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Uly Llanez is the bright spot 2020 needs

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In a rotten year, the dual national is in position to make some noise at the club and international level.

Costa Rica v United States Photo by Michael Janosz/ISI Photos/Getty Images

2020 can go straight to hell.

Everything that can go wrong, seemingly has this year. While the last few months have felt like a lifetime of despair and depression, it’s easy to forget that 2020 got off to an amazing start for one USMNT prospect. 19-year-old Uly Llanez was the talk of the American soccer world for a couple of weeks in February. The dual-national made his senior international debut in the USMNT’s annual training camp to kick off the year. His performance in the 1-0 win over Costa Rica was one of the more exciting things to happen for this team in a little while.

Even before making his professional debut at the club level, Uly Llanez has garnered growing expectations of American soccer fans. It comes with the territory for young players making their way through the U.S. Soccer system. If you exude any talent or show any possibility that you can be a difference maker for the USMNT, attention is inevitably coming your way. That was obviously going to be the case after Llanez impressed at the 2019 U-20 World Cup in May. His impact as a game-changing substitute in that tournament was undeniable.

He’s done nothing to dispel the hype ever since that star-making showing. After being allowed to attend the USMNT year-opening camp by Wolfsburg, the Mexican-American has returned to Germany rode the momentum all the way to the precipice of his Bundesliga debut. Whether it was being added to the team’s Europa League roster or invited to train with the first team, Uly’s stock has done nothing but soar over the past 12 months.

After lighting it up for Wolfsburg at the U-19 level and being integrated into first-team training, it appears as if Llanez is very close to taking that last step toward becoming a Bundesliga player. With the resumption of the season scheduled for this weekend and the fixtures about to come quick, it seems like no better time for the teenager’s stock to burst through the roof and onto the world stage.

While it’ll be great to have the likes of Tyler Adams, Weston McKennie, John Brooks, Josh Sargent and the rest of the USMNT’s Bundesliga contingent back in our lives, no potential American storyline in Germany is as intriguing as Uly’s chance at a debut.

Whenever international soccer returns, it’s clear that the USMNT have themselves a potential asset and game-changer in the young winger. It would be great to see him get that chance to make an impact for Wolfsburg after the fantastic 12 months he’s displayed at the club and international levels.