We Support the U.S. -- A USMNT Career

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New U.S. National Team Coach Announced

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Monday, June 24, 2019


With a lot of pressure on the U.S. national team, the F.A. have announced Thomas Buckingham as their newest head coach.

The national team failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, which is inexcusable for a nation with this much talent compared to it’s fellow CONCACAF competition. The plan now is to bring in some new, young fresh faces and start from scratch.

Many U.S. fans blame the poor showing during the 2018 cycle on the “lost generation.” Looking over the player pool from this past cycle, most of the names were players in their late 20’s and early 30’s or dual nationals who were recruited from abroad. There weren’t any new talents groomed in the youth ranks that panned out and that cost the U.S. in a major way. This time around is a lot different. The likes of Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie, and Tyler Adams are all 20 years old and playing in two of the top leagues in the world. Not to mention 24 year old keeper, Zack Steffen who will be playing in the Bundesliga.

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2019 Schedule

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Top Three Talents
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1. Christian Pulisic (20 yo) - This one is a no brainer. He may only be 20 years old, but the Pennsylvania native was an established player in the Bundesliga for three years before making the switch to Chelsea. With an excellent first touch, speed, and dribbling ability, Pulisic is a major threat with the ball at his feet. Look for him to receive the ball out wide before cutting inside and either playing a one-two with his striker or going for goal on his own.

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2. Zack Steffen (24 yo) - At 24 years old, the 2018 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year, is still considered very young for his position. Being sold to English giants, Manchester City, tells us he clearly has a lot of potential. On the pitch, his strength is his shot stopping ability. Steffen has great reflexes and a long body making him difficult to beat from distance. The one big knock on his game is his distribution from the back. Both his parent club and country expect him to be able to do well with his feet, which he has improved to his credit.

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3. Micheal Bradley (31 yo) - The final 4-star player according to my scouts, Bradley is on the other end of his career. With 150 caps to his name, only two other American’s have put the shirt on more times than our current capitan. Even with the turnover in players on the pitch for the U.S., Bradley remains one of the most important players from his midfield position. His ability to read the game is second to none and his defensive contribution is vital for the U.S.​
 
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Top Three Talents
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1. Tyler Adams (20 yo) - A product of the New York Red Bulls academy, Adams joined RB Leipzig on Jan. 1, 2019 and made 10 Bundesliga appearances last season. The New York native came up as a right back before moving to the midfield where he has shined in his short career. He’s beyond his years mentally and rapidly continues to improve with the ball at his feet and has an eye to pick out a teammate in the attack. With Weston McKennie and Michael Bradley ahead of him on the U.S. depth chart, Adams should get plenty of chances off the bench for his country.

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2. Sergino Dest (18 yo) - Dest recently committed his future to the U.S. national team, so now the plan is to cap tie him as quickly as possible. The Dutch born right back does have to compete for minutes with Newcastle’s, DeAndre Yedlin, however. With his pace and willingness to get forward, Dest is very much a modern day full back. His crossing and passing ability make him a threat in the attack, but the Ajax man is known to lose possession a little too easily at times, which exposes his fellow defenders.

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3. Timothy Weah (19 yo) - The son of former Ballon d’Or winner, George Weah, Timmy has the potential to be a quality player himself. Coming through the youth ranks at PSG, the New York native has been competing against some of the best players in his age group since he was young. After managing just five first team appearances for Les Parisiens, a loan move to Celtic during the second half of the season finally enabled Weah to earn regular minutes. Lille liked what they saw out of the American and bought the young winger just one month ago. Weah has the ability to play on either wing or as a striker. His top attribute is his quickness, but he’s good on the ball, is very agile, and has a decent shot.​
 
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June 2019 Update
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Buckingham has only been in charge for a week and we’re still a little over two months away until we’ll see the national team take the field, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t any news to discuss. The MLS is about two-third of the way through their season and it’s the offseason in Europe which means plenty of transfer news.

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Tyler Adams would be loaned out in search of first team minutes.

Tyler Adams, who was listed as the top youth prospect in our previous post, could be loaned out by Leipzig in hopes he can get first team minutes this year. The favorites to land the midfielder are Koln and Wolfsburg with Premier League side Southampton showing interest as well. Striker Josh Sargent is also looking for a loan move. The Werder Bremen man probably isn’t quite ready to be a regular for his Bundesliga club and it’s likely he’ll end up in either the 2. Bundesliga or back stateside in the MLS. He may only be 19-years old, but with the lack of depth the U.S. have up front, Sargent could make the senior team roster if he gets consistent minutes.

