I’m still pretty damn upset about not qualifying for the world cup, during the game vs. Bosnia most of my tweets were actually targeted at trying to pick fights over USMNT play. Every now and then, like right now, i’m settled enough to think about some of the better things we have coming in the next few years.
We have a ton of talented players that are young and playing abroad. Alot of these guys will start to get looks during the next qualifying cycle and friendlies before the WC. Here are 5 players in promising positions I think we need to see more of in 2018.
1: Keaton Parks
Keaton is a bit of an unknown from the Dallas, TX area. He flew under the radar from most of the developmental clubs in the area and went to Portugal to pursue a career rather than college. You’ll find limited footage of him in games, and he has yet to be capped with the USMNT. This year saw him sign a new deal with Benfica seeing him commit to the club for a few more years. He’s athletic/skillful and through the few available clips looks to have a knack for putting himself in creative positions. He’s already made a couple appearances with Benfica’s first team and his a regular for Benfica B. At 20, its tough to say how good he actually is, but is definitely someone we need to keep an eye on throughout the next couple of years.
2: Shaq Moore
Shaq has been a household name throughout the US youth ranks and has been in Spain for multiple years. At age 21, he’s already been playing professionally since 2015. He’s an outside back who has seen some time also on the wing for Levante & Levante B, showing he has the ability to add some attacking value in a top European league. It’ll be interesting to see how he gets integrated into the group, but I personally will rip my eyes out if Polster is still getting call ups in the next couple of years over someone like Shaq. Shaq’s been praised by his manager at Levante, and I think we should see his role grow heading into next season.
3: Emerson Hyndman
I’ve been dying to see more of Emerson with the USMNT. He’s been capped twice, but most common fans don’t know his name. He joined Fullham as a teenager in 2014 and is now with Bournemouth. Playing time with Bournemouth has been extremely limited, but apparently it is not due to lack of ability, as he has been praised at Bournemouth. He had a very good showing on Loan last year while at Rangers, and has challenged himself throughout the early stages of his young career. I personally rather see someone like Hyndman in the mix than Nagbe, but lets see if they involve him in the squad this summer. Either way, I think a move is in store for Emerson. Plenty of clubs could use his services, so it’d be great to see another loan/transfer that can propel him into good form.
4. Rubio Rubin
Rubio Rubin is another “unknown” in the sense that he’s been playing pro since a young age, but we haven’t heard his name much when it originally appeared he’d be a regular. He was most recently with Stabæk before signing with Club Tijuana , where I think he’s going to have an early shot at being a regular in the lineup. He’s creative, strong and fearless in attack – something the US often lacks with robotic “playmakers”. He’s still only 21 years old which seems crazy since he crashed onto the seen a few years ago before struggling with injury/playing time. Below is a video from his season with Utrecht at age 19, which should give you an idea of what he’s capable of in a high level environment. His 10 minutes in the last USMNT friendly gave us a glimpse of his hunger, I’m pretty sure he had the only attacking play i remembered in the whole game. It’ll be interesting to see if he can gain some confidence in Liga MX to fight for some time next cycle.
5. Christian Ramirez
Sometimes I feel like we try to hard to give certain players a chance just because of the resume on paper. Christian Ramirez has had a grind of a career and we can arguably say he may have been one of those US system fuck ups. I was really impressed with his play last season for Minnesota United, and people who have followed him for years will say that same player has been there for years. I was really looking forward to seeing him steal some minutes in the Bosnia friendly, but instead we decided to give Agudelo yet ANOTHER chance. Ramirez has definitely earned his opportunity and I hope they give it to him, at age 25 this is probably the lone cycle of his career for the USMNT.