Large Panama contingent heads MLS representation

A fleet of MLS players were on the field Sunday and Monday as Costa Rica and Panama, respectively, kicked off their World Cup campaigns.

Costa Rica has five current MLS players as well as three other players with MLS experience. Panama head coach Hernan Dario Gomez named 13 current or former MLS players to his 23-man squad and started eight of them in the Canaleros' opener.

Here’s a game-by-game rundown on how league players fared during the first round of group play that concluded Tuesday:
Uruguay 1 Egypt 0. Los Angeles FC midfielder Omar Gaber watched from the sidelines in Ekaterinburg as Uruguay pulled out a dramatic victory with a goal in the 89th minute.
Denmark 1 Peru 0. A key member of Peru’s midfield, Yoshi Yotun (Orlando City) started his nation’s first World Cup game in 32 years and played the entire match. He took one shot and completed 54 of 59 (92 percent) of his passes.

-- Striker Raul Ruidiaz traveled to Russia as negotiations with Seattle continued for his transfer from Mexico's Morelia continued. He came off the bench against Denmark in the 80th minute and committed one foul.

-- The Timbers signed Peruvian midfielder Andy Polo to an MLS deal in January. He did not play against the Danes.
Serbia 1 Costa Rica 0. The Costa Rican starting lineup included defender Francisco Calvo (Minnesota United), midfielder David Guzman (Portland) and striker Marco Urena (LAFC), as well as Johan Venegas, who is on loan from Minnesota to Deportivo Saprissa, Giancarlo Gonzalez, who played briefly for the Columbus Crew in 2014 before moving to Italy, and Bolanos.

Costa Rica matched Serbia in shots (10) and shots on goal (3) but was beaten on a free kick by Aleksandar Kolarov in the 56th minute. Urena managed one shot that missed the target; Calvo and Guzman were the two Costa Rica players cautioned.

-- Whitecaps centerback Kendall Waston and New York City winger Rodney Wallace didn't play. Wallace's NYCFC teammate, Ronald Matarrita, was a last-minute injury scratch from the World Cup.
Mexico 1 Germany 0. A glorious day in the long and rich history of Mexican soccer featured LAFC attacker Carlos Vela in the starting lineup. Nine minutes after Hirving Lozano finished off a swift counterattack with a low shot into the corner, Vela nearly doubled Mexico’s lead with an effort just wide of the past. It was his only attempt to score but Vela helped unhinge the German defense a few times with accurate passes and sharp runs.

-- Vela was replaced in the 59th minute by Edson Alvarez, a more defensive midfielder who shored up Mexico’s resistance. So did former Red Bull Rafa Marquez, whose substitute appearance enabled him to join ex-MetroStar Lothar Matthaeus and ex-Mexico keeper Antonio Carbajal as the only men to play in five World Cup tournaments.

-- The LA Galaxy duo of Jonathan dos Santos and Giovani dos Santos didn't play for Mexico.

Switzerland 1 Brazil 1. Blerim Dzemaili, who played for Montreal before returning to Italy this winter, to went the distance for the Swiss in their surprise 1-1 tie with Brazil.
Sweden 1 South Korea 0. Gustav Svensson of the Sounders was on the field as Sweden held on to win. He had replaced Sebastian Larsson in the 83rd minute and completed two of this three passes. Defensively he was credited with five tackles and three clearances.
Belgium 3 Panama 0. It was a learning day for the Panamanian players and their fans as Belgium took command and scored three goals in the second half. Starting for their country were defenders Michael Murillo and Fidel Escobar (both of the Red Bulls) and Roman Torres (Seattle), as well as Quakes midfielder Anibal Godoy. Murillo and Godoy were two of five Panamanians to be cautioned as they were outshot, 15-6.

-- Former MLS players Jaime Penedo (LA Galaxy), Armando Cooper (Toronto FC), Gabriel Gomez (Philadelphia) and Blas Perez (Vancouver, FC Dallas) started and Gabriel Torres (Colorado) and Luis Tejada (Real Salt Lake) came on as subs. Godoy’s San Jose teammate, Harold Cummings, and Houston defender Adolfo Machado, as well as former San Jose midfielder Alberto Quintero, did not play.
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