Top 25 players in the USMNT pool right now: Pulisic still No. 1, then who?

0 Comments

The United States men’s national team pool both showcased its star quality and the limits of its depth over the past two weeks.

Both the USMNT and the U.S. U-23 team told both stories in different ways.

While Jackson Yueill showed that MLS can produce and develop leadership, grit, and skill, the U-23s were largely poor over 360 minutes that saw them second-best to Costa Rica, Mexico, and Honduras while even with the Dominican Republic until late.

[ MORE: USMNT’s Dike linked with Everton ]

Gregg Berhalter’s senior team might’ve been playing a Jamaica team that didn’t know itself well and a Northern Ireland that was far and away its B-team, but Christian Pulisic and Sergino Dest shone brightly while the midfield’s missing key components in Tyler Adams and Weston McKennie saw the unit operate a step below its preferred standards.

But in ranking the top 25 players in the pool, you realize just how good the Starting XI could be by World Cup qualifying and — yes, we dream — winter 2022 in Qatar.

Imagine Berhalter means it with a back three. He could start Zack Steffen behind John Brooks, Chris Richards, and Walker Zimmerman with Sergino Dest and Antonee Robinson at wingbacks whether it’s a 5-2-2-1 against a powerhouse or a 3-4-3 against a lesser size. Tyler Adams and Weston McKennie  could run the heart of the pitch with Yunus Musah, Giovanni Reyna, and Christian Pulisic in attack.

And imagine if a center forward develops!

Or just use this guy, apparently:

So, no, the Olympic failure isn’t the end of the world even if it’s a big stepback for the young kids developing and the marketing of their brands this summer. A team with Pulisic, McKennie, and Dest could make a serious run. Instead, Mexico and Honduras will get that valuable experience.

But the senior team could still be deadly with the potential to win the Nations League and the Gold Cup, all before World Cup qualifying begins this fall.

Anyway, on to the rankings.

Before we go any further, here’s a reminder of how we sort the talent with some ground rules:

  • The ranking is meant to illustrate who would be most likely to positively affect a USMNT match, regardless of manager or teammates, right now.
  • Health doesn’t matter to our rankings if a current injury isn’t one that could drastically alter the player’s skill set moving forward.
  • Age/potential/experience doesn’t matter either, at least not much; It’s how likely you are to contribute to the team if put on the field right now. Obviously Konrad de la Fuente is a better long-term prospect than Gyasi Zardes, but the Columbus Crew forward is currently better prepared for the stage than the Barcelona youth.
  • Finally, if you’re breaking a tie between players… ask which you’d be more upset to hear was unavailable for a USMNT camp.

Top 25 USMNT players – March 2021 – post-U23 Olympic qualifying, and USMNT’s Jamaica and Northern Ireland friendlies (previous ranking)

1. Christian Pulisic, Chelsea (1) — His show-stealing performance versus Northern Ireland reminded everyone what it’s like to see him as a focal point.
2. Weston McKennie, Juventus (2) — We wait for Switzerland in May (at least) before we see the McKennie-Adams-Musah midfield
3. Tyler Adams, RB Leipzig (3)
4. Sergino Dest, Barcelona (5) — A back three with Dest and Robinson as wingbacks gives the USMNT a whole new level.
5. John Brooks, Wolfsburg (4) — Still waiting on his partner. Chris Richards?
6. Giovanni Reyna, Borussia Dortmund (6) — The way he finds the ball in advanced spaces is wonderful.
7. Yunus Musah, Valencia (9)
8. Josh Sargent, Werder Bremen (8)
9. Zack Steffen, Manchester City (12) — Sharpness hasn’t left him despite playing seldom behind Ederson
10. Walker Zimmerman, Nashville SC (11) — Best MLS player in the pool, at least while Jordan Morris recovers from injury, was missed in the backline.
11. Timothy Weah, Lille (13)
12. Antonee Robinson, Fullham (16) — See Dest at No. 4.
13. Chris Richards, Hoffenheim on loan from Bayern Munich (23) — Looks good in a back three for club. Will still be just 22 when World Cup begins in 2022.
14. Reggie Cannon, Boavista (7)
15. Sebastian Lletget, LA Galaxy (18) — He just delivers for the NT, yes even taking into account the competition.
16. Jackson Yueill, San Jose Earthquakes (NR) — One of the few stars from the Olympic qualifying run.
17. Matt Miazga, Anderlecht on loan from Chelsea (17) — Playing a lot under Vincent Kompany
18. Julian Green, Greuther Furth (20) — Destined to be one of the great unanswered questions of this era.
19. Brenden Aaronson, Red Bull Salzburg (NR)
20. Daryl Dike, Barnsley on loan from Orlando City (NR)
21. Gyasi Zardes, Columbus Crew (15) — Suddenly seeing a lot of competition at CF.
22. Nicholas Gioacchini, Caen (14)
23. Aaron Long, New York Red Bulls (22) — Can his passing stand up at the next level?
24. Bryan Reynolds, AS Roma (NR) — Serie A and USMNT debut in same month? Not too shabby.
25. Hassani Dotson, Minnesota United (NR)

Last five out: Sam Vines (Colorado Rapids), Jordan Siebatcheu (BSC Young Boys), Mark McKenzie (Genk), Djordje Mihailovic (Chicago Fire), Luca de la Torre (Heracles)

Dropped out from last ranking: Tim Ream (Fulham), Sebastian Soto (Norwich City), Ulysses Llanez (Heerenveen), Richy Ledezma (PSV Eindhoven), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders)

Follow @NicholasMendola

Manchester United vs Nottingham Forest, League Cup semifinal 2nd leg: How to watch

0 Comments

The mission for Manchester United vs Nottingham Forest at Old Trafford in Wednesday’s League Cup semifinal second leg is pretty simple: Don’t mess it up.

