The Seattle Sounders began their much-needed break from league play on Monday, but five players will spend the next two weeks or more with their respective national teams across the globe.
Xavier Arreaga (Ecuador), Nouhou (Cameroon), Raúl Ruidíaz (Peru) and Brad Smith (Australia) and Tacoma Defiance forward Alec Díaz have been called up for international duty. Arreaga and Ruidíaz will participate in CONMEBOL 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers and the 2021 Copa América in Brazil. Smith will join Australia for four Oceania World Cup Qualifiers in Kuwait, while Nouhou and Cameroon will participate in a pair of friendlies in Austria. Díaz has been called up to Puerto Rico’s squad for a pair of CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers.
Arreaga and Ruidiaz are likely to miss the most time with the Sounders due to the number of games they will potentially participate in over the next four to six weeks. The group stage of the Copa America does not end until June 28, meaning they will each miss a minimum of three regular season games (LA Galaxy, Real Salt Lake and Vancouver Whitecaps). The tournament’s final is on July 11 which could cause them to miss 2-3 more games.
Smith and Nouhou should return in time for the resumption of the regular season on June 19 against the Galaxy.
Arreaga started two FIFA World Cup Qualifying matches in November and scored his first international goal against Colombia in November. He was first called up for a friendly in 2018 and has a total of 10 caps to date. Ecuador takes on Brazil and Peru in World Cup Qualifiers on June 4 and 8, respectively, before kicking off 2021 Copa América action on June 14.
Ruidíaz currently leads the Sounders in scoring and ranks second in the MLS Golden Boot race with six goals this season, though has not been able to translate his club form to his country. Ruidíaz has 46 career caps for Peru dating back to 2011, with 19 starts and only four goals. In addition to the matchup against Ecuador and his Sounders teammate Arreaga on June 8, Peru will face off against Colombia on June 3.
Smith’s Australia side has a busy two weeks, taking on Kuwait (June 3), Taipei (June 7), Nepal (June 11) and Jordan (June 15). Smith has 22 career international caps for Australia since making his debut on Sept. 4, 2014.