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Brian White is just one goal behind Joesf Martinez and Kei Kamara in the MLS Golden Boot race.

Looking at the MLS, there are a few surprise standups so far this season. 23-year old striker, Brian White has 11 goals in 20 games. After spending half the season with New York Red Bulls second team last year, White has exceeded all expectations in his first full season with the senior team. The lethal striker wouldn’t have been on anyone’s projected U.S. team a few months ago, but with the season he’s having, Buckingham will have to at least consider him. Brendon Bye’s 7.49 average rating this season is second best in the league behind only the former Manchester United star, Nani. He’s a right back who’s surprisingly played ten games this season as a striker. It’s hard to see him pass either Sergino Dest or DeAndre Yedlin on the U.S. depth chart, but maybe Buckingham will give him a look at his new position.

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A hamstring injury will see Timmy Weah out until late 2019.

The U.S. only has one player out with a major, long term injury. Timmy Weah, who recently joined Ligue 1 side, Lille, is expected to miss 5 months with a torn hamstring. U.S. fans will have to wait until next year to see him on the pitch again.​
 
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July 2019 Update
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It’s only been a month, so there isn’t too much to report on. Both Josh Sargent and Tyler Adams are still with their parent clubs, however, there are a handful of fringe players who could be on the move. Attacking playmaker, Romain Gall of Swedish side Malmo could be on his way to Belgium. Also, Mix Diskerud, who has 38 U.S. caps to his name could be leaving Manchester City on loan with two MLS sides and a club in Belgium interested. This month I thought it would be fun to look at some duel-nationals who have yet to be cap tied by any nation. We’ve mentioned Sergino Dest previous. Since he’s already come out and said he plans to represent the U.S. going forward I’ve left him off the list.

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The first big name is Giovanni Reyna. The son of former U.S. capitan, Claudio Reyna, who had over 100 caps, Gio Reyna could easily become a regular in a U.S. shirt before his 18th birthday. The attacking playmaker already shows a strong ability with the ball at his feet, moves well off the ball, and works well in tight spaces. Did I mention he's 16 years old? If he elects to play for the U.S. it’s likely he’ll be the starting number 10 for over ten years. The issue is, he’s leaning toward playing for England. Although his father is a legend in the states, Gio was born in England when his father was playing for Sunderland.

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Born in Miami, Florida, Matko Miljevic has the option to also represent Argentina through both his parents. Coming up through the Atlética Argentinos Juniors youth system, Miljevic just made the switch to Premier League side Watford during the current transfer window. The 18-year old is excellent off the ball and is a great decision maker. Like Reyna, Miljevic is a number 10, but the newly signed Watford man could play on the wing as well.

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The last duel national who could make a major impact on the international level is Nicholas Gioacchini. The 19-year old striker is currently holding out in hopes for a call-up from Italy. Currently playing in the French second division, the SM Caen man is being linked with a move to both Milan clubs, Juventus, and Napoli. Interestingly enough, he has zero youth caps for either Italy or the U.S. He’s great physically, and has a great first touch, and a decent passer.​
 
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Buckingham Announces First 23 Man Squad

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August 31, 2019

The wait is over for those waiting to see who Buckingham would call into his first 23-man squad. When a new coach takes over there are always old names given a second chance and names of players who have been capped before. There is a bit of both this time around.

There really aren’t too many surprises on this list of 23. Joel Sonora and Emmanuel Sabbi are the only two players who could raise an eyebrow. Sonora, who was born in Texas, came up through the Boca Juniors youth system before testing his luck in Germany with Stuttgart. After two years overseas, Sonora decided to return to Argentina at the start of last season. Last year the attacking playmaker spent the season as a rotation player. Fast forward to 2020 and the Argentine-American has been off to a flying start, scoring two goals, recording two assists and a 7.08 rating in five games for Arsenal de Sarandi.

