The 2021 Major League Soccer season is currently on pause as players depart from their club teams and join their respective national squads. This two-week international break kicks off a summer filled with the global game with the Concacaf Gold Cup and CONMEBOL Copa America also starting in July.
Nashville SC has four players that will be representing their countries: Jhonder Cádiz (Venezuela), Aníbal Godoy (Panama), Alistair Johnston (Canada) and Randall Leal (Costa Rica).
As these players represent their national teams, we’ll keep you updated on how they’re doing abroad. Here’s what you need to know about the Boys in Gold on international duty:
Jhonder Cádiz - Venezuela
Cádiz was named to the final roster for Venezuela as they head to the CONMEBOL Copa América tournament beginning this weekend. Its first match is against Brazil at 4 p.m. CT on Sunday, June 13. Rosters are TBA. This will be his first time at South America’s premier international tournament.
The Vinotinto forward wrapped up the latest round of CONMEBOL FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ Qualifiers this week with another appearance off the bench for Venezuela, playing 11 minutes in a 0-0 draw with Uruguay. The forward’s two appearances during this window were his first caps for La Vinotinto since June 2019.
Aníbal Godoy - Panama
Godoy returned to the Panama lineup with a bang on Tuesday, starting and scoring a world-class opening goal to help lead Los Canaleros to a 3-0 win over the Dominican Republic. In the 8’ minute, he brought down a defensive clearance and rifled a left-footed volley past the goalkeeper. The goal was Godoy’s second all-time for Panama and his first since 2014.
The win secured a berth in the second round of Concacaf FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ Qualifiers. Panama will now face Curacao in a two-legged series, with the winner advancing to the third round against the top teams in Concacaf, including the U.S. and Mexico. The first leg will take place on Saturday, June 12 at 6:05 p.m. CT, with the second leg kicking off on Tuesday, June 15 at 7:00 p.m. CT.
Alistair Johnston - Canada
Johnston started and played the full 90 minutes in Canada’s 4-0 win over Suriname on Tuesday night. The second-year pro had a strong night on the back line, making feeds towards Canada’s dangerous forwards. He nearly sprung Jonathan David for the opening goal in the 17’ minute, but his point-blank effort was saved. Johnston’s performance won him praise from his head coach John Herdman and Canadian soccer fans alike.
The win propelled Canada into the second round of Concacaf FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ Qualifiers, where a two-legged clash with Haiti awaits. The first leg will be on Saturday, June 12 at 4:00 p.m. CT, with the second leg kicking off on Tuesday, June 15 at 8:05 p.m. CT.
Randall Leal - Costa Rica
Leal wrapped up the international break with a 45-minute appearance off the bench in a friendly loss to the U.S. on Wednesday. He faced off against Nashville SC teammate Walker Zimmerman, who was called up to the USMNT for this friendly.
Prior to the friendly. Leal started for Costa Rica in both of its CONCACAF Nations League matches, playing 85 minutes in a semifinal loss to Mexico on penalties on Thursday, and going 58 minutes in a third-place match loss to Honduras on penalties on Sunday night.
Walker Zimmerman - United States
The 2020 MLS Defender of the Year earned his 14th U.S. Men’s National Team cap against Costa Rica in a 4-0 friendly win. He made an appearance off the bench and played the full second half in the victory. Zimmerman faced off against his Nashville SC teammate Randall Leal in this match, marking the first time two Boys in Gold took the pitch against each other on the international stage.
Following the USMNT’s epic Concacaf Nations League title win, head coach Gregg Berhalter called up Zimmerman for the team’s friendly match against Costa Rica. Zimmerman replaced Matt Miazga, who departed ahead of his upcoming wedding.