In part one, we looked at guys who we know - today we look to the future and as a very important question: why is this name on this list or how come they get called into the national team.
Adam Jahn - Who, what, why? WHY IS HE ON THIS LIST? Here’s a trivia question, it will make you sad: Who was the highest scoring American pro in 2019? It’s Adam “Stern” Jahn.
Daniel Lovitz - Another American defender who was so important to his team that he was traded in the off season. Lovitz gets callups and is an alternative to Tim Ream and Nick Lima as a left back.
Corey Baird - I don’t get it with Baird. I just don’t. He might be a rising talent, but I don’t see why he is called in to the senior roster. After an OK 2018 where he won Rookie of the Year after a hot finish to the year, he took a bit of a step back last season. He’ll need to show he can live up to whatever potential he’s supposed to have as an international level player in 2020.
Keaton Parks - After moving to MLS from Portugal, Parks claimed a starting central midfield role for NYCFC. He should continue to hold that role in 2020 and earn time with the U-23s if not the senior side as well.
James Sands - The teenager will start for NYCFC as a defensive midfielder who will be tasked with linking the backline and midfield in a possession oriented team. He may also play centerback, but it seems like central midfield is where Sands will stake a claim in 2020.
Jonathan Lewis - Just earning 214 minutes with NYCFC through half of the 2019 season, Lewis made the jump to Colorado and put together a 5 goal 3 assist stat line in 16 games. Project that to a full season and it’s a pretty respectable 10 goal 6 assist year. He could be a darkhorse for a breakout season with the Rapids.
Sam Vines - Joining Lewis on the list in Colorado is defender Sam Vines. Colorado wasn’t that good last year and endured a coaching change, that did open the door for Sam Vines to walk through. Expect to see him again starting for the Rapids in 2020 and possibly have an outside chance at some senior team time this year as well.
Jesus Ferreira - Versatile, attacking, son of an MLS legend, Ferreira seems like he’ll start often for FC Dallas if not be a first choice in an attacking role in some capacity week in and week out. His versatility at least means that if he isn’t starting, he’s coming off of the bench regularly.
Paxton Pomykal - Be still my heart. Pomykal had some injury issues to wind down 2019 and possibly ended up on Gregg Berhalter’s bad side when he pointed out that Gyasi Zardes is Gyasi Zardes when it comes to technical soccer ability. Pomykal can do a lot of different things for Dallas playing centrally or out wide. Developing those skills further, plus his seeming ambition to play abroad is why he has a bright future in the sport.
Djordje Mihailovic - The Chicago Fire cleaned house in 2020, an annual ritual nearly as old as time at this point. Mihailovic isn’t going anywhere though. In 2019 he managed five callups with the senior national team, so he’s clearly on Gregg Berhalter’s radar. What’s more, if the Fire are going to have any success this season he’ll be a big part of what they do manage to accomplish.
Andrew Gutman - Someone who did not want to play for the Fire ended up being hoisted by his own petard as he’s now a member of FC Cincinnati. Gutman has a few things going for him that land him on this list - he’s a left back and he’s American. It is a position of constant need for the USMNT and if Gutman can perform well in 2020 it probably means he’ll at least get a look for the Stars and Stripes.
Jackson Yueill - What list should he be on exactly? Matt Doyle called him a Regista... which means he’s going to try to get the ball upfield so that someone can set up something to happen so that a ball bounces around some and then Chris Wondolowski appears as if from nowhere to score. San Jose has a great manager and is a little bit iffy pretty much everywhere on the pitch except for strikers and Regista.
Patrick Seagrist - The departure of Kemar Lawrence opens a left back spot for NYRB and Seagrist seems poised to claim it. New York presses, they press, when the other team has the ball, they press, when NYRB has the ball they press, they press a lot is what I’m saying. It seems like it’s difficult at times to see if they’re good because they use a system that is hard to play against and do it well or if they have good players - in any case, Seagrist will be out of the frying pan and into the fire in a tough position to play in MLS this year.
Brian White - Bradley Wright-Phillips sudden decline in ability to score goals opened the door for White to get some starts in 2019. He amassed 9 goals and 2 assists in 1345 minutes for the team and was the regular starter to finish out the year. If he scores at that pace again he could be near a 20 goal season and there’s good reason that in an attack minded team like NYRB to think he could do just that.
Chris Mueller - The Orlando City right winger has the look of an Ethan Finlay type of player. The problem is that he’s on a terrible team. That might change in 2020 as Oscar Pareja takes over. The manager is knowing for doing more with less and it doesn’t get much less than Orlando City. If Mueller gets a chance to start that Finlay comparison might earn him an outside look at a call up, but it’s probably a long shot at this point.
Brenden Aaronson - He’s got tekkers, he’s 19, he plays for an attack minded team that likes to kinda press and can be pretty fun to watch. Aaronson is the kind of player USMNT fans think that MLS should develop en masse - creative no. 10s. He’s one! He’s going to start a lot for Philly this year and it’ll be fun to watch and see if he can turn his tricks into assists and goals in 2020.
Jeremy Ebobisse - The striker had 11 goals in 25 starts, 34 games overall, for the Timbers. After finally getting a chance at the end of 2018, he’s shown he can start in the league and improve his game over the course of a season. The 11 goal total isn’t eye popping, but Portland’s game is more about creating space for Diego Valeri and Sebastian Blanco - a skill Ebobisse has grown into.
Brooks Lennon - Is he a winger? Is he a right back? IS HE A WINGBACK? Frank de Boer thinks so. The 22 year-old who came up in the Liverpool system is in Atlanta this year and should be the first choice pick at right wingback to start the year. He’s got some big shoes to fill as Julian Gressel departed, but if he lives up to the potential he showed as a youth player, calls for him to be with the national team will be rowdy and proud.
Gianluca Busio - The teenager had 3 goals in just under 1000 minutes last year. Busio might be a season or two away from claiming a starting role, but he’s versatile and has good passing vision, so minutes won’t be hard to come by for the youngster.
At 1,300+ words I have to stop the madness.... Come back tomorrow to learn about bubble players and goalkeepers...