The transfers in and out this summer continue for Columbus Crew SC. Just hours after signing winger Youness Mokhtar, the Crew is trading goalkeeper Joe Bendik to the Philadelphia Union in exchange for a 2019 MLS SuperDraft second-round pick. Additionally, if Bendik meets certain performance marks, Columbus will receive $50,000 in General Allocation Money for the 2020 Major League Soccer season.
“We would like to thank Joe Bendik for his time with the Club and wish him the best of luck in this next stage of his career,” Crew President and General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko said in the press release announcing the deal.
This move comes just two weeks after the Black & Gold acquired Curacao National Team goalkeeper Eloy Room. Room is yet to play for Columbus as he waited on his work visa, but is expected to be the Crew’s starting goalkeeper going forward.
The Black & Gold acquired Bendik from Orlando City SC in late December in exchange for $50,000 Targeted Allocation Money. Bendik’s acquisition was in preparation for the departure of star goalkeeper Zack Steffen, who moved to Manchester City in July in a deal agreed upon in the offseason.
Bendik arrived in Columbus ready to compete with Jon Kempin, who served as Steffen’s backup in 2018. Early in the year, Kempin was the goalkeeper on the Crew bench in case he was needed to replace Steffen. But with Steffen away on international duty on March 23, it was Bendik who got the start, conceding three goals away to the Union.
It was over a month until Bendik saw the field again for the Black & Gold, filling in for an injured Steffen in a 3-0 loss to Los Angeles Football Club on May 11. In that game, Bendik played well, holding MLS’s best team to just one goal until two late mistakes turned the game.
Once Steffen departed for Gold Cup duty with the United States Men’s National Team, Kempin and Bendik played musical chairs with the starting goalkeeper role. While Kempin started the team’s two U.S. Open Cup games and the first two MLS games after the Gold Cup break, Bendik was in net for Columbus’ last four matches, helping the Crew get the team’s first point in a month in a half in a 2-2 draw with the Chicago Fire on Wednesday.
In his first and only season with the Black & Gold, Bendik made six starts, recording 14 saves and allowing 12 goals.
With Room arriving in Columbus this week, the Crew had four goalkeepers on the roster — Room, Bendik, Kempin and second-year player Ben Lundgaard. The Black & Gold had a plethora of goalkeepers and looked to move one. Bendik’s trade is indicative of that decision.