A record number of MLS players (32) have been named to international squads for the upcoming Gold Cup. Only two countries, Cuba, whose entire team is made of players from their domestic league and Panama will not have an MLS player represent them in the 2011 Gold Cup. Surprisingly, Jamaica leads all countries with nine MLS players, followed by the USA with seven and Canada with six.
Here’s a roster list for all twelve countries by SBNation that has all player club affiliations as well. MLSSoccer.com’s “Throw-In” Blog details the growing list of MLS players compared to players called up from its counter-part in Mexico, the Primera Division.
Let’s look at some of the MLS teams that will be greatly affected by their international call ups for the next few weeks…
New York Red Bulls: 5 Players – D Tim Ream (USA), F Juan Agudelo (USA), M Dwayne De Rosario (CAN), M/D Rafael Marquez (MEX), F Dane Richards (JAM)
Basically, the Red Bulls will be one of the hardest hit team just on the sheer number of their call ups. Every player listed above plays a regular role on the field for Hans Backe and he will have to go deep into his player pool to field some of those roles, especially at striker. Thierry Henry and Luke Rodgers will be up front clearly, but behind them is only rookie Corey Hertzog, who has only three late substitute appearances to his young career.
Real Salt Lake: 4 Players - D Will Johnson (CAN), F Alvaro Saborio (CRC), F Arturo Alvarez (ESA), GK Nick Rimando (USA)
Jason Kreis will be without two of his strikers for the foreseeable future, but both Saborio and Alvarez have yet to find the back of the net this season. It will be hard to replace the versatile Will Johnson in midfield, but this is one of the deepest teams in MLS. Nick Rimando is only listed as the third keeper for the USA and shouldn’t miss any time.
Sporting Kansas City: 4 Players – M Craig Rocastle (GRN), M Stephane Auvary (GUAD), M Roger Espinosa (HON), Shavar Thomas (JAM)
SKC’s biggest loss is Espinosa, who has started seven of nine MLS games this season at defense. The other players have a combined seven starts and six substitute appearances, but only Espinosa has tallied a point this season, an assist in a 3-3 draw vs. Vancouver. For a team that is about to open its new arena and is at the bottom of the table, these call ups probably can’t come at a worse time.
Los Angeles Galaxy: 2 players – GK Donovan Ricketts (JAM), F/M Landon Donovan (USA)
So, LA will be without its number one keeper and all-world superstar Landon Donovan for a while. Big deal…these guys are loaded, JP Angel, Beckham and Co. should be more than enough to pick up the slack on offense and Josh Saunders is a more than capable backup in net.
New England Revolution: 2 1 player(?) – M Shalrie Joseph (GRN), M Benny Feilhaber (USA)
Boy the Revolution have lucked out, with MLS First XI midfielder Shalrie Joseph announcing today that he will not play for Grenada in the Gold Cup and is back training with the Revs. Feilhaber picked up a knock New England’s last matchup and Alejandro Bedoya is in US camp to possibly replace him. While the injury has put his Gold Cup in jeopardy, losing both of these players during any stretch of the Gold Cup would have been disastrous for the struggling Revs.
San Jose Earthquakes: 2 players – F Chris Wondolowski, F Ryan Johnson (JAM)
San Jose could be in a world of hurt with these call ups. Wondo is the Quakes offense, as the 2010 MLS Golden Boot winner is at it again in 2011, leading the Quakes with six goals and two assists. Johnson has eight starts, two subs and two assists this season and the Quakes will likely turn to a combination of Ellis McLoughlin, Steven Lenhart and Scott Sealy up front to lead their Wondo-less offense.
If I didn’t get to your team it probably means that you didn’t have that many significant call ups. I will mention Philadelphia will lose their enigmatic striker Carlos Ruiz to Guatemala so that I don’t have to listen to Storming Owls later, but he’ll probably say it’s not much of a loss anyway. Owls also came out with a Gold Cup predictions entry, which everyone should checkout as well.
Again, new batch of MLS Power Rankings for tomorrow (hopefully in the morning...but no promises) and then the Gold Cup previews start rolling out. Not sure of my weekend schedule yet, but the USA-Spain friendly from Foxboro, Mass., will be watched at some point at probably written about as well.