With a handful of injuries at the striker position, Emmanuel Sabbi also gets his first call up to the national team. The 21-year old is in his third year with Hobro in Denmark, all of which has been as a starter. After scoring seven goals last year, Sabbi has bagged two in five so far this season. Sabbi has been capped at the U20 and U23 levels for the U.S. and with matches against weaker Canada and Cuba, Sabbi should be given a chance to prove himself.


Looking over the rest of the roster, we see a lot of familiar names. Brad Guzan has 60 caps and Bill Hamid has been a fringe player for many years. Zack Steffen, the third keeper called in, has established himself as a starter for the national team since the start of the 2022 cycle. In defense, John Brooks, Matt Miazga, and Aaron Long are regulars in the middle. The new coach decided on calling on the Luton Town loanee, Cameron Carter-Vickers. In five starts with Luton in the Championship, the 21-year old has a 7.04 rating. On the right the obvious choices were DeAndre Yedlin and Sergino Dest. On the opposite side, the U.S. are without Antonee Robinson because of a torn calf muscle. Veteran Tim Ream and Chase Gasper get the call. The left back position is a major weakness for the U.S. and seeing the 31-year old natural center back, Tim Ream called in proves that.

In the middle of the park Michael Bradley, Weston McKennie and Tyler Adams are locks at this point. The three of them are more holding midfielders, however. Russell Canouse gets the call in that final box-to-box or ball winning position. In the attacking role, the two midfielders are Joel Sonora and Derby County's Duane Holmes. Those two tell us the U.S. could line up in a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1. On the flanks we see the obvious choice in Christan Pulisic. Behind him it’s hard to say there are any locks. Two names left off the roster are Tim Weah and Jordan Morris. Weah is nursing a hamstring problem while Morris is lacking match sharpness. This time around we’ll see Paul Arriola, Darlington Nagbe, and Sebastian Lletget, who have a combined 62 caps between them.

Finally, upfront we have Emmanuel Sabbi, who we already touched on, and the regular, Jozy Altidore. The latter has 115 caps to his name. Although he’s probably past his prime, no striker has proven to match Altidore’s quality. Sabbi is the first to given a change under Buckingham.
 
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August 2019 Update
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The big news this month was the roster being announced for the upcoming Nation’s League matches. Normally, most American’s wouldn’t care much about this tournament, but with a new coach and the failure to qualify for the last World Cup, this side has a lot to prove. Buckingham did call in a pretty strong side for these two matches and six points is expected to say the least.

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DeAndre Yedlin is on his way to Fenerbahce in search of first team minutes.

In other news, we have seen a few players on the move. DeAndre Yedlin leaves Newcastle United for Fenerbahce on loan. He is in competition to start at right back with Sergino Dest. Dest has begun the season on the bench for Ajax, so it’s Yedlin’s spot to lose. Also on the move is Mix Diskerud. The U.S. are limited at the attacking midfield spot, so it might be a little premature to say Mix is out of the picture for his national side. He will join Swiss side, Young Boys for the season. The last move is a strange one. Brian White was scoring goals for fun with New York Red Bulls, but was sold to MLS expansion team, Austin FC. The problem with that is Austin don’t start playing until next season. The move means White is out of the national team picture until the MLS starts the 2020 season.

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Josh Sargent is hoping to land a loan land before the transfer deadline.

With the transfer window coming to a close soon, there are plenty of players being linked with a move. One player desperate to leave his club is Josh Sargent. He’s been linked with a move to the MLS and a few 2. Bundesliga side’s all summer. The striker made the bench for Werder Bremen’s opening match of the season, but failed to make it on the matchday roster in their most recent match. He’s still only 19-years old, but has the talent to play for his international side. He’ll need minutes on the pitch before he sees the pitch for the U.S. again. Like previously mentioned, Sergino Dest is stuck on the bench at Ajax. He’s currently linked to a handful of clubs, most notably Villarreal, Rennes, and Burnley. All of which are loan moves. Lastly, Tyler Adams is still looking for a club to take him on loan. He failed to see the pitch in either of Leipzig’s Bundesliga matches, however, Norwich City and Koln could offer him a lifeline.
 
