Note: This is Part 3 of a look at the potential future of the U.S. Men’s National Team. In August, I took a guess (Part 1 & Part 2) at who might be the future of the U.S. Men’s National Team. During the international break last week, they actually fielded a team, and while some of the players I profiled in August made the cut – DeAndre Yedlin and Tim Weah were perhaps the biggest names – there were 13! players that made the club that played friendlies against Brazil and Mexico earlier this week. This is a quick look at why I might have missed those 13 players and where they are currently playing professional football.
Alex Bono – Toronto FC (Major League Soccer (USA)) – Bono was actually the fourth keeper on my list before I pared it down to three, so it was nice to see him on the roster for this week’s friendlies. He has been the first team goalkeeper for Toronto FC for the bulk of this season, with 26 total appearances in net for the club, where he has a total of 5 clean sheets. He did make an appearance this week in either game, and only has one senior club appearance with the USMNT, a 3-0 clean sheet in a friendly against Bolivia in May of this year.
Eric Lichaj – Hull City (Championship (England)) – I did not include Lichaj in my initial list because he was a bit older (29) than all the other players and I was trying to keep my list to players that may be with the club when the United States hosts the World Cup in 2026. He started his professional career in England with Aston Villa, making 32 appearances – and scoring 1 goal – between 2007 and 2013. He moved to Nottingham Forrest in 2013, where he played much more regularly, leading to his current contract with Hull City, where he has been in the starting line up in all six matches this season. He has 16 total caps with the USMNT and looks to have finally made the rotation after some other players aged out. How long his tenure lasts remains to be seen.
Aaron Long – New York Red Bulls (MLS) – Aaron Long made his senior debut with New York Red Bulls in August 2016, and has appeared in 59 matches since, scoring 3 goals. And while he made the roster for these recent USMNT friendlies, he did not get on the pitch, leaving him without and international appearances.
Tim Parker – New York Red Bulls (MLS) – Parker also made the roster this week, but stayed on the bench for both matches. He does, however, have two previous appearances with the USMNT, making his debut against Ireland on June 2, 2018. He’s started his MLS career with the Vancouver Whitecaps in 2015 – after four collegiate seasons at St. John’s University – and was traded to the Red Bulls prior to the beginning of the MLS season. He’s made 28 total appearances for the Red Bulls this season.
Antonee Robinson – Wigan Athletic (Championship (England)) – Robinson was born in Milton Keynes, England, and was developed through Everton’s youth academy. He has yet to make an appearance with Everton, however, and his English professional experience has been limited to time spent on loan with Bolton Wanderers and now Wigan. He ha played in all six Wigan matches this season however. On the international side, he has made a total of four appearances for the senior club, including both matches this week (Brazil as a starter and Mexico as a sub). He looks to have a pretty solid future of gaining invites to the USMNT camps, though the US team is fairly deep at defender.
Marky Delgado – Toronto FC (MLS) – Delgado appeared in both games this week, upping his total international caps to three (for the senior club). He has made a total of 34 appearances for Toronto this season without scoring a goal. He had eligibility to play with Mexico as well, but it appears that he will be playing for the USMNT from here on out.
Julian Green – Greuther Fürth (2. Bundesliga (Germany)) – I don’t know why I bypassed Green in my initial list, especially since he is young (23) and plays overseas. He’s also only played in 12 matches for the USMNT, scoring 4 goals, including his first international goal in the 2014 World Cup. He’s found moderate success in Germany as well, playing in a total of 100 matches (over multiple tiers) since 2013, scoring 30 goals. Another future running mate of Christian Pulisic on the USMNT perhaps?
Cristian Roldan – Seattle Sounders (MLS) – Roldan has five total appearances with the USMNT, including coming on as a late sub in the match against Mexico. He was also eligible to play for Guatemala and El Salvador on the international level, but locked in his international future with an appearance for the USMNT in 2017. He has played for the Seattle Sounders since 2015, making 140 total appearances and scoring 14 goals, to go along with 10 assists.
Wil Trapp – Columbus Crew (MLS) – Trapp captained both international matches this week, and has been the nominal captain since first wearing it in a friendly against Bosnia and Herzegovina in January 2018. He began his MLS career with the Crew in the 2013 season, and has since played 167 total matches for the club.
Andrija Novakovich – Fortuna Sittard (Eredivisie (Netherlands)) – Novakovich signed a contract with Reading FC of the Championship in July 2017 and has spent the past two seasons on loan to clubs in the Netherlands. He’s taken advantage of the playing time, scoring 24 goals over 49 total appearances since the beginning of the 2017 season. He has only two USMNT appearances, and while he made the roster this past week, he did not make an appearance in either match. Nevertheless, with the US stable of forwards dwindling, he remains in contention for future appearances with the senior club (though he remains eligible to play with England).
Bobby Wood – Hannover 96 (Bundesliga (Germany)) – Wood is another player that I probably should have included the first time around, as he has now made 41 appearances with the senior USMNT. He’s scored a total of 12 goals in those matches, including four goals during the ill-fated 2018 World Cup qualification. He has played professionally in Germany since moving to the academy for 1860 Munich in 2007, and his current tenure on Hannover 96 is while on loan from 2. Bundesliga club Hamburger SV. He’s scored 47 goals over 197 total appearances across all levels of German football, and hopes to add to it this year.
Gyasi Zardes – Columbus Crew (MLS) – Zardes is another player that (quietly) has 40 appearances with the USMNT, including coming on as a sub (against Brazil) and starting (against Mexico) this week. He is a little older (27) than some others on my list, which could have been the reason I neglected him back in August. He started his MLS career with the LA Galaxy, and had a breakout season in 2014, scoring 19 goals over 41 total appearances. This form has returned this season with the Crew, with 15 goals in 27 matches. He should continue to make appearances with the USMNT, and could form the core of the club that will hopefully compete in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, but he may be slightly above the age curve to play in the 2026 Cup in the United States.