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USMNT Inventory Watch: Weston McKennie shines for Juventus, huge questions at middle again

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With the brand new marketing campaign in Europe simply heating up and the MLS common season coming into the stretch run, now could be the proper time to take inventory of the place members of the U.S. males’s nationwide group participant pool stand.

The USMNT has a busy schedule this fall. Following a pair of recently-completed September friendlies — a 3-0 win over Uzbekistan on Sept. 9 and a 4-0 victory in opposition to Oman on Sept. 12 — the People will face two far stiffer checks subsequent month, once they meet World Cup common Ghana and 4 time champ Germany in one other pair of exhibitions.

The 2023-24 CONCACAF Nations League then kicks off in November, with a spot in subsequent summer time’s Copa America on the road. Within the meantime, there’s rather a lot to speak about as gamers try to put their finest toes ahead for his or her membership sides and jockey to impress U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter.

Who may very well be catching Berhalter’s eye? Let’s dive proper in.


Strikers Folarin Balogun and Ricardo Pepi picked up with their golf equipment the place they left off with the USMNT final week … by scoring targets. Balogun notched his first for Monaco moments after coming into as a sub in opposition to Lorient on Sunday. 

The day earlier than, Pepi transformed a late penalty kick for PSV. That competitors is a breath of recent air for the USMNT, although Pepi in all probability has to unseat Luuk de Jong as PSV’s first alternative earlier than critically difficult Balogun for the job with the U.S.

Haji Wright has began three of Coventry‘s first six video games in England’s second tier Championship, together with the final two, although his solely aim got here again on Aug. 12. In Germany’s Bundesliga, Jordan Pefok opened his account for Borussia Mönchengladbach Sunday within the Foals’ 3-3 tie at Darmstadt.

Jesus Ferreira has only one aim since claiming the Golden Boot on the CONCACAF Gold Cup. Ferreira is scoreless in his final 4 video games for FC Dallas, even when he did handle three assists over that span. Elsewhere in MLS, Brandon Vazquez scored one and arrange one other in FC Cincinnati‘s 2-2 attract Philadelphia Saturday. Cade Cowell, who was referred to as in however did not play in both U.S. pleasant, has only one aim in 18 MLS appearances for San Jose in 2023.

Two different goal males stay out with long-term accidents: Daryl Dike (Achilles) and Josh Sargent (ankle).

On the wings, Christian Pulisic and Tim Weah are the clear incumbents over everybody else — together with Gio Reyna, who nonetheless hasn’t made the bench for Borussia Dortmund in 2023-24 after fracturing his leg final June.  That is not prone to change quickly, even when Pulisic, like the remainder of his AC Milan teammates, had a sport to neglect in Saturday’s 5-1 loss to Inter.

Nonetheless, it will likely be attention-grabbing to see if Brenden Aaronson can enhance his USMNT inventory on the UEFA Champions League stage this fall. Aaronson and Union Berlin kick off the group stage on Tuesday in opposition to Actual Madrid.


Simply the People’ MVP this month, Weston McKennie carried that type again to Italy on Saturday. McKennie was in every single place in opposition to Lazio, regardless of being deployed at wingback, with the Texan serving to create all three Juventus targets earlier than being changed by Weah after 72 minutes. Supervisor Maxi Allegri was visibly thrilled with McKennie’s efficiency, which ought to hold the 25-year-old in Allegri’s lineup for Saturday’s journey to Sassuolo.

In Milan, Yunus Musah made his second Serie A look for the Rossoneri in Saturday’s derby, whereas the third member of Berhalter’s  most popular “MMA” midfield, Tyler Adams, has resumed coaching with Premier League Bournemouth following hamstring surgical procedure final spring.

There is a huge drop-off after these three, but it surely’s nonetheless good that playmaker Luca de la Torre made his fourth straight La Liga begin for Celta Vigo regardless of breaking his nostril on U.S. obligation.  Malik Tillman obtained his first profession USMNT begin in opposition to Oman however did not play for PSV over the weekend and has logged simply 18 minutes this Eredivisie season to this point.

Tanner Tessmann changed the injured De La Torre in opposition to the Uzbeks and whereas he wasn’t nice, it could actually’t harm that he continues to begin each sport for Venezia in Italy’s Serie B — particularly with Djordje Mihailovic largely sitting on the bench within the Netherlands prime circuit.

Teenager Benjamin Cremaschi, 18, made his worldwide debut off the bench midweek. Then, on Saturday, he began his sixteenth MLS sport of 2023 for Inter Miami. Brazil-based Johnny Cardoso remains to be sidelined by the ankle downside that compelled him to withdraw from the newest USMNT roster.


Similar to up prime, the U.S. flanks are manned by a pair of lineup locks: Sergiño Dest at proper again and Antonee “Jedi” Robinson on the left. With Jedi nursing the sore hammy that will additionally hold him out of Fulham’s 1-0 win over Luton on Saturday, Danish-born Kristoffer Lund made his first U.S. begin final week.

Lund will compete for the left again understudy function behind Jedi with Sam Vines, who will not take part within the Champions League with Royal Antwerp as a result of the Belgian membership mistakenly did not embrace him on the roster. That is tremendously unlucky for Vines.

Joe Scally left U.S. camp between video games following the dying of his grandfather, however he’s now Dest’s clear backup on the suitable. Scally has began all 5 of ‘Gladbach’s video games this yr.  One other Bundesliga rep, the versatile Kevin Paredes, is a daily off the bench for Wolfsburg and may also play on the wings. Paredes impressed in his USMNT debut in opposition to Oman.

Shaq Moore is another choice on the suitable, although it seems that Berhalter has moved on from two-time World Cup veteran DeAndre Yedlin, who turned 30 in July.

The pecking order is fuzzier within the center. Chris Richards and Miles Robinson began the newest U.S. sport and seem like Berhalter’s best middle again pairing, although Cameron Carter-Vickers, Walker Zimmerman and the ageless Tim Ream (all of whom began a minimum of one match on the 2022 World Cup) stay firmly in competition.

A lot will rely upon how typically Richards performs with Crystal Palace — the Alabama native obtained a uncommon begin Saturday however conceded the penalty on Aston Villa’s winner — and the way shortly Miles Robinson adapts to Europe if he leaves Atlanta in January, as anticipated. Mark McKenzie and Auston Trusty are nonetheless within the combine, too.


Whereas Matt Turner is extra locked in because the U.S. No. 1 than ever earlier than, the competitors behind him has by no means been extra open.

Though Ethan Horvath performed in opposition to Oman, he is now third, at finest, on the depth chart at Nottingham Forest, which earlier this month acquired skilled Greek backstop Odysseas Vlachodimos to compete with Turner. Horvath was subsequently dropped from Forest’s Premier League roster final week.

With Sean Johnson, 34, recovering from a damaged hand, Miami’s Drake Callender backed up Horvath in Minnesota. Callender might have to attend till January for his first cap. Gaga Slonina obtained his early this yr; now Slonina is getting common video games in Belgium. Nonetheless simply 19, the Chelsea loanee might headline the U.S. roster for subsequent summer time’s Olympics in Paris.

Then there’s Zack Steffen. The previous U.S. No. 1 had knee surgical procedure in June, and he stays idle at Manchester Metropolis. That is not prone to change till the switch window reopens in January.

Doug McIntyre is a soccer author for FOX Sports activities who has lined United States males’s and ladies’s nationwide groups at FIFA World Cups on 5 continents. Comply with him on Twitter @ByDougMcIntyre.

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