A look at a Best XI of Uncapped Americans

GyasiZardes2 (ISIPhotos.com)


Jurgen Klinsmann will call in is first U.S. Men’s National Team squad since the World Cup later today for next week’s friendly against the Czech Republic, and there stands a good chance of being some new faces in the mix as Klinsmann starts working toward a new World Cup cycle.

In my latest Goal.com column, I revealed my picks for the Uncapped American Best XI, a collection of talented young American players who Klinsmann could be taking a look at very soon. Some of the players included in the group could be heading to the Czech Republic next week, while others might have to wait a while for that first call-up.

As noted in my story, and as I discussed in detail in the latest episode of The SBI Show, the Uncapped Best XI is meant to look at younger players who could develop into options for the next World Cup cycle, which means veterans like Mike Magee weren’t included. We also left out young players who have either not made pro debuts yet, or only recently made their pro debuts.

Klinsmann isn’t likely to turn to an entirely new group of players right off the bat, but we should start seeing some new faces trickle into the mix very soon.

You also have the issue of dual nationals who are surely on Klinsmann’s radar, but may or may not be eligible yet.

In terms of eligible young Americans who are currently seeing regular playing time, Klinsmann has a good number of options to take a closer look at in the coming friendlies. From red-hot Los Angeles Galaxy forward Gyasi Zardes, to Club Tijuana left back Greg Garza.

Give my story a read and let us know what you think of the picks. Who was left off the team that you feel deserved consideration? Who made the team that you hope receives their first cap soon?

Share your thoughts below.

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29 Responses to A look at a Best XI of Uncapped Americans

  1. Steve says:

    The only players from this list that look like legitimate USMNT World Cup starters would be Wil Trapp and potentially Zardes. Zardes isn’t even the best prospect for Galaxy forwards–that’d be Haji Wright.

    We neeeeeed Zelalem!

    • Mark from LA says:

      Is Jose Villarreal off the radar? Even though I’m in LA I haven’t been following close enough to know. Anyone?

      • Jack says:

        He got subbed on for Donovan last night. So perhaps he’s working his way back into the picture.

      • bryan says:

        his Cruz Azul stint set him back a bit, but he’s right back in it. been solid with LAII and like Jack mentioned, he got off the bench for LA last night.

    • Lost in Space says:

      Based on the stipulations for selection:
      1) leave out all the players currently not eligible to play for the United States who just might gain eligibility in the coming months and years…Darlington Nagbe, Gedion Zelalem, Diego Fagundez, Dom Dwyer, Shawn Parker and Tesho Akindele
      2) won’t bother discussion players who haven’t even played professional yet, or those who only just recently broke through with their club teams… Emerson Hyndman and Rubio Rubin.
      3) lack of foreign-based players on this list….because any young Americans earning regular playing time in Europe have already earned national team looks before.

      Even taking the players who could have been added if these stipulations were not made…
      players like Gyau, Gatt, Stanko, Canouse, Hyndman, Rubin, Parker, Arriola, Gooch, etc….there is some decent talent in the 11 players identified.
      Hedges & Packwood are good prospects in Central Defense.
      Powers, Trapp & Kitchen (not mentioned) are good prospects in Central Midfield
      Wings & Strikers are a little weak….but then we’ve had issues finding players there the last 6 years or so. Thankfully the we have young Outside Backs & Strikers already in the player pool with Caps (Yedlin, Chandler, Lichaj, Jozy, Boyd, Johannsson, Green, etc…) who will hopefully continue to develop and bridge the team till others can be found.

    • Shawn says:

      haji isnt with galaxy. so zardes is second behind jamieson.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      Sarkodie is basically Corey Ashe that can hit a cross. He stinks. Not good man marking and gets caught out of position. There is a reason Houston sheds goals.

      He does have the YNT pedigree but he lacks basic savvy of how to play a wing back spot, and you can spin him around like a poor DB with fakes.

    • Anthony says:

      He’s the 2nd leading scorer on the Galaxy behind Keane. He is tied for 8th in MLS with Obafemi Martins/Dempsey/Wondo at 10 Goals, and he’s only 22! He is tied for the most goals among Americans with Wondo and Dempsey. In fact, he’s also tied in .59 goals/90 min with Keane.

      Keane is the best offensive player on the Galaxy hands down (some here would argue it’s LD). I see it when I watch them play, and, according to the stats, he leads the Galaxy in goals scored and assists provided. He’s second only to Henry in assist/90 min.

  2. Eurosnob says:

    Did the folks, who play in Germany, like Gyau and Parker, not make the 11 best uncapped because they are not as good as the players picked or was the list limited to players who play for non-European teams?

    • Lost in Space says:

      Gyau has made a USMNT appearance. Parker was not included because he is not currently eligible to play for the USMNT.

      • bostonredsoccer says:

        Gyau was called in against Russia at the end of 2012, but didn’t appear. I don’t think he has been called in since.

      • Eurosnob says:

        I was not aware that Gyau made an appearance with the national team. Are you sure? I know that he played for U23 and was called up to a national team camp, but a call up is not the same as being capped. And, why is Parker not eligible? He is a US citizen and while he played for various German youth teams, he can still switch to the US. In fact, in a recent interview, he made it clear that he won’t rule out playing for the USMNT in the future. For obvious reasons, Germany remains his first choice, but he is keeping the door open to the USMNT and stated that he would be proud to represent the country his father is from.

    • James says:

      I think what it really comes down to is how many games have we been able to watch guys like Gyau or Parker (or Hynman, Rubin, etc.) play? 2? 3? There’s a tendency to assume that since they’re in a big league, they must be the best Americans around. In reality, they’re really young, and have only played a few professional games, and it’s far too early to tell how good they will be. Certainly they have a ton of potential, but how many young, talented, over-hyped Americans have to wash-out before we learn potential doesn’t guarantee later success?

      • Eurosnob says:

        It is true that potential does not guarantee later success, but this equally applies to the players who made the list. And, in my view, players who were good enough to sign with Dortmund (Gyau) or feature for German youth teams (Parker) are likely to have a higher ceiling/potential than the guys who play in the MLS or Mexico. At a minimum, these young players are getting better technical and tactical training at their Bundesliga clubs than their MLS/Mexican league counterparts. This increases their chances to become successful in the future.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      Yeah, there’s a list of players like Hyndman I think are better prospects than these. Irwin, Trapp, I can see some of them. But a lot of them will be long shots because there are better players abroad.

      • James says:

        How do you know they’re better players? How many games have you watched of these players abroad?

  3. DaM says:

    The article makes it pretty clear why a youngster like Gyau or an undecided like Shawn Parker weren’t mentioned. R.I.F.

  4. Benjamin C. says:

    I know it is very early for him, but I have a feeling that Romain Gall will be showing up on a similar list by this time next year. Excited about his prospects.

  5. Joe says:

    I’m pretty sure Gyau got capped vs canada guys

  6. fischy says:

    I really don’t get the love for Irwin. He’s good, but he ain’t in Hamid’s league.

  7. Wendell Harrison says:

    Add Tommy Thompson to the list…kid runs at defenders, presses high, and tries the audacious when needed…kid has a future

  8. Joamiq says:

    I’m pretty high on Packwood, Trapp, Shipp, and Zardes in particular.

  9. bryan says:

    Stanko deserves to be in here. pro contract with Freiburg is impressive at his age. wish he was called up because he has been getting time with Freiburg II.

  10. beto says:

    Okugo still uncapped? If needed this cycle i could see Magee playing a Gordon-Wondo type role, Dillion Serna is a great player to keep an eye on.