TENAFLY, N.J. — Twenty players from Major League Soccer teams have been called up to their respective national teams for the next rounds of World Cup qualifying in South America.
Though the rosters remain preliminary for now, 15 of those play for eight of the 18 MLS clubs that will begin the league’s playoffs Nov. 20. Five players were selected from four teams that are not involved in postseason play in North America’s top professional league.
Los Angeles FC has had four players called up (Brian Rodríguez and Diego Rossi, Uruguay; José Cifuentes and Diego Palacios), the most of any team. In October, Rodríguez started the game against Chile, a 2-1 win, and was subbed out in the second half. Rossi did not play. Rodríguez was again subbed off in a 4-2 loss at Ecuador; Rossi again did not play. For Ecuador, in the opening two rounds, neither Cifuentes nor Palacios played in the 1-0 loss at Argentina, while Palacios was a late substitute in the win over Uruguay.
The other MLS teams (and players) on preliminary rosters in South America are: Chicago Fire (Gaston Giménez, Paraguay; Miguel Navarro, Venezuela); D.C. United (Edison Flores, Perú; Junior Moreno, Venezuela); Los Angeles Galaxy (Rolf Feltscher, Venezuela); NYC FC (Alexander Callens (Perú); New York Red Bulls (Cristian Casseres, Venezuela; Kakú, Paraguay); Orlando City (Pedro Gallese, Perú; Sebastián Mendez, Ecuador); Philadelphia Union (José Martínez, Venezuela); Portland Timbers (Andy Pólo, Perú; Renzo Zambrano, Venezuela), San Jose Earthquakes (Marcus López, Perú); and Seattle Sounders (Raul Ruidaz, Perú; Xavier Arreaga, Ecuador).
After two games in the home-and-home qualifiers, Brazil and Argentina are tied on top with 6 points; followed by Colombia and Paraguay (4); Ecuador and Uruguay (3); Chile and Perú (1); and Venezuela and Bolivia (0).
Integrated Sports Media is distributing eight games over Round 3 (Thursday, Nov. 12 and Friday, Nov. 13) and Round 4 (Tuesday, Nov. 17). The qualifying process, which had been delayed since last March because of the global coronavirus pandemic — but that finally began in late October — will send four nations directly to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, with a fifth berth up for grabs in an intercontinental playoff.
The South American qualifiers will be available live in the United States on cable and satellite TV, and digital PPV for a suggested retail price of $29.95 per game via iN Demand, DIRECTV, and DISH, or streaming online at www.eliminatorias.TV or by downloading the FITE.TV app. Additional digital PPV outlets include Fanatiz.com, GolTV Play app, Unio.TV and the OneFootball app. On Nov. 17, Paraguay v. Bolivia will be carried live on Fox Deportes (Spanish) and Fubo Sports Network (English); and Venezuela v. Chile will be carried live on beIN Sports.
Because of the postponements as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the marathon South American qualifying tournament, in which each team plays 18 games, will not be completed until March 2022 — only months before the start of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
After their participation with their national teams in CONMEBOL’s World Cup qualifiers, the players will return to their respective clubs. According to the health and safety protocols from Major League Soccer, the players have to quarantine for 10 days before returning to their regular activities.
The schedule (all times Eastern) for Rounds 3 and 4 (home teams listed first) follows:
Bolivia vs. Ecuador, 3 p.m.
Argentina vs. Paraguay, 7 p.m.
Colombia vs. Uruguay, 3:30 p.m.
Chile vs. Peru, 6 p.m.
Brazil vs. Venezuela, 7:30 p.m.
Ecuador vs. Colombia, 4 p.m.
Uruguay vs. Brazil, 6 p.m.
Peru vs. Argentina, 7:30 p.m.
Venezuela vs. Chile, 4 p.m., BeIN Sports
Paraguay vs. Bolivia, 6 p.m., Fox Deportes (Spanish) and Fubo Sports Network (English)