MLS strongly represented in 2020 Conmebol Pre-Olympic tournament

Diego Rossi - Eduard Atuesta - LAFC

The 2020 Conmebol Pre-Olympic tournament kicks off Saturday in Colombia with the top two teams qualifying for the 2020 Summer Olympics men’s football tournament in Japan.

Major League Soccer is strongly represented on the 23-man Under-23 rosters for the 10 combined teams, with a total of 10 players from the league competing.

LAFC lead the way with five players, while NYCFC have a pair of players and the New York Red BullsPortland Timbers and San Jose Earthquakes are sending one apiece.

The region’s 10 teams are divided into two groups with the top two teams in each group advancing to the final round. The top two in the final four-team group advance to Japan.

The action starts in Group A Saturday with Ecuador, featuring LAFC’s newest signing, Jose Cifuentes, taking on Chile before the host country, which includes the LAFC duo of Eduard Atuesta and Eddie Segura, squares off against Argentina and New York City FC forward Taty Castellanos.

On Jan. 21, New York Red Bulls midfielder Cristian Casseres Jr. hopes to lead Venezuela to victory against Chile, while Cifuentes gets acclimated with new teammates Atuesta and Segura when Colombia meets Ecuador.

Over in Group B, the other two LAFC players — Francisco Ginella and Diego Rossi of Uruguay — meet Paraguay, featuring NYCFC’s Jesus Medina and Cristhian Paredes, who is looking to sign a new deal with the Timbers, in both team’s group stage opener on Jan. 19. San Jose Earthquakes left back Marcos Lopez is part of the Peruvian side to meet Brazil in the second game of that doubleheader.

On Jan. 22, Paraguay squares off against Bolivia and Brazil meets Uruguay.