Colombia boss Pekerman compliments MLS, Union's Valdes ahead of friendly in New Jersey

The coach lauded the American league's growing quality while singling out the Philadelphia Union captain, who will be part of Los Cafeteros for Wednesday's match against Brazil.
Colombia's influence on Major League Soccer is evident, with the country supplying 31 natives to the league's player pool, the most of any non-United States nation.

In turn, MLS is starting to have an impact on the Colombian national team, one that is set to play Brazil on Wednesday in a friendly at New Jersey's Met Life Stadium.

"If you watch the games with an analytical eye you can find (Colombians) that have the level to be at the national team," Colombia coach Jose Pekerman said at a press conference Tuesday. "MLS has a good amount of good players mixed with experienced players.

"I watch the games regulary. It's a league in a very interesting growing pace. It's competitive and has a lot of good players. I see it is growing in all aspects, and the only thing I can say play against the league is its long offseason. But that happens in other leagues where good players are playing too."

One of those Colombia-caliber MLS players who will be suiting up for Los Cafeteros on Wednesday will be Philadelphia Union captain and central defender Carlos Valdes, who was called into the team after a strong MLS campaign, one that saw him earn All-Star honors.

Pekerman noted that Valdes will be looking to play or train elsewhere during the lengthy MLS offseason (one that continues to get shorter as the league lengthens its schedule -- the Dec. 1 date for MLS Cup is the latest in league history), and that if he is unable to come to an agreement that the national team would lend a helping hand.

"Carlos (Valdés) is an important player for us," Pekerman said. "He is trying to work something out with the league and his team to play during the offseason, but if that is not possible, we would help him with a training program."

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