The 40-man provisional rosters for the 2019 Gold Cup were released by CONCACAF on Monday morning. Among the 78 Major League Soccer players named to various international preliminary rosters, Columbus Crew SC had five in goalkeeper Zack Steffen, midfielder Wil Trapp and forward Gyasi Zardes for the United States Men’s National Team and defender Waylon Francis and midfielder David Guzman for the Costa Rican Men’s National Team. You can see the full list of the MLS players called in here.
This list comes as no surprise as former Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter has relied on Steffen, Trapp and Zardes regularly since taking over as USMNT head coach in December. Both Francis and Guzman were also expected to at least make the preliminary roster for Los Ticos.
Steffen became the Black & Gold’s starting goalkeeper in 2017 after arriving in late July the year prior from German side SC Freiburg. He has made 74 appearances for Columbus, while recording 23 shutouts. Steffen made his U.S. National Team debut in January of 2018 in a friendly against Bosnia and Herzegovina. He has since made seven more appearances for his country and appears to be the starting goalkeeper for the USA going forward.
The Gold Cup will be important for Steffen as he looks to get more caps that will help him receive a work permit in the United Kingdom. Steffen is set to move to Manchester City in July, following an MLS-record transfer for a goalkeeper in November.
Trapp, a Gahanna, Ohio native, was a Homegrown signing by the Crew in December of 2012. He made his debut for the Black & Gold in July of 2013 and has gone on to appear in 170 regular season games for Columbus. Trapp was named the captain of the Crew by Berhalter prior to the 2017 season.
Although he was used sparingly under previous U.S. National Team coaches, Trapp has become a regular since Berhalter took the job. After making his debut for his country in January of 2015, the Columbus native now has 15 caps and captained the side on multiple occasions.
Zardes began his professional career with the LA Galaxy but was traded to the Crew ahead of the 2018 season. He went on to have a career year, scoring a personal-best 19 regular season goals in his first season in Columbus and was named the 2018 MLS Comeback Player of the Year.
The Hawthorne, California native made his USMNT debut in January of 2015 and has gone on to feature for the national team 44 times, scoring seven goals.
Francis is in his second stint with the Crew after joining the club prior to the 2014 season. In his first spell with the Black & Gold, Francis made 83 regular season appearances, recording 18 assists. He was traded to the Seattle Sounders in December of 2017 but was re-acquired by Columbus ahead of the 2019 season and has made 11 appearances this year.
Despite his success in MLS, Francis has played just seven times for Costa Rica after making his debut for the national team in 2013. Francis was a part of the 23-man roster that traveled to the 2014 FIFA World Cup but he did not make an appearance in Brazil.
Guzman was recently acquired by the Crew from head coach Caleb Porter’s former team, the Portland Timbers. In two weeks with the club, Guzman has appeared three times, starting each of the last two matches in central midfield.
A long senior international career began in 2010 for Guzman when he made his debut for Costa Rica in a friendly against Peru. He has since earned 53 additional caps, including playing all three games for his country at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
This preliminary roster provides the basis of the groups the respective head coaches will pick from when they release their final 23-man Gold Cup rosters in the first week of June.
If all five players are named to the U.S. and Costa Rican 23-man roster, the Crew could be without these key pieces for up to four MLS matches following the 22-day Gold Cup break. The Gold Cup begins on June 15 with the final scheduled to be played on July 7.