Valentin Castellanos - NYCFC - Celebrating
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Conmebol Olympic qualifiers: Mixed fortunes for MLS players in final group stage openers

The final group stage of Conmebol Pre-Olympic qualifiers were held Monday night, and four different MLS players featured for countries hoping to make the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

Argentina kicked matters off with a 3-2 win over Uruguay, with New York City FC forward Valentin Castellanos subbing on in the 84th minute for La Albiceleste to help preserve the three points. Meanwhile, newly-acquired LAFC midfielder Francisco Ginella started and played 80 minutes in Uruguay's defeat, while LAFC winger Diego Rossi was absent from the matchday squad due to yellow-card accumulation.

The other match saw Brazil draw Colombia, 1-1, with a pair of LAFC teammates – midfielder Eduard Atuesta and center back Eddie Segura – both playing the 90 minutes for La Tricolor.

To reach this stage, Argentina and Colombia advanced as the top two teams in Group A, while Group B was topped by Brazil and Uruguay. From the four-team final group stage, only the top two teams will advance and be South America’s representatives in Tokyo.

Much can change over the final two matchdays, with Thursday seeing Brazil take on Uruguay and Argentina face off against Colombia. The final deciders will be held Sunday, with Colombia-Uruguay featuring up to four LAFC players and Argentina-Brazil a headliner between two traditional Conmebol powerhouses.

Last year, Atuesta, Rossi and Segura were all part of the LAFC side that won the Supporters’ Shield with a record-setting 72 points and plus-48 goal differential. The Black & Gold signed Ginella this offseason from Montevideo Wanderers, and Castellanos was part of last year’s Eastern Conference-topping NYCFC side, having supplied 11 goals and seven assists.