Sunday, the Columbus Crew celebrated the Hell is Real Derby win against FC Cincinnati. Absent from the team sheet for that game, and Friday training, was forward Miguel Berry. Massive Report has since confirmed reports that the former starting forward has been traded to D.C. United.
The Black & Gold are expected to get financial assets in return for Berry, reportedly around $225,000 in General Allocation Money with possibly more on the way based on performances.
Berry joined Columbus from the 2020 MLS SuperDraft, when the Crew chose the Spanish-born, California-raised forward with the seventh overall pick. Without the need for a young striker at the time, the Bllack & Gold loaned Berry to the USL’s San Diego Loyal SC.
In 2021, Berry rejoined the Crew for the preseason, started a CONCACAF Champions League match against Real Esteli, made a longer substitute stint against CF Monterrey and played one minute in the regular season before going back to San Diego Loyal.
Berry’s move is poetic in a way, following a match against Cincinnati, because it was against Black & Gold’s in-state rivals where Berry made a resounding introduction to Major League Soccer.
On July 3, 2021, Berry entered an away Hell is Real Derby, with Columbus down a goal and 33 minutes to play. The forward put the Crew level. Berry followed that performance with two starts and a substitute appearance, but no goals until the 2021 home edition of the Hell is Real Derby.
Berry came in as a second half sub and scored two goals in 17 minutes, cementing his lore around the rivalry. The young forward scored eight goals to close out 2021 and put himself on the roster as a viable option to compete with forward Gyasi Zardes.
This season, Berry and Zardes began the year in a competition for the starting position, and head coach Caleb Porter opted for Berry over the Black & Gold and United States National Team veteran. At first, Porter and the Crew front office communicated that Berry starting was based on merit and that the team was happy with the current situation up top.
Little did everyone know what would happen in the months that followed. While the team was publicly happy with the two strikers, the Black & Gold worked behind the scenes on a high-priced signing at forward. When nothing came in the 2022 preseason, Columbus began the year with Berry and Zardes, but the production wasn’t the same.
After scoring in the first match of the season, on Feb. 26, Berry didn’t score again until May 7, in an away trip to the New England Revolution. Over that time, Columbus traded Zardes to the Colorado Rapids and announced they were working on a new signing.
On the field, Porter moved Berry from a starting role to a bench player, opting for 2021 signing Erik Hurtado as the striker. The Black & Gold also signed Crew 2 forward Jacen Russell-Rowe and Berry’s minutes shrunk substantially.
On June 21, the Black & Gold announced a club record signing for Cucho Hernández and Berry seemingly moved to the fourth spot on the depth chart, less than a year after making his initial impact.
Columbus has already played both regular season matches against D.C. United, who recently added former MLS star Wayne Rooney as their new head coach. The formal announcement for the trade is expected later in the week.