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The Pitch: 74 MLS Players Called to Represent National Teams for World Cup Qualifying

August 31, 2021 - Major League Soccer (MLS) News Release


Countries around the world, and specifically in the Concacaf region, are leaning on the game-changing abilities of the 74 MLS players called up from 22 MLS clubs to lead their national teams during September qualifying matches for the FIFA 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

In Concacaf qualifying alone, Mexico will feature LA Galaxy forward Jonathan dos Santos alongside Inter Miami CF's Rodolfo Pizarro, while the U.S. Men's National Team's nine MLS players feature the heroes of the Concacaf Gold Cup including New England Revolution goalkeeper Matt Turner and Seattle Sounders FC midfielder Cristian Roldan, with the new addition of FC Dallas' 18-year-old Homegrown midfielder and recent All-Star Ricardo Pepi.

Concacaf World Cup Qualifying Games Schedule

Thursday, Sept. 2

Canada vs. Honduras (8:05 p.m. ET) MLS Connection: 17 MLS players in total called up between these two teams.

Mexico vs. Jamaica (10 p.m. ET) MLS Connection: Inter Miami's Pizarro and LA Galaxy's dos Santos of Mexico to take on Philadelphia Union trio of Andre Blake, Cory Burke, and Alvas Powell.

El Salvador vs. USMNT (10:05 p.m. ET; CBS Sports Network) MLS Connection: Brothers and Seattle Sounders FC teammates Alex and Cristian Roldan to meet on opposing sides.

Sunday, Sept. 5

Costa Rica vs. Mexico (7 p.m. ET) MLS Connection: Eastern Conference No. 3 Nashville SC's Randall Leal to lead Costa Rica against MLS All-Stars dos Santos and Pizarro.

USMNT vs. Canada (8 p.m. ET; FS1 / UniMás / TUDN) MLS Connection: The future superstars of neighboring North American national teams will be on display with 20 MLS players in total called up between these two countries.

MLS Call-ups By The Numbers

74: Total MLS players, including 29 defenders, 25 midfielders, 15 forwards, and 5 goalkeepers

22: Number of MLS clubs represented

11: Most MLS players called up by a single country (Canada)

9: MLS players called up by U.S. Men's National Team

7: Most MLS players called up from any club (LA Galaxy and Philadelphia Union)

1: Fewest MLS players called up by a single country (Australia, Cameroon, Cape Verde Islands, Chile, Finland, Israel, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Poland, Slovenia, Uganda, Uruguay)

Roldan Brothers now go head-to-head in USMNT vs. El Salvador Concacaf World Cup Qualifier

Seattle Sounders FC's Roldan brothers, Cristian and Alex, made history last week as the first pair of brothers to play together in an All-Star Game, and this week, they line up as opponents. With Cristian called up to the United States and Alex to El Salvador, the brothers could face off in World Cup qualifying this Thursday (10:05 p.m. ET / CBS Sports Network / Paramount+ / NBC Universo).

The Roldan family gets to celebrate ties to both countries again after seeing history made from the duo this summer during the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup. Alex Roldan scored during his debut with El Salvador in the first match of the tournament against Guatemala, and Cristian Roldan helped bring home the trophy for the United States, tallying two assists and leading the USMNT to victory over Mexico on Aug. 1.

The right midfielder and defender duo started and logged a 45-minute half together helping bring in a victory in the MLS All-Star Game on August 25. During Seattle's 2021 MLS regular season they have tallied over 1,400 minutes, scoring three goals and five assists to bring the Sounders to the No.1 team in the Western Conference.

USMNT Set to Face Canada in Nashville with pair of MLS-Heavy Rosters Photo Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports The USMNT will play its second and host its first Concacaf FIFA World Cup Qualifying 2022 match on Sunday as they face Canada at Nashville SC's Nissan Stadium (8 p.m. ET, FS1 / UniMás / TUDN). The Stars and Stripes have a quick turnaround as they will be fresh off a trip to face El Salvador in San Salvador on Thursday.

With both rosters featuring the best and brightest each country has to offer, the United States and Canada squads are laden with MLS talent. Following his recent success with the Eastern Conference-leading New England Revolution and at the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup, 2021 MLS All-Star Game, goalkeeper Matt Turner will look to build on his seven previous caps. Several MLS homegrown stars have also received the call, as NYCFC's James Sands , FC Dallas' Ricardo Pepi and Atlanta United's George Bello and Miles Robinson have seen their national team stock rise in recent months.

