USMNT Stock Watch: How did Yanks help or hurt their cases for a September call-up?

Yahoo Sports

With the new Bundesliga season kicking off over the weekend, every major league that employs U.S. men’s national team players is now in season. And with the Americans’ first official match of the 2022 World Cup cycle looming at the end of next week, when they take on Neymar-led Brazil in New Jersey, now is the perfect time to introduce Yahoo’s weekly USMNT Stock Watch.

Sure, Qatar is still more than four years away. But the world’s most competitive sport moves fast. In August of 2014, few would have predicted that Christian Pulisic, who was just 15 at the time, would be the country’s best player a few seasons later. There’s no way to know if another blue-chip talent will emerge between now and the next World Cup. If he does, you’ll read about him here well before it happens.

With that, let’s look at how candidates for the USMNT’s September roster are performing for their clubs across Europe, Mexico, and at home in MLS.

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D John Brooks, Wolfsburg (German Bundesliga)

Brooks scored in Wolfsburg’s 2-1 win over Schalke and U.S. teammate Weston McKennie. The 25-year-old also gave up a penalty after losing his mark, showing that his struggles on defensive restarts continue 100 games into his Bundesliga career. But Brooks is still the most experienced defender the U.S. has by far, and probably the most talented, and he should get even better as he enters his prime. He’ll play a key role this cycle if he stays healthy.

D Matt Miazga, Nantes (French Ligue 1)

After sitting out Les Canaris 3-1 opening-day loss to Monaco on Aug. 11, less than a week after his season-long loan from Chelsea was finalized, Miazga broke into coach Miguel Cardoso’s lineup and has remained. He’s now started two straight games at right center back for Nantes, and was almost flawless in Saturday’s 1-1 tie against Caen – a clear sign that the New Jersey native is on track to continue his progress after two successful seasons in the Netherlands.

D DeAndre Yedlin, Newcastle (English Premier League)

So what if his late own goal gave Chelsea three points at St. James’ Park on Sunday? From a U.S. perspective, it was good just to see the 25-year-old back in Rafael Benitez’s lineup after he missed last weekend with knee injury that looked worse than it was. And Yedlin was pretty good against the Blues other than the costly gaffe, providing a pinpoint assist (albeit after a foul that the officials missed) in the 2-1 loss.

DeAndre Yedlin had a tough finish to Newcastle’s match vs. Chelsea, but his standing with the USMNT is still strong. (Reuters)
DeAndre Yedlin had a tough finish to Newcastle’s match vs. Chelsea, but his standing with the USMNT is still strong. (Reuters)

M Miguel Ibarra, Minnesota United (MLS)

Loons scribe Jeff Rueter of The Athletic reported two weeks ago that Ibarra was “on the shortlist for a USMNT callup this fall” and national team fans shouldn’t be overly surprised. While he hasn’t been capped since 2015, when Minnesota was still in the second-tier NASL, Ibarra, 28, has been one of the few bright spots on a bad team this season. And it’s still not like there’s a surplus of speedy left-footed wingers in the U.S. pool.

F Romain Gall, Malmo (Swedish Allsvenskan) 

The French-born Gall, a well-traveled former U.S. under-20 international, is tearing it up in Sweden’s top flight to the tune of eight goals in 17 games, including a pair on Sunday. Given the dearth of options up top for USMNT interim coach Dave Sarachan, it’s hard not to see the uncapped 23-year-old former Columbus Crew backup garnering serious consideration for next month’s camp.

G Bill Hamid, D.C. United (MLS)

The rust on Hamid was obvious when he struggled through June’s 2-1 loss at Ireland. But the imposing backstop is finally getting the minutes he needs after returning to longtime club DCU on loan from Denmark’s FC Midtjylland, where he made just one appearance in eight months. United’s busy schedule might keep Hamid out of one or both U.S. games in September (after meeting Brazil on Sept. 7, the Americans face rival Mexico in Nashville four days later), but Hamid should be back to his sharpest by the end of the year. With a concerning lack of depth in net right now, that’s good news for the U.S.

F Andrija Novakovich, Fortuna Sittard (Dutch Eredivisie)

With three consecutive starts for newly promoted Fortuna, the rangy, soft-footed Novakovich could well add to the two caps he earned earlier this year. He’s only managed the one goal, but man was it pretty.  And the fact that it came against traditional Dutch power PSV Eindhoven makes it look even better.

M/F Lynden Gooch, Sunderland (English League One)

Two years ago this month, Gooch started the Black Cats’ Premier League opener against Manchester City. Now Sunderland is in England’s third tier, but the 22-year-old is making the best of it with a goal and four assists through five games. Will it be enough to earn the speedy Californian attacker another USMNT invite? Gooch came off the bench in May’s 3-0 win over Bolivia.

D Reggie Cannon, FC Dallas (MLS)

The 20-year-old UCLA product has played more than 2,200 minutes for Western Conference-leading FCD, starting all 25 games so far at right back. That may or may not be enough to earn him a look this time around, but Cannon already has international caliber speed and athleticism to be successful, and he is putting himself in the conversation in a hard-to-fill position.

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D Fabian Johnson, Borussia Monchengladbach (German Bundesliga)

Despite scoring in Gladbach’s 2-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen, Johnson’s U.S. future remains uncertain. He’ll turn 35 during the next World Cup, and he had hinted that his international career would end with after Russia 2018, which the Americans obviously failed to qualify for. Given all that, it’s hard to see him involved with the national team next month.

Fabian Johnson (19) scored for Borussia Monchengladbach over the weekend, but his USMNT future is iffy at best. (AP)
Fabian Johnson (19) scored for Borussia Monchengladbach over the weekend, but his USMNT future is iffy at best. (AP)

F Tim Weah, Paris Saint-Germain (French Ligue 1)

He didn’t make the squad for Saturday’s 3-1 victory over Algers, but don’t fret: Weah will be brought along methodically by coach Thomas Tuchel, and after getting yanked midway through his first league start after scoring in his first two competitive matches, this was probably a good time for the 18-year-old striker to step back and regroup. Expect him to be summoned by Sarachan nonetheless.

D Tim Ream, Fulham (English Premier League)

As the Cottagers’ MVP last season, Ream helped lead Fulham back to the Prem. He’s missed all three of their matches so far because of an undisclosed injury, however. Would the veteran center back have been in the mix had been fit? For a player who turns 31 in October, the odds are even at best.

F Jozy Altidore, Toronto FC (MLS)

Still just 28, Altidore has plenty left to offer at the international level. He will be back with the U.S. at some point, but probably not against Brazil or Mexico. That was the feeling even before he got suspended for TFC’s two most recent games for kicking out at an opponent during a match earlier this month.

D/M Erik Palmer-Brown, NAC Breda (Dutch Eredivisie)

Three games into his season-long loan from parent club Manchester City, Palmer-Brown still hasn’t played a minute in the Netherlands. Can’t imagine that was the plan. Until he forces his way into the lineup at Breda, any talk about a return to the national team is likely moot. 

F Josh Sargent, Werder Bremen (German Bundesliga)

Sarachan gave Sargent his first three caps earlier this summer before the 18-year-old had played a pro game, and was repaid with solid performances and a well-taken goal against Bolivia. This time, it makes more sense for the Missouri native to stay in Bremen, where he scored for Werder’s U-23s last week, while he works towards making his Bundesliga debut.

Doug McIntyre covers soccer for Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter @ByDougMcIntyre.

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