USMNT Players to Watch at the Start of 2018 World Cup Qualifying

The U.S. roster for their upcoming World Cup Qualifiers against St. Vincent & Grenadine and Trinidad & Tobago features a host of new faces to the squad. These are fixtures that Jürgen Klinsmann’s squad should expect to win, but there are several US players that could use these matches to impress the German manager.

Darlington Nagbe

This is a name that MLS fans have been anxiously awaiting to see suit up for the Stars and Stripes. The FIFA bureaucratic process has delayed Nagbe’s international debut as he switched his allegiance from Liberia to the U.S., but now we will finally see what he can do in Klinsmann’s setup. The 25-year-old has been a fan favorite in the Portland Timbers’ midfield for the past four seasons, and with some of the U.S. midfield stalwarts passing their prime, Nagbe could find an immediate place in the American lineup.

Nagbe typically lines up in a more attacking position in the heart of the pitch, and has a knack for the incredible. The Portland player’s career has been marked with seemingly countless highlight reel goals (you’ve probably seen his goal against Sporting KC by now). In addition to his ability to strike the ball from distance, Nagbe gives the U.S. midfield a creative spark in attack. Can he make himself a perennial selection in the Klinsmann’s squad?

Matt Miazga

Red Bulls defender Matt Miazga

I guess I’m finally at the age where people younger than me are being picked for the national team. At just 20 years old, Matt Miazga is in line to make his first ever appearance for the U.S. senior team. The 2015 MLS season saw the Red Bulls defender grow into one of the league’s most dependable men at the back. Can the up-and-coming prospect follow in the footsteps of former Red Bulls defender Tim Ream?

Miazga relies more on his brain than his brawn to break up opposition attacks. Miazga is able to read the game at a level of a seasoned veteran as he anticipates when and where opposing strikers are going to run. While he may not be ready to go against some of the big boys of CONCACAF competition, the next two fixtures should give him a chance to ease into the international setup.

Jordan Morris

Morris for the U23 USMNT

Image: USA Today Sports

Even though he has yet to play a professional match, Jordan Morris is already on the path to becoming a star for the national team. The Stanford junior has already made six appearances for Klinsmann’s side, scoring his lone goal in dramatic fashion against Mexico. With Clint Dempsey getting left out of the squad this time around, Morris will have the chance to get a good chunk of playing time and hopefully this will yield some more goals for the 20-year-old, as well.

This season, Morris has been limited to just 13 appearances for Stanford through injury, but that hasn’t stopped him from leading the team in goals. Through his 13 starts this year, the striker has found the back of the net eight times, helping to push the team to an impressive 13-2-2 record. It’s still uncertain whether or not Morris will make the jump to the professional level next season, but these continued call-ups to the national team will only help in Morris’ development for the future.

 

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About the author: Collin Carpio

 

I am currently a senior at the University of Missouri in the Journalism School. I have been an avid follower of Manchester United since 2006 and of course I support the Stars and Stripes. Due to my St. Louis high school allegiances, I am a big supporter of Brad Davis and Sporting KC in MLS.

 

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