When you score 23 goals and add 20 assists in two seasons and are statistically in the same company as Robbie Keane and Bradley Wright-Phillips, it only makes sense that Ethan Finlay should get a contract extension.
Columbus Crew SC announced on Monday morning that the winger has indeed inked an extension with the Black & Gold.
"Ethan has performed at an extremely high level over the past two seasons and we are pleased to have him commit to the club long term," head coach Gregg Berhalter said in the press release. "He is an important part of the core of this team, has embraced the playing style and embodied the team culture from day one. We feel his national recognition is a result of his day-to-day efforts and we look forward to helping him build on his performances in 2016 and beyond."
After he was drafted by Crew SC with the 10th overall pick in 2012 MLS SuperDraft, it took Finlay a couple of years to find his feet at the professional level. He had a breakout season in 2014 - the first year under Berhalter - scoring 11 goals and seven assists in in 29 appearances (21 starts).
His first of those 11 finishes came May 17, 2014 at the Portland Timbers where he came off the bench to score in a 3-3 draw and help Columbus earn a point on the road. Finlay started the next game at home against the Chicago Fire, scoring his second career goal in a 2-0 victory.
Following 2014, Finlay penned an extension before having another great year in 2015.
Finlay upped the ante in his fourth year, scoring 12 goals and registering 13 assists. He was on the MLS All-Star team that faced Tottenham Hotspurs of the English Premier League in July - playing 45 minutes - and a member of the 2015 MLS Best XI. Finlay scored the tying goal in the second leg of Black & Gold's series with the Montreal Impact in the MLS Cup Eastern Conference Semifinals. This finish forced overtime where Columbus went on to take the series.
The winger/forward was recently rewarded for his two fine years with his first call-up to the United States Men's National Team for the annual January camp.
"I've enjoyed my time at Columbus Crew SC and I'm honored to receive this extension," Finlay in the press release. "I hope we'll have many more good years ahead of us and I'm happy to be part of this organization for years to come."
In mid-September of this past season, Finlay scored his 20th MLS goal for the Black & Gold in a 2-1 win at D.C. United. This made him the seventh player in Crew SC history to register 20 goals and 20 assists, joining team greats such as Brian McBride, Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Jeff Cunningham, Federico Higuain and Eddie Gaven.
This news goes a long way in debunking any rumors that Finlay was interested in leaving Columbus if he began to see time with the U.S. National Team. He will continue on the right flank for the Black & Gold for the foreseeable future, as Crew SC looks to build on an MLS Cup Final appearance last season.