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Nations League Matchday 1
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September 7, 2019

After a very slow start, the U.S. scored in the tenth minute through the opening shot of the match. The visitors were the much better side in the opening 45, however, most of their ten shots were tame or headers directed off target coming from crosses out wide. The one goal came from a delicious cross from Fulham defender Tim Ream, landing perfectly on Jozy Altidore’s head and into the bottom corner of the net. Paul Arriola had a brilliant chance to make it two after a far post cross found the DC United winger, but he directed his header right at the keeper. After a poor first half, the home side came out much better in the second 45. Cardiff City man, Junior Hoilett, scored a worldy from about 25 yards out. Right back, Richie Laryea, centered the ball to his teammate, where Hoilett smashed it on the volley and into the top right corner. After that it was all Canada, but they couldn’t find the winner. The U.S. were bailed out once by the offsides flag. The 1-1 draw was probably a fair scoreline.​

 
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Nations League Matchday 2

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September 10, 2019


It took just 23 seconds for the U.S. to take the lead in this one and there was no looking back from there. Emmanuel Sabbi, on his senior team debut, bagged a hat trick while Joel Sonora recorded an assist and played five key passes during his debut. It’s hard to judge a player after one game, especially in a match against a much weaker side, but those two proved they deserve another look. Fringe player Sebastian Lletget added two goals of his own. With Timmy Weah out with a long term injury, Lletget made a great first impression for his first new international manager.​
 
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October 2019 Roster Announcement
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October 3, 2019


There aren’t too many changes from last month's 23-man roster. Bill Hamid misses out through injury as does Aaron Long. NYCFC’s keeper, Sean Johnson, steps in for Hamid at the goalkeeper position. Both keepers have a few caps to their names and are in the prime of their careers. In the middle of the defense, Tim Parker, Aaron Long’s club teammate at New York Red Bulls, gets his first call up since 2018.

In a bit of a surprise, FC Dallas right back Reggie Cannon replaced DeAndre Yedlin. Yedlin has gotten inconsistent minutes at Fenerbahce which has led to the 21-year old Reggie Cannon getting a chance to prove himself this time around. Cannon has recorded a 7.13 rating so far this MLS season. Also dropped from the team is Columbus Crew midfielder Darlington Nagbe. The midfield playmaker Keaton Parks is to replace Nagbe. Parks has been with Benfica for three seasons now, but yet to break into the first team. He spent the 2020 season on loan with NYCFC where he recorded a 7.02 rating and racked up a goal and five assists in fifteen matches.

On the wings, Jordan Morris and Timmy Weah are out injured giving a chance to Duane Holmes, Sebastian Lleget, and Paul Arriola. Outside of Christian Pulisic, there is no clear cut favorite on the left or on the bench. Lastly, up front, it’s the same two strikers. Youngster Josh Sargent has only made one appearance for Werder Bremen and isn’t match fit.​
 
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Friendly: October 9, 2019

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If this was a competitive match, I would’ve been happy that we came away with a point. However, it was a friendly and the result doesn’t matter. Instead, if we assess how we did as a team, we were very much outplayed and this match proved we have a long way to go.

In the opening 45 the U.S. won the possession battle, but offered nothing in the final third. It was all Holland on the counter, allowing Memphis Depay and Donny van de Beek through on net more than a few times. Our center backs did just enough to force the attackers just wide enough before they could shoot, narrowly the angle. That allowed Zack Steffen to make a few comfortable saves. Eventually Holland did score the breakthrough goal through Liverpool’s Gini Wijnaldum. It came from a through ball by van de Beek before Wijnaldum smashed one past a helpless Steffen.

The second half was a little more even. 13 of the 15 U.S. shots came in the second 45 where set pieces proved key for the Americans. DC United's Russell Canouse, netted the equalizer with a blast on the volley and into the upper right corner. It started with a corner kick which was headed to the top of the box where Canouse was positioned perfectly. After a bit of back and forth it seemed substitute Myron Boadu scored the winner in the 89th minute. Midfielder Tonny Vilhena slipped in the 18-year old with a perfectly weighted ball for Boadu to slot into the bottom left from about 10 yards out. The U.S. didn’t let their heads drop and were rewarded an equalizer right before the final whistle. Winger Christian Pulisic lined up on the right for a free kick which found center back Tim Parker at the har post who guided his free header into the net.​
 
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Nations League Matchday 3

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October 13, 2019

After a tough match against Holland, we bounced back with a win in dominant fashion. Outside of two or three other nations, the lads shouldn’t have any problems in CONCACAF play. Cuba didn’t record a single shot, while we had 20 on target. I am a little worried that we only scored three from those 20 particular shots.

