Columbus Crew SC's Gyasi Zardes named 2018 MLS Comeback Player of the Year

Columbus Crew SC forward Gyasi Zardes was named 2018 MLS Comeback Player of the Year on Wednesday, winning the honor after overcoming adversity to achieve success this season.

Zardes netted a career-high 19 goals in 2018, good for fourth-best in the league and most by an American. It's a stark contrast from where he was a year ago. 

The 27-year-old scored just two goals in 2017 for the LA Galaxy, hampered by injuries and struggling so much in front of goal that he was tried to right back towards the end of the season. A trade to Crew SC this offseason gave him the opportunity for a new beginning and a fresh start.

Zardes took full advantage of that clean slate, thriving in coach Gregg Berhalter's system, which has seen the team's last three first-choice strikers set career highs for goals while wearing Columbus' yellow kit.

This season, Zardes contributed 44 percent of his team's 43 goals, better than all players in the league bar Josef Martinez, whose 31 goals accounted for 44 percent of Atlanta United's total of 70. 

After signing a Homegrown Player contract in December 2012, Zardes broke out in 2014 with the Galaxy, scoring 16 goals to emerge as one of the brightest prospects for the US men's national team. His goal output dropped to just six goals each of the next two seasons before his rock-bottom 2017. 

Below is the full voting breakdown.

Voting Results

Nominee Player
Gyasi Zardes (CLB) 24.85% 30.69% 52.73% 36.09%
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (LA) 31.87% 30.69% 16.67% 26.41%
Osvaldo Alonso (SEA) 5.26%% 6.93% 10.30% 7.50%
Djordje Mihailovic (CHI) 7.79% 8.91% 4.55% 7.12%
Jonathan Osorio (TOR) 7.02% 5.94% 7.58% 6.85%

MLS Comeback Player of the Year Winners

  • 2018: Gyasi Zardes – Columbus Crew SC
  • 2017: Clint Dempsey – Seattle Sounders
  • 2016: Chris Pontius – Philadelphia Union
  • 2015: Tim Melia – Sporting Kansas City
  • 2014: Rodney Wallace – Portland Timbers
  • 2013: Kevin Alston – New England Revolution
  • 2012: Eddie Johnson – Seattle Sounders
  • 2011: David Beckham – LA Galaxy
  • 2010: Bobby Convey – San Jose Earthquakes
  • 2009: Zach Thornton – Chivas USA
  • 2008: Kenny Cooper – FC Dallas
  • 2007: Eddie Johnson – Kansas City Wizards
  • 2006: Richard Mulrooney – FC Dallas
  • 2005: Chris Klein – Kansas City Wizards
  • 2004: Brian Ching – San Jose Earthquakes
  • 2003: Chris Armas – Chicago Fire
  • 2002: Chris Klein – Kansas City Wizards
  • 2001: Troy Dayak – San Jose Earthquakes
  • 2000: Tony Meola – Kansas City Wizards

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