Mikkel "Mix" Diskerud is a pure playmaker who likes to create easy scoring chances for his teammates.
In limited opportunities for the United States men's national team, Diskerud hasn't shied away from heroics. The attacking midfielder displayed his creativity in his debut against South Africa by threading the ball past a defender in the penalty box to find Juan Agudelo for the game-winner. In his second appearance a year later, Diskerud followed that feat by scoring the game-tying goal against Russia to help the U.S. to secure a hard fought 2-2 draw on Russian soil.
So why isn't he featuring more for the United States?
One would think that Diskerud's style of play fits in perfectly with Jurgen Klinsmann's well-stated desire to play aggressive, possession soccer. Yet, under Klinsmann, Diskerud has only featured twice for the Stars and Stripes senior side, both in substitute appearances. The lack of playing time under Klinsmann has magnified a bigger issue at hand.
Diskerud is a dual-national who is still eligible to play for Norway due to the fact that he hasn't played for the U.S. in an official competition. There is a growing concern that he could spurn the Red, White and Blue for more playing time.
The 22-year-old acknowledged that Norway was interested in having him play for the Under-21 side in this summer's European Championships, but wouldn't confirm or deny if he would like to join the Drillos.
"I would rather not address the issue publicly," Diskerud stated to Goal.com in an email. "And I have not done so to the Norwegian press either."
While Diskerud wouldn't reveal his intent, it is clear that he would prefer to remain a U.S. international if given a chance. The Rosenborg star is very complimentary of his experience with the U.S. even in limited chances.
"The U.S. national team has allowed me to shake Nelson Mandela's hand, and to to listen to his advice live. They have let me pull an equalizer against Russia in Russia while Putin allegedly spilled hot coffee on his tie," Diskerud wrote in his email. "The USMNT has both surprised me, and let me surprise them. Looking back, before I look forward, I bet we are not through surprising each other."
International football is the pinnacle for most soccer players, with the World Cup just around the corner. Though Diskerud would like to play for the U.S., Norway also has a chance of making next summer's competition. The team is only four points away from Group E leader Switzerland in World Cup qualifiers with five matches remaining.
Considering Diskerud's strong season with Norweigan side Rosenborg to open the season, it is safe to assume that he wouldn't turn down a chance to help Norway make the World Cup if he's not factoring in on the U.S. national team. Part of the problem has been trying to find a fit for Diskerud. He prefers to play behind the striker in an advanced role but the position is currently manned by Clint Dempsey. The U.S. has tried Diskerud in central midfield but that has magnified the weaknesses on the defensive side of the ball as noted by Klinsmann.
-Diskerud is off to an impressive start at Rosenborg - even if the club has gotten off to a slow start this season. After opening with three wins and one draw to begin the season, the team has lost twice and drawn once over the past three weeks. Still, Diskerud has impressed with two goals and two assists to open the season.
Diskerud believes his form as well as the team's is a result of the team's new 4-3-3 system. While he has adapted quickly to the new tactics, most of his teammates are still used to 4-4-2 which had been employed for the past few years. Diskerud is happy with his performance so far and believes things will turn around for Rosenborg.
"It can be healthy for a lot players to get new tasks, both mentally and structurally," he explained. "It sounds as if it is smart to wander a little bit outside my established "comfort zone" when it comes to what I accept as new responsibilities concerning what to achieve on the pitch.
"Time is going to go by – and by the end of the season we will probably have received no more and no less than the results we deserve. In the mean time – all we can do within the team is to make all of us happy enough to be willing to sacrifice that little extra for each other."
-Stay tuned for an interesting U.S. international player interview in this week's Stoppage Time.
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