Maybe it should not be this way, but I just cannot help it.
It always fills my heart with happy song when MLS men get plucked for duty in big World Cup qualifiers beyond our own region.
No offense to Canada, Costa Rica, Honduras and the United States, etc., the countries that make up our own region. I raise I glass to each and every member who gains the honor of representing his land in international athletic competition.
But when an MLS man actually travels beyond CONCACAF borders, it just seems right to not just raise a glass, but perhaps to break out the really good stuff.
So, congratulations to Alvaro Fernandez, the Chicago Fire midfielder who has been summoned for Uruguay’s coming pair of World Cup qualifiers.
The Uruguayans – Fernandez was part of his country’s 2010 World Cup side in South Africa – have a pair of tough ones ahead. They meet South American standouts Argentina on Oct. 12 in Mendoza, Argentina, and then travel to the Bolivian capital of La Paz for an Oct. 16 meeting.
La Paz sits at just under 12,000 feet elevation, making it among the toughest places in the world to play. Honestly, I don’t know how anybody walks from the living room to the bathroom there without stopping to catch their breath, much less run up and down a soccer field.
The current South American standings (top four qualify; fifth-place goes into intercontinental playoff):