Facundo Torres, Sebas Mendez and Pedro Gallese to Represent Their Countries in WC Qualifiers
Three Orlando City players will be involved in the upcoming round of World Cup qualifiers, looking to secure a spot in the sport's biggest competition for their countries. Uruguayan Facundo Torres, Ecuadorian Sebas Mendez and Peruvian Pedro Gallese will all join their national teams for the upcoming international window. All three represented their countries in the last qualifying window, as well. Uruguayan midfielder César Araújo was not called back into the national squad for this pivotal window.
All three countries are still fighting for a spot in the tournament, sitting in the last three qualifying spots. Mendez's Ecuador is closest to qualifying, holding a three-point advantage on Torres's Uruguay for the third qualifying spot. Gallese and Peru occupy the fifth spot, which would send them to a cross-continental playoff. Peru is two points ahead of Chile for that playoff spot.
Peru will play Uruguay in the first match of qualifying, with the winner taking control of the final automatic qualification spot. Uruguay will also face Chile, a match that could secure at least a playoff spot for all three of Orlando's South American representatives.
Gallese has long been the starting goalkeeper for Peru and one of the best performers in all of CONMEBOL. Mendez has occasionally been a starter for Ecuador, but is mostly a key reserve. Torres is still on the fringes of the Uruguayan squad, playing limited minutes for one of the more talented national teams in the western hemisphere.
This will cause issues for Orlando City, as the Lions travel to Portland in the middle of the international break. It's a limited MLS slate next weekend due to World Cup qualifying, with just three games. Orlando will travel to Portland for a nationally televised showdown, but won't have two starters and a key reserve available. This will likely be Mason Stajduhar's first opportunity between the sticks this season and The Lions could also be without striker Ercan Kara, but he's not expected to join the Austrian National Team this window.