Record number of Argentines in MLS for 2020 season: Total doubles over five years

Sebastian Blanco, Diego Valeri - celebrating - portland

The number of Argentine players in MLS continues to grow, after the recent signings of forward Gonzalo Higuain (Inter Miami CF) and midfielder Marcelino Moreno (Atlanta United) pushed the total past 40.

The Designated Players gave MLS 42 players who were either born in Argentina or who have represented the South American country’s national team. The number has grown considerably as the league’s profile has grown, with MLS home to 20 Argentines in 2016. It then doubled in 2019 to 40, with more players from Argentine Primera Division clubs viewing MLS as a landing spot as they search for next steps in their careers.

The average age of Argentina’s 42 players in MLS is 26, with Miami home to a league-leading five Argentines. There are veteran standouts like New England Revolution forward Gustavo Bou and Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri, while there are also those in their prime like Minnesota United midfielder Emanuel Reynoso and Columbus Crew SC midfielder Lucas Zelarayan. There are even young prospects like Miami forward Matias Pellegrini and Atlanta midfielder Ezequiel Barco.

Since MLS launched in 1996, 23 Argentine-born players have hoisted MLS Cup, ranging from former Crew MVP midfielder Guillermo Barros Schelotto (and current LA Galaxy coach) to former Real Salt Lake star Javier Morales.

Now, as MLS’s profile expands, more Argentine players continue to seek out the league as a desired landing spot in the global transfer market.