Greetings and salutations my compatriots, my name is Mr. Silence Dogood. I have spent the greater part of my life following the United States Men’s Nation Team and the US players at large, and after years of brooding in the shadows and sending rants (which are akin to rampages) to a select few compatriots, I am pleased to make my maiden voyage of public punditry on US Soccer with you and The NYCFC Nation.
My rants are not for the faint of heart. I am the silent voice in your head that won’t stop screaming when your goalie lets in a howler, when your striker misses a wide open net, when your defender gets scorched on the counter, or when your manager lines up a squad of middle-aged men who fail to qualify for the World Cup (#toosoon?). But, unlike the voice in your head, I’m here to let it out for you.
I cover the good, the bad, and the absolute sh*t. I strive to entertain, inform, and foster support and belief in US Soccer and the players I affectionately call the PATRIOTS ON THE PITCH (POTP). So, without further ado…
For a bit of a rewind, in case you somehow missed it, the Revierderby occurred recently as FC Schalke 04 and Borussia Dortmund saw two Americans go toe-to-toe in a 6-pointer. Both teams are fighting to stay in the top four of the Bundesliga for a Champions League spot, but look more secure there now after several matches. Christian Pulisic and Dortmund came off of a big win against Stuttgart with a great deal of confidence, but Weston McKennie and Schalke told them to shut the hell up and sit the f@#k down. While Christian Pulisic was the only bright spot for his side, Weston McKennie came on in the 71st minute to add pace and control in the midfield. McKennie immediately made an impact with darting runs through the channels, strong challenges, and created chances for his teammates. While on a strong run right down the pike, McKennie drew a foul right above the D of Dortmund’s penalty area. Schalke set it up for the big Brazilian defender Naldo to come in and drop a f@#king MOAB on Dortmund to seal the game.
Since then, both Dortmund and Schalke have been racking up points with a few wins and draws. Christian Pulisic has been instrumental in Dortmund’s results by adding a goal and several assists, and Weston McKennie has been more of a 2nd half sub who comes in like Mariano Rivera to shut sh#t down since his injury, but did go the full 90 against Koln 2 weeks ago. Dortmund and Schalke are in a race for second place with only two matches left. They both need results due to Hoffenheim and Leverkusen not far away – they may need to go full Usain Bolt mode to win this photo-finish type race.
Speaking of the Champions League, the UCL must feel like it is Normandy because its about to get F@#ked by a big American invasion in the coming year. Due to solid results and play from Americans , the UCL could see up to 5 or more Americans next year. Joining Pulisic and McKennie (and potentially other Americans Schalke has picked up) could be RSC Anderlecht and Kenny Saief. Saief is on loan with an option to buy, which likely will be used, from KAA Gent, and Saief has been nothing short of deadly on the left-wing for Anderlecht. The man is simply smooth, aggressive, and will not stop until the final whistle. Anderlecht is currently in 2nd with four matches left. 1st and 2nd go to the Champions League and 3rd goes to Europa League, so hopefully Saief and Anderlecht can continue their strong push to bask in the glory of the UCL and grab some pu$$y (cats…see below and get your head out of the gutter).
Then there is Tim Weah and PSG. who have already secured their UCL spot. The question is, what moves will PSG make in terms of big transfers. While Weah has been included in the 18 for most of the season, real minutes have been hard to come by. Should PSG lose Neymar, that could open things up a bit, but who knows who they’ll pick up with that large bankroll they have. Maybe France will learn how to not surrender and utilize the American airstrike they have at their disposal that is Timothy Weah #Americanairstrike. Finally, there is Keaton Parks and Benfica. Parks has had a few appearances and seems set to take on a larger role with Benfica after this summer, but that all remains to be seen. Benfica still has work to do to make it to the UCL, but they sit in second with two matches left. No matter how you slice it, the fact that Americans are fighting for starting spots and finding themselves on teams going to the Champions League should inspire us for the future.
Elsewhere in Europe, DeAndre Yedlin has been a solid mainstay for Newcastle in the EPL and they will be back in the EPL next campaign. It has been a great year for Yedlin, and some have argued that he is the 6th best right back in the EPL. Not too shabby, and certainly a well-deserved praise… including the best hair in the EPL as well. Say what you want, but no one brings the braids like Yedlinny.
Erik Palmer-Brown has also come on with a strong finish for FC Kortrijk as they are in a playoff battle for a Europa League spot. Palmer-Brown has found himself as a mainstay in central defense for Kortrijk in recent weeks and has helped them get to 2nd place in the Belgian Playoffs II.
Tim Ream has been ‘en fuego’ for Fulham as they fight for promotion to the Premier League. Ream has been Fulham’s man of the match five times this year, and has been the heart and soul of that defense. He seems to bring a lot of confidence and energy to the match, and that makes it hard to deny him looks for future call ups with his form. If he makes his way into the Premier League, he could turn some heads if he continues this play against top-flight talent. The only drawback is Ream’s age. He’s thirty, going on thirty-one, and I don’t think any of us can really stomach another go-round with players who are too old.