Can you call a team wasteful after a 3-0 win? I would say so. It was highlight after highlight, all coming in Cuba’s final third, yet it was one comfortable save after another. With Tim Ream, a natural center back, starting at left back, the majority of the attack came down the right through Sergino Dest and Christian Pulisic. Left winger Paul Arriola found himself free a handful of times and connected on a few headers inside the eight yard box, but headed one over and missed an absolute sitter. I shouldn’t be too harsh on the D.C. United man as he did score two. Attacking midfielder Joel Sonora recorded a team high eight shots, five on target, but came up empty.

On a positive note, Schalke’s Weston McKennie is proving to be the most important player in our midfield. The 21-year old completed 97% of his team high 71 passes, five of which were key passes. Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic put in an incredible 29 crosses! One of which was converted by Arriola, while Pulisic also scored a goal of his own.​
 

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November 2019 Roster Announcement
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November 8, 2019

There’s one change to the roster this time around. Vancouver’s right back Brandon Bye comes in for Ajax’s Sergino Dest. The Dutch born defender has yet to make an appearance this season in the Eredivisie, therefore lacking match sharpness. With DeAndre Yedlin struggling in Turkey, 23-year old Bye gets his first call to the senior national side. The Michigan born attacking full back had a breakout second season in the MLS recording a 7.32 rating in 32 starts.

A lot of players are starting to pick themselves. There hasn’t been much competition in net. Bill Hamid has been out with an injury while Ethan Horvath has been stuck on the bench behind Simon Mignolet at Club Brugge. In the middle of defense Aaron Long has only played one match since returning from injury. He’s not ready yet to return to the national team. At the full back position, like I mentioned, Dest is lacking match fitness and Yedlin is struggling for form. On the left side Antonee Robinson is still out with a torn calf. Other options are Nick Lima and Jorge Villafana, but Lima’s hip injury has kept him out for two month while Tim Ream and Chase Gasper continue to beat out Villafana. The Portland Timbers left back had an excellent season, but at 30-years old, his time with the national side might be over.

In the midfield, it’s the same six names. The U.S. have plenty of options in the more attacking role, but the two players sitting behind them, in the middle of the pitch, are almost a given at this point. Weston McKennie has had a great season in the Bundesliga while Tyler Adams, while only seeing limited playing time with Leipzig, he’s been a strong option off the bench. The two MLS players, Michael Bradley and Russell Canouse, have been key for their two sides. Kellyn Acosta is another great player playing with the Colorado Rapids, but he’s been out injured since August. In the more advanced role, Joel Sonora has been tearing up the Argentine Superliga. Keaton Parks, on loan at NYCFC from Benfica, had a great season in the MLS. Matko Miljevic, who committed his future to the U.S., has been playing well for the Watford U23 side. It will be interesting to see if Buckingham will give him a call without any first time minutes.

At the three forward positions, Jordan Morris and Timmy Weah remain injured while Josh Sargent has played just eight Bundesliga minutes this season. Sabbi continues to beat out his competitions at the striker position.​
 
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Nations League Matchday 4
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November 14, 2019


We close out the group stage of the Nations League and the 2019 calendar year with our best performance yet. For some reason my coaches elected against scheduling a second match this month, but we still learned a good amount about this team as competition for spots for the 2021 Gold Cup roster heats up. We were much more clinical in this match and we had to be as Canada is a much better side than Cuba. Today’s win means we won our group and we’re off to the semifinals.

You wouldn’t know it by looking at the post match stats, but we dominated possession for most of the match until the end when Canada took over for the final 20 minutes. Unlike in our last match against Cuba, the attack was a lot more balanced. It wasn’t just Christian Pulisic putting in cross after cross. I decided to give Sebastian Lletget the start on the left wing over Paul Arriola and the move played off. It was his cross into the box which led to our first goal. The ball in was headed out to the top of the box where Tyler Adams played in Pulisic with one touch. The Chelsea man controlled it and blasted one past the keeper at his near post. Adams picked up his second assist just four minutes later. After a blocked cross by Reggie Cannon bounced out to Adams, the midfielder played a peach of a ball over the top for Jozy Altidore to run onto and the Toronto FC man was one-on-one with the keeper. Once he was in the box he slotted it home into the bottom right corner. Lletget made it three ten minutes before halftime and the game was all but done and dusted at that point. Pulisic had the ball just outside the box on the right dragging in the left back. The winger rolled the ball out to Cannon who was standing behind Pulisic with all the time in the world to find Lletget at the fall post. The LA Galaxy attacker out jumped his marker and headed it home.

