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Gyasi Zardes gets a big raise as Columbus Crew continue to spend

Gyasi Zardes is earning $2,311,667 in 2019, up from $630,000 a year ago.

The MLS Players Union released their annual salary and total compensation list for all teams on Wednesday. Under new ownership, the Columbus Crew are facing a crossroads. Federico Higuain is out for the year with a torn ACL, and Zack Steffen is departing for Europe. With plenty of new cash to spend, how have the Crew spent it?

Notable Newcomers

Robinho was the biggest signing of the Crew offseason. The Brazilian winger is making $198,000 this year, a relative bargain. For comparison, the rarely used winger/forward Eduardo Sosa is making $120,200. 

Columbus was busier during the season than in the offseason. David Accam came to the Crew from the Philadelphia Union last month, and quickly became one of the highest earners in town. He is making $1,137,920, second most on the team. He joins Gyasi Zardes and Federico Higuain in the millionaire’s club

The other big trade so far for Columbus was acquiring David Guzman from the Portland Timbers. The MLS vet is making $320,000. The starter he replaced, Artur, is making $411,633.

Biggest Raise

The number that raised eyebrows around the league was the new salary for Zardes. After leading all Americans in goals last year, the forward got a sizable raise. He is now on a Designated Player contract, making $2,311,667. In 2018, he earned $630,000.

Biggest Bargain

The winner of this title went to Steffen last year. A national team regular, Steffen was making just $145,000. Even with a raise to $260,000 this year, Steffen is still a steal, as that number makes him just the 15th highest paid keeper in MLS. However, as he was sold to Manchester City for a league record fee this year, I won’t count him as eligible for this award. 

Instead, this “honor” is going to another Crew keeper, Jon Kempin. The Crew signed Joe Bendik in the offseason to prepare for Steffen’s departure, and he is making $144,000, almost what Steffen earned last year. But Kempin has beat him out for the starting role, and is making just $84,269.00, the fifth lowest salary on the team. This is a slight increase from the $80,256 he made last season. In his one league start for the Crew, he gave up just one goal, and is coming off a shutout win in the fourth round of the US Open Cup. Getting a starter for such a low salary gives Columbus the flexibility to grow the position once the summer transfer window opens.

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