The MLS stars who will be at the 2018 World Cup

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The United States' failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia dimmed plenty of the excitement stateside for this summer's tournament.

It also meant far fewer MLS players would be taking part in the summer showcase. The league elected to take a shorter break for 2018 than it did for the tournament four years ago. Yet, there are still plenty of MLS-based players fans can follow in Russia. Most are from the CONCACAF region, where nations like Costa Rica and Panama have seen big benefits from players going to MLS and facing tougher competition than in their domestic league.

There also are players who are set to represent teams in South America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Scroll down to see who some of the familiar faces will be at this summer's tournament.

  1. Giovani dos Santos - Mexico

    A veteran of the 2010 and 2014 World Cups, LA Galaxy attacker Giovani dos Santos looks to have earned the trust of El Tri manager Juan Carlos Osorio.
  2. Jonathan dos Santos - Mexico

    After being left off the 2010 and 2014 World Cup rosters, the younger Dos Santos looks like a lock this time around.
  3. Carlos Vela - Mexico

    The LAFC forward gives Mexico versatility in attack and should be set to return to the World Cup after missing out in 2014 because of his dispute with the Mexican federation.
  4. David Villa - Spain

    Villa earned a surprise Spain recall for a pair of matches in September but would need several things to go his way to be included in Julen Lopetegui's squad.
  5. Francisco Calvo - Costa Rica

    Calvo is looking for his first World Cup roster spot and should get it after being a fixture for the Ticos throughout qualification.
  6. Kendall Waston - Costa Rica

    The center back was a candidate for MLS Defender of the Year and scored the goal that confirmed Costa Rica's spot in Russia. 
  7. Ronald Matarrita - Costa Rica

    The Alajuelense has played for NYCFC since 2016, and Oscar Ramirez will rely on him to hold down the left side of the defense.
  8. David Guzman - Costa Rica

    The Portland Timbers midfielder has become a regular as one of Costa Rica's defensive midfielders, playing in the Gold Cup and in the fall World Cup qualifiers.
  9. Rodney Wallace - Costa Rica

    A strong season with NYCFC helped Wallace return to the national team picture in the second half of 2017 and the left-footer could make a push to be included in the final squad with a good start to 2018.
  10. Marco Urena - Costa Rica

    Often overlooked, the forward can point to a goal against Uruguay at the 2014 World Cup, a double against the U.S. and a goal against Mexico in September's qualifiers as reasons he should go to Russia. He was acquired by LAFC in the expansion draft this offseason.
  11. Roman Torres - Panama

    Torres is the smiling face of the Central American team happy to be in the World Cup for the first time. MLS attackers know that the smile disappears quickly if you cross the Seattle Sounders man on the field.
  12. Anibal Godoy - Panama

    The hard-nosed midfielder signed a deal in the offseason to stay with the San Jose Earthquakes, though he'll hope for time away in the summer for the World Cup.
  13. Adolfo Machado - Panama

    The 33-year-old Houston Dynamo center back brings experience and versatility to the Panama back line.
  14. Fidel Escobar - Panama

    The 23-year-old center back is firmly back in the picture for the Caneleros after starting 2017 in a bit of disciplinary trouble. The Red Bulls player should push for a starting role.
  15. Michael Murillo - Panama

    The New York Red Bulls fullback started four qualifiers for Panama and should figure in Hernan "Bolillo" Gomez's plans for Russia.
  16. Harold Cummings - Panama

    After recovering from a broken leg, the San Jose Earthquakes center back has work to do but could find his way into the final 23-man list with a good start to the 2018 campaign.
  17. Laurent Ciman - Belgium

    The newly minted LAFC center back might not have the global recognition some of his teammates on the 5th-ranked country in the world do, but he's been a regular for Roberto Martinez and gives defensive depth.
  18. Nicolas Lodeiro - Uruguay

    The Seattle Sounders playmaker is set to link up with his friends Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani as La Celeste look to improve on 2014's elimination at the round of 16.
  19. Omar Gaber - Egypt

    The LAFC defender isn't a lock for The Pharaohs, but he has appeared on rosters as recently as November's qualifier against Ghana. Starting well for Bob Bradley this year would boost his case.
  20. Kim Kee-Hee - South Korea

    The Sounders recently welcomed Kim, who suited up for The Reds six times during qualification. He'll have to push past Roman Torres and Chad Marshall to keep getting minutes at club level.
  21. Gustav Svensson - Sweden

    Svensson took part in the playoff to get Sweden past Italy and into the World Cup. Even so, Janne Andersson has plenty of options, so Svensson may have work to do to make the final list.
  22. Yoshimar Yotun - Peru

    There could be a trio of MLS players in the first Peru side to contest the World Cup since 1982. Yoshimar Yotun's spot is the most secure. The midfielder has 70 caps and is a fixture in the middle.
  23. Andy Polo - Peru

    Even when he was seeing spot duty with Morelia, Polo was involved in Peru's World Cup qualification campaign. More minutes with the Timbers could lock up the versatile attacker's spot.
  24. Yordy Reyna - Peru

    The Vancouver Whitecaps forward hasn't score recently for Peru and didn't get off the bench in the playoff games against New Zealand. Still, Ricardo Gareca may take Reyna as a player who can provide a boost as an attacking substitute.