UPDATE 8:36 p.m. ET: The Crew declined to comment on this story.
Columbus Crew SC is set to part ways with center back Gaston Sauro.
A source close to the situation told Massive Report that the defender is leaving the club after saying his goodbyes to his teammates and coaches on Monday. Sauro is out of contract with Columbus and Major League Soccer following the 2019 season.
The Crew players had a recovery day on Monday after the 1-1 draw at the San Jose Earthquakes over the weekend and therefore there was no media availability. The club did not return a request for comment on this matter.
Sauro is likely headed to Mexico where Massive Report has learned, from a separate source, he “has been in talks with a club for a few weeks.” According to reports from the Mexican media, that club is Deportivo Toluca F.C., who plays in Liga MX, where Sauro has been linked during the summer transfer window. A source close to the Crew told Massive Report on July 19 that the team had not been contacted by Toluca in regards to Sauro but negotiations could have begun since and led to this departure.
The 2019 season began brightly for Sauro, who started the first four matches for the Black & Gold while scoring two goals in the open three games of the MLS season. On the year, Sauro has started and played in 15 matches, helping Columbus to two shutouts.
In the July 13 loss to Orlando City SC, Sauro started but played just 25 minutes before going down with a quadriceps injury and was replaced. The center back has not featured for the Crew over the last three weeks as he works his way back from the injury. He has been present at the club’s training facility, spending time in the medical room and recently doing some minor on-field work. Last Wednesday, head coach Caleb Porter said he expected Sauro back in training next week.
Sauro signed with the Crew in August of 2015. The defender made only four appearances that year, but three straight starts to close out the season. In 2016, Sauro started the first five games of the year before suffering a knee injury. He returned after three games but re-injured the knee. Sauro played five more games that season before he required experimental surgery to repair a torn PCL and damaged cartilage in his knee.
After nearly two years away from soccer, Sauro returned to action for the Black & Gold on May 27, 2018. He made his first start from the club a month later and slowly worked his way back to regular playing time in 2019.
If there is one position Columbus could afford to part ways with a player, it is at center back. Although recent injuries have depleted the number of available players at the position, the Crew has five center backs, including the on-loan Lalas Abubakar, on its roster.
The is an ongoing story and Massive Report will provide more updates as they become available.