COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — A Columbus Crew defender has received his first senior international call-up and for an African nation he will be representing for the first-time.
Steven Moreira will join the Cape Verde international team for the October FIFA international break. After representing France at the youth level, Moreira, whose parents are from Cape Verde, has switched his international eligibility to the Blue Sharks. The French-born defender has started in 32 of the Crew’s 33 games and has become a staple in the Crew’s backline under head coach Wilfried Nancy.
Cape Verde will play a Thursday friendly against Algeria in Constantine but African football will be watching very closely for a big event earlier during the day. Cape Verde and 23 other African teams will learn the groups for the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations tournament in the Ivory Coast. Moreira’s side are the 71st ranked team in the world and making its fourth appearance in Africa’s premier tournament, which begins on Jan. 13.
Two other Crew players will be joining national team camps as midfielder Aidan Morris and goalkeeper Patrick Schulte will be with the under-23 USA team for training in Phoenix. The two will vie for a spot on the USA Olympic squad next summer.
The Black & Gold will host CF Montreal for the final game of the regular season on Oct. 21 as they look to secure home-field advantage for the first round of the MLS Cup Playoffs. Currently, the Crew sit in fourth place in the Eastern Conference. They can finish as high as third and as low as fifth.
The top four teams in the Eastern Conference clinch home-field advantage for round one, which will bring a new best-of-three format. The higher seeds in that round would host game one and if necessary, game three.