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CONMEBOL postpones World Cup qualifiers

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Decision means Raúl Ruidíaz should be able to join training camp sooner than expected.

FBL-WC-2022-CHI-PER Photo by MARTIN BERNETTI/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

CONMEBOL announced on Saturday that its slate of upcoming World Cup qualifiers would be postponed due to a variety of concerns linked to the Covid-19 pandemic. The decision should clear the way for Raúl Ruidíaz to join the Seattle Sounders considerably earlier in preseason than had been expected.

Ruidíaz is currently in Peru, having traveled there to complete the process of obtaining a green card. He told Pulso Sports he was in conversations with the Sounders to remain there in order to train with the national team ahead of their World Cup qualifiers. While there was some obvious logistical sense in that, it meant Ruidíaz would have missed about two-thirds of preseason training with Peru having matches on March 25 and 30.

CONMEBOL has one of the toughest World Cup qualifying tournaments in the world, with all 10 teams competing in a double-round robin. Teams were already behind schedule, having played just four games and needing to complete the other 14 by next March. It was not immediately clear how or when this slate of games would be rescheduled.

Instead, Ruidiaz should be able to return to Seattle soon and no longer count as an international player. That would leave the Sounders with 5 of 8 international spots occupied.