Orlando City SC News

International Duty Recap: Mendez, Torres to the WC; Gallese to the playoff

Christopher Adams
Uruguay v Peru - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Qualifier
Uruguay v Peru - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Qualifier / Pool/GettyImages
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Orlando's three South American internationals wrapped up the final round of World Cup Qualifying, and it was an incredibly succesful window for all three.

For Sebas Mendez and Ecuador, it was just about finishing the job. Ecuador didn't even need to win, just help from others, and qualified on the first night of the last round, even with a 3-1 loss to Paraguay. Mendez started for Ecuador in that match and played 76 minutes.

Uruguay struggled earlier in the qualifying process, but a renaissance of form under former Inter Miami head coach Diego Alonso saw La Celeste clinch another spot in the World Cup after a 1-0 win over Peru in their first match of the window. Facundo Torres did not appear in either qualifier, though former LAFC winger Diego Rossi got a rare start for Uruguay against Chile.

The biggest winner of Orlando's three representatives in this window was, by far, Peruvian goalkeeper Pedro Gallese.

Gallese and Peru got off to a rocky start to qualifying, but after a strong run of form over the final few windows, with four wins over the final six qualifiers, saw Peru clinch a cross-continental playoff spot. Peru will face either Australia or the United Arab Emirates in the June playoff.

This is a massive success for Peru, who are close to qualifying for back-to-back World Cups after a 36-year hiatus from the sport's biggest tournament. Gallese started both matches, making one save and earning a shutout against Paraguay in the decisive match. Former Lion Yoshimar Yotun scored the second goal against Paraguay, continuing to thrive for his country, even though he doesn't currently have a club team.

Overall, it was as succesful an international window for Orlando's internationals as one could reasonably hope. Torres is struggling for minutes, fighting with the likes of Rossi and Manchester United's Facundo Pellistri out wide, but clinching a spot in Qatar opens opportunities for Torres to earn a role at the biggest tournament in the world. It also presents a potentially lucrative opportunity for César Araújo to earn a spot with the full national team, as well.

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