TRANSFER TRACKER STATUS: Roster update
Columbus Crew SC announced a raft of end-of-season roster decisions on Monday morning, picking up the 2020 options for six players, declining those for five others and providing updates on the status of several more.
The most notable update being one on Federico Higuain, as the club announced that his time in Columbus is done.
"On behalf of our Club and our ownership group, I'd like to thank (Federico) for everything that he has been for this Club," said Crew SC president and GM Tim Bezbatchenko in a statement. "He is an absolute legend; he's respected from top to bottom in our organization."
Continued Bezbatchenko: "(Higuain) is always welcome here. We would certainly entertain him having a role in the front office, or among the coaching ranks. We believe we need to have former players involved in this club."
Higuain is one of 21 players in Major League Soccer and the only player in Crew history to reach 50 goals and 50 assists, an accomplishment he reached on March 24, 2018 vs. D.C. United.
The options to retain regular starters Luis Argudo, Waylon Francis, Hector Jimenez, Jonathan Mensah, Pedro Santos and Wil Trapp have been exercised, while the options for goalkeeper Ben Lundgaard, Alex Crognale, David Guzman, Edward Opoku and Eduardo Sosa were not. Meanwhile, new contract agreements have been reached with goalkeeper Jon Kempin and defender Josh Williams.
The Crew added that they remain in negotiations with Harrison Afful, who is currently out of contract, while stating that decisions regarding defender Connor Maloney and forward Jordan Hamilton, as well as out-of-contract forward Romario Williams, "will be decided in November when roster decisions are due."
The club's release also noted that veteran midfielders Ricardo Clark.
That leaves the Crew with the following 18 players under contract for 2020.
In their first season under head coach Caleb Porter, Columbus went 4-1-1 over the season's first month, then suffered a prolonged swoon that ravaged their postseason hopes before finishing on a high note with just two losses in their final 13 matches.
“As we continue preparations for the 2020 season, our goal is to build a roster that can compete for championships,” said 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.”
The Crew broke ground on their new downtown stadium project earlier this month and are set to move into the venue in mid-2021, making next season their final full campaign at MAPFRE Stadium.