The Columbus Crew will have at least three players suiting up for October’s FIFA World Cup qualifiers. Joining Gyasi Zardes (USA) and Lucas Zelarayan (Armenia) on the call-up sheet from Columbus is winger Luis Diaz. Diaz will join the Costa Rica squad for its next three CONCACAF World Cup qualifying games.
Diaz has been a common member for Los Ticos’ senior squads with his most recent call-up coming last summer for the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup. In 2021, Diaz has scored one goal for the Black & Gold and played in multiple competitions for both club and country. Notable players joining Diaz on the Costa Rica squad goalkeeper Keylor Navas of Paris Saint-Germain, defender Oscar Duarte of Levante and Randall Leal of Nashville SC.
Costa Rica enters the October international window in fifth place in the CONCACAF octagonal standings. Los Ticos drew Panama, lost to Mexico and tied Jamaica during the September matches to amass a measly two points from the opening three games. Teams have to finish in the top three to automatically qualify and Costa Rica is hoping to do so for a third straight FIFA World Cup.
The first stop for Diaz and his national teammates is in San Pedro Sula for a road match against Honduras on Oct. 7. The second game will be back home in San Jose against seventh-place El Salvador. Costa Rica will be favored in both matches with Honduras and El Salvador, considered among the weakest opposition in the CONCACAF group.
Los Ticos’ third and final match in October will be special for Diaz when Costa Rica comes to his club stadium, Lower.com Field in Columbus, Ohio, to take on the United States Men’s National Team on Oct 13. Included on the USMNT roster is Diaz’s club teammate in Zardes in what will be a fun occasion for Crew players turned international adversaries. Costa Rica beat the U.S. in both of its World Cup qualifying matches in the last iteration of qualifying.
The Crew could have multiple other call-ups for the October international break. Luckily the Black & Gold have no matches on the schedule during this period, so the likes of Zardes, Zelarayan and Diaz won’t miss any club matches. The other possible call-ups include Jonathan Mensah for Ghana and Liam Fraser for Canada.
Fraser has been a fixture in the Canadian roster for over a year now and is expected to be named to manager John Herdman’s roster. Mensah was named to Ghana’s provisional roster and is also expected to go to Africa for the Black Stars' upcoming doubleheader against Zimbabwe.
The Crew’s final game before the international window will be on Sunday when the team heads to Pennsylvania to face the Philadelphia Union in the afternoon. The Black & Gold captured its first international trophy by winning the Campeones Cup on Wednesday evening against Cruz Azul at Lower.com Field.