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The Crew re-signs forward Erik Hurtado

Columbus brings the 10-year MLS veteran back after not retaining his services following the 2021 MLS regular season.

DC United v Columbus Crew SC Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

After the 2021 season where the Columbus Crew missed out on the MLS Cup playoffs, the Black & Gold made a number of personnel decisions. One of those decisions was not retaining the services of forward Erik Hurtado.

On Thursday, Columbus announced that Hurtado is returning to Columbus for the 2022 season. The 10-year MLS veteran signed through the upcoming season with an option for 2023.

Speculation of Hurtado’s involvement with the Crew in 2022 began Wednesday. The Black & Gold’s official Twitter account posted a picture from training after an in-team competition. In that picture was Hurtado, a forward whom the Crew acquired in 2021 in a trade with CF Montreal. During his media day availability on Thursday, head coach Caleb Porter announced that Hurtado was re-signed after a preseason tryout.

While the move is not one that impacts the starting spots on Columbus’ roster, it offers two things: depth and flexibility in attack, alongside proof of hard work paying off.

“We’re pleased to welcome Erik back to the Crew for a second season,” Crew president and general manager Tim Bezbatchenko said in the announcement of Hurtado’s re-signning. “Erik’s dedication and hard work throughout the preseason have been evident, and we’re excited for him to continue his tenure as a Crew player.

In 2021, after the Crew traded for him on July 8, Hurtado started three matches, appearing in seven. In his limited time on the field, Hurtado didn’t provide any goals or assists for the Black & Gold. In the first part of the season with Montreal, Hurtado recorded one assist in Montreal’s season opening 4-2 victory against Toronto FC.

For the 2022 season, supporters can expect Hurtado to play a role as a third-string forward. He will play behind forwards Gyasi Zardes and Miguel Berry. If international duty or injury hits the Black & Gold, Hurtado will be available to step in as needed. Something important to have in a season stretching from February until possibly the end of November.

Hurtado also has experience playing on the wing where he can also help provide depth for the Crew. Arguably his best moments for the club came at that position as a workman-like winger, willing to get up and down the field off the bench.

Porter also mentioned that the price for Hurtado also worked for Columbus. After making it known to Crew leadership that he wanted to stay in Columbus, Hurtado and Bezbatchenko worked on a deal that was mutually beneficial. Hurtado now has a chance to prove his place in Major League Soccer and the Black & Gold have a budget piece of depth on the senior team roster.

2022 Columbus Crew Roster:

Goalkeepers: Evan Bush, Eloy Room, Patrick Schulte, Brady Scott

Defenders: Jalil Anibaba, Milos Degenek, Jonathan Mensah, Steven Moreira, Jake Morris, Will Sands, Josh Williams

Midfielders (16): Artur, Sebastian Berhalter, Luis Diaz, Derrick Etienne Jr., Marlon Hairston, James Igbekeme, Perry Kitchen, Alex Matan, Kevin Molino, Aidan Morris, Darlington Nagbe, Isaiah Parente, Pedro Santos, Yaw Yeboah, Sean Zawadzki, Lucas Zelarayan

Forwards: Miguel Berry, Erik Hurtado, Gyasi Zardes