Your Weekly USMNT Update — August 27, 2019

As we wrap up another busy soccer weekend around the globe, all USMNT attention will focus on the much anticipated roster announcement on Wednesday, where we will find out what players will suit up to face Mexico (September 6) and Uruguay (September 10) in a round of friendlies. Ahead of the roster drop, Berhalter has already disclosed that the core group will remain in place, though we can expect a few new additions “sprinkled into the roster.” Here is our list of must have first time call-ups: 

Sergino Dest (18, New York, NY) - Ajax Amsterdam, Eredivisie

The young full back has cemented his spot in Ajax’s first team this season, featuring both as a left and right back. His superior technique on the ball, drive to get forward, and link up play surely make him one of the most exciting USMNT prospects at the moment. It’s time to see him with the senior team. 

Paxton Pomykal (19, Lewisville, TX) - FC Dallas, MLS 

One of the standouts for FC Dallas this year, Pomykal is our second sure bet for a first time call-up this September. The versatile midfielder has it all to make it at the international level: grit, determination, ball control, and creativity. The prospects of an Adams-McKennie-Pomykal triangle in the midfield is something to get excited about. 

Sebastian Soto (19, Los Angeles, CA) - Hannover 96, 2. Bundesliga 

After Soto had a stellar U20 World Cup and a solid pre-season with German side Hannover that secured a permanent spot with their senior team, we think he should be considered for a senior call-up this September. While not a lock like Dest and Pomykal given his comparatively little senior minutes, we think Soto is perhaps one of our biggest true “number 9” prospects in the USMNT pool alongside Josh Sargent - and he’s already proven that he can consistently find the back of the net. We think it’s time for a debut. 

Miles Robinson (22, Arlington, MA) - Atlanta United, MLS 

The oldest in our group, Miles Robinson has been a mainstay for Atlanta United this year at center back. A physically strong and technically skilled defender, Robinson has shown the ability to play out of the back - a trait critical to succeed in Berhalter’s system. We think Robinson has earned the chance to prove himself in the USMNT circle; however, between Brooks, Miazga, Long, CCV, Chris Richards, and Walker Zimmerman, competition at center back could be fierce. 

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Star of the Week

John Brooks (26, Chicago, IL) - VFL Wolfsburg, Bundesliga 

Starting where he left off last season: In Wolfsburg’s 3-0 victory at John Brooks’ former team Hertha Berlin, Brooks was integral in ensuring his team’s clean sheet as part of a back three. A towering presence in the back, Brooks stood out with four tackles, one clearance, and one interception against a relatively harmless Berlin side. More than that, we were extremely impressed with Brooks’ positioning - a trait that he mastered during his last season with Wolfsburg and something that he has continued to improve as he has gotten more experience. Further, while the new Wolfsburg system is a bit different from last year and decreases the team’s reliance on center backs opening the play from the back (Guilavgoi, normally a center mid now plays between the two center backs to open up play), Brooks finished the game with a convincing 71% pass accuracy. 

His re-introduction to the USMNT will be critical for a young Berhalter squad, as we see Brooks as one of the leaders through the next two World Cup cycles and the main stabilizer of the defensive line.

Other Notable Performances

Weston McKennie (20, Little Elm, TX) - Schalke 04, Bundesliga 

Putting up a fight against Bayern: In Schalke’s 0-3 loss to Bayern Munich over the weekend, Weston McKennie was a standout performer for the Royal Blues in the heart of the midfield. He was one of the few players putting up a real fight, as the young American often got stuck into tackles, broke up play, and remained active on the counter. In fact, the only times that Schalke looked dangerous, McKennie was at the helm as he was able to get the ball moving quickly after winning the ball, switch the play carefully, and have an eye for teammates. 

Finding his position: While McKennie was used in nearly every position on the field last season, it seems Schalke’s new head coach David Wagner (who has a few USMNT caps under his belt), has found a permanent spot for McKennie as one of two holding midfielders. Not only will this be critical for the development of the 20-year-old as a player in finding some consistency to his game, but we think this can translate to the USMNT as well. To this point, similar to his role under Berhalter, in Schalke’s current system, McKennie is relied upon as the chief ball winner in the middle of the field off the ball, but when his team has possession, the young American often penetrates the opponent’s half with driven runs all the way into the box - something he had done consistently at the Gold Cup as well. Just as importantly, based on the initial two games of the year, McKennie has been more actively opening Schalke’s play, spraying the ball out wide or jumpstarting counter attacks with a direct ball into the forwards. 

