Columbus Crew SC will be hard hit during the upcoming FIFA International Window. Eight players were called into their respective national teams and could potentially miss the team's game against FC Dallas on September 6th.
"I'll give you the full list. You guys paying attention? It's a long one," head coach Gregg Berhalter told the members of the media on Thursday. Kamara, Afful, Cedrick Mabwait, Meram, Kevan George, Sergio Campbell, Ben Swanson, Wil Trapp eventually."
Columbus will lose five players who are key cogs . Headlining the list is league leading goal scorer Kei Kamara who was recalled to the Sierra Leone team for the first time in a year. Right back Harrison Afful (Ghana) and winger Cedrick Mabwati (Congo DR) will join Kamara in heading to Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers. Justin Meram (Iraq) will play two games during the window, including a World Cup Preliminary Qualifier in Thailand.
Closer to home, Kevan George (Trinidad and Tobago) and Sergio Campbell (Jamaica) take part in CONCACAF action. Wil Trapp is strong pick to join the United States U-23 squad in October and it's more likely that he'll join that side next week in England, while Ben Swanson will join the U.S. U-18 squad for training camp.
The impact will be significant. The list contains four starters and one of Berhalter's preferred options off the bench in Mabwati. The group has combined for 74 games played with 62 starts. They also account for 51% of the Crew SC goals scored in 2015, lead by Kamara's 18. They've also combined for 14 assists.
It is not certain whether all of these players will in fact miss the Dallas match.
"I can't say that. I don't know," Berhalter said when asked. "I'd have to check the schedules. I know that there's a lot of different time lines and games and this and that. It's all over the place. It its what it is. It's something we have to deal with having a lot of internationals."
The call-ups shouldn't impact any other Crew SC games. The full game schedule for the callups is below. The FIFA international window extends from August 31st to September 8th. Only the game against Dallas will fall in that timeframe. The travel windows also shouldn't affect Columbus either, though it may impact who returns from this week's match with New York City FC.
"Fly back with 10," Berhalter joked about the number of players that would return home after the weekend. "Not many."
Players must be released 48 hours ahead of match time for friendlies, four days ahead for official matches within the same confederation or five days for official matches outside the confederation. Ghana's friendly on September 1st will require Afful to be released on August 30th, a day after the NYCFC match.
The full schedule of international matches of interest to Crew SC fans is below:
|Tuesday, Sept. 1st||Ghana||Congo||Congo||Friendly||Afful|
|Thursday, Sept. 3rd||US U-23 (Likely)||England||England||Friendly||Trapp|
|Thursday, Sept. 3rd||Iraq||Chinese Taipei||Iran||World Cup Qualifier||Meram|
|Friday, Sept.4th||Trinidad and Tobago||Mexico||Salt Lake City, UT||Friendly||George|
|Friday, Sept.4th||Jamaica||Nicaragua||Jamaica||World Cup Qualifier||Campbell|
|Saturday, Sept. 5th||Ghana||Rwanda||Rwanda||Africa Cup of Nations Qualifier||Afful|
|Saturday, Sept. 5th||Congo DR||Central African Republic||Central African Republic||Africa Cup of Nations Qualifier||Cedrick|
|Sunday, Sept. 6th||Sierra Leone||Ivory Coast||Nigeria||Africa Cup of Nations Qualifier||Kamara|
|Tuesday, Sept. 8th||Jamaica||Nicaragua||Nicaragua||World Cup Qualifier||Campbell|
|Tuesday, Sept. 8th||Iraq||Thailand||Thailand||World Cup Qualifier||Meram|
|Tuesday, Sept. 8th||US U-23 (Likely)||Qatar||England||Friendly||Trapp|