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Crew to sign French defender Steven Moreira

The Black & Gold are adding a right back to the roster.

FBL-FRA-L1-TOULOUSE-AMIENS Photo credit should read PASCAL PAVANI/AFP via Getty Images

The transfer window for Major League Soccer teams may have closed, but the Columbus Crew is making one last move. The Crew is set to sign French right back Steven Moreira who is out of contract.

This move was first reported by RMC Sport and then by Jacob Myers of The Columbus Dispatch. Massive Report has since confirmed both reports from team sources

Moreira, 27, has been without a club since July after his contract with French Ligue 2 side FC Toulouse expired. The defender was with Toulouse since 2018, making 27 appearances for the club.

As a fullback, Moreira has experience playing on either side of the field, but is predominantly a right back. Sources told Massive Report that the plan will be for Moreira to operate at the right fullback spot in Columbus, providing additional depth behind starter Harrison Afful. Considering Afful turned 35 last month, there is also hope that Moreira could be the Ghanian’s successor for the Crew.

The Black & Gold’s only other natural right back is Saad Abdul-Salaam, who was signed earlier this season and has played in 13 games, starting five. Marlon Hairston was acquired in the offseason as a possible successor to Afful, but has played in a central midfield role for the Crew so far in 2021.

Prior to his time with Toulouse, Moreira played for Stade Rennes FC from 2011-2016, beginning with the second team until moving up to the first team in 2013, making 58 appearances. He then moved to FC Lorient in 2016, spending two seasons with the club and suiting up 63 times with one goal scored.

Given the vast number of injuries suffered by Columbus this year, the Black & Gold were certainly in need of depth. Getting a player who can help on the backline and get forward to provide more service into the penalty box for the attacking players, something that has been an issue this year when Afful and left back Milton Valenezula are out of the starting lineup, was important. Moreria should help in that department.

The Crew is in the midst of a five-game losing streak, the longest for a defending MLS Cup champion since the LA Galaxy in 2006. The slide has seen the Black & Gold fall to eighth place in the Eastern Conference, three points outside of an MLS Cup playoff spot.

On Saturday, Columbus faces the Seattle Sounders in a rematch of the 2020 MLS Cup Final. The Sounders are currently in first place in the Western Conference and are in second place in the Supporters’ Shield standings. The game is scheduled to kickoff at 5:55 p.m. ET from Lower.com Field.