As per the Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber’s statement, a record-breaking amount of about 40 MLS players will represent their respective nations in the upcoming World Cup in Qatar. Three of those players will be representing the national team of Costa Rica, who qualified for Qatar by defeating New Zealand in the intercontinental playoffs and has taken part in four of the previous five World Cups.
The Central American team players who participated in the MLS believe that MLS has played a significant role in developing their game and are hopeful that they will be able to carry their form in the mega event.
According to head coach Luis Fernando Suárez’s roster announcement on Thursday, defenders Ronald Matarrita, Bryan Oviedo, and Daniel Chacón were all included in Costa Rica’s 26-man team for the competition.
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On November 23, Costa Rica will take on Spain before playing Japan on November 27 and Germany, the 2014 World Cup champions (Dec. 1). To qualify for the knockout rounds, Costa Rica will need to finish in the top two. That may require them to beat one of the former World Cup champions.
Due to the recent completion of his seventh consecutive season in the league, Matarrita, 28, possesses the most league experience among those set to represent Costa Rica stationed in the MLS. However, he has been without a lot of football recently, as the former NYCFC fullback saw the last campaign be dramatically cut short by an ankle injury sustained in March while competing in World Cup qualification.
After more than ten years of playing in Europe with teams including Everton, Sunderland, and FC Copenhagen, Oviedo, a part of Costa Rica’s 2018 World Cup team, joined Real Salt Lake, where he provided two assists in six games before the end of the season.
Chacón, 21, joined Rapids 2 of the MLS NEXT Pro in June after leaving Costa Rican team CS Cartagines. Los Ticos ranks will include many ex-MLS players, including Francisco Calvo, Kendall Waston, and Johan Venegas.
Costa Rica advanced to the 2014 World Cup quarterfinals for the third time. They moved to Qatar by defeating New Zealand in the playoff game that saw them overcome New Zealand.
These players will be heavily relied upon by a central American nation, and their performance will significantly impact the national team’s campaign. Hopefully, they can use what they’ve learned from MSL to the World Cup.