American player in MLS. He is now in third place on Crew SC’s list of most goals scored in a single MLS regular season, behind Stern John (26 goals in 1998) and Kei Kamara (22 goals in 2015). Zardes also led the team with four game-winning goals, 2,948 minutes played, 88 shots and 40 shots on goal. He's also featured for the U.S. Men’s National Team, earning three caps in 2018 and featuring against Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil and Mexico.

After suffering a season-ending injury with the LA Galaxy in 2016, Zardes had knee surgery in 2017. He then made 24 regular-season appearances for the Galaxy that season, scoring two goals before getting injured again in October 2017.

After the 2017 season, Zardes joined Crew SC, scoring in their first match of the 2018 MLS regular season against defending MLS Cup Champions Toronto FC. Of his 19 goals in regular-season action, 17 came in Crew SC home games, with Zardes registering three braces at MAPFRE Stadium before capping the year with his first career hat trick on October 28.

In the First Leg of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, in which Crew SC defeated the New York Red Bulls, Zardes scored the game-winning goal in the 61st minute.

Crew SC will return for the decisive Leg 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs against the New York Red Bulls on Sunday at Red Bull Arena.


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