March was poised to be a huge month for the USMNT with the start of Olympic qualifying in Guadalajara and European friendlies in Wales and the Netherlands. These games were supposed to be the start of the new cycle of American talent that has been breaking through, both home and abroad. With the recent cancelations of all major sporting events, I will be taking a deep dive look at the top players in each position of the USMNT player pool.
1. Zack Steffen, Fortuna Dusseldorf (via Manchester City)
Goalkeeper is probably the most contentious position on this list with no keeper separating themselves from the rest of the pack. However, Steffen, in his limited playing time in Germany, has been very impressive and stood out when he saved nine shots in the 2-1 loss to Gladbach back in September. His play has begun to gardener attention from clubs around the Bundesliga, with names like Schalke circling after losing Alex Nubel to Bayern for free and even talk that Manchester City are interested in giving him a look.
2. Ethan Horvath, Club Brugge
Ethan has admittedly had a very rough go this season. After having stand out performances in th UCL last season, the 24-year-old shot-stopper lost his starting spot to former Liverpool man Simon Mignolet. However, Ethan might be one of the most underrated goalies in the USMNT system. He has already made very impressive appearances for the USMNT against the likes of Italy where he stood on his head.
3. Sean Johnson
Ending the goalkeeper list is Sean Johnson and to be honest, I don’t feel too strongly about this third person. There are about 5 other keepers who have a realistic claim to this spot from the experience of Brad Gyuzan to the youthfulness of David Ochoa. Sean Johnson has just been a mainstay in the third spot of the USMNT that if needed I would feel comfortable with for a game or two.
1. Sergino Dest, AFC AJAX
This might come as a shock to many who know Serginos game, but I wholeheartedly think that he is our best fullback on whatever side he plays on. Sergino brings a new level of flair, technique, and speed that has not been present in a USMNT fullback position in a very long time. He has the potential to be one of the best USMNT players ever if he continues to grow to the heights we all think he can. He’s even starting to garden attention form big clubs with the likes of Bayern Munich said to be circling him.
2. Antonee Robinson, Wigan Athletic
Antonee had a rough January after an all but certain move to AC Milan fell through when it was found he had an irregular heartbeat. This blow came at a time when Antonee was making real waves in the player pool and fighting his way back into Berhalters plans. With his intense speed, he is a versatile wingback who has looked competent when he has played for the USMNT. He deserves a look at the next camp
3. Tim Ream, Fulham
The Fulham man has been a very faithful servant of the USMNT when he was told that he was going to be moving to left-back. What he lacks for speed, Ream makes up for in his passing range which has become a real asset to the team and Berhalter alike. With the evolution of the style of play, however, Ream might find himself on the outside of the picture moving forward.
Left & Right Centerback
1. john Brooks, Wolfsburg
John Brooks is, when healthy, the best defender we have in the pool bar none. That caveat though has become his kryptonite. Brooks has been injured for a lot of his career which has stunted his growth. It has also made him very unreliable and anytime an international window rolls around we cannot rely on him to be there for us. However, when he is healthy and on his game, he can be unplayable.
John Brooks vs Paraguay – 2016 Copa America
Stopped everything that came his way and was instrumental for the US for the whole tournament during their semifinal run. pic.twitter.com/j7YvBADHq9
— Sanjiv (@USMNTvideos) March 23, 2020
2. Aaron Long, NY Red Bulls
Long has become a faithful servant of the men’s team and even though he’s not the strongest centerback he has been putting in some strong shifts in important games. Until someone can knock him off his perch he will be the starter in my book next to Brooks.
3. Matt Miazga, Reading (VIA Chelsea)
These past few years have not been very kind to Miazga. He’s faced multiple loan stints at multiple different clubs like Nantes, Vitesse, and most recently Reading after his Chelsea move in 2016. Miazga is a commanding center back who has begun to stake his claim with his current team Reading. Having scored in his last game before the break of play due to COVID-19, Miazga is quietly shooting his way up the USMNT centerback depth chart.