Duane Holmes  (24, Columbus, GA) - Derby County, Championship 

Making his way back: Following an injury plagued summer (groin) that caused Holmes to miss the Gold Cup, he is slowly making his way back to full fitness and already showcased some of his skill during a guest appearance with Derby County’s U23 where he hammered home a shot from outside the 18:

A September call up may come a bit too soon for Holmes, who will look to get back into Derby’s starting XI under their new head coach, Philipp Cocu, who has recently been optimistic when it comes to a speedy return for the young American: 

“He is doing well and positive. He could look at doing more work with the first team next week.” 

MLS Spotlight

Jordan Morris (24, Mercer Island, WA) - Seattle Sounders, MLS

Jordan Morris played a huge role in the two goals that Seattle needed to defeat the Portland Timbers in a week of rivalry matches across MLS. Morris has been playing either as a forward or on the wings this season and has four goals as a striker, and three goals and five assists playing outside. Morris’s dribbling ability and driven crosses were the creative force behind Seattle’s goals and again, showcased what his strongest abilities are. The frustrating part about Morris is his lack of consistency and tendency to have random gaffes (poor first touches and losing concentration). 

Thankfully, we still hope he can grow out of these after he has been one of they key players for Seattle this season. At 24 years old, Morris most likely won’t develop more in terms of his physical ability and skillset, but with more experience comes maturity and a stronger mentality. We still remember how poor he performed in the past Gold Cup Final (slow to make decisions and not clinical), and hope that it was a lesson well learned. Coming off the bench for the USMNT, Morris can add a spark that could make a difference. 

Youth Spotlight

Jesus Ferreira (18, Frisco, TX) - FC Dallas, MLS

Colombian born Jesus Ferreira has had an impact season for FC Dallas with seven goals and four assists. The son of former FC Dallas player and MLS MVP David Ferriera, Jesus is well known as a top MLS prospect for his composure, finishing, and youthful energy. Ferreira is a homegrown talent who was signed from the FC Dallas Academy at the age of 15, after being in the Dallas youth ranks for seven years. Although Ferreira was born in Colombia, he has represented the US U17 national team and has also been called up to the U20 national team camp. Ferreira recently acquired his American citizenship, solidifying his eligibility to represent the United States in a competitive tournament. Fererria made his professional debut at the age of 16 for FC Dallas, scored in his first match and in doing so, became the second youngest MLS player to score at that time. Ferreira’s speed and cool head in front of goal make him an exciting player to watch. His success in MLS should definitely keep him on the radar for teams in Europe, as well as, Tab Ramos, who will surely keep Ferreira on the cards for a call up to the U20 squad. 

On Sunday, Ferreira made an excellent run to score in FC Dallas’s victory against Texan rivals Houston Dynamo:

He also had a goal disallowed after VAR and now leads FC Dallas in goals.

OneGoal’s 2022 World Cup Roster as of Today

Goalkeepers:

  • Zack Steffen (24, Coatesville, PA): Played 90 minutes in Fortuna Dusseldorf’s 1-3 loss vs. Bayer Leverkusen (Bundesliga). 

  • Ethan Horvath (24, Highlands Ranch, CO): Did not play for Club Brugge this week. 

  • Bill Hamid (28, Annandale, VA): Played 90 minutes in DC United’s 3-1 loss vs. Philadelphia Union (MLS).

Defenders:

  • John Anthony Brooks (26, Chicago, IL): Played 90 minutes in Wolfsburg’s 0-3 victory vs. Hertha BSC (Bundesliga).

  • DeAndre Yedlin (26, Seattle, WA): Did not play this week - getting back to full match fitness after injury. 

  • Antonee Robinson (22, White Plains, NY): Played 67 minutes in Wigan Athletic’s 1-0 loss to Middlesbrough and played 90 minutes in Wigan Athletic’s 3-1 loss QPR (Championship). 

  • Cameron Carter-Vickers (21, Baton Rouge, LA): Played 73 minutes in Stoke’s 0-3 loss to Leeds United (Championship).

  • Matt Miazga (24, Clifton, NJ): Played 90 minutes in Reading’s 1-1 draw vs. West Brom and played 12 minutes (left with injury) in Reading’s 0-2 win vs. Huddersfield (Championship). 

  • Sergino Dest (18, New York, NY): Played 28 minutes in Ajax Amsterdam’s 0-0 draw vs. Apoel Nicosia (Champions League). 

