The U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team powered through two friendly victories last week powered by names we hope to see and hear for the next decade.
But the forward position is still a question mark. One that I’d call... a question mark necessitating arbitrary rankings. So here we go. Let’s rank the number 9 position.
- This list is for the USMNT senior team and pretends the squad begins a tournament one month from the time of publication.
- This list isn’t trying to predict who Gregg Berhalter will pick. Though it does consider it.
- Club team performances are the bulk of the data we have.
- These rankings have no inside information. Though hours of how players have developed in Football Manager 2021 sims are a quiet influence.
- The list is ten deep. We’ll aim to do it once a month.
Number Ten: Sebastian Soto
No one took a harder hit from the U.S. Olympic qualifying failure than Soto. The outcome and the team’s performance aren’t his alone. But his form generally was between Doing No Harm and Disaster Back Pass.
Soto was recalled from a successful loan in the Dutch Second Division to Premier League bound Norwich in the Championship. But he’s yet to appear for them. The recall gave us all positive energy, but that’s evaporated. This is one young buck though. He’s 20 and has shown an ability to find the net.
His promise keeps him in the 10 position. But he’ll drop off soon if he’s still not seeing minutes.
Number Nine: Niko Gioacchini
At his club, Caen, Niko has split time between center forward and the wing. He found himself deployed out wide by Berhalter in his limited minutes for the USMNT. We need more time to know where both Caen and the USMNT see his future.
There may be unknowns with Niko. But at just 20 you love the question. If he continues to climb professionally, from Caen in France’s Ligue 2, he’ll be in the conversation for USMNT time for years to come.
Gioacchini doing the target work today vs PSG pic.twitter.com/QERef905o7— USAexpat (@aexpat_us) February 11, 2021
Number Eight: Jesus Ferreira
MLS season can’t start soon enough. Ferreira looked lively in the disaster of US Olympic Qualifying. He had a down season in MLS last year and will be looking to press reset. That may define his future. Especially as FC Dallas players are a clear respected commodity overseas right now.
Number Seven: Matt Hoppe
Covering the cost of relegation will require selling players and we expect Hoppe to be on another squad. Is he the real deal? Was his hot streak Linsanity? We’ll find out next season.
Number Six: Jozy Altidore
He’s on this list until we’re told he’s not on the list. I’d bet dollars that we’ll see him should in a US jersey during the Gold Cup.
Right now health feels like the biggest issue. It’s pointless debating Jozy’s form if he’s not healthy and can’t take the pitch.
And there’s one clear bottom line from recent events. Jozy ain’t done.
Number Five: Gyasi Zardes
He’s arguably the best American striker in MLS and he’s proven to be in Gregg Berhalter’s tree of trust. Zardes has been a consistent performer and there’s no reason to believe that won’t continue.
The question for Zardes is if and how quickly he gets displaced by younger players on the upswing.
Number Four: Jordan Siebatcheu
Siebatcheu was a quick welcome addition in the USMNT friendlies. He looks the part of hold up center forward who will create opportunities for Pulisic, Reyna, Musah, and others.
I’m a bit shy after a decade of new USMNT strikers who ignite quickly and slowly fade in the lead up to major tournaments. But Siebatcheu is doing work for Young Boys in Switzerland and his 10 goals have helped give the squad a more than 20 point lead at the top of the table.
Number Three: Tim Weah
Where does Weah fit in a healthy XI for the USMNT? Until we see him started on the wing in the healthy squad putting him up top is a speculative option which can’t be ignored.
The USMNT is much more cloudy up top then on the wings with existing and emerging options. If there’s a commitment to getting the best eleven players on the field then a crowded midfield probably produces a conversation about Weah appearing up top at some point.
His absence from the recent friendlies was a letdown for those who ponder tactical hypotheticals in 280 characters.
Number Two: Daryl Dike
The Barnsley team crest probably has some real meaning. But can it just be replaced with Daryl Dike? Feels like they should have done it already.
As they campaign for the Premier League Dike is drawing dizzying attention. The rumor of a rejected $10 million transfer offer and the phrase “Big Six” being used wantonly.
In the recent friendlies no player on the USMNT looked more ready to score. While it didn’t happen the opportunities were tantalizing.
Number One: Josh Sargent
A slow season broke open for the Man from Missouri last month at Werder Bremen. Three goals in five Bundesliga games. Lather on a performance against Jamaica where you could see the potential of a Gregg Berhalter’s offense. There was a message saying “We told you we had a plan.”
Without finding the net Sargent showed how he can create opportunities for his attacking partners...
Beautiful combo here between Brenden Aaronson and Josh Sargent to make it 2-0.— U.S. Soccer MNT (@USMNT) March 25, 2021
Aaronson has scored in back-to-back #USMNT appearances
Sargent collects his first international assist#USAvJAM pic.twitter.com/l12HMmx6sQ
Recent form and a flicker of what’s to come in the USMNT friendlies put Sargent at the top of the list.
What’s your top 10 power ranking? It’s open season in the comments.
Hit us with your changes or your full top 10.