With MLS resuming this weekend and Toronto FC preparing for an away trip to face FC Cincinnati on Saturday, the Reds who were on international duty are making their way back into the squad.
Five TFC players saw action for their respective international sides over the break – Eriq Zavaleta (El Salvador), Kemar Lawrence (Jamaica), Yeferson Soteldo (Venezuela), Jonathan Osorio and Richie Laryea (Canada) – as qualifying for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar is heating up.
Liam Fraser, on loan with the Columbus Crew, was also part of the Canadian squad.
Eriq Zavaleta - El Salvador
Zavaleta started all three of El Salvador’s games as the Third Round of Concacaf Qualifying, the Octagonal, got under way.
They began the window with a 0-0 draw at home against the USA and followed that up with another home scoreless draw against Honduras where Zavaleta saw a yellow card and came off in the 63rd minute.
Zavaleta, a key cog of a back-line that kept a pair of clean-sheets through the opening two matches, wore the armband for La Selecta in a 3-0 loss against Canada, playing on the away side at his home stadium against two of his teammates.
Kemar Lawrence - Jamaica
Lawrence played all 270-plus minutes for his nation during the break.
Jamaica opened the window with a 2-1 loss away to Mexico and were stung at home in the second game, falling 3-0 to visiting Panama.
The Reggae Boyz would close out the window away to Costa Rica, picking up a valuable road point with a 1-1 draw with Lawrence delivering the inviting cross to Shamar Nicholson that led to their equalizer.
Yeferson Soteldo - Venezuela
Further afield, Yeferson Soteldo’s Venezuela lost their first two matches of the Conmebol qualifying process, falling 3-1 at home against Argentina and 1-0 away to Peru.
Soteldo drew and converted the late consolation penalty kick that resulted in Venezuela’s only goal against Leo Messi and reigning Copa América champions Argentina – he received a yellow earlier in the match. And he started in the losing effort against Peru where, despite going down a man, Soteldo was able to craft one of the better chances of the game before coming off after 69 minutes.
La Vinotinto will play their third match this evening when they travel to face Paraguay.
Richie Laryea - Canada
Laryea started all three matches for Canada as the side went unbeaten through this opening week of Concacaf qualifying.
Canada drew 1-1 in both their first two matches, at home to Honduras and away to the USA, before the big 3-0 win over Zavaleta’s El Salvador at BMO Field.
Laryea was his usual energetic, tenacious self throughout: a constant forward threat he was involved in the build-up that led to the equalizing penalty kick from Cyle Larin against Honduras and picked up an early yellow card against the US in his ongoing battles with Christian Pulisic & Antonee Robinson defending Canada’s right side on the night.
Back on the left, Laryea played the cut-back that led to Atiba Hutchinson’s opening goal in Canada’s win over El Salvador.
Jonathan Osorio - Canada
Osorio was held in reserve by John
Herdman through Canada’s opening match, coming on in the 77th minute of the draw against the US with Canada looking the more likely of the sides to find a winner.
Inserted into the lineup for Canada’s third match, Osorio, fielded in an attacking midfielder’s position, was in the middle of the action.
He, like Laryea in front of the BMO faithful, was involved in the build-up for Canada’s opener before making way for fresh legs in the 70th minute. Osorio then led the Canadians in a round of the Viking Clap at the South End following the match.