Another Columbus Crew SC player has won a MLS season award. A day after Zack Steffen won the Goalkeeper of the Year award, Gyasi Zardes today was announced as the winner of the 2018 MLS Comeback Player of the Year. While he placed 2nd to Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the player vote and tied him in the club vote, Zardes was a runaway winner in the media vote, which gave him the overall edge over Zlatan. Osvaldo Alonso, Djordje Mihailovic, and Jonathan Osorio were the other finalists.
A year ago, Zardes was struggling with injuries with his boyhood club, the LA Galaxy. In 2017, he only managed 2 goals for the team in Carson, and at one point was put at right back because of his struggles. In the offseason, he was traded to Columbus to play for the Crew, and he took the opportunity and ran with it. He scored 19 goals, good for 4th in the league, and was responsible for almost half of the Crew’s 43 goals on the season.
While he hasn’t scored for the United States since 2016, Zardes has been a regular on the team since. Despite a tumultuous 2017 filled with injury, he still managed 6 appearances, and because of his stellar play in 2018, he has recently re-appeared in the USMNT lineup for matches against Brazil and Mexico.
When you consider that Ibrahimovic was not really a great fit for the Comeback Player of the Year award since this was his first year in MLS (how can you come back in a league where you weren’t the year before), Zardes was easily the runaway choice. Hopefully, he will continue to stay in great form with Columbus and that it will translate to future success on the international stage.