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Current (and former) LAFC players headed to 2022 World Cup

Plenty to track from a black-and-gold perspective.

Philadelphia Union v Los Angeles Football Club: - 2022 MLS Cup Final Photo by Omar Vega/Getty Images

LAFC have five currently rostered players headed to the 2022 World Cup, and a few more former players en route as well. Given LAFC have been around just five years, that’s pretty good.

Obviously, this is a rather odd World Cup, coming in a country that previously had just one FIFA-approved soccer stadium and allegedly granted the bid to host in a cloud of corruption. Add to it the workers’ rights issues in the run up to the tournament and then moving the whole thing to the fall, as the Qatari climate is forbidding and climate change is probably making it all worse, and it’s all surreal. If you want to sit this one out, I certainly don’t blame you, and if you want to watch as always, that’s your right.

Here’s the rundown of the black-and-gold players, present and past, who are on the plane to the World Cup, officially.

Kellyn Acosta

The midfielder is on the United States roster and his selection is not a surprise, considering how much of a fixture he’s been for Gregg Berhalter. Will he see a lot of playing time in Qatar? That’s another story, and we’ll see what happens.

Here’s the USMNT’s Group B schedule:

  • Monday: USA vs. Wales
  • Nov. 25 (Black Friday): USA vs. England
  • Nov. 29: USA vs. Iran

Jose Cifuentes, Diego Palacios, Sebas Mendez

LAFC have not one, not two, but three players on Ecuador’s team. After many appeals about the eligibility of another player, Byron Castillo, who allegedly lied about his citizenship to get called up, Ecuador will remain in the World Cup (with Castillo left home).

I don’t know if any of the LAFC guys will start all the way — Palacios keeps getting called up and not getting played, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. But here’s La Tri’s Group A schedule, including the opening match of the whole tournament:

  • Sunday: Qatar vs. Ecuador
  • Nov. 25 (Black Friday): Netherlands vs. Ecuador
  • Nov. 29: Ecuador vs. Senegal

Gareth Bale

Listen, Bale’s stint with LAFC didn’t light the world on fire, aside from a couple very notable goals, including a goal that helped win MLS Cup. He did his part to help LAFC win the double, and so the gamble to sign him while he’s got an eye fully on this World Cup with Wales is fair enough. He helped LAFC find success, so now he can live the dream as the Welsh captain at the World Cup in Group B:

  • Monday: Wales vs. USA
  • Nov. 25 (Black Friday): Wales vs. Iran
  • Nov. 29: Wales vs. England

Former players

Three former LAFC guys are headed to the World Cup, too. Walker Zimmerman (2018-19) will be on the USMNT squad, and is likely to start for the Americans.

Mark-Anthony Kaye (2018-20) is part of a historic trek to the World Cup, as Canada’s men haven’t been since 1986. The midfielder/defender is likely to play a real role in Les Rouges’ Group F schedule: Wednesday vs. Belgium; Nov. 27 vs. Croatia; and Dec. 1 vs. Morocco.

Meanwhile, Kim Moon-hwan (2021-22) returned to the K-League system to help his cause to get on the plane for South Korea, and it worked out. The right back will try to help his country’s cause in Group H: Thanksgiving vs. Uruguay; Nov. 28 vs. Ghana; Dec. 2 vs. Portugal.

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