International call-ups have become a good
problem for MLS clubs to have.
As better players are attracted to MLS and clubs play a higher level of play, drawing more national teams to follow players in MLS, the number of players called up for international duty increases.
For the October windows, seven players alone from Peru -- the 2019 Copa America runner-up -- were picked.
The problem is the current COVID-19 pandemic has created all kinds of scheduling issues.
To get in as many games as possible this fall, MLS is playing through the October window, going full blast with 39 games during the 10-day window that opened Monday. They include 13 midweek games both this week and next. By contrast, there were no MLS games during the 2019 October window because the league ended the regular season earlier than usual. In 2018, just five games were played in the October window.
Not only will players called up for international duty miss three MLS games during the October window, but they will have to self-quarantine for a minimum 10 days after their return, according to MLS's COVID-19 protocols. (To compound matters slightly, UEFA has added an extra day to its window, finishing next Wednesday, in order to allow teams to play three games, instead of two, during the window.)
In all, 36 MLS players were called up by foreign national teams. (The USA and Canada will again sit out the FIFA window.) Only 29 players are leaving, though. FIFA's rules have been modified to allow clubs to refuse to release players if they have to quarantine, according to local health authorities, for five of more days.
All four D.C. United players -- Edison Flores (Peru), Junior Moreno (Venezuela), Yordy Reyna (Peru) and Erik Sorga (Estonia) -- and three of four NYCFC players -- Alexander Callens (Peru), Maxime Chanot (Luxembourg) and Anton Tinnerholm (Sweden) -- have not joined their national teams.
Alexandru Mitrita will stay with NYCFC. Mitrita, who scored twice in each of NYCFC's last two games, both wins, was released to join Romania's national team so he could also attend to a personal matter back home. His recent value to NYCFC has been more important because it has lost Heber and Maxi Moralez with knee injuries.
Also not traveling are Montreal goalkeeper Clement Diop (Senegal) and Philadelphia midfielder Jose Martinez (Venezuela).
The conflicts in November will continue. MLS won't be playing in the November window -- unless regular-season games need to be made up -- but MLS's quarantine rules for returning players might sideline many stars for the start of playoffs. (No dates have been announced for the 2020 playoffs that will end with MLS Cup on Dec. 12.)
October missing players (Eastern Conference):
Chicago (2): Gaston Gimenez (Paraguay), Miguel Navarro (Venezuela)
Inter Miami (1): Rodolfo Pizarro (Mexico)
Minnesota United (1): Jan Gregus (Slovakia)
Montreal (2): Lassi Lappalainen (Finland), Jukka Raitala (Finland)
NYCFC (1): Alexandru Mitrita (Romania)
NY Red Bulls (2): Cristian Casseres Jr. (Venezuela), Kaku (Paraguay)
Orlando City (2): Pedro Gallese (Peru), Jhegson Mendez (Ecuador)
October missing players (Western Conference):
LAFC (4): Jose Cifuentes (Ecuador), Diego Palacios (Ecuador), Brian Rodriguez (Uruguay), Diego Rossi (Uruguay)
LA Galaxy (2): Jonathan dos Santos (Mexico), Rolf Feltscher (Venezuela)
Portland (1): Andy Polo (Peru)
Real Salt Lake (1): Albert Rusnak (Slovakia)
San Jose (3): Guram Kashia (Georgia), Marcos Lopez (Peru), Vako (Georgia)
Seattle (3): Xavier Arreaga (Ecuador), Raul Ruidiaz (Peru), Gustav Svensson (Sweden)
Sporting KC (1): Alan Pulido (Mexico)
Vancouver (1): Jasser Khmiri (Tunisia)