The Columbus Crew seems to be in a position to bring another member of its 2020 MLS Cup-winning roster back next season. Left back Waylon Francis revealed in an interview with Costa Rican website Teletica Deportes that he will return for the Black & Gold for another season in 2021.
“The club has always shown a lot of confidence in me and that is the most important thing for me,” he said in a video interview. “After we won MLS Cup they said they continue trusting me and that they want to me continue for another year.”
The 30-year-old Francis was one of nine players who were all out of contract at the end of the 2020 season due to either their previous deals expiring or the Crew deciding to not pick up their options. Even though the Black & Gold is yet to make an official announcement regarding Francis’ extension, he’s the first from that group to secure an agreement to remain in Ohio, according to the player.
A FIFA 2014 World Cup veteran with the Costa Rican National Team, Francis first joined the Crew in 2014 coming from Herediano. He was part of the roster that appeared in the 2015 MLS Cup and has been with the club since then, except for the 2018 season, which he spent with the Seattle Sounders.
Francis has played in 124 MLS matches (regular season and playoffs), 112 of them with the Crew, and registered 20 assists. His best season in Major League Soccer was easily in 2015, when he was a key player of the Black & Gold roster, amassing eight assists during the season as the team’s starting left back.
The 2020 season, on the other hand, was the one in which Francis did see much of the field. The Costa Rican played only 197 minutes over the course of five matches (two starts), while battling injuries. He was subbed in for the final minute of the MLS Cup Final in which, at the time, seemed to be his farewell to the club.
However, with the departure of Hector Jimenez, who was head coach Caleb Porter’s primary backup option to starting left back Milton Valenzuela during the season, to expansion franchise Austin FC, Francis, it seemed, was deemed necessary and should be the second left back in the team’s pecking order in 2021.