Major League Soccer

MLS players in Copa America: Roundup

Lizzy Becherano
Junior Moreno up against Neymar
Junior Moreno up against Neymar / NELSON ALMEIDA/Getty Images

The first matches of the 2021 Copa America are coming to a close, with plenty of fantastic goals and games for us to feast our eyes on. Covid-19 has impacted the Copa America severely, forcing Conmebol to move the tournament from Colombia and Argentina to Brazil while teams deal with internal outbreaks. 

Venezuela stands as the most affected nation, registering 11 positive cases days prior to their inaugural match against Brazil. Despite the complications, the tournament has proceeded and given spectators some fantastic moments. 16 Major League Soccer players were originally called up to the tournament. 

Here’s everything you need to know about their involvement in Copa America so far...

1. Venezuela

DC United player Junior Moreno against Neymar during Venezuela vs. Brazil / NELSON ALMEIDA/Getty Images

Josef Martinez (Atlanta United): The Atlanta United superstar missed the opening match against Brazil due to Covid-19. Despite having been vaccinated, Martinez was among the 11 players that tested positive for the virus days before the inaugural game. 

Ronald Hernandez (Atlanta United): Atlanta’s young defender made a last minute appearance during Venezuela’s 3-0 defeat to Brazil. He failed to make an impact as his side’s fate had already been decided. 

Junior Moreno (D.C. United): The D.C. United midfielder struggled against Brazil throughout the 90 minutes. Though he was not directly to blame for the goals, Moreno simply couldn't stop Brazil’s offense. 

Jhonder Cadiz (Nashville SC): Like Martinez, Jhonder missed the inaugural match against Brazil after testing positive for Covid-19 days prior. 

Cristian Casseres Jr. (New York Red Bulls): Casseres made his Copa America debut on Sunday, playing 84 minutes against Brazil. Though he couldn't find the back of the net, the New York Red Bulls player gave a valiant offensive effort for Venezuela. 

Jose Martinez (Philadelphia Union): The Philadelphia Union midfielder played the entirety of the match against Brazil, failing to make any real impact throughout the 90 minutes.

2. Ecuador

Sebastian Mendez for Ecuador during the 2019 Copa America / DOUGLAS MAGNO/Getty Images

Diego Palacios (Los Angeles FC): LAFC’s left back did not feature for Ecuador against Colombia. 

Sebastian Mendez (Orlando City SC): Sebas Mendez played the entire 90 minutes against Colombia but simply couldn’t find a way to make a positive impact on the game. He allowed too many balls through the midfield, facilitating Colombia’s chances at goal. 

Xavier Arreaga (Seattle Sounders): The defender did not feature for Ecuador against Colombia. 

3. Paraguay

Alberto Espinola, Hector Martinez
Paraguay against Bolivia during Group A match in the Copa America / Andressa Anholete/Getty Images

Gaston Gimenez (Chicago Fire FC): Despite being named in the overall roster, Gimenez did not feature in the lineup for Paraguay against Bolivia.

4. Uruguay

Edinson Cavani, Luis Suarez
Uruguay during the 2019 quarterfinals against Peru / Felipe Oliveira/Getty Images

Brian Rodriguez (Los Angeles FC): Rodriguez will hope to make his Copa America debut on Friday when  Uruguay faces Argentina. 

5. Peru

Edison Flores, Carlos Zambrano
Peru vs. Uruguay during the 2019 Copa America Quarterfinal / Wagner Meier/Getty Images

Alexander Callens (New York City FC): The NYCFC player hopes to make his Copa America debut on Thursday as Peru faces host nation Brazil. 

Pedro Gallese (Orlando City SC): Peru has yet to play so far in Copa America, kicking off on Thursday. The Orlando goalkeeper will hope to feature against Brazil. 

Marcos Lopez (San Jose Earthquakes): The defender hopes to feature against Brazil in the country’s first Copa America match. 

6. Colombia

Colombia v Ecuador during Group B match in the Copa America / Miguel Schincariol/Getty Images

Yimmi Chara (Portland Timbers): Despite featuring in the overall roster, Yimmi Chara did not make the line up for the match against Ecuador.

7. Chile

Tomas Alarcon, Ben Brereton, Lionel Messi
Argentina vs Chile in the Group A match during Copa America Brazil 2021 / Buda Mendes/Getty Images

Felipe Mora (Portland Timbers): Mora watched from the sidelines as Chile tied 1-1 with Argentina. Though he was named in the lineup, the MLS player was never subbed in.