Your Weekly USMNT Update — June 4, 2019

After a tough battle vs. Qatar (1-0 full time score), the United States U20 have officially advanced to the round of 16 and will now face one of the world’s powerhouses in France. While not an easy game, similar to past efforts, Tab Ramos’ team showed perseverance, grit, and a determination to grind out the win despite not every play coming off. Generally speaking, the U20s have looked more comfortable in an underdog role so far, and given Weah/De La Fuente/Dest’s blistering speed, Soto’s clinical finishing, and Pomykal’s playmaking abilities, we think the United States could do some serious damage to France on the counter. Not to mention that Chris Richards has been an absolute rock on defense for the young team.

That said, while the U20 World Cup is now in the midst of decision time, the Gold Cup is right around the corner and the United States is set to play Jamaica on Wednesday as its first preparation game. Importantly, Berhalter has announced a 28 man roster specifically for the game (see roster selection here), which could feature several USMNT debuts including Duane Holmes, Tyler Boyd, and Jackson Yuell.

The game will likely serve as an important criteria for Berhalter when evaluating the final roster selection, but we are sure that the final Gold Cup roster will have several changes still to come, with prominent players such as Christian Pulisic and Tyler Adams set to join the group a bit later.

As always, please feel free to email us at hello@onegoal.us to let us know what you think about our newsletter!

Star of the Week

Djordje Mihailovic (20, Lemont, IL) - Chicago Fire, MLS

Our Star of the Week goes to Djordje Mihailovic, who is finding his form just in time for the Gold Cup. In a 3-3 tie versus DC United, Mihailovic was one of the best players on the pitch for the Fire and crowned his performance with a goal from a long-range effort.

One-touch shooting: We’ve said this before, but Mihailovic’s ability to take a strike with his first touch of the ball adds a certain amount of danger to the final third for both the USMNT and the Chicago Fire. He showcased that skill once again this week after the DC United defense was unable to fully clear the ball and Mihailovic capitalized with an opportunistic strike from about 30 yards out. The long-range effort was deflected, which made it virtually impossible to save for Bill Hamid, though we think Mihailovic deserves a ton of credit. Without a clean, driven strike like his, the ball never would have ended in the back of the net.

A player for special moments: More than just this strike, Mihailovic was among the most active players in the Chicago Fire offensive (64 touches), shining with five (!) key passes on the night, often integrating Katai or Sapong into play. Similar to his finishing technique, we believe the most impressive part of Mihailovic’s game is his ability to keep the ball moving (and the game quick) with one-touch passes out of pressure. While a skill that may not always set up the direct assist to a goal, it’s invaluable to any team. Moreover, Mihailovic sought out several other shots (three shots total) and ended the game with an 85% pass accuracy, rounding out an all around stellar performance for the 20-year-old playmaker.

Other Notable Performances

Timothy Weah (19, New York, NY) - Paris St Germain, Ligue 1  

Goal scorer that sees the U20s through to the next round: Timothy Weah became the matchwinner in the United States U20 1-0 win over Qatar in the last group stage game of the tournament. While he admittedly could have found the net on more than one occasion and the overall United States offense was not up to its usual standards, Weah never stopped looking for his opportunity to get another strike on goal. This perseverance coupled with tremendous skill on the ball was crucial in the only goal of the game, where Weah took possession of the ball on the top of the 18, turned one defender, nutmegged another, and finished with a cool strike to the left-hand side of the goal. Weah now has one goal and one assist in three games at the U20 World Cup - and we know he can do even better than this. Several clubs in Europe are already said to have expressed interest in signing the young American winger.

Goal:

Driven runs in behind defenders becoming a hallmark: While his goal-scoring abilities and knack to find a teammate in critical positions in front of goal (as seen by his assist vs. Ukraine) are obvious skills that catch the eye, Timothy Weah’s driven runs behind opponents’ back line is perhaps his most underrated skill. We’ve seen this several times during his time at Celtic Glasgow where he often split center backs with driven runs as the central forward, but we saw it in the game vs. Qatar as well. For example, early in the second half, Alex Mendez found Weah with a stellar chip pass after Weah made a tremendous run starting near the center of the pitch. Big picture, while Mendez’s pass was clearly special, so was Weah’s run. Not only did he have to react quick enough after Mendez won the ball, he also needed to time his run and split the defenders perfectly. All in all, his movement off the ball has progressed a great amount this season and it’s one of the reasons why he’s so dangerous in front of goal. Simply put, he knows when and how to get into the right positions.

Jonathan Lewis (21, Plantation, FL) - Colorado Rapids, MLS

Two goals in two weeks; stunning volley: Following his first goal for Colorado last week, Jonathan Lewis booked his second goal in two weeks in Colorado’s 1-1 tie vs. Philadelphia with a pitch perfect volley after a Shinyashiki cross found the 21-year-old winger at the back post. Instead of taking a touch and risking a worse angle on goal, Lewis showed no hesitations and finished the play with a finesse inside of the boot volley to the lower right-corner of the goal. No chance for the keeper.

