Colombia’s American exports: MLS XI

Fredy Montero takes on Jair Benitez

Colombia is a country known for its exports to the United States, flooding the American market with coffee, cocaine and more recently, Major League Soccer players.  The country with the most MLS players is of course the US, but in second is not Canada – home of 3 MLS teams – but Colombia.  Vancouver’s reluctance to use homegrown players may be partly to blame, but there are a variety of reasons for the amount of imported Colombian in the league.

Colombia’s Primera A had a period of fame in the 1950s and again in the early 90s, but its clubs have since suffered in a bid to clear their names of the narcotráfico that financed the recent boom.  Despite a strong footballing infrastructure, the standard of living can’t match the money on offer in countries like Brazil, Argentina and Mexico, where Colombian talent has thrived.  Now that MLS is a viable option, for a player to move their families to the US is seen as upwardly mobile in a country where millions live on less than a dollar a day.

The Colombian players in the league, satisfied by the style of play and the regular paycheques, recommend it to their former teammates; for thier part, MLS clubs appreciate the value for money that the Colombian players offer.  One of these players was in the country’s squad for the October 16 friendly against Cameroon, Philadelphia Union centre back Carlos Valdes; he was reunited with 41-year-old former Union goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon who left for hometown club Deportivo Cali this year.  Colombians are starting to take note of the league’s profile, with Seattle Sounders striker Fredy Montero among the players hoping to catch head coach José Pekerman’s eye.  There’s almost a whole squad of potential call-ups in the league.  Here’s how Pekerman might line them up:

RB: Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (Seattle)
CB: Jámison Olave (Salt Lake)
CB: Carlos Valdés (Philadelphia)
LB: Jair Benítez (Dallas)
RM: Jaime Castrillón (Colorado)
CM: Diego Chará (Portland)
CM: David Ferreira (Dallas)
LM: Fernando Cárdenas (New England)
ST: Juan Pablo Ángel (Chivas USA)
ST: Fredy Montero (Seattle)

Just missing a goalkeeper.  Is Rene Higuita available?

Just missing a goalkeeper. Is Rene Higuita available?

D: Wilman Conde (New York)
D: Nelson Rivas (Montreal)
D: Hanyer Mosquera (Portland)
M: Roger Torres (Philadelphia)
M: Fabian Castillo (Dallas)
M: Juan Toja (New England)
F: Lionard Pajoy (DC United)


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About canadianfootball

Student of the game. @scott_ferguson

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