Russia 2018: Every MLS Player at the World Cup

The U.S. might not be represented at the 2018 World Cup, but there are plenty of MLS connections among the 32 teams competing in the tournament.

Having reached the round of 16 in the last two World Cups, the USMNT failed to qualify for the final stage of the World Cup for the first time since the competition was held in Mexico in 1986. Despite the absence of the national team, however, there are 19 MLS players in Russia, which means the league falls just short of making the top 10 best-represented leagues at the World Cup.

Unsurprisingly, CONCACAF teams boast the largest MLS contingents. Costa Rica has six MLS players in its squad, while Panama and Mexico have five and three respectively.

Here Newsweek runs through the familiar faces to U.S. soccer fans.

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Giovani dos Santos of Mexico during the friendly between Mexico v Scotland at Estadio Azteca on June 2, 2018 in Mexico City. Hector Vivas/Getty Images

Francisco Calvo—Minnesota United, Costa Rica

The 25-year-old defender will make his World Cup debut if he plays in Russia, as he was absent four years ago. A center-back by trade, he's also comfortable at left-back, which allows him to cover two different roles in Oscar Ramirez's preferred 5-4-1 formation.

Ronald Matarrita—New York City, Costa Rica

Bryan Oviedo's understudy at left-back, the 23-year-old has already racked up 21 caps for the national team but has played the full 90 minutes only twice in the current MLS season, missing four games through injury.

Kendall Waston—Vancouver Whitecaps, Costa Rica

The center-back missed the World Cup in Brazil four years ago but scored the 95th minute equalizer in October's qualifier against Honduras that earned Costa Rica a ticket to Russia. Has played over 100 games for the Whitecaps since joining in 2014.

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Costa Rica's defender Kendall Waston (L) against England's striker Marcus Rashford during England vs Costa Rica at Elland Road, Leeds on June 7, 2018. Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty Images

David Guzman—Portland Timbers, Costa Rica

Made his national team debut in 2010 but missed the 2014 World Cup and has been in and out of the team over recent years. Started 24 of the 25 MLS games he played last season.

Rodney Wallace—New York City, Costa Rica

A regular in Costa Rica's starting XI, the New York City winger grew up in the U.S. and never played in the Costa Rican domestic league. Deployed as left-winger for club and country, he can also play as further back in midfield, as well as on the right wing.

Marco Urena—Los Angeles FC, Costa Rica

Scored the third goal in Costa Rica's historic 3-1 win against Uruguay in Los Ticos' opening game at the 2014 World Cup. Was Los Angeles FC's third pick in the 2016 MLS Expansion Draft.

Omar Gaber—Los Angeles FC, Egypt

The right-back was loaned to Los Angeles FC from Swiss club Basel in January but has only been in the squad for eight MLS matches, making just two starts. A right-back who can also play in midfield, the 26-year-old isn't a regular for his national side.

Jonathan dos Santos—Los Angeles Galaxy, Mexico

Lost his spot in the first XI after making the surprise decision of moving to the MLS from La Liga side Villarreal, where he had established himself as a regular starter. Will make his World Cup debut if he features in Russia.

Giovani dos Santos—Los Angeles Galaxy, Mexico

The eldest of the dos Santos brothers, this year's will be Giovani's third World Cup. He was voted runner-up for the FIFA Young Player of the Tournament award in 2010 and opened the scoring in Mexico's 2-1 defeat against the Netherlands in the round of 16 four years ago.

One of the most experienced and talented players in the squad, he's scored 27 goals in 80 games for the Galaxy.

Carlos Vela—Los Angeles FC, Mexico

Made himself available for selection again after opting not to play the 2014 World Cup. Only four players in Mexico's squad have scored more international goals than the former Arsenal player.

Michael Amir Murillo—New York Red Bulls, Panama

The 22-year-old has developed rapidly since moving to the Red Bulls and has made the right-back slot his own in the national team. Composed in defense, he can also be an important factor at the other end of the pitch.

Harold Cummings—San Jose Earthquakes, Panama

The center-back missed most of Panama's qualification campaign with injury problems but has since returned to full fitness and started all 10 MLS games he has played so far this season.

A tough-tackling defender, he might not be a regular starter at the World Cup.

Fidel Escobar—New York Red Bulls, Panama

One of the youngest members of Panama's squad, the center-back will compete for one of the starting spots with veteran defender Felipe Baloy. Plays alongside Murillo for the New York Red Bulls, where he's on loan from Sporting San Miguelito.

Roman Torres—Seattle Sounders, Panama

With three minutes left in Panama's last qualifier, Torres scored the winner against Costa Rica, which combined with Trinidad and Tobago's win against the U.S. took Panama to the World Cup for the first time in its history.

In 2016, Panama's captain scored the winning penalty in a shoot-out against Toronto FC as the Sounders clinched their first MLS Cup.

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Panama's Roman Torres poses after disembarking from an airplane at Saransk airport on June 7, 2018, as Panama's national football team arrives ahead of the Russia 2018 World Cup. Juan Barreto/AFP/Getty Images

Adolfo Machado—Houston Dynamo, Panama

A physically imposing central defender, Machado is one of Panama's most experienced players and one of coach Hernan Dario Gomez's preferred choices at center-back The 33-year-old was suspended for two years in 2012 after failing a doping test.

Anibal Godoy—San Jose Earthquakes, Panama

A tenacious defensive midfielder, Godoy has developed into a key player for club and country and is one of Gomez's favorite players. The 28-year-old is one of the few Panamanians to have experienced European football, having played for Hungarian side Budapest Honved.

Yoshimar Yotun—Orlando City, Peru

Began his career as left-back before moving into central midfield, the 28-year-old has been a regular for the national side over the last seven years. Spent two seasons with Swedish side Malmö before moving to Orlando.

Andy Polo—Portland Timbers, Peru

Arguably Peruvian soccer's brightest talent, he has struggled to fulfill his potential—partly because he has changed clubs six times in seven years. On loan to the Timbers from Mexican club Morelia, the 23-year-old striker is yet to find the net in the MLS.

Gustav Svensson—Seattle Sounders, Sweden

An experienced central midfielder, Svennson plied his trade in Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine and China before landing in the MLS. Not a starter for Sweden but a useful squad player, who can also play at center-back.

Russia 2018: Every MLS Player at the World Cup | Sports