USMNT: Who has the most to prove in the upcoming qualifiers?
Earlier today, Jurgen Klinsmann announced the 23-man roster for the United States’ upcoming World Cup qualifiers.
The USMNT’s first match is on November 13 against St. Vincent & The Grenadines, before traveling to Trinidad & Tobago on November 17.
[ MORE: Full 23-man USMNT roster ]
After a poor run of results in the summer and fall, the U.S. will look to get back on track in these qualifiers as pressure has been building on both the manager and the team. Below, we take a look at some players who could prove their worth in the upcoming matches.
The 20-year-old defender got his first senior call-up after impressive displays for the Red Bulls and the U.S. U20 team. Miazga has been touted as one of the United States’ top prospects moving forward, and getting the nod from Klinsmann shows how highly regarded he is. He’s not ready to be a starting defender for the national team quite yet, but he will look to make the most of his opportunity if he gets some minutes in the qualifiers. By the World Cup in 2018...
Johnson has been one of the United States’ best players over the past few years and should be thought of as a lock in the starting back-line. However, he was sent home from the squad last month after Klinsmann basically called him out for faking injury, as his status with the national team came into question. He recently scored his first Champions League goal for Borussia Monchengladbach, and will look to regain Klinsmann’s trust with a strong performance for the USMNT.
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Diskerud has 30 caps for the national team, but is coming off a shaky season for both club and country. He’s a hard player to judge, as one day he’ll put in a great performance, while the next match he’ll look lost in the midfield. If Diskerud doesn’t put in a string of consistent showings, Klinsmann may have to start looking for other options.
Nagbe received his first United States call-up after gaining his citizenship in September. There had been rumors the Portland Timbers’ midfielder would pledge his allegiance to the U.S. for some time now, and now that he is eligible, he immediately received a call from Klinsmann. It will be interesting to see how he is used, but he’ll look to lock down a spot as a USMNT regular moving forward.
Ibarra became the first player from the NASL to get a call-up to the national team last year while playing for Minnesota United. This summer, he signed for Mexican side Leon, and recently scored his first goal for the club. Klinsmann has a penchant for calling up players who play in Liga MX, and Ibarra is an under-the-radar name that could bring some added energy that this side desperately needs after a disappointing run of matches.
Bobby Wood continues to produce for the USMNT, scoring game-winning goals against the Netherlands and Germany before scoring an extra-time equalizer against Mexico. However, he has been used mostly as a late-game substitute by Klinsmann. In these qualifiers, Wood deserves to get a start and prove his worth for more than a 20-minute cameo. He brings added hustle and creativity that Jozy Altidore has been sorely lacking.