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Meram, Francis among latest national team call-ups for the Crew

The Black & Gold players were called up to their various national teams.

MLS: New York Red Bulls at Columbus Crew SC Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Columbus Crew SC had three players called up to the United States Men’s National Team earlier this week in midfielder Wil Trapp, goalkeeper Zack Steffen and forward Gyasi Zardes. On Thursday, the Black & Gold had three additional players called up to various national teams.

Winger Justin Meram was called up to the Iraqi national team squad and fullback Waylon Francis will join the Costa Rican squad for the March international window. Homegrown defender Aboubacar Keita will join the United States Under-20s for training camp.

Meram will join the team for the International Friendship Championship in Basra, Iraq. His national side will face Syria on March 22 and Jordan on March 26. Meram has 28 caps for the Iraqi National Team after making his debut in 2014.

Francis is a veteran of the Costa Rican National Team setup since making his first apperance in 2013. He was a member of the 2014 World Cup team and has made six appearances for his country. The Ticos will play Guatemala on March 22 and face Jamaica on March 26.

The Homegrown center back Keita was called up to the U.S. U-20 squad. The 18 year old will join the team with a chance to impress coach Tab Ramos as they prepare for this summer’s U-20 World Cup. The team will face the U-20 team from France on March 23 and Japan’s U-20 team on March 25. Keita was signed by the Crew this offseason after one year at the University of Virginia and recently was loaned to USL side Richmond Kickers.

The Crew now have six players called up for the international window, including five likely starters. Keita, Meram and Francis join Trapp, Zardes, and and Steffen on international duty. The players will miss the game against the Philadelphia Union on Saturday, March 23, forcing significant changes in head coach Caleb Porter’s lineup.