The Columbus Crew added a new midfielder to the roster. The club confirmed a report by Massive Report on Monday morning the Black & Gold have added Toronto FC midfielder Liam Fraser on loan for the remainder of the 2021 season. Toronto receives $50,000 in General Allocation Money from Columbus in exchange for the 23-year-old Canadian midfielder.
“Liam is a young, motivated, promising player whose presence will help deepen our midfield roster during a congested season,” Crew president and general manager Tim Bezbatchenko said in the release announcing the move. “We look forward to integrating him into our squad in Columbus while also helping him continue his professional development.”
Fraser has been in Major League Soccer for four years after spending time as a member of the Toronto FC Academy. The Toronto native signed with TFC II in 2016, making 52 starts and 64 total appearances in the process. He scored two goals and provided five assists and was signed to the first team in 2018.
In MLS, Fraser has made 33 appearances for TFC since 2018 and will become the fourth Canadian player in Black & Gold history, according to the team’s all-time player registry. He has recently been called up to the Canadian Men’s National Team with his first cap coming in 2019 in a 2-0 win against the United States in the CONCACAF Nations League. Fraser had three caps for Canada in 2020 and could be part of the roster at this summer’s Gold Cup.
Fraser joins the Columbus team to add more depth to the midfield position with Aidan Morris out for the remainder of the 2021 season with a torn ACL. Fraser plays a deeper midfield role and can slot in the No. 6 or No. 8 role along with Darlington Nagbe, Artur, Perry Kitchen and Isaiah Parente. With plenty of MLS games to come for the Crew, Fraser could get an opportunity to step in as a rotation player with Morris out for the year.
As part of Fraser’s loan to the Black & Gold, he cannot play against his parent club Toronto FC, per league policy. The Crew first plays TFC on May 12 in Orlando, Florida and for a second time on May 29 in the penultimate match at historic Crew Stadium.
The Crew roster now has representation from 14 different countries: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Curacao, England, Ghana, Haiti, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Trinidad & Tobago and the United States. The 2021 roster is certainly one of the most internationally diverse in club history.
Columbus has two games this week with the team traveling to Mexico on Monday as they are set to play Monterrey in the second leg of the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals. Rayados leads the tie on away goals after a 2-2 draw in Columbus last week. The Crew’s next MLS match is Saturday at home against D.C. United at 1:30 p.m. The team has started the season with two scoreless draws.
The Crew’s current 2021 roster:
Goalkeepers (4): Evan Bush, Eric Dick, Matt Lampson, Eloy Room
Defenders (10): Saad Abdul-Salaam, Harrison Afful, Waylon Francis, Marlon Hairston, Aboubacar Keita, Grant Lillard, Jonathan Mensah, Milton Valenzuela, Josh Williams, Vito Wormgoor
Midfielders (12): Artur, Luis Diaz, Derrick Etienne, Jr., Liam Fraser, Perry Kitchen, Alexandru Matan, Aidan Morris, Kevin Molino, Darlington Nagbe, Isaiah Parente, Pedro Santos, Lucas Zelarayan
Forwards (3): Miguel Berry, Bradley Wright-Phillips, Gyasi Zardes