The Unites States failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, but there is still plenty for Americans to cheer for thanks to the MLS. How many MLS players are competing in the World Cup? According to the MLS, 19 players on six different countries are participating in the tournament.
If you are looking to cheer for the squad with the most MLS players, look no further than Panama and Costa Rica who both have the most MLS players with six each. Mexico has three players, and all three play on one of the Los Angeles teams. The MLS took a break from June 14-23, which will accommodate the Group Stage. However, players who are on teams still playing in the World Cup will miss MLS games.
Mexico’s Carlos Vela, who plays for LAFC, may be the premier MLS player in the World Cup. Vela is inside the top 10 goal scorers with seven goals so far this season. One of the great debates in American soccer is whether players should play in the MLS in an effort to continue to grow the game, or play in international leagues against premier players. Former U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann was outspoken in his belief that American players should play abroad. Klinsmann was critical when players like Clint Dempsey, Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley chose to come back to the States to play in the MLS.
While it is not to the level of the English Premier League, the quality of play in the MLS has improved. There should be no obligation to play here in the States, it does help the league to keep growing when players choose to stay home. At the same time, Christian Pulisic playing in Germany for Dortmund has elevated his game, which ultimately helps the USMNT. It is an important discussion, but there is no one right answer for the overall growth of soccer in the United States.
Just as it did in 1994, the United States will receive a huge boost in 2026 when they play host to the World Cup. This should also be a shot in the arm for the MLS as well. For now, United States fans will have to cheer on one of the countries with MLS players.
Here’s a look at the MLS players playing in the 2018 World Cup, per the MLS.
MLS Players in World Cup 2018
|D Adolfo Machado||Houston Dynamo||Panama|
|D/M Omar Gaber||LAFC||Egypt|
|F Marco Urena||LAFC||Costa Rica|
|F Carlos Vela||LAFC||Mexico|
|F Giovani dos Santos||LA Galaxy||Mexico|
|M Jonathan dos Santos||LA Galaxy||Mexico|
|D Francisco Calvo||Minnesota United F.C.||Costa Rica|
|D Ronald Matarrita||New York F.C.||Costa Rica|
|M Rodney Wallace||New York F.C.||Costa Rica|
|D Fidel Escobar||New York Red Bulls||Panama|
|D Michael Murillo||New York Red Bulls||Panama|
|M Yoshi Yotun||Orlando City||Peru|
|M David Guzman||Portland Timbers||Costa Rica|
|M Andy Polo||Portland Timbers||Peru|
|D Harold Cummings||San Jose Earthquakes||Panama|
|M Anibal Godoy||San Jose Earthquakes||Panama|
|M/D Gustav Svensson||Seattle Sounders||Sweden|
|D Roman Torres||Seattle Sounders||Panama|
|D Kendall Watson||Vancouver Whitecaps||Costa Rica|