The second half was a little more even. The U.S. kept their momentum at the start. Striker, Altidore, was pulled down in the box on a free kick and he converted the penalty to make it 4-0. The veteran capped off his hat-trick in the 65th minute thanks to a cross by right back Reggie Cannon who placed it perfectly between the two center backs. Cardiff City’s Junior Hoilett put Canada on the board first. Cannon, who didn’t seem to put a step wrong all match, lost sight of Hoilett at the far post and the winger stepped in front of his marker to redirect the ball in. Burnley’s summer signing, Lucas Cavallini made it two with six minutes left. It came from a cross from the former Burnley man, Scott Arfield, who found his striker in the box.

Looking at the numbers, it was Tyler Adams who led us from the midfield today. I praised Weston McKennie last match, however, his partner in the middle of the pitch out shined him today with two great assists and four key passes. In the attacking midfield role, Joel Sonora has seen the bulk of the minutes up to the point, but Buckingham handed Keaton Parks a chance this time around. The NYCFC man played well, but I don’t think it was enough to displace Sonora. Another player who stood out was FC Dallas full back, Reggie Cannon. Sergino Dest looks to be the future at the position, but Cannon did give Buckingham something to think about.​
 
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Position Breakdown Part 1 - Keepers
January 2020


I’m sure most people here don’t know too much about the U.S. national team, so as the calendar switches from 2019 to 2020, I thought it would be fun to break down the U.S. national team pool by position. Christian Pulisic is a household name, Weston McKennie’s name has become well known after his move to Juventus in real life. Tyler Adams scored a late winning goal for RB Leipzig in last year's Champions League quarter final, and Zack Steffen was purchased by Manchester City. Outside of that there really aren’t any well known players within the USMNT contingent. So, here we go:

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Zack Steffen is the clear No 1 for the US.

Regulars:
Zack Steffen (24 y.o. - Club: Fortuna Dusseldorf) - Still very young, Steffen made the move to Manchester City after two very impressive seasons in the MLS. His 2018 season was good enough for him to earn the MLS Goalkeeper of the year award and Manchester City took notice. The Pennsylvania native made the move to England in June 2019 and he was loaned out to Bundesliga side Fortuna Dusseldorf for this current season. Steffen has recorded three shutouts so far this campaign, but a 6.56 rating through 16 matches shows he’s had a tough time adjusting. Regardless, he’s still our best option as he continues to improve.

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Although he's past his best, Brad Guzan is still a top option for the U.S.

Fringe Players:
Brad Guzan (35 y.o. - Atlanta Utd.), Sean Johnson (30 y.o. - New York City FC), Bill Hamid (29 y.o. - D.C. United.), Ethan Horvath (24 y.o. - Club Brugge)

Even at 35-years old, Brad Guzan is still the best keeper the U.S. have to offer outside of Zack Steffen. On paper, Guzan has had an excellent career spending the majority of it with Premier League side Aston Villa. Stuck behind Tim Howard for many years at the national team level, Guzan still has 60 caps to his name. Without much competition behind him, it’ll be interesting to see how much time the man who made his national team debut in 2006 has left. Sean Johnson poses the biggest threat to take over the backup spot from Guzan. However, at 30-years old, Johnson might have to wait until Guzan’s talent regresses rather than he himself improves. The Georgia native has spent all ten years of his professional career in the MLS and has always been a fringe player for his national side. To his credit he has seven caps to his name and has been a part of three Gold Cup teams. Bill Hamid is another name who is putting pressure on Brad Guzan. Hamid was one of the favorites to take over as the new No 1 at the start of this cycle before Steffen separated himself from the pack. After a very successful MLS career, Hamid attempted to test his luck in Europe when he left for Danish side Midtjylland. That move may have set him back as he failed to prove himself, so the Virginia born shot stopper came back to the MLS after one season. Lastly, Ethan Horvath may have a better resume than Johnson and Hamid, but he’s been stuck on the bench at club level forcing his international manager to overlook him. He left the U.S. at 18-years old and it only took two years for the youngster to become the starter for Molde in Norway before moving to Belgium. He has Champions League and Europa League experience which is massive for any player. But, once Club Brugge signed Simon Mignolet, Horvath hasn’t seen the pitch.

