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Who Seattle’s opponents are missing for international duty

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Seattle is not the only team facing call-ups Gold Cup, Copa America and more

MLS: New York Red Bulls at Columbus Crew SC Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

With the Sounders likely missing about nine players throughout July for national team duty, one wonders what everyone else is missing for those matches too. While Seattle, mostly, has more players likely missing for any given match, the Sounders next stretch of opponents are not safe from call-ups either.

FC Dallas - June 1

Dallas is one of the few teams that will actually get better for the Gold Cup than worse, largely because their man call-ups are at the U20 World Cup and not for Gold Cup duty. Edwin Cerrillo, Paxton Pomykal and Brandon Servania are all with the US U20s and after advancing through the group stages will not be back for at least another week.

Bryan Acosta (Honduras) and Reggie Cannon (USA) were named to their team’s 40-man provisional rosters for the Gold Cup. Both countries have a friendly on June 5th and are likely allowing the players to play Saturday before reporting. Carlos Gruezo (Ecuador) made the final 23-man roster, with Sounder Xavier Arreaga, and has a friendly the same night but it appears that the Ecuador will let the players skip.

An unexpected blow for FC Dallas was Pablo Aranguiz receiving a call-up for the Chilean U23s for Toulon Tournament. The Toulon Tournament will keep the playmaker away from the club for the first two weeks of June.

If Acosta, Cannon and Gruezo are allowed to stay with the club for their match against the Sounders, then Dallas will be missing four players, three of which have started seven of Dallas’s 14 games. If that group reports, Dallas will be missing upwards of 50 starts from those seven players. Unfortunately for the Sounders, if Cannon and Gruezo report to their respective national teams, then Arreaga and Roldan are likely to report as well.

Montreal Impact - June 5

Seattle’s roster starts getting very thin as the Montreal game falls within the official FIFA window and therefore all Gold Cup, Copa America, European Qualifiers, Africa Cup of Nations and AFC friendly participants will have reported. Montreal will be thin as well, though they did dodge some of their Canadians being called up, like Anthony Jackson-Hamel.

Four of Montreal’s six call-ups are in the Gold Cup. Omar Browne (Panama), Daniel Lovitz (USA), Zachary Brault-Guillard (CAN) and Samuel Piette (CAN). Of the three countries, Canada has already announced their 23-man roster. It is possible that Browne or Lovitz is left off the final 23-man rosters and return for the June 5th game. Teams are required to cut down to a 23-man roster during the first week of June but even if dismissed, players are unlikely to return for a June 5th game.

Jukka Raitala made Finland’s squad to play their EURO Qualifiers against Bosnia & Herzegovina and Lichtenstein. Those games are the 8th and 11th meaning that Raitala will be missing for the June 5th match.

Former Sounder, Michael Azira, received a call-up for the Africa Cup of Nations for Uganda. The tournament starts on June 21st, so it is possible that Uganda allows Azira to remain with Montreal for their final game before the tournament.

To add insult to injury, the Impact announced that Ignacio Piatti will be out for a couple months. Montreal will likely be without their entire complement of players, except Azira being questionable.

For the most part, the players missing are starters for Montreal. Browne has the fewest played with only three games, but he didn’t arrive in Montreal until the end of April and has only missed two of the seven matches since he made his first appearance. Brault-Guillard is the only other player with less than 10 starts in the Impact’s 16 games.

Vancouver Whitecaps - June 29

The Whitecaps could be missing a handful of players or be very lucky. Canada has four players, all on the Canadian National Team. Derek Cornelius, Maxime Crepeau, Doneil Henry, and Russell Teibert all made the final 23-man roster for the team from the North. Canada’s group includes Mexico, Cuba and Martinique (Go Jordy!). Their final group stage match is June 23rd in Charlotte, NC against Cuba, the team most likely to push them for the runner-up in the group spot. If Canada advances out of the group stages, something they’ve only done twice in the last five tournaments (2009 and 2017), then they’ll play a quarterfinal on the 29th. If Canada fails to advance, all four players likely return to the team. Mexico being a virtual lock to advance in that group, means that if Canada advances then Seattle will get Jordy Delem back for this match.

Jasser Khmiri had played in qualifiers for Tunisia but has missed the entire season so far for Vancouver with a knee injury and appears to be missing the Africa Cup of Nations for that injury.

NYCFC - July 3

Manchester City lite will likely be with most of their roster come the midweek meeting. While they have a couple players who could report for European matches, they will be back by July 3rd. Their Copa America and Gold Cup participants will be back or not, depending on how far they advance.

In the Gold Cup, Sean Johnson (USA) and Ronald Matarrita (Costa Rica) both made their provisional 40-man rosters and are likely making the final 23-man rosters as well. Costa Rica, 2017 semi-finalists, are in a fairly easy Group B with Haiti, Nicaragua and Bermuda. If they win their group, they’ll play the runner-up from Group A, likely Canada or Cuba. The quarterfinal match would be June 29th in Houston, meaning if Costa Rica was bounced Matarrita would likely be available on July 3rd for NYCFC. Root on Costa Rica if you want NYCFC to be shorthanded.

