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A Series of Mix Diskerud Events

The midfielder’s past two years have charted an almost exclusively downward course. So is being left off NYCFC’s preseason camp a blessing, or a curse?

MLS: Heineken Rivalry Week Media Day Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

It’s odd to think that six years ago, Mix Diskerud was one of the USMNT’s great hopes for the future. He delivered the assist to Juan Agudelo that (temporarily) gave the teenage striker the record for youngest goalscorer in senior team history. He gave fans brief glimpses of a crafty, creative midfielder with the ability to pop up in big moments for the team.

Diskerud’s career has been far from charmed ever since the 2014 World Cup, however, as he was dropped from both club and country fixture after fixture. Now, after two seasons with NYCFC that have seen him play sparingly, he’s been left off NYC’s preseason roster as they prepare for the upcoming MLS season in Jacksonville, Florida.

Diskerud’s downward spiral has been almost impressive. In brief:

  • Diskerud makes Jurgen Klinsmann’s final roster for the 2014 World Cup, but is 1 of only 2 field players to not see any game time in Brazil.
  • Mix parlays his good form pre-World Cup into a a transfer from Rosenborg to NYCFC for their inaugural 2015 season, one of the club’s first marquee signings.
  • Despite taking up a good deal of NYC’s salary cap, Diskerud’s production doesn’t match his paycheck. In 27 games played, he records just 3 goals and 1 assist.
  • Mix manages to score a goal against Germany, one of the most impressive passing sequences of Jurgen Klinsmann’s career:
  • Despite his goal, he makes his last USMNT appearance in January of 2016, deemed surplus to requirements for World Cup Qualifying.
  • After firing head coach Jason Kreis, Mix is given a new opportunity to shine under Patrick Vieira. Outpaced by Andrea Pirlo, Frank Lampard, Tommy McNamara, and Khiry Shelton, he fails to establish a place in the squad and makes just 12 appearances in 2016.

For a player who has been hailed at separate times as the man to take over the U.S. midfield, this latest news is sadly unsurprising. He did not look special in Jason Kreis’s midfield, and he was all but forgotten in Vieira’s. One of Diskerud’s great advantages playing in Norway was that it was much harder to evaluate just what success means in terms of talent. He was a regular for one of Norway’s best teams, but it was hard to see what that translated to in terms of personal ability. A failure to succeed in MLS, and what’s more, to even lock down a starting spot for an expansion side (albeit one with incredibly deep pockets), is a ticket to obscurity.

On the other hand, if Diskerud is being left off the preseason roster, that could indicate that a move is in the works. A transfer is just what the doctor ordered for Mix. Given his past exploits for the U.S., he’s still bound to find value somewhere in the league or possibly back in Scandinavia. And he’s still just 26, which is far too early to call time on a career. Just ask Alejandro Bedoya, who used a good run with Helsingborg in Sweden to secure a move to FC Nantes at the same age. If he can find a club who can integrate him into the attack and play up his strengths, as he found at Rosenborg and in fits and starts under Bob Bradley and Jurgen Klinsmann, he could feasibly work his way back into international contention.

The only sure thing about Diskerud’s situation is that it still involves being buried on the depth chart at NYC in just about every way. It’ll be up to Mix to see if he can work his way out.