National team managers tend to fall into the habit of developing a favorite. A player that they call upon nearly regardless of their form or the opinion of fans. These players offer a sense of security for the manager and send a message to the other’s potentially on the roster that the coach will do whatever they want regardless of if it is a good idea, effective, or the puts the team in the best position to win. Jurgen Klinsmann had Jermaine Jones, Bruce Arena had
Michael Ehrhardt... I don’t know, Bedoya? anyone in MLS who was vaguely OK?, and Bob Bradley had Michael Bradley.
This seems bad, but sometimes it works out really well and the chosen one ends up being a good fit and even a productive member of the squad. This possibly also indicates that the manager knows what they are doing despite fans’ secure knowledge that because of any number of factors such as what league they managed in before, their nationality or family relation to federation executives they don’t.
It seems safe to say that the player who fits this description for the time being is Sebastian Lletget. Frankly, this is great news because it seems plausible it could have been...
Lletget’s involvement in the national team is somewhat surprising. After failing to break through with West Ham, Lletget signed a TAM deal with the LA Galaxy in 2015. Over his time with the club, he’s shown that he can occupy a number of roles playing either deeper or more attacking in central midfield or as a winger. He’s shown a knack for scoring impressive goals, though he is not by any means prolific in either scoring or providing assists. In a word he is pretty solid if not somewhat underrated in terms of MLS midfielders.
He also qualifies as a veteran in terms of age at 28. Among a group of players in their early 20s and late teens, this imbues him with an older and wiser quality that the team lacks that may or may not be important. That said he also has range on social media that the younger players may find impressive.
For example, he can do a black and white motivational quote post:
A pic with his shawtyyy:
The point is he has range. I don’t know if he has a tictoc though, I don’t look at that.
All of that said, it does not seem like he will be, at least hopefully, a starter for the USMNT. He seems to occupy a role that Weston McKennie can fill in the midfield of guy who is pretty good on the ball, can score sometimes, and can do cool things like “find space.” With the USMNT playing a big pile of games this summer and into the fall, we’ll be seeing plenty of Da Boy in the dazzle camo kit this year. Not only could that be worse, but he also seems like a solid fit for the team and what Gregg Berhalter wants to do with it. Plus, what’s a better alternative?