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MLS Newcomers to Debut in 2018 Average Under 25 Years of Age

February 5, 2018 - Major League Soccer (MLS) News Release

South American star power to hit MLS this season

As the influx of young talent emerges on MLS rosters, more primed South Americans than ever before will debut in MLS this season. In all, 23 players who were either born in South America or represent a South American national team have signed to an MLS club this offseason, including 18 players under age 25. All seven of the league's teenage newcomers during this Winter Transfer Window are also South American, including four Young Designated Players in LAFC's Diego Rossi (Uruguay), Atlanta United's Ezequiel Barco (Argentina), Orlando City SC's Josué Colmán (Paraguay) and Columbus Crew SC's Milton Valenzuela (Argentina).

Argentina and Venezuela join France with a league-leading six players transferring into the league as determined by birthplace, and the pedigree of this talent could mean more heroics on the horizon for 2018. The average age of the 23 South American standouts is 21.52.

Ureña brace leads LAFC to preseason-opening draw vs. defending champs

In tracking Los Angeles Football Club's many firsts of 2018, the side's opening preseason match included a strong 2-2 draw against the defending MLS Cup winners Toronto FC on Friday in Los Angeles. Costa Rican international Marco Ureña netted a second-half brace to lead the way for LAFC, who are preparing for their first MLS campaign. TFC's Tsubasa Endoh and Sebastian Giovinco each contributed a goal for the Reds who are coming off a record-setting 2017 campaign that included the league title, Supporters' Shield and Canadian Championship.

2018 MLS Preseason schedule and results

In Arizona, the Mobile Mini Sun Cup kicked off this past Saturday, with 2017 MLS Cup runners-up Seattle Sounders FC edging Cascadia rivals the Portland Timbers 2-1 and Real Salt Lake posting a 3-1 victory against the LA Galaxy. The Mobile Mini Sun Cup resumes Wednesday when the San Jose Earthquakes face RSL in Tucson, Ariz.

New to the preseason fixtures this year is the Pacific Rim Cup in Honolulu, featuring two MLS clubs and two Japan Professional Football League teams. Vancouver Whitecaps FC takes on Iwaki FC on Thursday (10 p.m. ET) and Columbus Crew SC squares off against Sapporo on Friday (1 a.m. ET).

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Major League Soccer Stories from February 5, 2018

The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.