The #Royals equaliser, via Miazga🤩
— The Champ Base (@thechampbase) March 7, 2020
4. Miles Robinson, Atlanta United
Robinson is one of the brightest centerback talents in the pool and is one for the future. His role would have been more likely the centerpiece fo the defense for U-23, but with the recent events, Robinson stock might shoot him up the thin centerback depth chart of the USMNT. One to watch in the coming months.
Like I said earlier this month, I think Miles Robinson could be in line for a big year. The 22 year old managed to bottle up Rogelio Funes Mori last night, which is not an easy task.
— Future USMNT (@FutureUsmnt) March 15, 2019
5. Ventura Alvarado, Necaxa
Alvarado is someone who has burst back onto the scene in the last few months after his dreadful campaign under Klinsman. Alvarado has truly organized himself and rebranded as a brand new player. Know to captain Necaxa, Alvarado deserves another look.
6. Chris Richards, Bayern Munich
This one is one for the future as he has not made any meaningful first-team appearances for Bayern, yet. However, coming off the U-20 world cup and his dominating performances in the 3.Bundesliga Richards could become the best centerback to ever play for the USMNT. His ability to read that game and make decisive line-breaking passes brings a lot of hope to a dreadful USMTN depth chart. One to watch for the future.
1. Sergino Dest, AFC Ajax
Making his second appearance on the list is the Danish-American wonderkind who burst onto the scene this past year. Dest holds down the fort on both sides of the backline for me. His combination of speed and tricks is an asset to the USMNT has not been blessed with these past few years.
2. Reggie Cannon, Fc Dallas
Cannon has come out of nowhere to cement his place as the number right back when Sergino Is lined up on the left. Cannon has a strong presence on the right making runs when necessary and holding down the right when his number is called.
3. Deandre Yedlin, Newcastle FC
Yedlin is one of the most decisive players in the entire pool, with some swearing he’s our best defensive player and others never wanting to see him in the shirt again. I think Yedlin brings a skillset to the team that many other players do not and can be a perfect super-sub off the bench for the defense or even on the wing in midfield if needed.
1. Tyler Adams, RB Leipzig
Arguably our best player in the entire pool, Adams is the engine, heart, and soul of our midfield. Adams brings a high soccer IQ and a much needed defensive bite in midfield. The RB Leipzig man will be an asset and captain contender for years.
2. Weston Mckennie, Schalke
Mckennie has been a rock in midfield for the men’s team over the last 2 years. Even though his performances for the country haven’t been outstanding since his debut against Portugal, Mckennie still has a high ceiling. Adams and Mckennie will be a formidable midfield partnership for years to come.
— Goal (@goal) March 10, 2020
3. Jackson Yueill, San Jose Earthquakes
Yueill has shot himself up the depth chart within the vacuum that the Bradley and Adams injuries have created. With an impressive performance against Uarguay, Yueill has brought up questions of his position in the midfield. Yueill has a lot of competition ahead of him, but to know that we have a competent starter below Mckennie and Adams should give much needed security to the team’s future.
1. Christian Pulisic, Chelsea
The undoubted star of the USMNT and the man that was the impetus for what a successful path of Americans abroad could be in the modern age of football. Christian brings speed, tricks, and an end product unmatched by most of our pool. He will be the centerpiece of our future and the glue that cements the team together.
2. Giovanni Reyna, Borussia Dortmund
Gio has become the hottest topic in American football after Berhalter confirmed that he would have received his first cap this international break. Coming off a terrible U-17 World Cup, Gio finally broke through at Dortmund under Favre. Gio has been enjoying a great debut campaign scoring an absolute worldy in the DFB Pokal and providing a nice assist to Haland in the UCL. Gio, 17, looks like a grown man and plays like one to, with his towering figure and unique gait Gio is posted for a big involvement with the senior team. Some even think he has a higher ceiling than Pulisic and I tend to agree the future is bright in his hands.