As we pointed out last week, Jonathan Lewis seems to be on a roll since arriving at his new club. Consistent playing time (something he did not always get at NYCFC) seems to already have done wonders for Lewis, who is running hot right in time for the Gold Cup. Importantly, similar to last week’s outing, Lewis was most effective when taking on players 1v1 after coming on as a sub in the 62nd minute. While we don’t have Lewis on our 2022 World Cup roster for now given his sporadic playing time in the past, with some consistency at Colorado this season, we could see him take on a bigger role for the USMNT in the future.

Auston Trusty (20, Media, PA) - Philadelphia Union, MLS  

Defensive consistency: Auston Trusty had two standout performances against Colorado and Minnesota United this past week. He’s continued to prove that he is the key to the Philadelphia Union’s defense, as he has played every single MLS game for them since the start of 2018 (barring a one game suspension this season). Against Colorado, Trusty had nine tackles, seven aerials won and a 79% pass success rate. He was the best defender in the stalemate by far.

Surprise game-winner: Against Minnesota, Trusty sealed an away victory in a 3-2 thriller, scoring a late game-winning goal. Found strangely in the opposing box, Trusty used a beautiful first touch to pick off a diving clearance attempt, controlled and firmly finished into the net. His delicate control paired with his emphatic finish showed the overall confidence in his own game, underpinning his first team selection streak. Trusty’s clutch goal propelled the Union into first place in the East. Interestingly, it seems we cover an American centerback’s performance every week. Trusty has been at the peak of his game week in and week out, and we would love to see the 20 year old get some senior minutes with the national team.

Trusty Game-winner:

Omir Fernandez (20, Bronx, NY) - New York Red Bulls, MLS

Two games, two goals: For the second game in a row, Red Bulls’ youngster Omir Fernandez scored a goal. Often coming on as a super sub, Fernandez has been getting minutes here and there throughout the season. He’s slowly beginning to capitalize on his chances, averaging a goal or assist every 101 minutes, across all competitions this season.

First time finish for Fernandez: Omir’s goal was the icing on the cake in NYRB’s 4-0 trouncing of Real Salt Lake. After a cutback cross from Andreas Ivan, Fernandez finished first time into the net, blasting the ball past veteran Nick Rimando (who is almost twice his age). Omir is an exciting addition to the team, but is yet to force his way into the starting lineup. We’re excited to see if Fernandez’s can continue following the footsteps of other Red Bull Homegrown greats - Sean Davis, Matt Miazga and Tyler Adams all graduated from the Academy before him.

A little more about Omir:

MLS Spotlight

Chris Mueller (22, Schaumburg, IL) - Orlando City, MLS

Chris Mueller is one of the most underrated wingers in MLS. We covered his standout performances a couple months ago, and he has consistently been dangerous for the Orlando attack since. This weekend, he notched his second assist of the season, laying off a perfectly placed (nutmeg) driven cross for Akindele to sweep in at the back post. Chris also had a major part to play in Orlando’s third goal, acting as a facilitator on the left wing by playing a number of first touch passes to release Moutinho who was able to cross to the back post again.

Mueller is known for fast dribbling, a solid shot, and set piece taking abilities. He always adds an extra boost of adrenaline to the team when he’s on the pitch, though he has struggled to get a starting spot in the team. Perhaps Mueller has been a bit under the radar as he has five other attackers to compete for minutes with in Orlando, but if he keeps up, he should be pushing for more starts or even a transfer outside of MLS.

Fun Fact: Mueller scored the fastest goal in Orlando history last season, putting one in only a minute and three seconds into a match.

Youth Spotlight

David Ochoa (18, Oxnard, CA) - Real Salt Lake, MLS

Our Youth Spotlight goes to David Ochoa got the nod to start in the U20’s final group stage game of the World Cup against Qatar. His highlight of the game was a point blank save on a Qatari breakaway. He recovered quickly to adjust as an opposing forward layed off a pass for the winger to hit into an empty net, but Ochoa’s positioning was on point to make a block.

Ochoa has eligibility to play for either the United States or Mexico, but opted to play for the Stars and Stripes and has been rewarded with minutes in the U20 World Cup. He was signed to the Real Salt Lake first team before the start of the 2019 season from the reserve squad. Instead of sitting on the bench, Ochoa has been getting minutes as a starter for the reserves and has been one of the best keepers in the USL. He boasts a 71.4% save success rate and made USL Team of the Week twice in a row in May, specifically after a nine save performance while his team was down a man. With a solid showing against Qatar, it will be interesting to see who Ramos picks in goal for the round of the 16 showdown against France.

Ochoa’s save against Qatar:

OneGoal’s 2022 World Cup Roster as of Today

Note: We are currently in the middle of writing a bigger piece that explains our roster selection in greater detail. As part of the piece, we will likely make 1-2 changes to our current roster based on recent player performances/call-ups. So stay tuned!

Goalkeepers:

  • Zack Steffen (24, Coatesville, PA): Played 90 minutes in Columbus’ 2-2 tie vs. NYCFC (MLS).

  • Ethan Horvath (23, Highlands Ranch, CO): No game this week - part of provisional Gold Cup roster.

