An early look at how MLSers are faring in their September call-ups

It's only Thursday, but already plenty of faces familiar to MLS fans have contributed in the start of a busy FIFA international match window. Let's take a closer look.

The road to Qatar

In one the highest-stakes match played by any MLS-based players so far this window, Real Salt Lake's Sam Johnson scored the final goal of Liberia's 3-1 World Cup qualifying victory over Sierra Leone and Colorado Rapids striker Kei Kamara.

The victory opens a two-leg, home-and-home tie in the first round of African qualifying for the FIFA 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The winner advances into one of 10 groups of four teams in the second round-robin stage.

In the second round of Asian World Cup qualifying Thursday, Vancouver Whitecaps fullback Ali Adnan and Atlanta United winger Justin Meram helped Iraq earn a 1-1 draw away to Bahrain Thursday. Iraq next plays Hong Kong on Oct. 10 in their group round robin.

2020 in focus

Robin Lod in action for Finland | Reuters

Minnesota United winger Robin Lod and Montreal Impact defender Jukka Raitala went the full 90 in Finland's 1-0 win over Greece. Rasmus Schuller, Lod's Loons teammate, made a very late cameo for the Finns, who sit second halfway through Group J with the top 2 teams automatically reaching the tournament.

Sporting Kansas City defender Nicolas Hasler went 90 minutes in Lichtenstein's 5-0 loss to Bosnia, who are third behind Finland.

Friendly fire

SKC attacker Krisztian Nemeth went 90 minutes for Hungary in a 2-1 loss to Montenegro, while his club and international teammate Botond Barath played the opening half. San Jose Earthquakes playmaker Vako went 80 minutes for Georgia and nabbed an assist in a 2-2 draw against South Korea, while his teammate for club and country, defender Guram Kashia, went the full 90.

Portland Timbers midfielder Cristhian Paredes played 45 minutes of Paraguay's 2-0 defeat to Japan, while New York Red Bulls winger Kaku remained on the bench for the duration.

The future is now

In youth international action, the US U-17 national team played five MLS players and four more academy prospects in a 2-1 victory over Mexico, with FC Dallas striker Ricardo Pepi scoring the winner in the Four Nations Tournament opener on Thursday.


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