  • Aaron Long (26, Oak Hills, CA): Played 90 minutes in the NY Red Bulls’ 1-2 win vs. D.C. United and played 90 minutes in NY Red Bulls’ 2-1 loss to NYCFC (MLS). 

  • Reggie Cannon (21, Chicago, IL): Played 90 minutes in FC Dallas’ 5-1 win vs. Houston Dynamo (MLS).

Midfielders:

  • Tyler Adams (20, Wappingers Falls, NY): Did not play this week - recovering from injury. 

  • Weston McKennie (20, Little Elm, TX): Played 90 minutes in Schalke’s 0-3 loss vs. Bayern Munich (Bundesliga).

  • Wil Trapp (26, Columbus, OH): On the bench for Columbus’ 1-0 loss to NYCFC and played 90 minutes in Columbus’ 1-3 win vs. FC Cincinnati (MLS).

  • Duane Holmes (24, Columbus, GA): Did not play senior minutes this week - recovering from injury. 

  • Paxton Pomykal (19, Lewisville, TX): Played 21 minutes in FC Dallas’ 5-1 win vs. Houston Dynamo (MLS). 

  • Djordje Mihailovic (20, Lemont, IL): Played 15 minutes in Chicago Fire’s 2-1 loss vs. New England Revolution (MLS).

Forwards:

  • Christian Pulisic (20, Hershey, PA): Played 84 minutes and had an assist in Chelsea’s 2-3 win vs. Norwich (Premier League). 

  • Paul Arriola (24, Chula Vista, CA): Played 90 minutes in DC United’s 1-2 loss vs. NY Red Bulls and played 69 minutes in DC United’s 3-1 loss vs. Philadelphia Union (MLS). 

  • Tyler Boyd (24, Santa Ynez, CA): Played 61 minutes in Besiktas 3-0 win vs Göztepe (Turkish Super Lig).

  • Jonathan Amon (20, Summerville, SC): Did not play this week - recovering from injury. 

  • Timothy Weah (19, New York, NY): Did not play this week - Lille was not in action. 

  • Josh Sargent (19, O’Fallon, MO): Did not play this week - on the bench.

On the Rise / In the Hunt

We have added Miles Robinson of Atlanta United to our list.

  • Kellyn Acosta (24, Plano, TX), Midfield, Colorado Rapids

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

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

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

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

  • Chris Gloster (19, Montclair, NJ), Defense, PSV Eindhoven

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

  • Nick Lima (24, Castro Valley, CA), Defense, San Jose Earthquakes

  • Jonathan Lewis (22, Plantation, FL), Forward, Colorado Rapids

  • Andrija Novakovich (22, Muskego, WI), Forward, Reading FC

  • Erik Palmer-Brown (22, Napoleon, OH), Defense, Austria Vienna 

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

  • Miles Robinson (22, Arlington, MA), Defense, Atlanta United

  • Sebastian Soto (19, Los Angeles, CA), Forward, Hannover 96 

  • Haji Wright (21, Los Angeles, CA), Forward, VVV Venlo 

  • Walker Zimmerman (26, Lawrenceville, GA), Defense, LAFC

News / Transfers

  • Gregg Berhalter is expected to announce the September camp roster for friendly games vs. Mexico and Uruguay this Wednesday. 

  • Colorado Rapids have signed former USMNT international and MLS player Robin Fraser as head coach. 

  • San Jose Earthquakes broke the MLS record for most shots in a game, hitting 43 against Vancouver in a 3-1 victory. 

  • Andrija Novakovich has been negotiating with Dutch side PEC Zwolle.

  • Tyler Adams is still recovering from injury and working his way back to full fitness. He did not make the roster for Leipzig’s 2-1 win vs. Frankfurt. 

  • Erik Palmer Brown made his season debut for Austrian side Austria Vienna this week with a starting XI call up. 

  • Fulham has extended Tim Ream’s contract until 2021.

Injury Update

  • Tyler Adams (Groin injury; two weeks till fully fit)

  • Jonathan Amon (timeline TBD)

  • Duane Holmes (back in practice)

In Case You Missed It

Check out Alfredo Morales’ goal for Fortuna Düsseldorf this weekend:

Check out this interview with former NY Red Bull Coach, Jesse Marsch 

Care to provide your own thoughts on USMNT players? Crack your knuckles and start writing. Submit articles to our Contributor’s Corner.

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