SEATTLE, WASH. – Seven Sounders FC players have been called into international duty for 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers during the upcoming international break. Clint Dempsey (USA), Nicolás Lodeiro (Uruguay), Román Torres (Panama), Joevin Jones (Trinidad & Tobago), Gustav Svensson (Sweden) and Nouhou (Cameroon) are all set to represent their respective countries as they vie for a spot in the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. Additionally, Oniel Fisher is set to participate in a friendly against Saudi Arabia, as the Reggae Boyz have already been eliminated from World Cup contention.
Dempsey and the U.S. Men's National Team face Panama in Orlando on October 6 before traveling to Couva to face Trinidad & Tobago on October 10. Dempsey has 139 career international caps and 57 goals, needing just one goal to become the all-time leading scorer for the United States Men's National Team, as the Nacogdoches native is currently tied with Landon Donovan with 57 career international tallies. The USMNT currently sits in the fourth in the Hex heading into these last two fixtures with nine points (2-3-3), needing to finish fourth or higher to avoid elimination from qualification.
Torres (85 international caps, 13 goals) captains Panama against Dempsey and the USMNT on October 6 before playing his final 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier for Los Canaleros against Costa Rica on October 10. Panama currently sits in third place in the Hex with 10 points (2-2-4), one point ahead of the USMNT.
The top three teams that emerge from the Hex automatically qualify for Russia, while the fourth-place team from CONCACAF must face the fifth-place side from the AFC in an inter-confederation playoff to make the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Before the October 10 match against Dempsey and the U.S. Men’s National Team, Jones (65 caps, 6 goals) represents Trinidad & Tobago against Mexico on October 7. Trinidad & Tobago are currently at the bottom of the Hex with three points through eight games (1-7-0) and has been eliminated from World Cup contention.
Lodeiro is set to join Uruguay for the final pair of CONMEBOL qualifiers at Venezuela on October 5 and at home against Bolivia on October 10. Lodeiro has 51 caps and four goals for Uruguay, who currently sits second in the table for CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifying with 27 points (8-5-3), with the top five teams advancing to Russia.
Svensson joins Sweden for the second consecutive FIFA international window as Blågult aim to qualify for Russia with its final two UEFA World Cup Qualifiers of the Group Stage. Sweden first hosts Luxembourg on October 7 before traveling to Amsterdam to face the Netherlands on October 10. Svensson has seven career caps after making his first international appearance since January of 2016 in the last window. Sweden is currently second in Group A with 16 points (5-2-1), one point behind France and three points clear of the Netherlands. The top team in each group automatically qualifies for Russia, while the top eight runners-up (of nine groups) compete in a playoff this November for the final four UEFA World Cup spots.
Still looking for his first international cap, Nouhou earns his second consecutive call-up for Cameroon and joins the squad for a qualifier against Algeria at home on October 7. Cameroon has three points (0-1-3) in Group B of the Group Stage of AFCON 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying, and is already eliminated from 2018 FIFA World Cup contention. Cameroon’s final Group Stage match comes on November 6 at Zambia.
Fisher has been called into Jamaica for a friendly against Saudi Arabia on October 7 at King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh. Fisher has eight caps for Reggae Boyz, who did not qualify for the Hex.
With just three matches remaining in the 2017 campaign, Sounders FC faces the Philadelphia Union today, with a win clinching the club its ninth consecutive berth in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs. Kickoff is set for 10:00 a.m. PT at Talen Energy Stadium, with a nationally televised broadcast on ESPN.