Ten Latin American Soccer Players to Follow up in MLS
Ten Latin American Soccer Players to Follow up in MLS
The twenty-third season of the Major League Soccer (MLS), in United States, has got a great Latin protagonist role because 121 soccer players from the region are distributed in the twenty three teams that are fighting to win the title of the league that keeps on growing, and that, at present, it is considered the sixth most important in the world, if we consider the amount of fans who pay for entering the stadiums.
Argentina and Costa Rica are the Latin American countries with more representations in the MLS campaign in 2018. A sum of 22 Argentinians play in the League and it doesn´t seem to be a casualty that Atlanta United Club, directed by Gerardo “Tata” Martino, is the one with more South Americans in the team: four members; while thirteen Costa Rican players fight in the season. Houston Dynamo and Portland Timbers are the ones which have opened larger spaces for Latin players among the different teams, since in their teams there are 12 players from the area. Dynamo counts with three Hondurans, two Salvadorians and Colombians, one Argentinian, one Brazilian, one Guatemalan, one Panamanian, and one from Venezuela. Timbers included three Costa Ricans and Colombians, two Argentinians, a Salvadorian, a Paraguayan, and one more from Puerto Rico.
The cancelation of NASL has left a free way for MLS in the United States. Last year, an average of 22 million people attended the stadiums to watch the soccer matches of a tournament won by Toronto FC. This mean of attendance placed MLS as the sixth league, only surpassed by Bundesliga, Premier, the League, the Mexican League and A Series. The benefits of the MLS got close to 800 million dollars, very much under the four main professional leagues in the United States (NFL, NBA, MLB y NHL), but it is a sufficient amount to place the event as the seventh of more incomes in the world of soccer.
In 2017, the entering of Atlanta United gave an impulse to MLS, because in the club modern stadium, an average per match of 40 thousand paid for entering there. For 2018, the league hopes that the new franchise that joins the tournament, Los Angeles FC, also contributes to increase the interest of the Latin communities for the MLS.
The format of the tournament comprises two conferences: The East, where eleven clubs are participating, and The West which has twelve teams. The first six in the position table of each conference will continue to play-offs, although, there is a new detail: the ones in the first two positions of both conferences will go straight to the semifinal phase.
Which Latin soccer players will call more attention in this campaign of the MLS? PanamericanWorld proposes to get closer to ten of them who are referents for their clubs.
Carlos Vela (Mexico - Los Ángeles FC)
This forward player surprised everyone when he announced that he was going to leave Real Sociedad, in the Spanish League, to sign up with Los Angeles FC, the new team of the MLS. His coming into the tournament has arisen many expectations and, for sure, his presence will call the attention of many Mexican fans that are from the populated city, where Galaxy is the most important club.
Ezequiel Barco (Argentina - Atlanta United)
Being only 18 years old, Barco has become the most expensive player so far in the MLS. After shining in Independent and in the Argentinian juvenile selection, “Tata” Martino wanted to have him in the team and Atlanta United paid 15 million dollars for his transference.
Giovani Dos Santos (Mexico - Los Ángeles Galaxy)
After having played for Barcelona, Tottenham, Galatasaray, Santander´s Racing, Mallorca and Villareal, Dos Santos came into Los Angeles Galaxy with the idea to become the star of the greatest franchise of the MLS. In his first three years in the club, this Mexican has been a little below than it was expected because in 74 matches he has scored 26 goals; notwithstanding, he keeps on being reference for his teams attacks.
Diego Valeri (Argentina - Portland Timbers)
Valeri was recognized as the most valuable player (JMV) of the 2017 season and undoubtedly as the most outstanding Latin American in MLS, with a score of 21 goals. Could he get closer to these figures in this campaign? Timbers expects that this Argentinian player comes again to be the leader of the team which has great hopes to be in the finals.
Alberth Elis (Honduras - Houston Dynamo)
In his debut in MLS, with Dynamo, this Honduran caused a very good impression and he was the ninth Latin who scored more goals in 2017. He is only 22 years old and he has a promising future ahead of him.
Federico Higuaín (Argentina - Columbus Crew)
Gonzalo´s oldest brother got to recover from last year´s injuries and his very good participations in the matches were essential for the classification of Columbus for the play-offs. Although he did not scored many goals (only nine), he showed his great talent. He was given the prize “Best Return of the Year in the MLS.
Miguel Almirón (Paraguay - Atlanta United)
“Tata” Martino also wanted to include this Paraguayan in his team, who gave a good impression in Lanus. During his first season in Atlanta United, Almiron responded positively to the trust deposited by the Technical Director and he scored nine goals in thirty matches and also provided the ball eight times. He was one of the strongest nominated for the JMV prize finally obtained by Valeri.
Román Torres (Panama - Seattle Sounders)
This Panamanian defense, one of the heroes for the classification of Panama for Russia World Cup in 2018, is regular in Sounders and in the season of 2017 he was recognized, second year in a row, as the best Latin in MLS. Seattle renewed his contract.
Kendall Watson (Costa Rica - Vancouver Whitecaps)
This great central defense from Costa Rica (1.96 meters tall) is the most important man in the defense of the Whitecaps from Vancouver. He came into the MLS in 2014 and in two seasons (2015 and 2017) he has been included in the ideal team of the league.
Darixon Vuelto (Honduras - Portland Timbers)
The talented Honduran will have his debut in MLS with Timbers, the team that offered him a contract for three years. He played for some time with Tenerife, from Spain, in the second league, but there he did not get outstanding results; notwithstanding, Portland trusts he can complete his development and could help the club.