USMNT: With much uncertainty, who scores the goals?

USMNT (Photo by John Dorton/ISI Photos/Getty Images)
USMNT (Photo by John Dorton/ISI Photos/Getty Images) /

Who exactly will score goals for USMNT?

It has been more than nine months since the United States Men’s National Team last took the field with a 1-0 win over Costa Rica in a friendly at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California. Since then, much has changed. On the European front, Giovanni Reyna, who has drawn interest from Real Madrid, has joined Christian Pulisic in playing a pivotal role in both of their respective clubs’ domestic and Champions League success while Sergino Dest finds himself in a strange situation at Barca amidst the chaos with the Catalan side.

On the other side of the Atlantic, Philadelphia Union’s Brenden Aaronson and Mark McKenzie have sparkled while veterans like Gyasi Zardes and Sean Johnson have found their form as well. Jordan Morris has also been near the top of his game with the Seattle Sounders this season.

Other youngsters that could find themselves in the picture before the 2022 World Cup also include Norwich City’s Sebastian Soto, Barcelona’s Konrad de la Fuente, and Lille’s Timothy Weah. Soto is the only one of the three who has impressed this season by scoring five goals in six matches on loan with Telstar in the second tier of the Netherlands. The Real Salt Lake Academy product is also considering opting to represent Chile at the senior international level, which would be a big loss for Gregg Berhalter.

With a friendly scheduled against Wales on November 12th with European-based players, that will give the USMNT just a bit of a glimpse at what head coach Gregg Berhalter can expect for when the USMNT get back to competitive action next year.

German-based forwards like Bobby Wood and Josh Sargent will get another chance to prove themselves while Aaron Johannsson could also make his return to the USMNT after impressing with Swedish side Hammarby.

Despite all the positive movements from many Americans throughout the world, there still hasn’t been enough positivity from the forwards. Zardes is among the league leaders in goals while Morris is also among the league’s best, which is obviously good, and it is also good to see Johannsson doing well while Josh Sargent hasn’t been anything more than average with Werder Bremen, although Sargent did finally score his first Bundesliga goal of the season over the weekend against Eintracht Frankfurt. The greatest concern is that Bobby Wood has struggled to find time in 2. Bundesliga with Hamburg.

While a 29-year old Gyasi Zardes or a 27-year-old Bobby Wood have missed the window to be the next Landon Donovan or Clint Dempsey-type figure, they can still have a big impact with the uncertainty of the future of the center forward role. While Jozy Altidore has been apart of the USMNT camp for over a decade now, his injury-plagued career will always be a major issue, especially now that his age is on the wrong side of 30.

In the near future, I don’t think players like Sargent and Wood can be reliable to bring the goals, although a couple of goals with the USMNT could quickly change that. Therefore, MLS-based players like Zardes and Morris will likely be the go-to forwards when the CONCACAF World Cup Qualification process calls upon the USMNT to participate. Another roll of the dice for Aaron Johannsson could also give the USMNT another goalscoring threat.

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No matter who it is, there is no doubt that the USMNT needs to find its next reliable goalscorer with some crucial fixtures coming in the next 24 months with World Cup Qualifying, the 2021 Gold Cup, and the 2022 World Cup.