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Three left backs Columbus Crew SC could approach for 2018

With Raitala and Francis both gone, the Black & Gold need more bodies at the position. Here are some ideas.

MLS: New England Revolution at Orlando City SC Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Columbus Crew SC had 10 of its 11 starting spots filled by pretty much the same players over the course of the 2017 MLS season. The only exception was the left back position, which saw several players take turns playing there without a clear answer as to who the best option would be.

If the position was already one to be addressed by the club in the 2018 transfer market, what was a spot with potential for improvement became a clear need as the Black & Gold lost Jukka Raitala, selected by the Los Angeles Football Club in the expansion draft, and Waylon Francis, traded to the Seattle Sounders, in the first days of the offseason.

Crew SC has been linked with 19-year-old Argentinean Milton Valenzuela, but the rumors about this deal have been dead for weeks, so here are three options the Black & Gold could explore for the left-back position:

Chris Tierney

MLS: Orlando City SC at New England Revolution Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Tierney is one of the most talented offensive-minded left backs competing in MLS and his style could fit well in Crew SC’s playing system. After 10 seasons in the league, he registered 14 goals and 42 assists, ranking third in the New England Revolution’s all-time assists rankings.

At the age of 31, he is the longest-tenured player on the Revs current roster, having logged 247 matches and almost 20,000 minutes with the club. The facts that New England has a new manager in Brad Friedel and that Tierney was left unprotected in the expansion draft, though, could mean he is available for the right offer.

Pablo Armero

Colombia v Uruguay: Round of 16 - 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

The offensive-minded 31-year-old Colombian is capable of replicating Harrison Afful’s production in the left side of the field. He is out of contract since he left Brazil’s EC Bahia in the end of the 2017 season and shouldn’t be a complicated signing. He could be a risky one, though, since he has only played five matches this past season because of a series of injuries.

Armero has been part of Colombia’s National Team since 2008, having competed and scored in the 2014 FIFA World Cup. He also holds a huge amount of international experience, having played for Italian sides AC Milan, Udinese and Napoli and English team West Ham United from 2010 to 2015.

Jonathan Bornstein

MLS: CONCACAF Champions League-Queretaro at D.C. United Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

A U.S. National Team regular from 2007 to 2011, the 33-year-old Bornstein is well settled in Mexico, where he has played for the last seven years, with the last four wearing Queretaro’s jersey – he also lined up for Tigres and Atlante.

He starts every week for Queretaro, but, with his career nearing its end, he could aim for a return home. He played over 120 MLS matches for Chivas USA in the club’s golden years, between 2006 and 2010, but couldn’t get past the Western Conference semifinals, and with Crew SC he would have a decent shot on going further.