MLS to Brazil: How many players are still in contention for a World Cup place?
MLS clubs will bid several of their stars farewell over the course of this week as the preparations for the World Cup commence in earnest.
Every national team has culled its list of possible candidates to 30 by now. Some countries – including England – have chosen to whittle the group down even further in a bid to provide clarity.
The next few weeks will sharpen the picture in several other instances, but a look at the current landscape suggests more than a few familiar faces will feature prominently when the tournament kicks off next month.
Jürgen Klinsmann selected 15 MLS players to the 30-man preliminary squad unveiled on Monday afternoon. D.C. United forward Eddie Johnson missed out on a place in the group after featuring prominently during qualifying, but Seattle fullback DeAndre Yedlin worked his way onto the final list. Leander Schaerlaeckens offered his take on Klinsmann's squad on Monday.
Socceroos boss Ange Postecoglou will name his 30-man pool in Sydney on Wednesday (local time), but Cahill will feature in it. New York has already allowed Cahill to return to Australia ahead of the start of training camp in Gosford on Thursday.
Former World Cup winner Luiz Felipe Scolari vindicated Júlio César’s decision to swap QPR for Toronto FC by including the veteran number one in his 23-man roster. The former Inter Milan goalkeeper is expected to start every match for the Seleção as the home nation pursues its sixth championship.
José Pékerman named two players with extensive Philadelphia ties to his 30-man provisional squad: ex-goalkeeper Faryd Mondragón and on-loan defender Carlos Valdes. Mondragón is assured of a place on the final roster with only three goalkeepers included in the initial group, while Valdes - now plying his trade at San Lorenzo in a bid to boost his World Cup stock - must survive another round of cuts to make the final 23-man roster.
Ticos manager Jorge Luis Pinto included five MLS players in the 30-man roster revealed on Monday. Columbus defender Giancarlo González and Real Salt Lake forward Álvaro Saborío are both expected to figure prominently in Pinto’s plans, while left backs Waylon Francis (Columbus) and Roy Miller (New York) must prove their worth in the wake of Bryan Oviedo’s omission through injury. Crew forward Jairo Arrieta made the preliminary list, but Pinto placed him on standby status and permitted him to stay in Columbus.
Chivas USA midfielder Oswaldo Minda will serve as a standby option for Reinaldo Rueda's squad.
Jermain Defoe settled for a standby place when Roy Hodgson revealed his 23-man squad on Monday. The veteran striker missed out on a chance to feature in a second consecutive World Cup after appearing frequently as a substitute during the qualifying campaign.
"It’s hard to find the words to describe the feeling,” Defoe told BBC Radio. “In life you can't expect anything, but I felt I had a good chance of going because I've been involved in most of the squads. I feel devastated."
Luis Fernando Suárez included four MLS players when he revealed his 23-man squad for the World Cup last week: New England forward Jerry Bengtson, San Jose defender Victor Bernárdez, Chivas USA midfielder Marvín Chávez and Houston midfielder Boniek Garcia. All four players are expected to play their respective fixtures this weekend before reporting to camp in Miami next week. Vancouver defender Johnny Leverón and Houston midfielder Alexander López landed on the standby list.
Former Metrostars boss Carlos Quieroz named Vancouver fullback Steven Beitashour in his 28-man preliminary squad last week. Beitashour left the Whitecaps after the 1-0 victory at Columbus on Saturday to link up with Team Melli in Austria for a pre-World Cup training camp.
On-loan Chicago midfielder Álvaro Fernández earned a place in Óscar Tabárez’s 30-man preliminary squad. Fernández – now plying his trade at Gimnasia, though still under contract to MLS – isn’t expected to feature after landing on the standby list. Former Fire midfielder Arévalo Ríos featured in the 25-man party, though.