Gaston Sauro‘s 2017 season is over before it even began.
The Columbus Crew SC defender will miss the entire season due to multiple knee surgeries, manager Gregg Berhalter told the Columbus Dispatch Monday. It’s the latest in a string of injuries that has befallen Sauro and caused him to miss time with the club.
— Tom Reed (@treed1919) December 19, 2016
Columbus Crew SC Defender Gaston Sauro to Miss Entire 2017 Season
Since being acquired during the 2015 summer transfer window, the Argentinian center back has appeared in just 17 games for Crew SC. He suffered a concussion in his debut against FC Dallas on September 6th of that year and was forced to come off after seven minutes. He would miss the next three games before returning and helped the club make it all the way to MLS Cup.
In 2016, Sauro dealt with two primary injuries that limited him to 13 appearances. Against Montreal on April 9th, he tweaked his hamstring in the first half and got subbed out in the 25th minute. A month later against Toronto FC on May 21st, Sauro was forced to come out in the opening 45 once again. It was later revealed he suffered a torn posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, forcing him to miss the next four months.
Sauro wouldn’t return until the team’s September 3rd road game against the LA Galaxy. He started five of Columbus’ final nine games while going unused in the other four including the last three of the year.
According to the initial report, the surgeries will take place on the same left knee Sauro injured in 2016.
The 26-year-old is the second highest paid player on the team. Per MLS Players Union data, Sauro had a $585,000 base salary in 2016 with $601,312.50 in guaranteed compensation. Only Federico Higuain made more, being the one player on the club making north of $1 million.
Sauro’s absence leaves Crew SC’s central defense extremely thin heading into 2017. The club traded team captain Michael Parkhurst to Atlanta United on December 11th. They also lost Tyson Wahl to retirement and declined the option on Chad Barson’s contract.
The only player on the current roster with meaningful minutes at center back is Nicolai Naess. The Norwegian signed with Columbus last summer from Stabaek in his native country. Crew SC also signed academy product Alex Crognale to a Homegrown contract last week. Crognale is among the more promising players in the collegiate ranks, having helped Maryland become among the top programs in the nation.
The lack of experience at the position means the club will look to sign a starting caliber player this off-season.
Crew SC’s preseason begins with a camp in São Paulo, Brazil from January 23-February 9. The team then travels to Charleston, SC for the Carolina Challenge Cup which takes place from February 18-25. MLS Cup Champion Seattle Sounders, Charleston Battery and league newcomers Atlanta United FC will also be participating.
Photo courtesy of Columbus Crew SC Communications.