Fulham has even included Luca De La Torre into their 18 several times this year, but he has found minutes to be in short supply. It is still encouraging to see the American midfielder to be fighting for a spot on such a solid team, and maybe he could find the breakthrough next campaign in the EPL if things go Fulham’s way. If Fulham fail to gain automatic promotion over Cardiff, then they will have to fight it out for the third spot in the Championship Playoffs which are never easy.
American striker Andrija “I should start against Bolivia” Novakovich has been killing it for Telstar with 20 goals this campaign as they made their way into the Eerste Divisie playoffs and are fighting for promotion into the Dutch top-flight. Novakovich is on loan to Telstar from Reading in the English Championship, so it will be interesting to see if his parent club calls him back or if he is to light it up for the Dutch again. Either way, that man needs to be included in the USMNT discussion given his speed, strike ability, and his size which can help with the US being unable to ever put a head on any corner these days. Flashback to John Brooks vs Ghana being the last corner/header any of us remember being converted for the USMNT…. yeah that was 2014.
Antonee Robinson has been a relatively usual starter for the Bolton Wanderers, to whom he is on loan from Everton. The young American Defender has been a good Left Back, something the USMNT desperately need, and has even put several chances on goal and has 5 assists this campaign. Bolton, however, are in the midst of a deep relegation battle and it does not look good. Hope to see Antonee get called back up to Everton or loaned out to another Championship team next campaign to keep his development moving forward.
Johnathon Amon for Nordsjaelland has come on strong as well as he scored the only goal for Nordsjaelland against Brondby in the 16th minute this past week.
Theoson-Jordan Siebatcheu has also come back to life as of late after he started the campaign with 12 goals in one month, and then finished strong with a brace to seal Stade de Reims’ promotion to Ligue 1 to play in the French top-flight. Look for him to potentially get a call-up soon or, at the very least, start to make a name for himself next campaign in Ligue 1.
Cameron Carter-Vickers and Matt Miazga have been great for their respective clubs. Miazga has been Vitesse’s best defender and CCV has been good for Ipswich, but with Ipswich now under disgraced Swansea manager Paul Clement, it remains to be seen how CCV will finish out the campaign. These two still remain our best pairing at the center-back position, but with John Brooks finally making his way to fitness, he could slot in for one of them eventually. However, during Brooks’ return to Wolfsburg he was given a yellow card early, continued to play like a madman, and was subbed off in the 29th minute. Next match he sat on the bench. Not a solid start, especially as Wolfsburg are looking down the barrel of relegation. Not only should Wolfsburg be worried about their form, but they should worry about Bobby Wood and Hamburg who have somehow risen from the dead and are fighting to stay up in the Bundesliga. Bobby Wood even remembered what he learned against Paraguay and helped lead the way to 3 points this past week by finding the back of the net for the first time since August 2017. Welcome back Bobby. Way to fight your way back into it after the haters thought you were done.
In the Bundesliga 2, American striker/right wing Jann-Christopher George has been on fire as he has scored 3 recent goals for Jahn Regensburg. George was a 2011 US U-23 call up, and is currently 25 years old, turning 26 in July. He likely needs to continue his form for a bit longer before getting looks, but he could be a prospect to watch should he find a loan or get a chance elsewhere. American U-20 right back Sergino Dest, a regular starter for the Ajax U-19 squad, recently went the full 90 against Vitesse’s U-19 squad and Dest scored a goal and played an integral part in another as Ajax won 6-2. He is one to watch in the future, and if you don’t know who he is, then you clearly didn’t watch any of the 2017 U-17 World Cup. In any event, check out some of his highlights on YouTube and get excited. His vision, ball control, and pace are all incredible.
Now, for some less exciting news
Lynden Gooch, the forgotten American midfielder for Sunderland, seems to also be forgotten by the forever relegated Sunderland. I hope Gooch can get out of Sunderland’s dumpster fire of an existence and find a transfer, otherwise his career, much like Sunderland in general, will be relegated forever.
Unfortunately, Levante seems to have left Shaq Moore on the side for the remainder of the season following his call-up to the USMNT. Moore has only been in the 18 once since January 2018 (3/31/18). Moore is a great talent and can really become a huge player for the USMNT, but some growing pains are to be expected for such a young player. Give him time and he’ll break through for Levante and eventually the USMNT. I still think he deserves another call-up and run-out to show the people what he can do and what he brings to our defense. He’s one of the future backs for us and he needs to know that we recognize his ability.
Bill Hamid has found no starts in league play for FC Midtjylland, but has been their starter in the Dutch Cup. Hamid has put together some good performances, but he continues to struggle to keep clean sheets. The club has said that Hamid has provided strong starts and is making some good saves, so maybe he is just being hurt more by a leaky back line. Without more consistent starts and league play, Hamid is arguably falling into third or even fourth on the USMNT goalkeeper depth chart. Zack Steffen and Alex Bono are really making their mark in MLS and Bono in the Concacaf (aka Cuckacaf) Champions League, and seem to be solidifying those 1 and 2 spots on the depth chart. Ethan Horvath, at 1st place Club Brugge in Belgium, also remains benched like Hamid, but he still has talent and needs to find a way to either get back in the lineup or get out on loan.
