The 2021 Copa America group stages have concluded, with eight lucky teams making it through to the quarter-finals. The following nations qualified for the knockout round: Argentina, Ecuador, Uruguay, Colombia, Brazil, Chile, Peru and Paraguay.
Games are set to begin on Friday with Peru against Paraguay, followed by host nation Brazil facing off against a solid Chile in Rio de Janeiro. Most qualified nations boast at least one Major League Soccer player. Players like Peru’s Pedro Gallese from Orlando City and Alexander Callens from New York City FC have thrived so far, while Colombia’s Yimmi Chara from the Portland Timbers are still searching for minutes.
Here’s everything you need to know about MLS involvement in Copa America…
Peru boasts three Major League Soccer players: Pedro Gallese (Orlando City), Alexander Callens (NYCFC) and Marcos Lopez (San Jose Earthquakes.) All three players played a pivotal role in their nation’s group stage campaign, becoming regulars in Ricardo Gareca’s starting 11.
Peru has shocked thus far, progressing to the next round in Group B’s second place behind Brazil with seven points. They kick off their knockout stage campaign on Friday against Paraguay.
Paraguay called up Chicago Fire’s Gaston Gimenez for their 2021 Copa America campaign. Though the player has not featured all too often for Paraguay, he might find some minutes against Peru on Friday.
Paraguay enters the quarter-finals after finished in third place in Group A, shockingly trumping Chile by one point.
Portland Timbers player Felipe Mora moves on with Chile to the knockout stage. Mora’s involvement in the tournament has been quite limited, remaining on the sidelines for the entire group stage phase.
Chile disappointed fans, entering the tournament as one of the favorites before finding themselves in fourth place in Group A with only one win in four matches.
Portland Timbers player Yimmi Chara stands as the sole MLS representative for Colombia. Despite his excitement to feature in the tournament, his involvement has been restricted.
He managed to make the bench during the match against Venezuela, but remained on the sidelines for the entire 90 minutes. The nation recorded one win in four matches during the group stage.
Ecuador called up three MLS players: Diego Palacios (LAFC), Xavier Arreaga (Seattle Sounders) and Jhegson Mendez (Orlando City.) All three players hope to feature against tournament favorites Argentina in their knockout stage fixture set for Saturday in Goiânia.
Ecuador nearly missed out on the quarter-finals, barely edging out Venezuela by one point to qualify.