Columbus Crew SC’s 1-1 draw with the New York Red Bulls on Saturday didn’t feature many star performances, but center back Gaston Sauro was the exception. The defender was rewarded for his play in the season-opening match when he was named as part of the MLS Team of the Week on Monday.
Sauro was part of a back four that held the defending Supporters’ Shield winners to just one goal, one that came on a mistake early in the first half. He recorded two tackles and two clearances in the match and was a solid partner to Jonathan Mensah in the heart of the Black & Gold’s defense.
In addition to his defensive duties, Sauro scored the Crew’s lone goal of the match, equalizing with a headed effort from fellow Argentine Federico Higuain’s corner kick just before the halftime break. This was the first goal of Sauro’s career in Columbus.
Sauro is in his fifth season with the Black & Gold after he was signed from FC Basel in August of 2015. The 29-year-old was making only his 25th appearance for the Crew after dealing with knee injuries for the better part of two seasons. Sauro missed all of 2017 after the two knee issues forced him to have transplant surgery. The defender was told he had a 50/50 chance of playing soccer again, but returned to the Columbus lineup last year, making seven appearances in the regular season and two in the playoffs.
Sauro hopes to build on his return last season with a good year in 2019. With a start in the opening game, Sauro appears set to be a regular for new head coach Caleb Porter and a performance like Saturday’s is only going to help him remain in the starting lineup.