Dom Dwyer and Chris Mueller are two Americans who have been lighting it up in MLS. Both have been scoring goals left and right for Orlando and have helped Orlando win 5 straight. Mueller is undoubtedly the best rookie in MLS at the moment, and Dwyer seems to be playing the way he did in Kansas City and the way we all knew he could. Dwyer has 5 goals in 5 games while Mueller has 3 goals and an assist. These two are certainly making their case for inclusion in the USMNT. While Dwyer is getting older, the USMNT has struggled at striker lately and Dom is someone who can go in and create havoc in the final third and always seems to come out of the scrum with at least a goal #FreeDOM. Mueller is someone who could add pace and determination to either the striker position or slot in to the midfield. There’s value there.
In general US news
The US has the following upcoming friendlies: Bolivia at home on May 28, and then the two friendlies abroad on June 2nd against Ireland and June 9th against France. Let’s hope Dave Sarachan can stop vying for a job he won’t get and that he actually plays the up-and-coming players longer than 5 minutes because these matches mean nothing if we don’t develop any new talent. If I see Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore or any of the other gang of undesirables start against Bolivia, Ireland, or France, and if all 6 subs are not used, then I would have just one question for all of US Soccer…
On the bright side, Captain America Christian Pulisic and Josh Sargent will be included in the team that heads to Philadelphia to take on Bolivia. Team reports to camp on 5/20 and training starts on 5/21 at UPenn.
Also, as it has been finally reported by multiple sources, the USMNT has been invited to the Copa America 2019. While this is very welcomed news, somehow the USSF will f@#k it up. As many people have noted, since that tournament is out of our Confederation, clubs will not have to release players for it. Also, around the same time of the Copa is the sh@tbox Gold Cup. The POTP family would very much like to see the team that was going to be sent to the World Cup in 2018, SAD, sent to the Gold Cup, and then a similar but youthful team like we saw against Paraguay be sent to the Copa for experience, cap ties, and to give us a look at the talent we have.
Italy has announced they will play the USMNT on Nov. 20, 2018, but USSF has not announced anything because they’re too busy making sure that the FIFA investigators don’t get stabbed in Mexico City, Atlanta, Toronto, or NY/NJ as they were shown several venues for the 2026 World Cup bid evaluation. The United 2026 World Cup bid between USA, Mexico, and Canada now has 17 countries supporting it with the recently announced full support of CONMEBOL. As of now, Morocco has 18 (including some countries who only voiced support through their government, not their federation) Overall, the bid needs 104 countries to support it to win. We’d be taking a massive L if we lose out to Morocco. The vote takes place on June 13.
It has also been reported that the USMNT will take on those limey b@st@rds from England in a friendly on Nov. 15, 2018 at Wembley. This would be the first time the USMNT have faced England since the 2010 World Cup where the match ended in a 1-1 draw #thanksRobertGreen. Adding to this list, US Soccer is working to include friendlies against Brazil and Mexico in September 2018. These matches are set to take place between September 3rd and 11th at venues in the US that are yet to be chosen. These are great matches in which to continue our rebuild and test our young players #TrustTheProcess. I know this all seems a long ways away, but there are plenty of things upcoming so you don’t have to sweat the wait.
In light of the upcoming friendlies, it is time to speculate wildly and take a guess at who might be called up. Here’s who I’d like to see called into camp later this month:
1) Zack Steffen, 2) Alex Bono, 3) Bill Hamid (I still think Horvath is in the conversation and some say Stefan Frei should be in the convo, but I don’t know about all that).
4) DeAndre Yedlin; 5) Shaq Moore; 6) Jorge Villafana; 7) Antonee Robinson; 8) Greg Garza; 9) Matt Miazga; 10) Cameron Carter-Vickers; 11) Erik Palmer-Brown; 12) John Brooks; 13) Walker Zimmerman (maybe Kellyn Acosta gets a shot in Defense or midfield as well).
14) Weston McKennie; 15) Christian Pulisic; 16) Tyler Adams; 17) Marky Delgado; 18) Wil Trapp; 19) Kenny Saief; 20) Chris Mueller; 21) Kelyn Rowe; 22) Keaton Parks;
23) Tim Weah (can also play midfield); 24) Bobby Wood; 25) Dom Dwyer 26) Josh Sargent; 27) Andrija Novakovich; 28) Rubio Rubin; (maybe even Theoson-Jordan Siebatcheu gets a shot)
Please comment below and let me know your thoughts or feel free to tell me how I’m wrong. For more, please follow me on Twitter @POTP_Silence
Until next time, keep up the support for our PATRIOTS ON THE PITCH.
Your humble servant,
– Mr. Silence Dogood.