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: Friday
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. Saturday 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. Sunday
Serbia 1 Costa Rica 0.
The Costa Rican starting lineup included defender Francisco Calvo
(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
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
, 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
-- The LA Galaxy duo of Jonathan dos Santos
and Giovani dos Santos
didn't play for Mexico. Switzerland 1 Brazil 1
, 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. Monday Sweden 1 South Korea 0. Gustav Svensson
of the Sounders was on the field as Sweden held on to
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
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
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
and Houston defender Adolfo Machado
, as well as former San Jose midfielder Alberto Quintero
, did not play.