3. Uly LLanez, VFL Wolfsburg
Another young Bundesliga star in the making is Uly LLanez. Making his first appearance with the full team in February against Costa Rica and scoring a penalty, Uly seems poised for a big breakthrough with the national team when football resumes play. It has also been reported that he will be getting an extended look with the Wolfsburg first team in training after his sensational scoring records in the youth leagues. With the dearth of wing talent in the pool, Uly has a real opportunity to stake a claim in the coming months.
Central Attacking Midfield
1. Christian Pulisic, Chelsea
The second player to make my list twice is Pulisic, as he could probably be the best player in multiple positions on the field. His passing range and trickery make him very suited for this position and he’s proven it in the past with phenomenal outings under Berhalter.
2. Duane Holmes, Derby County
Duane has been given the short end of the stick when it comes to being apart of the senior national team. When he was given a shot against Jamaica during the Gold Cup his quality changed the game. Since then he’s been shafted during multiple camps and quite honestly its baffling. Having a tremendous season for the Championship team Derby County, his play should earn him automatic call ups. When football resumes I hope he’s the first name on the name sheet called to represent America.
3. Paxton Pomykal, Fc Dallas
Pomykal has had his stock skyrocket since the U-20 World Cup. Playing a big role in the upset victory over the French, Pomykal has cemented himself as one to be reckoned with. He has also been having outstanding performers for FC Dallas under Luci, Pomykal is one to watch in the coming future.
4. Richie Ledezma, PSV Eindhoven
Richie is the dual national darling of this generation, boasting outstanding vision, passing, soccer IQ and foot skills at his young age. Already a standout in the national system he is beginning to standout in the PSV system also. With a debut in the first team so close to fruition, Richie’s stock could skyrocket next season. He has something special about him that not many there in the pool posses.
1. Jordan Morris, Seattle Sounders
Morris might be the most improved player from last year. After bouncing back from a serious ACL injury, Morris boasts a productive scoring record for club and country that made him a contender for male US soccer player of the year. Morris will need to continue his impressive form if he wants to hold onto his spot in the team, but for now, he has earned our trust.
2. Sebastien “Bofo” Saucedo, Pumas
Not many knew who Saucedo was before moving to Pumas in the offseason. However, since arriving he looks like a completely new player form the one he was with Real Salt Lake. Becoming a consistent starter for the Liga MX side means that Saucedo poses stiff competition for Morris.
gorgeous assist for the go-ahead goal tonight from Sebastian Saucedo, who came on as a sub in the 80th min with Pumas down 2-1 (América equalized in the 94th min on a corner kick) pic.twitter.com/zyOIGaGk0l
— scuffed (@zlebmada) March 7, 2020
3.Timothy Weah, Losc Lille
Weah’s stock has fallen quite a bit due to the fact that he has been injured almost the whole season. However, when he is healthy he is possibly one of the best wing options available for the team. His speed and vision make him a viable option in any formation we use.
1. Jozy Altidore, Toronto Fc
Jozy inclusion on this list is very simple, he’s just the best striker in the pool when healthy. However, that last part is the catch as Jozy cannot seem to get a break with injuries and they have derailed his career. However, until someone comes along that can unseat him it’s clear he is the most complete forward in the pool.
2. Josh Sargent, Werder Bremen
Josh “The Red Baron” Sargent, as I like to call him, has had a less than stellar year in the Bundesliga. He has produced some dreadful performances this year in the frontline of Bremen. Much has been made that he lacks the concentration and attention span needed for a player at his level. He will have to figure it out quickly before he wastes his most formative years.
Sargent with the sweet strike pic.twitter.com/4BU5XdG3ky
— halfspaces (@halfspaces1) March 7, 2020
3. Jesus Ferreira, Fc Dallas
Ferreria broke on to the scene in February, making his debut against Costa Rica. He put on very good performances that have left the USMNT fans wanting more. With the names above him in this position not showing up when it matters, it might be a good time for Ferreria to show his worth and make a name for himself.