Gregg Berhalter directs players
Courtesy of Columbus Crew

Columbus Crew welcome Costa Rica call-ups for Francis, Gonzalez, expect both back for opener

Gregg Berhalter's philosophy of adding potential internationals to the Columbus Crew roster may already be working.

The Costa Rican federation announced Thursday that 2014 Crew additions Waylon Francis and Giancarlo “Pipo” Gonzalez were both being called up for the squad's March 5 friendly against Paraguay in San Jose, Calif.

Berhalter told he sees it as a good opportunity for both defenders to make a case for a World Cup roster spot.

“For [Francis], this is a good opportunity to put himself in position to make the World Cup team shortly before the World Cup,” Berhalter said over the phone from Orlando. “For [Gonzalez], he has a good standing in the team, and it's a chance for him to perform again at a good level against a good team in Paraguay.”

Despite the match taking place just days before the Crew season opener in the nation's capital against D.C. United, Berhalter said the pair will “be back the next day,” and doesn't expect the midweek match to ruin their chances of featuring in the opener.

“When you have international players, that's part of the deal, you know that,” he said. “There's many times when guys go away, play a midweek game, and come back and play on the weekend. That's just part of it, and it's something you have to deal with.”

Jairo Arrieta is the third potential Costa Rican international on the Crew roster, and after a stint with the national team during his disappointing 2013 season, Berhalter said the forward was not requested for next week's friendly.

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