The top U.S.-born scorer in MLS over the past two seasons will stay put for the foreseeable future after the Columbus Crew signed forward Gyasi Zardes to a multi-year contract extension that made him a designated player.
Details of the extension have not been released, but Zardes, 27, is likely to become the team's highest-paid player after he ranked fourth last season at $630,000. According to the players' union, Federico Higuain was the Crew's top earner last season at $1.1 million.
MLS rules allow teams to use targeted allocation money to pay designated players over the maximum salary allowed.
Zardes scored a career-best 19 goals last season, reviving his career after scoring just two goals with the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2017. His previous season-best was 16 goals with the Galaxy in 2014. He has four goals this season in 12 games.
Zardes was acquired in a trade with the Galaxy in January of 2018 for forward Ola Kamara and $400,000 in targeted allocation money.
Zardes, a Los Angeles-area native, also has 44 appearances with the U.S. Men's National Team, scoring seven goals. He is expected to be a member of the U.S. team for this summer's Gold Cup.