COLUMBUS – Columbus Crew SC today announced several roster updates ahead of the 2020 season. Crew SC exercised the contract options on six players from its 2019 roster and reached new contracts with two players from its 2019 roster. With 10 other players already under contract for the 2020 season, the announcement gives the Black & Gold a roster that currently features 18 players.
Crew SC exercised the options of defenders Waylon Francis, Hector Jimenez and Jonathan Mensah; as well as midfielders Luis Argudo, Pedro Santos and Wil Trapp. Crew SC reached new contract agreements with goalkeeper Jon Kempin and defender Josh Williams, who will return to the Club in 2020.
The Black & Gold simultaneously announced that they have declined the contract options of goalkeeper Ben Lundgaard; defender Alex Crognale; and midfielders David Guzman, Edward Opoku and Eduardo Sosa. The Club is also currently in negotiations with out-of-contract defender Harrison Afful. Midfielders Ricardo Clark and Federico Higuain are out of contract. Decisions regarding options on defender Connor Maloney and forward Jordan Hamilton as well as on out-of-contract forward Romario Williams will be decided in November when roster decisions are due.
“As we continue preparations for the 2020 season, our goal is to build a roster that can compete for championships,” said Crew SC President and General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko. “Although we were disappointed to miss the postseason, the team evolved throughout the year and was trending in the right direction at the end of the season.”
In a stretch of 13 matches to conclude the regular season, Crew SC lost just two matches, compiling a record of 5-2-6 dating back to a 2-2 draw against the Chicago Fire on July 17. The Black & Gold also put together a stretch of five matches unbeaten from the end of August through the entire month of September ahead of the regular-season finale.
Continued Bezbatchenko, “We want to build on the work done by our technical staff and players this season as we continue to solidify our identity in this new era of our Club. While it is never easy to make difficult personnel decisions at the beginning of each offseason, we are confident the roster will continue to evolve in the coming months as we look toward 2020 and beyond.”
The Major League Soccer Trade Window opens on Monday, November 11 at 1:00 p.m. ET and runs until Wednesday, November 13 at 8:00 p.m. ET, when a blackout period begins. During this blackout period, clubs may not sign or trade players until the conclusion of the Expansion Draft, which is set to be held on Tuesday, November 19 at 5:30 p.m. ET. MLS will release the list of players available for selection in the Expansion Draft on Saturday, November 16 at 10:00 a.m. ET.
The End-of-Year Waivers is scheduled for Monday, November 25 at 3:00 p.m. ET, with Free Agency also beginning at that time. Finally, the MLS Re-Entry Process begins with Stage 1 on Tuesday, November 26 at 3:00 p.m. ET, while Stage 2 of the Re-Entry Process is set to take place on Tuesday, December 3 at 3:00 p.m. ET. A full MLS list of players eligible for Free Agency, End-of-Year Waivers and the Re-Entry Process will be announced by the League in the near future.
Crew SC's current roster headed into 2020, listed alphabetically by position, is below:
Goalkeepers (2): Jon Kempin, Eloy Room
Defenders (8): Lalas Abubakar, Chris Cadden, Waylon Francis, Hector Jimenez, Aboubacar Keita, Jonathan Mensah, Milton Valenzuela, Josh Williams
Midfielders (6): Luis Argudo, Artur, Luis Diaz, Youness Mokhtar, Pedro Santos, Wil Trapp
Forwards (2): JJ Williams, Gyasi Zardes