Columbus Crew acquires Erik Hurtado from CF Montreal, who traded the forward because he's not vaccinated

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In desperate need for depth at striker, the Columbus Crew made a deal.

The Crew acquired reserve forward Erik Hurtado from CF Montreal in exchange for $200,000 in general allocation money.

Montreal general manager Olivier Renard said in the club's announcement that Hurtado is not vaccinated against COVID-19, which would have made it difficult to travel to and from Canada once the team returns to its home field at Stade Saputo. Montreal has played its home games at DVR PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, this season.

"Because he’s not vaccinated against Covid-19, his situation was problematic and we started considering a trade when we got the confirmation that the team could return to Montreal,” Renard said in a statement released by the team. "Before proceeding, Erik also confirmed that he was not comfortable taking the vaccine, so we concluded this deal, which we felt was very satisfactory."

The situation worked out for Columbus, which needed to find another forward with Gyasi Zardes called into the U.S. men's national team and Bradley Wright-Phillips still on the sideline with a hamstring injury.

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Erik Hurtado will be joining his fourth MLS team after being traded from Montreal to Columbus.
Erik Hurtado will be joining his fourth MLS team after being traded from Montreal to Columbus.

Hurtado has played seven games this season with no goals and one assist in 281 minutes. In nine seasons in Major League Soccer, Hurtado has scored 19 goals and 11 assists in 140 games (60 starts).

Hurtado will be available for selection against FC Cincinnati on Friday night, said a Crew spokesman. The spokesman added the Crew is not paying Hurtado's full budget charge toward the salary cap.

“Erik is a versatile, powerful forward who has valuable experience in our league and provides us with another option on offense," Crew president and general manager Tim Bezbatchenko said. "His addition to our roster will ensure that we have another proven MLS goal scorer to call upon when needed, especially during this particularly congested season."

Crew coach Caleb Porter said Wednesday that the team would likely add another forward, especially with windows of three games in eight days on the horizon.

"When you start to break it down like we really have," Porter said, "it's probably good to get an extra guy, who can play up top and on the wing."

Porter said he is hoping Wright-Phillips could be available for next week's game against New York City FC at Lower.com Field.

Follow The Columbus Dispatch's Jacob Myers on Twitter @_jcmyers.

This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Unvaccinated MLS player Erik Hurtado traded from Montreal to Columbus