Columbus has announced that Argentine defender Ricardo Iribarren has been cleared to return to the United States. Iribarren, who joined the Crew in July of 1996, was forced to miss the entire 1997
season due to visa problems. He appeared in 16 games for Columbus during the inaugural MLS season, scoring one goal (a spectacular bicycle kick) and assisting on two others. "We have been anxiously
awaiting the return of Ricardo," said Crew head coach Tom Fitzgerald. "He was a great player for us in the first year, and, now that this is a reality, we can begin to shore up our team to make a run
at the MLS title. He is a very valuable player and we are very happy he will be with us again in 1998." Iribarren is expected to arrive in Columbus April 3 and could see action in the Crew's home
opener against D.C. United April 4.