 
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Position Breakdown Part 2 - Centre-Backs
January 2020


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John Brooks brings World Cup and Europa League experience to the U.S. back line.

Regulars:
John Brooks (26 y.o. - Club: Wolfsburg) -
Physically strong, great in the air, and good with the ball at his feet, Brooks is the top option in the middle of the United States defense. He is in his sixth year as a starter in the Bundesliga and was a part of the 2014 World Cup squad as well. The German born center half is as close to a lock as you can be for the 2022 World Cup.

Matt Miazga (24 y.o. - Club: Reading) - The former highly ranked prospect left the New York Red Bulls academy four years ago for Premier League side, Chelsea. His growth has stalled slightly, but he’s still good enough to be a regular in the U.S. squad. After joining the Blues in January 2016, Miazga spent his first two full seasons in Europe with Chelsea’s partner club, Vitesse in the Eredivisie. That move proved to be successful, as he managed a loan move at the start of the season last year with Ligue 1 side Nantes, but after a falling out with the manager, Miazga returned to England last January and finished out the campaign with Reading. The Championship side decided to extend the loan move for another year.

Aaron Long (27 y.o. - Club: New York Red Bulls) - At this point next year Long may not be considered a regular. He had a breakout season with the Red Bulls last season, but at 27-years old, he may not grow too much more as a player. What separates himself from the guys below him on this list is the fact that his style fits perfectly with Brooks or Miazga as a partner in the middle of the defense. While both Brooks and Miazga are tall, physical, and dominant in the air, Long is a converted midfielder who is great on the ball, can pick out a pass, and has excellent pace for a defender. With the U.S. playing out from the back and keeping a high line, Long's 16 pace acts as a great cover at the back for his center back partner.

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With Cameron Carter-Vickers finding success in the English Championship, it should be long until he's considered a UMNT regular.

Fringe Players:
Tim Parker (26 y.o. - Club: New York Red Bulls), Cameron Carter-Vickers (21 y.o. - Club: Luton Town), Justen Glad (22 y.o. - Club: Real Salt Lake), Walker Zimmerman (26 y.o. - Club: Los Angeles FC), Miles Robinson (22 y.o. - Club: Atlanta United)


Tim Parker and Walker Zimmerman are two MLS players entering the prime of their career and are very similar players. On paper Zimmerman may be the better player according to my scouts, but it’s only marginal. Parker had a strong season for his club which is why he’s gotten a call up under Buckingham while Zimmerman still waits. The other three fringe players are younger options. Cameron Carter-Vickers is in his third season out on loan away from Tottenham. This season the English born player is with Luton Town in the Championship and in 25 starts he’s recorded a 6.92 rating. Justen Glad is another highly rated prospect who’s in his third year in the MLS. With 16 caps at the U20 level, Glad has plenty of experience in the USMNT setup. During the 2019 season, Glad recorded a 6.85 rating in 35 starts. Lastly, Miles Robinson is an under the radar prospect. The 2019 season was his first as an MLS starter. He’s still young, yet he already has great physical stats, but has some work to do with the ball at his feet. It shouldn’t be too long before we see him in a U.S. shirt.​
 
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Position Breakdown Part 3 - Full Backs
January 2020


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At just 19-years old, Sergino Dest became the top option at right back for the U.S. once he commit to the USMNT.

Regulars (RB):
Sergino Dest (19 y.o. - Club: Ajax) -
Still very young, Dest could be the present and future at right back for two or three World Cup cycles. The Dutch born defender is extremely good at getting forward, but still has some work to do on the defensive part of his game. This season, Dest has been stuck in the reserves or on the bench with the Ajax first team. After missing out on a call up in November, Dest might need to establish himself as a first team player before he gets reintroduced back into the USMNT.

