Major League Soccer’s influence on soccer’s top stage is growing, even without the presence of the U.S. Men’s National Team.
Nineteen current MLS players will participate in the 2018 World Cup in Russia, while a handful of former MLS stars are headed to eastern Europe as well.
Mexico could be Concacaf’s best hope to shine in Russia, and El Tri’s roster holds three of the biggest names in MLS in Carlos Vela, Giovani dos Santos and Jonathan dos Santos.
Panama and Costa Rica boast the largest MLS delegations in Russia, with six representing each Concacaf nation.
Michael Amir Murillo, Harold Cummings, Fidel Escobar, Adolfo Machado, Roman Torres and Anibal Godoy are the MLSers on the Panama roster, while most of the 23-man squad put together by Hernan Dario Gomez has MLS experience, including Blas Perez and Jaime Penedo.
Kendall Waston. Francisco Calvo, Ronald Matarrita, Rodney Wallace, David Guzman and Marco Urena are the current MLS players leading the Ticos. Johan Venegas is still owned by Minnesota United, but he’s loan at Saprissa.
Giancarlo Gonzalez and Christian Bolanos are the former MLS players on Oscar Ramirez’s squad.
Portland’s Andy Polo and Orlando City’s Yoshimar Yotun are part of Peru’s 23-man squad, while Seattle’s Gustav Svensson will be playing for Sweden and LAFC’s Omer Gaber is on Egypt’s roster.
Other former MLS players participating in Russia include Mexico’s Rafa Marquez. Australia’s Tim Cahill and Switzerland’s Blerim Dzemaili.
Here’s a full look at which current and former MLS stars are bound for Russia:
Current MLS Players on World Cup Rosters
Michael Amir Murillo (New York Red Bulls)
Fidel Escobar (New York Red Bulls)
Harold Cummings (San Jose Earthquakes)
Roman Torres (Seattle Sounders)
Adolfo Machado (Houston Dynamo)
Anibal Godoy (San Jose Earthquakes)
Francisco Calvo (Minnesota United)
Kendall Waston (Vancouver Whitecaps)
Ronald Matarrita (New York City FC)
Rodney Wallace (New York City FC)
David Guzman (Portland Timbers)
Marco Urena (LAFC)
Johan Venegas (Minnesota United; on loan at Saprissa)
Giovani dos Santos (LA Galaxy)
Jonathan dos Santos (LA Galaxy)
Carlos Vela (LAFC)
Andy Polo (Portland Timbers)
Yoshimar Yotun (Orlando City)
Omer Gaber (LAFC)
Gustav Svensson (Seattle Sounders)
Former MLS Players on World Cup Rosters