Help on the Way: The 20 Best Uncapped Americans
Plenty of new faces arrived on the United States national team scene in 2013, but the talent well runs deep. Brian Sciaretta takes a look at 20 players who figure to make an impact soon.
BY Brian Sciaretta PostedIN 2013 THE UNITED STATES introduced several new and exciting players into the fold. Matt Besler, John Brooks, Aron Johannsson, and Bobby Wood are just a few men who have earned their first cap this year. But which uncapped Americans are left who deserve to make an appearance for the U.S team? Here’s a list of 20 Americans who are most deserving and I’m not including American players like Julian Green or Shawn Parker who are currently playing for other national teams. 20. Lamar Neagle: As one of the more underrated players in MLS, Neagle can find ways to score in several different ways. He’s a technical player who has been valuable to Seattle’s offense. 19. Andrew Farrell: The 2013 No. 1 draft pick has had a good rookie season playing right back even if he would probably be a better central defender. He’s athletic and skilled. 18. Soony Saad: Despite playing in a friendly for Lebanon, he is open to the United States. He has enjoyed a nice season with Kansas City and will now be trusted to fill Kei Kamara’s shoes. 17. Chris Klute: Last year he was off everyone’s radar but he has quietly done a nice job at left back for the Rapids. Klute's stock could rise quickly simply because he plays a position of need. 16. Conor O’Brien: He tore up the Danish Superliga in central midfield but his move to Nordsjaelland was not a good fit. He will now get a fresh start with Odense who have more potential than his previous club. 15. Andrew Wooten: Wooten has always been a mystery and he has struggled to find first team minutes. But when Wooten plays, he does well. This year will be a big indicator where he really stands at Kaiserslautern. 14. Jose Villarreal: While it is true that he could have performed better at the U-20 World Cup, he still has enormous potential and has a great club situation at the Galaxy where Bruce Arena is willing to give him significant playing time. 13. Bryan Gerzicich: The Israeli league is not a top one, but Gerzicich is perhaps the best defensive midfielder in the country. It’s no surprise that his salary at Hapoel Tel Aviv would make him a designated player in MLS. 12. Amobi Okugo: Ever since settling into the backline, Okugo has shown steady improvement with the Philadelphia Union. 11. Matt Hedges: Hedges had a great rookie season in 2012. There have been some growing pains in his second year, but he is still one of the more promising young central defenders in the league. 10. Perry Kitchen: DC United is currently in the midst of a year to forget but Kitchen remains a bright spot. The defensive midfielder is solid on both sides of the ball and he will be a key player as the club attempts to rebuild. 9. Paul Arriola: The teenager from Southern California is of the fastest rising players in American soccer after signing with Tijuana in the spring. He is fun to watch and highly technical on the ball. He is still a little raw but his upside is huge. 8. DeAndre Yedlin: He could be the MLS Rookie of the Year in 2013 after signing with the Sounders in January. It is no secret that the U.S team needs right backs right now and Yedlin is looking like he will have a very promising future for both club and country. He also has great hair. 7. Chris Pontius: If this list was compiled last year, Pontius could have been No. 1 but his stock has fallen. He is still a good player, however, but he will need to play better. 6. Jack McInerney: The young Georgia native has cooled off in recent months after his strong start but he is only 20 and his career to date has been one of steady improvement. He’s streaky and needs to be more consistent, but there is no reason to doubt his talent right now. 5. Tally Hall: The Dynamo goalkeeper has been called up by Klinsmann a few times but has never played. He’s one of the best MLS keeper and it is certainly possible he passes Sean Johnson in the future. 4. Kelyn Rowe: The former UCLA and US U-20 midfielder has been a breath of fresh air for the New England Revolution. Once a boring and lifeless club, Rowe (along with Juan Agudelo and Diego Fagundez) brought excitement. He needs to improve his defense but his offense has been quite explosive at times. 3. George John: The FC Dallas central defender has been among the best uncapped Americans for a long time now. He still is one of the best defenders in MLS and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him earn a January call up. 2. Mike Magee: It is very puzzling as to why Magee has not earned a cap at 29 years old. He has terrific finishing ability and can be a great goal scorer. Top foreign players in MLS have often wondered why Magee has not suited up for the national team. 1. Luis Gil: Long thought of as one of the crown-jewels of recent American player development, Gil has excelled for U.S youth national teams at every level. He has shown steady and consistent improvement in MLS and this year he has become an integral part of the best team in MLS. Under Jason Kreis at Salt Lake, his game has become far more sophisticated and polished. Still a young player, his future is exceptionally bright and he could be a big part of the U.S team in the cycle leading up to the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Honorable mention: Dillon Powers, Shane O’Neill, Chance Meyers, Seth Sinovic, Sheanon Williams, Gyasi Zardes, Steve Clark OK, who did Brian leave off? Who doesn't deserve to make this list? Who would you like to see in the October Hex matches? Tell us in the comments below. Brian Sciaretta is a frequent ASN contributor. Follow him on Twitter.
September 12, 2013
September 12, 2013