DeAndre Yedlin (26 y.o. - Club: Fenerbahce) - Yedlin has been the clear starter at right back for the U.S. since 2014. He has electric pace and willingness to get forward with solid defensive attributes. The downside is his mental stats and crossing. With his speed, Yedlin does a great job of creating himself space on the right flank, but his end product can be wasteful and inconsistent at times. He has plenty of experience in the Premier League and Championship with both Sunderland and Newcastle, but his time seems to have run out. He’s on loan this season in the Turkish Super Lig, but it’s been a struggle up to this point.

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Reggie Cannon is the top U.S. prospect at right back and is now get regular minutes in the MLS.

Fringe Player (RB):
Reggie Cannon (20 y.o. - Club: FC Dallas), Timmy Chandler (29 y.o. - Club: Eintracht Frankfurt), Brandon Bye (23 y.o. - Club: Vancouver), Keegan Rosenberry (25 y.o. - Club: Colorado Rapids)


With Dest lacking match fitness and Yedlin struggling at club level, there could be a chance for a fringe player to get a run out. Reggie Cannon had the first chance and excelled, however, he’s still young and very much an improving talent. Similar to Yedlin, Cannon is pacy, but lacks an end product. As he matures as a player, he could compete with Dest as one of our top options on the right side of the defense. At the opposite end of his career, Timmy Chandler is an established Bundesliga player, but has lost his way over the past year. This season, he’s no more than a rotation player with a 6.60 rating. Brandon Bye is a very interesting option. He’s never truly been on the USMNT radar as he’s never been capped at any level. However, in his second season in the MLS, Bye blew up recording a 7.31 rating in 32 starts. If he continues to dominate next year, it’ll be impossible to leave him out of the U.S. squad. In four seasons of MLS play, Keegan Rosenberry has proven to be a very consistent and reliable right back. He was called in once by the USMNT back in January 2017, but never saw the field.

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When healthy, Antonee Robinson is the clear first choice left back.

Regulars (LB):

Antonee Robinson (22 y.o. - Club: Wigan Athletic) -
A product of the Everton youth academy, Robinson is a very similar player to DeAndre Yedlin. He may not have the world class pace, but the Wigan left back makes up for it with his movement off the ball and ability to get into a better position on the pitch. As for his career, Robinson was never able to break into the first team at Everton and was loaned out to Championship side Bolton during the 2017/18 season where he played 30 games. His successful season was enough for Wigan to take Robinson on loan the following season. Wigan liked what they saw out of the English born full back and bought him at the start of the 19/20 season. Robinson missed the first three months of this season through injury which kept him out of the U.S. team. Since his return, he made 12 starts and has recorded a 6.85 rating. Expect to see him the next time the U.S. gets together.

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Although Tim Ream is 32-years old, it's hard to overlook his talent which such a talent pool.

Fringe (LB):
Tim Ream (32 y.o. - Club: Fulham), Chase Gasper (23 y.o. - Club: Real Salt Lake), Nick Lima (24 y.o. - Club: San Jose), Eric Lichaj (30 y.o. - Club: Hull City)

The left back position is the weakest within the United States player pool. Antonee Robinson is a legitimate talent, but after him there is a significant dropoff in talent. Tim Ream is 32-years old and a natural center back, while both Nick Lima and Eric Lichaj are natural right backs. As for Ream, he has played on the left in a defensive three for a handful of years at Bolton, so playing out wide isn’t completely foreign to the player. He does have a bit of pace and acceleration to him, so he can still get forward from the full back position, especially against weaker opposition. Chase Gasper is the only natural left back on this list. He has a great work rate and determination, but is a work in progress. If he continues to grow as a player, he could be the clear backup by 2022. After being drafted out of college, last season was his first as a professional in the MLS. Gasper recorded a 6.88 rating in 28 starts during his rookie campaign. Nick Lima has played quite a bit on the left side of the defense in his three seasons in the MLS. With seven caps to his name, the well-rounded full back has Gold Cup experience on his resume as well. He missed three months of last season because of a hip injury, but if Lima can bounce back with a strong 2020 season, then don’t be surprised if Gasper gets dropped from the national side. Eric Lichaj is the last name on this list and it's likely we’ve seen the last of him in a U.S. shirt. Talent wise he’s up there with everyone on this list, but he’s a backup at Hull City and not as experienced as the rest on the left. Lichaj has played three seasons in the Premier League with Aston Villa and has been a regular starter in the Championship for six seasons leading up to this one.​
 
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