MLS a common thread in USMNT's historic Azteca draw
If you're an American soccer fan, here's another reason to mark the US national team's 0-0 tie in the Estadio Azteca World Cup qualifier on Tuesday night in the history books.
Not only did the draw mark the second-ever qualifying point earned in Mexico, but it was the first meaningful World Cup qualifier in 16 years in which every US starter had prior MLS experience. The only other such game in US history was also the only previous World Cup qualifier in which the Americans gained a point at Azteca: a 0-0 draw on November 2, 1997. But that roster – which included the likes of US legends Alexi Lalas, Jeff Agoos and Marcelo Balboa – largely featured players who made their professional reputations outside of MLS.
Look up and down the list of 14 players who appeared in the match Tuesday night, and and it's made up of players who all started their careers in MLS, including some with multiple clubs: Brad Guzan (Chivas USA), DaMarcus Beasley (Chicago Fire), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Geoff Cameron (Houston Dynamo), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City), Michael Bradley (New York/New Jersey MetroStars), Maurice Edu (Toronto FC), Herculez Gomez (LA Galaxy, Colorado Rapids, Kansas City Wizards), Clint Dempsey (New England Revolution), Jozy Altidore (New York Red Bulls), Eddie Johnson (FC Dallas, Kansas City Wizards, Seattle Sounders), Brad Davis (San Jose Earthquakes, Houston Dynamo) and Brek Shea (FC Dallas).
There were three World Cup qualifiers since 1997 in which every member of the US starting 11 had previously played in Major League Soccer, but all were played after the team had clinched a berth in the World Cup Finals.