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Eriq Zavaleta could soon become an El Salvador international

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The Toronto FC defender has apparently expressed a desire to represent the country of his father.

MLS: Toronto FC at Montreal Impact Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Eriq Zavaleta almost helped to deliver Canada’s first MLS Cup last season, but he may soon be competing against his country of residence in international competition.

According to El Salvador coach Eduardo Lara, Zavaleta has expressed a desire to play for the nation of his father. Carlos Zavaleta, who now runs an academy in Indiana, was capped by La Selecta during his own career and Eriq is eligible to play for both El Salvador and the USA.

"The important thing is that Zavaleta has already informed me that he wants to be part of the national team, but first you have to talk to your club and representative,” Lara told El Grafico. “As a player I like him, but I want to see him.”

Soccer: 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifyer-El Salvador at Canada Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

He added: "The most important thing is that he tells me that his father is a Salvadoran and he wants to do the paperwork but, logically, he has to talk to his representative and his club first.”

While he looks to be on the way to becoming a solid MLS player, Zavaleta’s chances of earning a USA call-up are distant at this point despite his history as a youth international. El Salvador would likely bring him into their squad immediately, with two NASL players from the New York Cosmos included in their most recent 23-man group.

El Salvador has not qualified for the World Cup since 1982, but they did reach the Hex in qualification for the 2010 tournament, placing fifth. Like Canada, however, their chances of qualifying for the finals could be dramatically improved by the proposed expansion to 48 teams.