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Columbus Crew SC re-signs defender Gaston Sauro

After being plagued by injury, the Argentine defender returns for 2018.

MLS: Colorado Rapids at Columbus Crew SC Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Columbus Crew SC announced it has re-signed defender Gaston Sauro. The Argentine defender returns for his fourth season in Major League Soccer after being hampered by injuries for the last year and a half.

Sauro joined Crew SC in August of 2015, making only four appearances — all starts — in his debut season. In 2016 the center back was a key part of the Columbus backline, making only 13 appearances before being sidelined by multiple knee injuries.

The recovery of the knee issues kept Sauro out of competition during the 2017 season, but the defender remained heavily involved with the club.

“We firmly believe Gaston Sauro is one of the most physically dominant and talented center-backs in MLS,” head coach Gregg Berhalter said in the club’s press release. “Throughout his time with Crew SC, Gaston has been an important part of our team and we are excited that he is back. In addition to his skill set, his character and professionalism on and off the field in his time here have made him an important part of our locker room and we look forward to his progression in 2018.”

When healthy, Sauro is a physical defender along the backline and can frustrate the most talented strikers. The Argentine defender played a pivotal part in Crew SC’s run to an Eastern Conference championship in 2015.

According to Andrew Erickson of The Columbus Dispatch, Sauro took a pay cut to remain Crew SC.

With the announcement of Sauro’s return, the Crew SC defense will be rife with competition, as players like Jonathan Mensah, Josh Williams, Lalas Abubakar, Alex Crognale, and Sauro jockey for first-team minutes at center back.