Wednesday, the Columbus Crew announced a confirmation of Monday’s report that forward Miguel Berry is now a member of fellow MLS originals D.C. United. In return, the Black & Gold receives up to $325,000 in General Allocation Money on top of potentially more financial compensation.
Columbus’ new allocation money is split over the next two years, with the Crew receiving $125,000 in 2022 and $100,000 in 2023. The remaining $100,000 comes based on undisclosed incentives that the young forward can reach. The Black & Gold also receives a piece of any future trade considerations if United moves the 24 year old off its roster.
The Crew brought Berry into the team through the 2020 MLS SuperDraft. With the seventh overall pick out of the University of San Diego, Berry initially joined United Soccer League’s San Diego Loyal for the Black & Gold’s MLS Cup-winning season. He returned in 2021, played minutes in the CONCACAF Champions League and in the early MLS regular season, before leaving for San Diego on loan for a second time in two seasons.
Berry returned to Columbus in the summer of 2021, filling in when the Crew was thin at the striker position. Forward Gyasi Zardes missed time due to injury and Erik Hurtado and Bradley Wright-Phillips each failed to provide a spark offensively. The young forward scored eight goals in 18 appearances in 2021 and secured a spot as the starting forward in 2022.
“For three seasons, Miguel has been a great teammate and a consummate professional,” said president and general manager Tim Bezbatchenko in the press release. “We are proud of his development since he was drafted in 2020. With our current striker corps, ultimately, we felt this trade would prove beneficial for both the Club and for Miguel.”
That forward corps of the Crew now features 23-year-old Cucho Hernández, former Crew 2 forward Jacen Russell-Rowe and Hurtado. After a tough 2021, Hurtado fought to earn a spot on the 2022 side and has paid dividends. Since Hurtado began to receive consistent minutes in May, the forward has scored three goals in eight appearances.
Russell-Rowe joined the senior team after two substitute appearances in loans from Crew 2, the club’s MLS NEXT Pro team. On June 29, the day he was formally added to the senior team roster, Russell-Rowe managed two assists in a win at Toronto FC. After starting three straight matches, Russell-Rowe returned to Crew 2 for minutes this past weekend with the introduction of Hernández.
The Black & Gold’s forward position now belongs to Hernández. Since debuting on July 9, the former Watford FC striker has netted four goals in three matches, becoming the only player in league history to score four goals in his first 90 minutes on the field.
Berry joins a United team that sits in last place in the Eastern Conference with 19 points from 18 matches. It’s one of the first moves made by former MLS and English Premier League star Wayne Rooney, who was announced as D.C.’s new head coach before Columbus faced United on July 13, but is yet to take charge of a match.
That match was the final one this season between the two MLS originals, meaning Crew supporters may not see Berry again until the 2023 season. This time, in a different team’s colors.