Going into the 2022 offseason, a few big names on the Columbus Crew roster were in question. Wednesday, a third name was taken off the list. Midfielder and Designated Player Pedro Santos is staying put in Columbus.
The club announced Santos has signed a new contract with the club. The deal will keep the versatile winger on the roster for the 2022 season with a club option for 2023.
“We are very excited to announce that we have re-signed Pedro for the 2022 season,” Crew president and general manager Tim Bezbachenko said in the announcing statement.
Santos joined the Black & Gold on Aug. 8, 2017. Since his move from Braga of the Portuguese Primeira Liga, Santos has been a mainstay for the Crew. In five seasons with Columbus, the winger Santos started 119 matches, scoring 22 goals and assisting on 29. These both are career highs for the 33 year old.
Through Santos’ time in Columbus, he’s been part of MLS Cup playoff runs and some more difficult seasons where the Crew sat on the outside of contention looking in. Despite overall team performances, Santos has shown his commitment to the club.
“Since joining the Crew, Pedro has been a loyal and dependable contributor to the club, playing any role that has been asked of him to the best of his ability” said Bezbachenko. “His work ethic on the field serves as an example to his teammates, and the value he places on his relationship with our fans shows a deep understanding of the culture that we have created in Columbus.”
The word dependable is a great word to describe Santos.
In 2019, under then-new head coach Caleb Porter, Santos moved into the No. 10 position to facilitate the Black & Gold offense through team injuries. Santos’ 2019 performance earned him the 2019 Columbus Crew team Most Valuable Player award.
Santos’ best season on the field was in 2020. In 22 matches that year, Santos scored six and assisted on eight. His performance helped get Columbus to the team’s second MLS Cup Final. Unfortunately, Santos entered COVID-19 protocol and missed the culminating 3-0 victory against the Seattle Sounders for the league trophy.
With the announcement of a new deal, Santos has the chance to bring the Black & Gold a third MLS Cup over the next year-plus.
In 2021, the Portuguese showed even more flexibility when he moved to fullback for much of the season due to team injuries. Although playing a new role, Santos still contributed four goals and six assists in 30 matches. His performance also secured Columbus the club’s first Campeones Cup, a game in which Santos contributed 90 minutes in that fullback position.
Santos joins goalkeeper Eloy Room and midfield star Lucas Zelarayan as offseason re-signings for the Black & Gold. The Crew continues to work with fullback Milton Valenzuela on a new contract, among other players.
Columbus Crew 2022 roster
Goalkeepers: Eloy Room
Defenders: Aboubacar Keita, Jonathan Mensah, Steven Moreira, Josh Williams
Midfielders: Artur, Sebastian Berhalter, Luis Diaz, Derrick Etienne Jr., Marlon Hairston, Perry Kitchen, Alexandru Matan, Kevin Molino, Aidan Morris, Darlington Nagbe, Isaiah Parente, Pedro Santos, Lucas Zelarayan
Forwards: Miguel Berry, Gyasi Zardes