Christian Bolanos, Costa Rica, Vancouver Whitecaps
USA Today Sports

International Roundup: How MLSers fared in September FIFA window

Major League Soccer’s contingent of international players returned to action in the past 10 days, with 64 players from all 20 MLS clubs suiting up for the national teams during the September FIFA window.

Here’s a rundown of how MLS’ internationals fared in their matches:

Albania – Shkelzen Gashi (Colorado Rapids)

Gashi started and went 60 minutes as Albania played Morocco to a scoreless draw at home in a friendly last Wednesday, Aug. 31. 

He again started and went 60 minutes in Albania's 2-1 World Cup qualifying win against Macedonia. The match kicked off on Monday, but was suspended in the 76th minute after heavy rains left the field unplayable. The game resumed on Tuesday afternoon, with Albania scoring an 89th-minute winner to start their World Cup qualifying campaign with a win. 

Armenia – David Arshakyan(Chicago Fire)

Arshakyan did not get on the field on Armenia’s 3-0 friendly loss at the Czech Republic last Wednesday. But the Fire's new striker did start in Sunday's World Cup qualifier at Denmark, putting in a 70-minute shift before making way for Marcos Pinheiro. With Armenia lacking their star Henrikh Mkhitaryan due to injury, Denmark dominated proceedings and won 1-0 via a Christian Eriksen strike, with goalkeeper Arsen Beglaryan later saving an Eriksen penalty kick to keep things close.

Cameroon – Ambroise Oyongo (Montreal Impact), Tony Tchani (Columbus Crew SC)

Cameroon wrapped up an undefeated Africa Cup of Nations qualifying campaign with a 2-0 win over Gambia on Saturday, extending their final margin of conquest atop the Group M standings. Oyongo got the start and delivered the cross that Karl Toko Ekambi finished for Les Lions Indomptables' second. New York Red Bulls striker Anatole Abang, currently on loan in Denmark, came on as a substitute.

Oyongo, Abang and Tchani all started in Cameroon's 2-1 friendly win over Gabon on Tuesday, with Abang scoring the opener in the 64th minute. All three players came off in the second half, with Tchani exiting in the 52nd, Abang in the 70th and Oyongo in the 85th. 

Canada

Canada fell to Honduras 2-1 in World Cup Qualifying on Friday, Sept. 2. Get the full lineups and match recap in our Match Center.

Sadly, the Canucks couldn't make up their deficit on Los Catrachos in their semifinal round finale on Tuesday, beating El Salvador 3-1 but missing out on the Hex after Honduras drew 0-0 at Mexico. Find the full lineups and match recap from Canada's win in Vancouver in our Match Center.

Costa Rica – Christian Bolaños (Vancouver Whitecaps), Ronald Matarrita (New York City FC), Johan Venegas (Montreal Impact), Kendall Waston (Vancouver Whitecaps)

Costa Rica beat host Haiti 1-0 on Friday night, Sept. 2 in World Cup Qualifying. The Whitecaps' Bolaños served up the assist to Randall Azofeifa for the game's loan goal. Waston and Matarrita also saw on-field action as part of the team's starting line-up as Los Ticos clinched their spot in the Hex. 

Tuesday went even better for MLS's Costa Rican contingent, with Bolaños scoring twice and Matarrita adding a final goal in Los Ticos' 3-1 group-clinching win against Panama. Bolaños and Venegas both played the full 90, while Matarrita came on in the 76th minute. Waston didn't see any action. 

Ecuador – Carlos Gruezo (FC Dallas)

Gruezo started and played 82 minutes in Ecuador’s 3-0 World Cup qualifying loss against Brazil on Thursday, Sept. 1. The FC Dallas midfielder came off while Ecuador was still trailing 1-0.

Gruezo came off the bench in Ecuador's 2-1 loss at Peru on Tuesday, entering with the game tied 1-1 in the 49th-minute. He couldn't help his country hold onto the road point, with Ecuador dropping to fifth in the CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying standings with the result. 

