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USMNT State of the Union: Forwards

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Examining form and situation of members of the U.S. player pool.

Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

While the form of players in the back might be a concern for U.S. fans, scenes are actually kind of rosy up top. Even people that aren't playing well still aren't playing particularly poorly, and more than one person has been finding the net on a regular basis. For an attack that has frequently looked anemic against quality opposition, that can only be a good thing.

Jozy Altidore:

The USA Number 1, which he in all probability will still be by the Copa, has drawn mixed reviews so far this season. While he's managed to grab a couple assists and impressed with his hold-up play coming off of an injury lay-off, he still hasn't managed to score a goal for Toronto FC. That's kind of important for a striker. Even if Altidore has some yips in front of goal, he's still the only striker on this list that can run the kind of transition offense the U.S. inevitably runs under Klinsmann. Grade: C+

Clint Dempsey:

The Sounders look like they're starting to put it together on the field, and Dempsey found himself back on the scoresheet last weekend after a stretch away, notching his second goal of the season. He's going to be the elder statesman on this team this summer, but he's also still going to be one of the only ones on this team who has the guts to try different things on the field and the tenacity to see those things out. Grade: B

Ethan Finlay:

Finlay's inclusion on this list is presumably because a 4-3-3 is still in Klinsmann's deck and he considers the wide forwards to still be forwards (which hasn't really been the case since Joe Gyau and Julian Green were starting on the wings, but I digress). His output has dropped considerably along with Columbus's form, and the man up top most responsible for Finlay's success last year just got sold away for a kerfuffle. It's been a month since he's scored or assisted on a goal, and that's just not good enough for a player that's almost exclusively an offensive quality. Grade: C

Jordan Morris:

One word for Morris: hot. He's scored in four straight games and it looks like he's figured out his spot in Seattle's offense. With no split duties this summer, Morris looks like he's a shoe-in for some quality playing time. Grade: A

Christian Pulisic:

Pulisic's rise has been nothing short of meteoric. You know this by now. It's old news. So for a quick reminder: with nothing left to play for in the league, Pulisic found some serious minutes, becoming the youngest multiple-goal scorer in Bundesliga history. And even when he found himself with Dortmund's U-19 side for more minutes, he was still pulling out stuff like this:

Yes please. Grade: A-

Chris Wondolowski:

There is something cold yet familiar about Chris Wondolowski. Predictably, he's scoring a bunch of goals in MLS, and he'll probably get called up for the Copa America. Going off performance, yeah, he's still got gas in the tank for MLS play. Just wish I could see him really succeeding consistently for the Nats. Grade: B+

Bobby Wood:

Bobby hasn't scored in a couple weeks, but considering his other 17 goals on the season, he'll probably be given a bit more leniency in that regard. Wood is a similar player to Morris, using his pace, pressure, and finishing to give defenses headaches, but he's proven it to a greater degree and at a higher level than Morris. The competition for the second striker slot will be interesting. Grade: B+

Gyasi Zardes:

Zardes gets a lot of stick on this site. Usually, that's justified. It might still be justified. But the Galaxy offense has exploded since the last set of qualifiers, and Zardes has been a big part of that. Despite his still having rocks for feet at times, he's also pulled out some really, really good plays in the last few weeks.

Zardes will most likely see his playing time on the wing, but at least he's been showing well as of late. Grade: B+