It may have been a month since the USMNT was last together at the Copa America and another month before they reconvene for two more World Cup qualifiers in September. Nevertheless the player watch never stops and despite many players still being in preseason preparations, there have been several U.S. players that have seen their national stocks rise and fall over the past few weeks. Here are the latest USMNT power rankings.
After a surprise inclusion in the 2014 World Cup squad, Green’s club and international career seemed to have fallen off a cliff. Green couldn’t secure first team football over the past two years, causing him to fall out of the national team picture, which some fans used as a knock against Klinsmann. Well, Green is now back. He’s started each of Bayern Munich’s five pre-season matches under new manager Carlo Ancelotti as a lone striker, scoring four goals including a hat trick against Inter Milan. Green won’t start once Bayern have their full squad available, but the confidence shown by Ancelotti in the American suggests he’ll see some first team action this year.
Despite playing as a holding midfielder for his club team, Acosta started the MLS All-Star game at left back, which is where he’s played with the USMNT and U23 team. The U.S. is currently wide open at left back, leaving the door open for Acosta to make that position his own, or his club form could put him into contention to eventually replace Kyle Beckerman as a holding midfielder.
Since Kitchen didn’t actually play in the Copa America he was able to jump right into Hearts’ squad for their Europa League qualifiers. Kitchen was good in the two games he played, but Hearts was eliminated in a game he didn’t feature in. It’s looking like he’ll see plenty of first team action in Scotland this year, opening up the door for him to fight for Beckerman’s place in the U.S. team.
After being the third keeper for the U.S. at the Copa America, Horvath has returned to Norway and re-established himself as first choice goalkeeper for Molde FK, where he kept clean sheets in each of his first two games back. With Brad Guzan signing on to be the backup at Middlesbrough, Horvath is suddenly the only U.S. keeper starting for a European team.
The 22-year-old MLS rookie has had a phenomenal season so far, earning him a starting spot in the MLS All-Star game. DeAndre Yedlin has made the right back position his own this summer, but with his club situation uncertain, Rosenberry could earn himself a look from Klinsmann if his form stays this way.
Garza recently returned from a nine-month injury, playing well in his first two games back for Tijuana. At the moment the U.S.’s two best left back options seem to be Fabian Johnson and Kellyn Acosta, neither of which play the position for their club teams. That leaves the position wide open for Garza to possibly make it his own.
Let’s be clear, Yedlin has done nothing to lose his starting spot with the USMNT. The problem is his club situation is very uncertain. Had Sam Allardyce returned to Sunderland, Yedlin likely would have secured a permanent move there. But with Big Sam leaving to take over England, Yedlin’s future remains very uncertain. He’s currently on tour with parent club Tottenham, where he’ll likely be their third choice right back.
After being relegated from the Premier League with Aston Villa last season, Guzan recently competed a move to Premier League newcomers Middlesbrough, to be their backup. That’s not a good sign for Guzan’s national team future considering that Jurgen Klinsmann has stated he’ll choose his goalkeeper based on who’s actually playing for their club team.
On the flip side, just because you’re playing doesn’t mean you’re playing well. Despite not losing in his first five MLS starts, Howard hasn’t exactly been in the best form for the Colorado Rapids, culminating in last Saturday’s 5-1 loss to NYCFC. If Howard can’t rediscover his form soon, he may not have a future with the USMNT for much longer.
Bad news for the Christian Pulisic fans. Pulisic hasn’t done anything wrong this offseason, in fact he’s actually been playing really well for Borussia Dortmund in their preseason friendlies and scored a late equalizer against Manchester City. The problem is the amount of people ahead of Pulisic in the pecking order. Newly signed teenagers Ousmane Dembele and Emre Mor not only have been impressive but have also started matches for the Black and Yellows (Pulisic has not) suggesting they’re higher in the pecking order. Dortmund have also splashed the cash on German internationals Mario Gotze and Andre Schurrle, who weren’t signed to sit on the bench, to go along with incumbent players such as Marco Reus and Gonzalo Castro. With such a crowded dressing room, it’ll be very hard for Pulisic to get on the field this season. That’ll make it very hard for Jurgen Klinsmann to justify calling the 17-year-old up to the national team, especially with so many other players in form.
Choosing the Seattle Sounders and MLS over fighting for a place with Bundesliga side Werder Bremen may be a decision that costs Morris several chances with the national team in the near future. Since going on a tear in mid-May with the Sounders, Morris has cooled off significantly. The U.S. striker pool is suddenly more crowded than it’s ever been. Clint Dempsey is still their most consistent scorer at the international level and with Bobby Wood, Fafa Picault, Paul Ariolla, and Julian Green all in good form outside of the U.S. Picault is in the second division in Germany (where Bobby Wood was last season) but Klinsmann would likely take a player scoring consistently in Europe over a player who isn’t lighting the MLS on fire. With all this in play, Morris could very well find himself on the outside looking in come September.