USMNT Stock Watch: John Brooks, Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie trending up

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<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/soccer/players/375439/" data-ylk="slk:John Brooks">John Brooks</a> scored a late equalizer on Monday to steal a point for Wolfsburg against <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/soccer/teams/eintracht-frankfurt/" data-ylk="slk:Eintracht Frankfurt">Eintracht Frankfurt</a>. (Martin Rose/Getty)
John Brooks scored a late equalizer on Monday to steal a point for Wolfsburg against Eintracht Frankfurt. (Martin Rose/Getty)

The news is good out of the German Bundesliga, where three of the United States men’s national team’s most important players made headlines for all the right reasons in recent days.

Unfortunately for U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter, things aren’t quite as rosy closer to home in MLS, as the health of the country’s first-choice striker is once again a question mark in the weeks leading into a major tournament.

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Which Americans are hot or not this week? It’s all in our latest USMNT Stock Watch below:

Trending up

D John Brooks, Wolfsburg (Germany)

The imposing Berlin-born center back scored his third goal of the season Monday — a 90th minute equalizer — to give his team a share of the spoils against fourth-place Eintracht Frankfurt:

Takeaway: The 26-year-old has quietly put together a career year after missing most of his first season with Wolfsburg because of injury. Brooks has made 28 starts this year, helping his ninth-place team punch above its weight defensively; just seven Bundesliga teams have conceded fewer goals this campaign.

M/F Christian Pulisic, Borussia Dortmund (Germany)

The country’s most irreplaceable player returned to the field — he was a second half substitute in Sunday’s 4-0 demolition of Freiburg — for the first time since re-injuring his pesky quad last month in the Americans 1-1 tie with Chile.

Takeaway: It’s great news for Pulisic and the U.S. BVB still has four games left, giving the 20-year-old ample opportunity to gain some pre-Gold Cup match fitness and finish his 3 1/2-year career with Dortmund’s first team on a positive note (and possibly as a champion) before leaving for Chelsea this summer.

M Weston McKennie, Schalke (Germany)

Like his fellow 20-year-old Pulisic, McKennie’s stay on the sidelines was shorter than expected; he returned to Schalke’s starting lineup for Saturday’s 5-0 loss to Hoffenheim.

Takeaway: Despite another lopsided result in a season to forget for Schalke, the hard-tackling Texan figures to play most of its final four matches as the club still not completely safe from relegation. The only worry from a USMNT perspective is that McKennie’s take-no-prisoners approach gets him injured again before Gold Cup camp begins.

D Matt Miazga, Reading (England)

Miazga has started 16 consecutive games in the heart of the Royals’ defense since being loaned to the second-tier club by Chelsea on Jan. 25.

Takeaway: In the competition to start alongside Brooks at the Gold Cup, Miazga hasn’t hurt his case—especially with Aaron Long’s New York Red Bulls off to a 1W-4L-2T start in MLS.

F Jeremy Ebobisse, Portland Timbers (MLS)

Ebobisse, who started Berhalter’s first match but wasn’t recalled when the full-strength squad assembled in March, scored his third goal in seven appearances this season on Saturday against Columbus. Check out the cool finish following a slick give-and-go:

Takeaway: The 22-year-old remains more likely to be with the U.S. under-23s than the senior team this summer. Still, in a country in which serviceable forwards aren’t exactly falling from the sky, Ebobisse’s steady development is encouraging.

F Jesus Ferreira, FC Dallas (MLS)

At 18, Ferreira is a name to remember for the future. But he’s earned an honorable mention here and now after scoring for the third time in four matches. His latest goal came Saturday against USMNT veteran Brad Guzan in 2-0 win over defending MLS Cup champion Atlanta United:

Takeaway: Saturday’s match was alsoFerreira’s fifth consecutive start. Combined with his production, that playing time puts him in position to play a key role (alongside FCD teammate Paxton Pomykal) for Tab Ramos’ U.S. team at the fast-approaching FIFA U-20 World Cup. The Colombian-American’s got the pedigree, too. Ferreira’s father, David, was MLS’s most valuable player in 2010.

Trending down

Jozy Altidore suffered his latest hamstring injury in Toronto FC's win over Minnesota United on Saturday. (Christopher Katsarov/AP)
Jozy Altidore suffered his latest hamstring injury in Toronto FC's win over Minnesota United on Saturday. (Christopher Katsarov/AP)

F Jozy Altidore, Toronto FC (MLS)

According to TSN’s Kristian Jack, Altidore is expected to miss up to three weeks of action after an MRI revealed yet another hamstring injury for the star-crossed forward.

Takeaway: While that timetable should allow him to return in time for the start of Gold Cup camp, the diagnosis is nonetheless concerning. Altidore, 29, has a history of missing major tournaments because of hamstring problems. Even if his recovery goes as planned, one still has to wonder how the layoff might impact the striker’s form and fitness ahead of the competition.

D/M Fabian Johnson, Borussia Monchengladbach (Germany)

The 2014 World Cup standout has made 17 appearances for the Bundesliga’s fifth-place team, but he lost his starting job three games ago—a potentially fatal blow to his chances of a Gold Cup invite.

Takeaway: Berhalter met with the 31-year-old earlier this year and told him the door for a recall was open. If Johnson can’t win his place back by season’s end, however, it might slam shut for good.

D/M DeAndre Yedlin, Newcastle (England)

Magpies boss Rafa Benitez sat Yedlin in Newcastle’s last two games, both of them victories. That means the right back is almost certain to be on the bench again next weekend versus relegation-threatened Brighton.

Takeaway: If Benitez is intent on sticking with a winning team, as he appears to be, the 25-year-old Yedlin might not see the field again until after the penultimate match of 2018-19 against title-chasing Liverpool.

F Josh Sargent, Werder Bremen (Germany)

Sargent’s late-season reality check continues: After not getting off the bench in three of Werder’s four games before Saturday’s 1-0 loss to Bayern Munich, the 19-year-old wasn’t in uniform at all against the Bundesliga leaders.

Takeaway: While many U.S. fans would like to see the rangy striker play a bigger role for club and country, Bremen continues to develop Sargent at the appropriate pace.

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