MLS players who should get a look on U.S. National Team
By Jeremiah Paschke-Wood | Only Love Soccer
The start of a new MLS season is always fun, because a few guys emerge that no one (or very few, anyway) have heard of and become stars in the league. Chris Wondolowski and Brek Shea are two players who weren’t anywhere near the U.S. National Team pool but got there with strong seasons in the MLS. And with Team USA’s World Cup qualifying cycle beginning anew this summer, it’s time to inject some fresh, non-Eddie Johnson or Jonathan Bornstein blood. So what players from this year’s crop of new (or slightly under the radar) should be catching the eye of Jurgen Klinsmann and co.?
Tally Hall, Houston. With Bill Hamid and Sean Johnson coming off poor Olympic qualifying performances and not totally solidifying starting jobs this season, Team USA needs another keeper to provide competition for Brad Guzan and Nick Rimando as the backup goalie. After a slightly bumpy start to the season last year, Hall was named an All-Star, and has surely been one of the most commanding American keepers to start this year.
Also keep in mind: Matt Pickens, Colorado; Dan Kennedy, Chivas USA
Steven Beitashour, San Jose. Beitashour caught the eye after being instilled as the Earthquakes starting right back last season, and his good play has continued into this year. In a national team pool generally devoid of competent attacking full backs, he is a bright prospect to take over for Steve Cherundulo.
Also keep in mind: Chance Myers, Sporting Kansas City
Matt Besler, Sporting Kansas City. My first instinct was to pick Omar Gonzales again, just because I can’t understand why he seems to find himself behind Michael Orozco-Fizcal and Edgar Castillo in the USMNT pecking order. But Gonzalez is injured and does have two caps to his name. Besler is anchoring the league’s finest defense, and has provided a level-headed foil to Aurellien Collin, who is a bit of a wild card.
Also keep in mind: A.J. Soares, New England
Nick DeLeon, DC United. With the likes of Graham Zusi and Chris Pontius at least called up to camp last year, I can leave those two out of my picks. This year, by far the most exciting prospect in the U.S. National Team pool in the MLS is DeLeon, who has been performing like, well, Dwayne DeRosario. It remains to be seen how his skill on the ball and attacking thrust will translate to the national team, but he would certainly be a better candidate for a call-up than, say, DaMarcus Beasley.
Also keep in mind: Darlington Nagbe, Portland
Kenny Cooper, New York. I know Cooper already has 10 caps with the U.S., but his name hasn’t been on USMNT radar for quite some time. After a rough season in Portland, he has recaptured his early career form in New York, netting seven times in his first seven matches. And with Klinsmann’s push for a more passing-oriented attack – something that has always been part of Cooper’s game, he could be more of a goal threat than some on the U.S. roster.
Also keep in mind: Will Bruin, Houston