International Soccer

Looking at the top five MLS performers in the Copa America group stage

A handful of Major League Soccer players were among the best performers at the Copa America group stage for their respective countries.

As the MLS season continues to roll on despite the ongoing Copa America and Euro competitions, most of the league’s best players aren’t available for their clubs as they’re with their national teams on the biggest stages.

While two CONCACAF nations somehow didn’t reach the quarter-finals — we’re looking at you, USA and Mexico — Canada impressed with Jesse Marsch’s first tournament in charge while Argentina also weren’t too shabby with a certain Inter Miami player leading the charge.

Here are the five best players from the Copa America group stage.

Maxime Crepeau

Crepeau has stepped up for Canada / Hector Vivas/GettyImages

Not many expected Canada to achieve qualification to the quarter-finals of Copa America with the likes of Argentina, Chile and Peru in Group A, especially after their 2-0 defeat to the current champions on matchday one.

However, Marsch’s squad flipped the script and have joined Argentina in the last eight while Chile and Peru were sent packing. Crepeau was at the center of it all, as he started and played all three matches while recording four saves twice in the draw vs Chile and in the narrow victory over Peru.

Jacob Shaffelburg

Shaffelburg has emerged as a potential star / Hector Vivas/GettyImages

Even though Jacob Shaffelburg has been included in the starting lineup just once, he’s provided a huge spark for Canada to supply excellent service for the likes of Jonathan David and Cyle Larin.

After all, he was the one that set up David’s 74th-minute strike vs Peru that helped them seal passage to the quarter-finals.

Ecuador v Venezuela - CONMEBOL Copa America USA 2024

Martinez has bossed the midfield for Venezuela / Lyndsay Radnedge/ISI Photos/GettyImages

It’s easy to think of attackers for the most exciting or impactful players at a tournament, but don’t forget the defensive midfielders that often get tasked with doing the dirty work necessary for their side to win.

That’s where Jose Martinez steps in. The Philadelphia Union player started and played all of Venezuela’s group stage matches and was putting in consistent, solid performances in the middle of the park as his country shocked viewers with nine points in Group B.

Moïse Bombito, Julian Alvarez

Bombito has been one of the best defenders at Copa America / Omar Vega/GettyImages

Maxime Crepeau was able to keep two clean sheets in the group stage for Canada with a bit of help from one of his stellar defenders, Moise Bombito.

The 24-year-old rarely put a foot wrong in Canada’s last two matches vs Peru and Chile, while picking up just one yellow card in the process. If Canada are to reach the semi-finals, you can expect Bombito to play a huge part in them doing so.

Lionel Messi

Argentina hope to have Messi back vs Ecuador / Stephen Nadler/ISI Photos/GettyImages

Although Lionel Messi has played just two games at Copa America due to an adductor injury, he performed to the level we’ve become accustomed to seeing throughout his career against Canada and Chile.

While he hasn’t got on the scoresheet yet in the competition, he picked up an assist and will look to propel Argentina to a second consecutive Copa America title should he return to fitness on time.

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