The 2019 season for Columbus Crew SC was one where they decided to go dark, in order to regroup after almost being relocated to Austin, Texas. Under new management and new ownership, the Black & Gold needed to find their identity on the field.
They missed the playoffs late in the season. That means that the roster decisions in the offseason are now taking place, and a bunch of familiar faces will return to Columbus for the 2020 season.
Crew SC announce roster decisions ahead of 2020 MLS Season
The Black & Gold exercised the options of six players from the 2019 season, and reached new contracts with two players. 10 players are already under contract for the upcoming season, which brings the roster to 18 players.
The player options exercised are defenders Waylon Francis, Hector Jimenez and Jonathan Mensah; As well as midfielders Luis Argudo, Pedro Santos and captain Wil Trapp.
They have also reached new contracts with goalkeeper Jon Kempin and defender Josh Williams. Simultaneously, Harrison Afful is currently in new contract negotiations with Crew SC.
Columbus declined the options of Ben Lundgaard, Alex Crognale, David Guzman, Edward Opoku and Eduardo Sosa. Federico Higuain and Ricardo Clark are currently out-of-contract, and decisions on Connor Maloney and Jordan Hamilton as well as Romario Williams will be decided next month when final roster decisions are due.
Said President and General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko, "As we continue preparations for the 2020 season, our goal is to build a roster that can compete for championships. Although we are disappointed to miss the postseason, the. team evolved throughout the year and was trending in the right direction at the end of the season."
Near the end of the season, Crew SC lost two matches in a stretch of 13 games to close out the 2019 campaign. During that time frame, Columbus compiled a record of 5-2-6 which dated back to a 2-2 draw against rivals Chicago Fire in July.
The 2020 current roster is listed alphabetically by position below:
Goalkeepers (2): Jon Kempin, Eloy Room
Defenders (8): Lalas Abubakar, Chris Cadden, Waylon Francis, Hector Jimenez, Aboubacar Keita, Jonathan Mensa, Milton Valenzuela, Josh Williams
Midfielders (6): Luis Argudo, Artur, Luis Diaz, Youness Mokhtar, Pedro Santos, Wil Trapp
Forwards (2): JJ Williams, Gyasi Zardes