The Canadian side includes 11 MLS players on the preliminary 26-man roster with Nashville SC defender Alistair Johnston looking to make the squad against the U.S. at his home stadium. Additionally, Canada will field a number of MLS regulars including and Toronto FC's Richie Laryea, Colorado Rapids' Mark-Anthony Kaye, CF Montréal's Samuel Piette and Vancouver Whitecaps' Maxime Crépeau and Lucas Cavallini.

All eyes will be on Vancouver Whitecaps academy product Alphonso Davies, currently playing with Bayern Munich, as well as New England Revolution's young star, Tajon Buchanan, who has played a key role in the Revs success this season, helping them to the top spot in Eastern Conference as of this week.

Eastern Conference Intensifies with Possible Top-Five Shuffle

Photo Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sport The adrenaline rush brought on by the MLS All-Star Game presented by Target continues as all eyes turn directly to the pressure of the playoff line. And those intraconference battles, particularly in the Eastern Conference, are already hitting peak levels this week, as clashes across the division could play a significant role in a reshuffle of the current conference standings among four of its top five ranked teams.

It starts on Friday when No. 3 Nashville SC (35 points) hosts No. 4 New York City FC (34 points), with the two clubs separated by a mere point. At the same time, the No. 5 ranked Philadelphia Union (32 points) aims at breaking into the top four when they host the No. 1 ranked New England Revolution (49 points), which are coming off their first loss in their last nine games, dating back to July 17. As the elusive team to beat at the top end, New England still remains uncatchable as the league leader. However, No. 2 ranked Orlando City SC (35 points) will be bracing to hold steady in second place with only one additional win keeping them slightly ahead of Nashville going into the weekend.

Game Notes

Friday, September 3

Philadelphia Union vs. New England Revolution, 7:30 p.m.

The Union had their two-game undefeated run put to an end, falling 3-1 to D.C. United at Audi Field on Saturday evening.

The Revolution saw their four-game winning streak and nine-game undefeated run put to a stop, dropping a 2-0 decision to New York City FC at Yankee Stadium on Saturday evening. The undefeated streak matched the third-longest in the club's history.

The teams are meeting for the third time this season. In the last meeting, Matt Polster and Gustavo Bou each scored in the opening 39 minutes as the Revolution took a 2-1 win Aug. 8 at Gillette Stadium; on May 12 at Subaru Park, Teal Bunbury gave the Revs the lead in the 85th minute, but Kacper Przybylko netted the leveler just three minutes later, leaving the teams in a 1-1 draw.

The Revolution win in the last meeting was just their second since 2015; the Union have won 10 of the past 15 league meetings between the clubs, outscoring New England 29-7 in those victories. The Union had won seven consecutive games in Chester in the series before the draw this year.

The teams also met in Round One of the MLS Cup Playoffs last year, as Adam Buksa and Tajon Buchanan scored goals four minutes apart midway through the first half as the Revolution took a 2-0 victory at Subaru Park. The teams also met in the MLS is Back Tournament Knockout Stage, the Union claiming a 1-0 win in the round-of-16 match July 25.

Nashville SC vs. New York City FC, 7:30 p.m.

Nashville SC won for the second time in three games, defeating Atlanta United 2-0 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Daniel Ríos scored his first goal of the season, while Randall Leal netted his fourth of the year late.

Joe Willis gained an assist, the second of his MLS career, and regained the MLS lead with his ninth shutout of the year

NYCFC won for a second time in three games, recording a 2-0 win against the New England Revolution at Yankee Stadium on Saturday evening.

Valentin Castellanos scored both NYCFC goals, his second two-goal game in the last three matches; he now has 10 goals for the season, sitting in a tie for sixth place in the MLS Golden Boot standings. Castellanos has scored NYCFC's last four goals.

The teams are meeting for the first time in their histories. They are also scheduled to meet Oct. 3 at Red Bull Arena.

Houston Dynamo FC vs. Portland Timbers, 8 p.m.

Dynamo FC weren't able to build upon a first draw in five matches, falling 2-1 to Minnesota United FC at BBVA Stadium on Saturday evening. Adalberto Carrasquilla scored his first MLS and Dynamo FC goal just 56 seconds into the game, the fourth-quickest from the start of a match in club history.