  • Bill Hamid (28, Annandale, VA): Played 90 minutes in DC United’s 3-3 tie vs. Chicago Fire and played 90 minutes in a 1-1 tie vs. San Jose (MLS).

Defenders:

  • John Anthony Brooks (26, Chicago, IL): No game this week - not part of provisional Gold Cup roster due to injury.  

  • DeAndre Yedlin (25, Seattle, WA): No game this week - not part of provisional Gold Cup roster due to injury.  

  • Antonee Robinson (21, White Plains, NY): No game this week - part of provisional Gold Cup roster.

  • Matt Miazga (23, Clifton, NJ): No game this week- part of provisional Gold Cup roster.

  • Cameron Carter-Vickers (21, Baton Rouge, LA): No game this week - part of provisional Gold Cup roster.

  • Sergino Dest (18, New York, NY): Did not play in the U20 1-0 win vs. Qatar (U20 World Cup).

  • Aaron Long (26, Oak Hills, CA): Did not play due to injury.

  • Walker Zimmerman (26, Lawrenceville, GA): Played 90 minutes in LAFC’s 3-2 victory vs. Portland Timbers (MLS).

  • Nick Lima (24, Castro Valley, CA): Played 90 minutes in San Jose’s 1-1 tie vs. DC United (MLS).

Midfielders:

  • Tyler Adams (20, Wappingers Falls, NY): No game this week - part of provisional Gold Cup roster.

  • Weston McKennie (20, Little Elm, TX): No game this week - part of provisional Gold Cup roster.

  • Wil Trapp (26, Columbus, OH): Played 90 minutes in Columbus’ 2-2 tie vs. NYCFC (MLS).

  • Duane Holmes (24, Columbus, GA): No game this week- part of provisional Gold Cup roster.

  • Kellyn Acosta (23, Plano, TX): Played 90 minutes in Colorado’s 3-1 win vs. FC Cincinnati and played 90 minutes in a 1-1 tie vs. Philadelphia Union (MLS).

  • Djordje Mihailovic (20, Lemont, IL): Played 90 minutes in Chicago Fire’s 0-2 loss vs. Atlanta United and played 90 minutes in a 3-3 tie vs. DC United (MLS).

Forwards:

  • Christian Pulisic (20, Hershey, PA): No game this week - part of provisional Gold Cup roster.

  • Paul Arriola (24, Chula Vista, CA): Played 90 minutes in DC United’s 1-1 tie vs. San Jose (MLS).

  • Jonathan Amon (20, Summerville, SC): No game this week - part of provisional Gold Cup roster.

  • Timothy Weah (19, New York, NY): Played 90 minutes in the USA U20’s 1-0 win vs. Qatar (U20 World Cup).

  • Josh Sargent (19, O’Fallon, MO): No game this week - part of provisional Gold Cup roster.

On the Rise / In the Hunt

  • Corey Baird (23, Escondido, CA), Forward, Real Salt Lake

  • George Bello (17, Douglasville, GA), Defense, Atlanta United

  • Alex Bono (25, Baldwinsville, NY), Goalkeeper, Toronto FC

  • Tyler Boyd (24, Santa Ynez, CA), Forward, MKE Ankaragücü

  • Sean Davis (26, Long Branch, NJ), Midfield, NY Red Bulls

  • Jeremy Ebobisse (22, Bethesda, MD), Forward, Portland Timbers

  • Romain Gall (24, Herndon, VA), Midfield/Forward, Malmo FF

  • Chris Gloster (18, Montclair, NJ), Defense, Hannover 96

  • Richy Ledezma (18, Phoenix, AZ) - Midfield, PSV Eindhoven

  • Jonathan Lewis (21, Plantation, FL), Midfield/Forward, Colorado Rapids

  • Alex Mendez (18, Los Angeles, CA), Midfield, SC Freiburg

  • Andrija Novakovich (22, Muskego, WI) - Fortuna Sittard

  • Erik Palmer-Brown (22, Napoleon, OH), Defense, NAC Breda

  • Paxton Pomykal (19, Lewisville, TX), Midfield, FC Dallas

  • Chris Richards (19, Hoover, AL), Defense, Bayern Munich

  • Sebastian Soto (18, Los Angeles, CA), Forward, Hannover 96

  • Haji Wright (21, Los Angeles, CA), Forward, Schalke 04

News / Transfers

Injury Update

  • John Anthony Brooks (Ligament strain, timeline TBD)

  • George Bello (Adductor injury, expected to miss another 2-3 months)

  • DeAndre Yedlin (Groin surgery; missing Gold Cup)

  • Aaron Long (Hamstring injury; missed 2 matches)

In Case You Missed It

Bill Hamid, who leads MLS in shutouts and saves, was left out of Berhalter’s USMNT training camp. Hamid noted that he was “disappointed” in the selection, and thought the head coach “didn’t think that it was his time. Berhalter mentioned, “Bill is in that company [of USMNT goalkeepers]. He really is. It’s not like he is completely out of the picture.”

Emmanuel Sabbi came up huge again for his Danish club Hobro by scoring an all-important goal in a relegation battle this week. Sabbi has now scored three goals and clinched one assist in the last 3 games for Hobro.