Sean Johnson and the USMNT has a tougher group in Group D, which includes Panama, Trinidad & Tobago and Guyana. The USMNT and Panama are likely to make it out of the group with their final group stage match (against each other in Kansas City) to decide who wins the group. T&T can always be a tough opponent and provide an upset. This group is also the group that pits the most Sounders together. History says the USMNT will survive the group. Group C, a fairly weak group as well, will likely advance Honduras and Jamaica into the quarterfinal. Both teams are teams that the US should win, putting them into a semi-final on July 3rd and requiring NYCFC to have their backup keeper in.

Alexander Callens was named to the 23-man roster for Peru, with Sounders striker Raul Ruidiaz. Copa America is using the old Gold Cup format with top-two in a group advance and the top two third place teams also advancing. Peru is in a group with Brazil, Bolivia, and Venezuela. Peru, Venezuela and Bolivia will all make the group very interesting fighting for the 2nd and 3rd spots. Unfortunately for that group, Qatar is in Group B likely guaranteeing the 3rd place team in that group (Argentina, Columbia and Paraguay) will advance. Peru’s last group stage match is June 22nd and their quarterfinal, if they advance, would be between June 27th and June 29th. If Peru fails to advance through their group, Callens will be back (as will Ruidiaz), but if they advance out of their group it would be unlikely to see Callens play, let alone start.

Ebenezer Ofori is the last player who was called up, joining the Ghanaian squad for the Africa Cup of Nations. Their final group stage game is July 2nd. Ofori will not be available for NYCFC.

Johnson, Callens and Matarrita are consistent players for NYCFC and will hurt NYCFC if they are unavailable.

Columbus Crew - July 6

The biggest blow to the Crew came when they announced Federico Higuain will be out for the remainder of the season with ACL surgery. Adding to Caleb Porter’s selection problems will be a full complement of players missing with their national teams. Costa Rica and the USMNT have not announced their 23-man rosters, yet, but five Crew players land on their 40-man rosters. Waylon Francis and David Guzman for made Costa Rica’s squad. Zach Steffen, Gyasi Zardes and Wil Trapp made Gregg Berhalter’s USMNT list.

David Guzman made the Costa Rica squad in 2017 at the Gold Cup and the 2018 World Cup and has been a regular with the side. Waylon Francis has not made a major tournament roster since the 2014 World Cup, but did make the roster for all three friendlies Costa Rica has played in 2019, starting two of them. Costa Rica’s chances, as discussed with Matarrita above, are likely to be in at the semi-final on July 3rd. Even if they lose in that match, Guzman and Francis would likely not be available to play on the 6th. If they do not feature in the match, there is a chance they can play on the 6th.

The USMNT, specifically with the former Crew boss coaching, will likely include Trapp and Zardes on the final 23-man roster. The USMNT, as discussed with Johnson, is likely to be in at the semi-final as well. If none of them play in the semi-final and the USMNT loses, Porter might be able to select them against Seattle.

Steffen will not be returning to Columbus after the Gold Cup as he joins Manchester City. His June 1st match against, fittingly NYCFC, will be his last in black and yellow.

Jonathan Mensah, one of Columbus’s top CBs, will be with the Ghanaian national team at the Africa Cup of Nations. Ghana is likely to advance out of their group. If they didn’t, their final group stage match is July 2nd and flying back from Egypt for a game a few days later is a tough ask for Mensah. Assume Mensah will be unavailable for Columbus.

Atlanta United - July 14

Playing Atlanta United on June 5th (instead of Montreal) would be better as they are without players for the U20 World Cup and they are having their other players start reporting. Ezequiel Barco, among others, are big contributors for Atlanta that would be missing right now but will be back for the July 14th match.

Josef Martinez has cooled down under Frank de Boer but still is one of the top scorers in MLS. He will be gone with the Venezuelan National Team for Copa America but he likely will have returned for this match. Copa America, like the Gold Cup, ends on July 7th. If Venezuela made a miracle run to the final, the striker would still be home at least a few days in advance of the match. Martinez though may not be available to start if they went that far through the tournament and only a substitute appearance.

In the Gold Cup, Brad Guzan, Miles Robinson and Darlington Nagbe are on the provisional roster for the USMNT. There is a scenario in which all three are sent home before the Gold Cup starts but in all likelihood at least one will make the final roster. The final is on July 7th in Chicago and with a full week and regular MLS style-travel before the game, all three players are likely available to start even if they play a full 90 minutes in a USMNT Gold Cup Final.

Romario Williams made Jamaica’s 40-man roster, the striker has made friendlies intermittently since the 2017 Gold Cup when he started five of their six matches. In 2017, Jamaica made an improbable run to the final which is arguably repeatable, though it requires likely knocking out both the USA and Panama, then Williams is still likely available for the July 14 match.

Since Seattle has no one in the Africa Cup of Nations, all players should have reported back to the club by this match as well. Raul Ruidiaz and Nicolas Lodeiro, being the Copa America participants, are the only ones that would have potentially long minutes and continental travel in the week leading up to this match. This match likely represents a return to full strength for each side.