The Timbers snapped a three-game run without a win, defeating Seattle Sounders FC 2-0 at Lumen Field on Sunday evening. Sebastian Blanco scored a second goal in the last four games, while Felipe Mora sealed it late with his eighth goal of the season, his sixth in the last eight matches.

The teams are meeting for the third time this season. Dairon Asprilla scored early and Cristhian Paredes netted the late winner, as the Timbers took a 2-1 win April 24 at Providence Park, the third consecutive win for Portland in the series; Jeremy Ebobisse scored the stoppage-time equalizer as the teams reached a 2-2 draw June 23 at BBVA Stadium.

Over the history of the league series, the away team has won just once - in 2011, in the first meeting between the teams in Portland. The Timbers have an eight-game undefeated streak at Providence Park alive in the series, winning the past four; the Dynamo have never lost to the Timbers at home.

Los Angeles Football Club vs. Sporting Kansas City, 10 p.m. (UniMás / TUDN)

LAFC put an end to a four-game losing skid, gaining a 3-3 draw with the LA Galaxy at Banc of California Stadium on Friday evening. Cristián Arango netted his first MLS and LAFC goal, converting a penalty kick, then Brian Rodríguez scored a pair of goals, his first in 2021 in MLS, the third and fourth in his league career.

Sporting extended their undefeated streak to six games with a third consecutive draw, reaching a 1-1 result with the Colorado Rapids at Children's Mercy Park on Saturday evening. Johnny Russell scored the SKC goal directly from a free kick, his second this season from a free kick and fourth direct free kick goal over the last three seasons.

The teams are meeting for the third time this season, and Sporting have won both. Alan Pulido and Daniel Sallói scored second-half goals as Sporting came back for a 2-1 win June 26 at Children's Mercy Park; Sallói had a goal and an assist and Graham Zusi had two assists as SKC cruised to a 4-1 win Aug. 4 at Banc of California Stadium.

LAFC won both meetings when the teams had last met, during the 2019 season. Adama Diomande netted the game-winner deep into second-half stoppage time, giving LAFC a 2-1 win in the season opener for both clubs, on March 3 at Banc of California Stadium, then LAFC exploded for a 5-1 win July 3 at Children's Mercy Park.

Sporting won the first two meetings ever between the clubs in LAFC's inaugural season, a 2-0 win on Aug. 11 at Banc of California Stadium, and a 2-1 win on Decision Day (Oct. 28) at Children's Mercy Park.

Saturday, September 4

Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. Austin FC, 7 p.m. (TSN)

Whitecaps FC won a third game in a row and extended their undefeated streak to a club-record nine games, rolling to a 4-1 win against Real Salt Lake at BC Place on Sunday evening.

Brian White scored his fourth goal of the season, a third consecutive game with a goal, while Ryan Gauld scored his second goal in as many games and had an assist, now with two goals and two assists over his last three games.

Austin FC weren't able to build upon a first win in four games, dropping a 5-3 decision to FC Dallas at Q2 Stadium on Sunday evening. Diego Fagundez scored his fifth goal of the season, his second in as many games, while Sebastian Driussi recorded a pair of assists, the second and third of his MLS career.

The teams are meeting for the second time this season and in their histories. Jake Nerwinski and Brian White netted goals in the second half as Whitecaps FC took a 2-1 win Aug. 18 at Q2 Stadium.

Orlando City SC vs. Columbus Crew SC, 7:30 p.m.

Orlando City SC extended their undefeated streak to six games, reaching a goalless draw with Inter Miami CF at Exploria Stadium on Friday evening.

The Crew put an end to a six-game losing slide, coming back for a 3-2 win against FC Cincinnati at Lower.com Field on Friday evening. Miguel Berry scored the equalizer and game-winner 76 seconds apart for the late victory.

Lucas Zelarayán scored a fifth goal this season directly from a free kick, the most in a single season since Sebastian Giovinco set the MLS single-season record of six in 2017 (since 2003 when records are available).

The teams met once a season ago. Benji Michel scored the 84th-minute game-winner as Orlando City took a 2-1 win Nov. 4 at Exploria Stadium.

Orlando City have won the last four meetings in the series, snapping a six-game Crew SC undefeated streak in the series, including four wins. The last OCSC victory in the series had come Aug. 1, 2015.