Manchester United are in firm control after leg 1 after securing a 3-0 victory at the City Ground on Wednesday.

[ MORE: Chelsea trying to secure record Enzo Fernandez deal ]

United last won the League Cup in 2017, the Red Devils’ fifth title in the competition. Forest won the last of its four League Cup titles when it completed back-to-back titles in 1990.


How to watch Manchester United vs Nottingham Forest live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 3pm ET, Wednesday
TV Channel: ESPN+
Online: Updates via NBCSports.com


Key storylines & in-form Manchester United vs Nottingham Forest players to watch 

The injury lists for both teams mean we won’t see some serious talents including Morgan Gibbs-White and Christian Eriksen.

It will be interesting to see how Erik ten Hag lines up United without Eriksen and perhaps Scott McTominay, but we know we’ll see Marcus Rashford. The English forward is back ton his best.

Forest will hope to have Taiwo Awoniyi back in the fold, but young Brazilian center midfielder Danilo has been promising through his first two matches roaming the heart of the pitch after moving from Palmeiras.


Manchester United team news, injuries, lineup options

QUESTIONABLE: Jadon Sancho (undisclosed), Luke Shaw (illness), Scott McTominay (undisclosed). OUT: Donny van de Beek (knee), Christian Eriksen (ankle), Diogo Dalot (thigh), Axel Tuanzebe (lower back), Anthony Martial (thigh).

Nottingham Forest team news, injuries, lineup options

QUESTIONABLE: Taiwo Awoniyi (groin), Chris Wood (illness), Jack Colback (illness), Ryan Yates (illness),  OUT: Omar Richards (calf), Moussa Niakhate (thigh), Dean Henderson (thigh), Giulian Biancone (knee), Cheikhou Kouyate (thigh), Morgan Gibbs-White (ankle).

Newcastle vs Southampton, live, in League Cup semifinal: Score, updates, link, lineups

0 Comments

Newcastle lead Southampton 1-0 ahead of the sides’ League Cup semifinal second leg at St. James’ Park on Tuesday (watch live, 3 pm ET). 

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]

After securing their narrow advantage down on the south coast last week, Newcastle are firm favorites to reach a major cup final for the first time since the 1998-99 FA Cup, when the Magpies were beaten by the famed, treble-winning Manchester United side.

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Newcastle vs Southampton

[ MORE: Weston McKennie joins Leeds: Is this a good move for the USMNT star? ]


How to watch Newcastle vs Southampton live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 3 pm ET, Tuesday
Online: Stream via ESPN+


Key storylines & star players

Eddie Howe’s side has performed well above expectations this season, mounting a serious top-four challenge one or two years ahead of reasonable expectations. Getting to — and winning — a final in the same season would merely be icing on the cake for Howe, who took over the Premier League’s 19th-place side (5 points from 11 games) from Steve Bruce in November 2021.

Saints reached the League Cup final in 2017, but were somewhat controversially beaten by Manchester United at Wembley Stadium. Southampton have won more cup ties (6 of 7) than PL fixtures (4 of 20), which goes a long way toward explaining why Nathan Jones’ side sits rock-bottom of the PL table with just 15 points.


Newcastle team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: Jonjo Shelvey (calf), Matt Targett (foot), Emil Krafth (knee)

Southampton team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: Valentino Livramento (knee), Juan Larios (adductor), Duje Caleta-Car (suspension), Moussa Djenepo (head), Alex McCarthy (ankle)

Follow @AndyEdMLS

Chelsea in Portugal for Enzo Fernandez medical ahead of record deal

0 Comments

Chelsea is ready to trigger Enzo Fernandez’s $129 million release clause and is in Portugal to conduct a Deadline Day medical on the World Cup winner.

The fee would break the British record set by Manchester City when it purchased Jack Grealish from Aston Villa.

Fernandez, 21, has been chased by Chelsea for some time and wants to make the move to Stamford Bridge from Benfica.

[ MORE: Weston McKennie moves to Leeds United ]

The Argentina star has a goal and six assists in 22 matches across all competitions, but his skills as an elite ball progressor are what most attracts the Blues.

Fernandez ranks in the 99th percentile of midfielders in progressive passes per 90 at 9.47 and in the 95th percentile in shot-creating actions per 90 (FBref.com).

Chelsea’s revolutionized its squad since the club was purchased by Todd Boehly’s consortium last year, with Wesley Fofana, Mykhaylo Mudryk, Raheem Sterling, Kalidou Koulibaly, Marc Cucurella, and many more.

Follow Peacock’s Sky Sports News simulstream from Noon-7pm ET Tuesday, and join ProSoccerTalk’s Deadline Day Show at 5pm ET.

Enzo Fernandez
fotmob.com

Transfer Deadline Day, live! Join our show, send questions, analysis

0 Comments

Transfer deadline day is here for January 2023, as the winter window shuts at 6pm ET on Jan. 31 for Premier League clubs.

[ LIVE: Every Premier League transfer deal as it happens ]

The clock is ticking late in the window and we will have all angles covered for you here at Pro Soccer Talk.

[ TRANSFER NEWS: Liverpool | Chelsea | Tottenham | Man City | Man United | Arsenal ]

From clicking on the links above to read the latest reports and analysis, having Sky Sports News live on Peacock all day long and to our own Pro Soccer Talk live deadline day show which starts at 5:30pm ET on Jan. 31, you won’t miss a thing.

WATCH: Sky Sports News live on Transfer deadline day on Peacock

Click on the video below to send in your questions for the PST crew for our deadline day chat where we will round up all of the deals happening late in the window, dish out grades to Premier League teams based on their business and give our analysis on the best signings of the January window.