Sweden took a big step to reaching the 2018 World Cup against one of the world's heavyweights on Friday, and there was an MLS player involved in the proceedings.
Seattle Sounders midfielder/defender Gustav Svensson entered Friday's World Cup playoff first leg against Italy in the 83rd minute, in relief of the injured Emil Krafth. Sweden won the game 1-0 courtesy of a goal just after the hour mark by substitute Jakob Johansson, giving them a distinct advantage ahead of the second leg in Italy on Monday.
The winner of the two-leg series will advance to the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Sweden have not reached the World Cup since 2006, while Italy have qualified for every tournament since 1962.
Following the World Cup playoff, Svensson will be back in action for the Sounders on November 21 in the Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs, as Seattle will face the Houston Dynamo in Houston in the first leg of the Western Conference Championship (9:30 pm ET | FS1, FOX Deportes; TSN1/3, TVAS in Canada).