The OCSC win in the first meeting in 2019 was their first ever in Columbus, on their fifth visit. OCSC has won the last three matchups in Orlando, their first home wins in the series since the club's inaugural MLS season of 2015.

FC Cincinnati vs. Inter Miami CF, 8 p.m.

FC Cincinnati dropped a second decision in a row, falling 3-2 to the Columbus Crew at Lower.com Field on Friday evening. Ronald Matarrita and Isaac Atanga netted the FCC goals, for Atanga, the first of his MLS career.

Inter Miami extended their undefeated streak to three games in a scoreless draw with Orlando City SC at Exploria Stadium on Friday evening. Nick Marsman recorded the first shutout of his MLS career, in his ninth appearance.

The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Gonzalo Higuaín netted a pair of goals, including the 85th game-winner, as Inter Miami CF won the first-ever game played at TQL Stadium in a 3-2 victory on May 16.

The teams met once in Inter Miami's inaugural season a year ago. Mikey Ambrose and Leandro Gonzalez Pirez netted goals as Inter Miami took a 2-1 win at home on Decision Day (Nov. 8).

Real Salt Lake vs. FC Dallas, 8 p.m. (UniMás / TUDN)

Real Salt Lake went down to defeat in Pablo Mastroeni's first game in charge as head coach, falling 4-1 to Vancouver Whitecaps FC at BC Place on Sunday evening. Anderson Julio scored his fifth goal of the season for the RSL goal.

FC Dallas put an end to a three-game winless skid, rolling to a 5-3 win against Austin FC at Q2 Stadium on Sunday evening.

Ricardo Pepi scored two goals and added an assist; he now has 11 goals for the season, sitting in fifth place in the MLS Golden Boot standings. Jesús Ferreira also added a pair of goals, the first two-goal game of his MLS career.

The teams are meeting for the second time this season. The teams traded late goals, Ryan Hollingshead scoring for FCD in the 83rd minute then Damir Kreilach in the 86th, before reaching a 2-2 draw May 22 at Toyota Stadium. The last three meetings have ended draws, with two goalless results, one at each ground, coming before the draw this season.

The teams have played to draws the last three meetings at Toyota Stadium. RSL is 1-13-5 at FC Dallas all-time in league games between the clubs, FCD undefeated in the last six meetings there. FC Dallas has also won a home game in the MLS Cup Playoffs (in 2010) and a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal (in 2011). The lone RSL win in Frisco came on July 13, 2013, a 3-0 victory. FC Dallas have won three of the last seven meetings in Sandy, with two draws, dating back to 2015.

San Jose Earthquakes vs. Colorado Rapids, 10 p.m. (UniMás / TUDN)

The Quakes return to action after a weekend away, extending their undefeated streak to 10 games in a 2-1 win against the LA Galaxy at Dignity Health Sports Park on Aug. 20. Jeremy Ebobisse scored his first goal since coming to the Quakes via trade from Portland; the 10-game undefeated run is the third-longest in the club's history.

The Rapids extended their undefeated streak to six games with a second draw in that time, reaching a 1-1 result with Sporting Kansas City at Children's Mercy Park on Saturday evening. Jonathan Lewis scored his third goal of the season, his second in the last three games.

The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Eduardo López gave the Quakes the first-half lead, but Cole Bassett leveled in the 52nd minute, leaving the teams in a 1-1 draw July 17 at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.

The teams met twice a season ago. In the first meeting, Chris Wondolowski (then 163 career MLS league goals) and Kei Kamara (129 career MLS league goals) each tallied, as the teams ended in a 1-1 draw in San Jose on Sept. 5. In the return match, the Rapids took a 5-0 win at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on Sept. 23.

The Quakes are undefeated in the six meetings all-time at PayPal Park, winning four of those, and are undefeated in their last 10 home meetings with the Rapids, since a defeat Aug. 25, 2012. The Colorado goal in the 2019 meeting was their first at San Jose since May 18, 2013, snapping a span of 692 scoreless minutes for the Rapids in the Bay Area.

The Rapids are undefeated in the past 10 meetings with the Quakes at Dick's Sporting Goods Park, the last San Jose win in Commerce City coming in 2013. The Rapids have won five times, with five draws. The Rapids' win at home on Oct. 13, 2016, ended a 14-game overall winless streak in the series.


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