After an off-season trade and battling through a ton of adversity, Columbus Crew’s Gyasi Zardes was rightly named the 2018 MLS Comeback Player of the Year.
Zardes netted a career-high 19 goals in 2018 – fourth-best in Major League Soccer and the best mark for any American. His fine form also saw him earn a recall to the United States men’s national team.
The 27-year-old suffered greatly in 2017, scoring a career-worst two goals for the LA Galaxy and was even tried out at right-back.
Zardes thrived after moving to Columbus in the off-season and scored 44 per cent of his team’s goals – joint-best in MLS with Atlanta United’s Josef Martínez.
Crew manager Gregg Berhalter, highly rumoured to take the USMNT job at the end of the season, has a history of bringing in strikers and changing their careers.
In fact, the last three Columbus first-choice strikers have all achieved career-highs in goals under Berhalter.
Zardes won 36 per cent of the overall vote and a whopping 53 per cent of the media vote – beating out Galaxy striker Zlatan Ibrahimović to the award.