El Salvador - Darwin Ceren (San Jose Earthquakes)

Mexico continued its perfect World Cup Qualifying record by toppling El Salvador 3-1 on Friday night, Sept. 2. Darwin Ceren made the starting lineup, but was eventually subbed out for Dennis Pineda.

Ceren started again in El Salvador's final World Cup qualifier of the 2018 cycle on Tuesday, picking up two yellow cards and getting ejected in the 56th minute of the country's 3-1 loss at Canada.

Ghana - David Accam (Chicago Fire), Harrison Afful (Columbus Crew SC)

Both of the Black Stars' MLS representatives earned starts as Ghana finished their Africa Cup of Nations qualifying campaign undefeated with a 1-1 draw vs. Rwanda in Accra on Saturday. The home side had already booked qualification for Gabon 2017 with room to spare, finishing way ahead of the field in Group H.

Accam again saw action in Ghana's 1-0 friendly loss at Russia on Tuesday, coming off the bench in the 78th-minute of their narrow defeat in Moscow. Afful, meanwhile, started and went the full 90.

Guatemala - Marco Pappa (Colorado Rapids), Rodrigo Saravia (Columbus Crew SC)

Guatemala managed a dramatic 2-2 draw against Trinidad & Tobago on Friday night, Sept. 2. Pappa and Saravia both made the starting lineup, with Pappa providing an assist for Carlos Ruiz's second goal on the night.

Los Chapines didn't end up qualifying for the Hex, but it wasn't for lack of trying on Tuesday, when they topped St. Vincent and the Grenadines 9-3 at home. Saravia went the full 90 for Guatemala, who saw former MLS striker Carlos Ruiz score five times in the final match of his storied international career. 

Honduras - Roger Espinoza (Sporting Kansas City), Maynor Figueroa (FC Dallas), Boniek Garcia (Houston Dynamo)

Figueroa made the starting lineup, and Garcia subbed in for Romell Quioto during the team's 2-1 victory over Canada on Friday night, Sept. 2.

Figueroa was the only one of Honduras' MLS players to see action on Tuesday, helping keep a shutout in a scoreless draw at Mexico to lockup a berth in the Hex. 

Iraq – Justin Meram (Columbus Crew SC)

Meram started and went the full 90 at striker as Iraq kicked off the third-round of AFC World Cup qualifying with a 2-0 loss at Australia last Thursday, Sept. 1.

Meram started and went 81 minutes as Iraq lost a tough one on Tuesday night, taking an early lead but falling 2-1 to Saudi Arabia after the visitors scored two late penalty kicks. Iraq was technically the home team, but the match was played in Malaysia, as Iraq are unable to currently host matches on their home soil. 

Ireland – Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy)

Keane ended his international career in style on Wednesday, scoring an excellent goal in Ireland’s 4-0 friendly win against Oman in his 146th and final international match.

Ireland’s all-time leader in both goals and appearances, Keane announced his retirement from the international game last week. He ended his international career with 68 goals, tied with German legend Gerd Muller for 14th-place in the history of men’s international soccer.

Jamaica - Giles Barnes (Vancouver Whitecaps), Andre Blake (Philadelphia Union), Simon Dawkins (San Jose Earthquakes), Shaun Francis (San Jose Earthquakes), Omar Holness (Real Salt Lake), Kemar Lawrence (New York Red Bulls), Alvas Powell (Portland Timbers), Jermaine Taylor (Portland Timbers), Je-Vaughn Watson (New England Revolution)

Blake, Taylor, Watson, Lawrence, Dawkins, and Barnes all made the starting lineup -- but Jamaica still suffered serious heartbreak at the hands of Panama on Friday night, Sept. 2. Panama topped the Reggae Boyz 2-0, securing their own spot in the Hex and completely destroying Jamaica's hopes for their own.

Their Hex hopes dashed, Jamaica suffered another blow on Tuesday, when they lost 2-0 at home to Haiti. Blake, Francis, Powell and Watson started for the Reggae Boyz, while Holness subbed on for Watson in the 75th-minute. 

Luxembourg - Maxime Chanot (New York City FC)

Latvia beat Luxembourg 3-1 in an international friendly on Friday, Sept. 2.

