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Crew announce contract extension for Gyasi Zardes

The striker is now tagged as Designated Player.

Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Columbus Crew SC announced on Monday a multi-year contract extension for forward Gyasi Zardes. The new deal makes Zardes a Designated Player.

In addition to Zardes’ new deal with the club, Massive Report has learned the Crew also re-worked the budget charge for midfielder Federico Higuain. The playmaking Argentine no longer counts as a Designated Player on the team’s roster.

“We’re thrilled that Gyasi has agreed to be a part of this team for the foreseeable future, as it shows his commitment to our Club and to our community,” Crew President Tim Bezbatchenko said in the press release. “Gyasi is a player who truly understands the culture of the Columbus Crew and whose work ethic is second to none. Over the last two seasons, Gyasi‘s production as the top American goal-scorer in MLS is commendable and so we are pleased that we were able to reach this multi-year extension that reflects how pivotal he is to our continued success.”

Zardes is in his second year with the team after arriving in a trade before the 2018 season. The forward came over from the LA Galaxy along with $400,000 in Targeted Allocation Money in exchange for Ola Kamara. Zardes quickly found his feet with the Black & Gold, settling into then head coach Gregg Berhalter’s system and scored a career-high 19 goals in the regular season. He won Major League Soccer’s Comeback Player of the Year Award in 2018, the 2018 Crew Most Valuable Player Award, the 2018 Crew Golden Boot and earned an invite into the U.S. National Team’s January camp.

In his second season in Columbus, Zardes has four goals and an assist in 12 games. The forward recently ended his longest stretch in black and gold without a goal, scoring the opening goal in a 3-1 win against the Galaxy on Wednesday at MAPFRE Stadium.

As of this publication, the forward is the highest-scoring American player in MLS regular season action since the beginning of the 2018 season, with 23 finishes. Zardes has also scored the fifth-most goals in regular season action in MLS over that span, trailing only Atlanta United’s Josef Martinez (35), the LA Galaxy’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic (31), Los Angeles FC’s Carlos Vela (26) and the Houston Dynamo’s Mauro Manotas (24)

The Hawthorne, California native was a Homegrown signing by LA in 2013. He quickly found a place in the team and was the second-leading scorer on the MLS Cup winning 2014 team with 16 goals. He scored 34 goals during his Galaxy career.

Internationally, Zardes has been a regular with the U.S. Men’s National Team since joining the Crew. The forward has earned 44 caps, with 29 starts, and has seven goals. He made his U.S. debut against Chile on Jan. 28, 205 and scored his first goal for his country in a 4-3 win against the Netherlands on June, 5, 2015