The Sounders have acquired some left back help alongside Nouhou, landing veteran Waylon Francis from the Columbus Crew for $50,000 in general allocation money.
In a move likely made to keep left back Nouhou on his toes next season, the Sounders on Thursday acquired one-time all-star fullback Waylon Francis from the Columbus Crew.
The addition of Francis, 27, for $50,000 in general allocation money gives the Sounders a left-footed outside back that can ease some of the burden of losing Joevin Jones to German side SV Darmstadt. Nouhou had been the starting left back through the postseason and was being groomed as Jones’ replacement for much of the second half of the recent campaign.
But the rookie from Cameroon is still only 20, and the Sounders want to ensure he doesn’t fall victim to any sophomore jinx due to a lack of competition. As dynamic as Nouhou looked at times, there are elements to his game that need refinement, and his lack of discipline at times — including random fouls and episodes of diving all over the field — earned the wrath of officials and opposing players.
Enter Francis, a Costa Rican who made the final roster for that country’s national side in the 2014 FIFA World Cup. He’ll offer a steady hand to guide Nouhou through his growing pains — much the way Jones did — and be there as insurance if the younger player doesn’t pan out as quickly as hoped.
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Francis spent the past four seasons with the Crew, starting 75 of his 83 appearances and compiling 18 assists.
His breakout year came in 2015, when he notched a career-high seven assists and an MLS All-Star selection in helping the Crew reach the league championship game against Portland.
Before joining the Crew, he played five professional seasons in Costa Rica.
— The Sounders re-signed goalkeeper Bryan Meredith to serve as backup to Stefan Frei. The Sounders were in need of a backup keeper after Tyler Miller was selected by Los Angeles FC on Tuesday in the MLS Expansion Draft.
— The Sounders announced their team awards, honoring the following players: Cristian Roldan (MVP), Chad Marshall (defender of the year), Clint Dempsey (Golden Boot) and Jordan Morris (humanitarian of the year).