Chanot went the full 90 as Luxembourg lost in heartbreaking fashion to start their World Cup qualifying campaign. Luxembourg equalized in the 91st minute, but conceded in the 92nd to fall 4-3 at Bulgaria. 

Panama - Armando Cooper (Toronto FC), Anibal Godoy (San Jose Earthquakes), Blas Perez (Vancouver Whitecaps), Alberto Quintero (San Jose Earthquakes), Roman Torres (Seattle Sounders)

Pinedo, Torres, Quintero, and Perez all started as Panama topped Jamaica 2-0 in World Cup Qualifying on Friday, Sept. 2 to clinch a berth in the Hex. Quintero assisted in the first goal of the game, releasing Gabriel Torres into the left side of the box, which he then shot past Jamaica's goalkeeper Andre Blake to open the scoring.

Things didn't go quite as well for Los Canaleros on Tuesday, when they fell 3-1 at Costa Rica. No MLS players started for Panama, and only Perez played, coming on for the final 15 minutes of the contest. 

Peru U-20s – Collin Fernandez (Chicago Fire)

Fernandez got the start for the Peru Under-20s as they played the Paraguay U-20s to a scoreless draw in Lima on Wednesday. It was Peru’s second friendly against Paraguay this week – the young Incas fell 1-0 to their South American counterparts on Sunday, with Fernandez not making the start. 

St. Vincent and the Grenadines - Oalex Anderson (Seattle Sounders FC)

Anderson made the starting lineup in the Vincy Heat's 6-0 defeat by the USMNT in World Cup Qualifying on Friday, Sept. 2. He got the nod again on Tuesday, scoring two goals – including the opener in the 10th minute – in St. Vincent's 9-3 loss at Guatemala. 

Sierra Leone - Kei Kamara (New England Revolution)

Kei Kamara made an impactful return to his country's national team as he scored the equalizer in a 1-1 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying draw vs. Cote d'Ivoire on Saturday, netting an angled header to peg back the home side at Stade de la Paix in Bouake. It was not enough to earn qualification, however, as Les Elephants edged the Leone Stars to the top spot in their group by just one point.

Trinidad and Tobago - Cordell Cato (San Jose Earthquakes), Aubrey David (FC Dallas), Joevin Jones (Seattle Sounders), Kenwyne Jones (Atlanta United FC), Kevin Molino (Orlando City SC), Mekeil Williams (Colorado Rapids)

Williams, Molino, Cato, and both Joevin and Kenwyne Jones made the starting lineup for the Soca Warriors in their dramatic 2-2 draw against Guatemala during World Cup Qualifying on Friday, Sept. 2. Joevin Jones netted both of the goals for his country, helping T&T secure a berth in the Hex.

Williams, Molino and both Joneses started again for T&T on Tuesday, while Cato didn't appear off the bench in the Soca Warriors' 4-0 defeat the US

United States

The USMNT beat St. Vincent 6-0 in World Cup Qualifying on Friday, Sept. 2. Get the full lineups and match recap in our Match Center.

The US clinched their group on Tuesday, getting goals from a pair of MLS players – Sacha Kljestan and Jozy Altidore – to defeat Trinidad and Tobago 4-0 in Jacksonville, Florida. The full lineups and match recap can be found in our Match Center

Uruguay – Nicolas Lodeiro (Seattle Sounders)

Lodeiro started alongside Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani at the top of Uruguay’s 4-3-3, but the visitors couldn’t pull out a result against rival Argentina and Lionel Messi, who scored in the 43rd minute to give La Albiceleste a 1-0 win on Thursday.  

Uruguay played up a man for the entire second half after Paulo Dybala’s ejection in first half stoppage time, but they couldn’t find an equalizer. Lodeiro, who had a bicycle kick opportunity shortly after Messi’s goal, picked up a yellow card for a foul on the Barcelona star in the 58th minute and was subbed off in the 60th.

Lodeiro didn't see any time in Uruguay's second game of the round, an easy 4-0 home win against Paraguay that moved them back atop CONMEBOL qualifying. 

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