USA World Cup Squad Predictions: Looking Back at Americans Abroad

Ninety-five days to go. There is still so much to prove but so little time for our boys in r̶e̶d̶, white and blue ahead of the World Cup.

A young star has emerged in Europe over the past week, there have been strong performances from lads on the fence and two stuck starters went into transfer purgatory.

This is the second edition of our report. Here are last week’s thoughts.

Americans Abroad Soccer Power Rankings

3 guys in the trend at the top

#1. Malik Tillmann

When Gregg Berhalter and US Soccer convinced Malik Tillman to trade Germany for the United States, the player pool immediately gained an attacker with one of the highest ceilings in the program’s history.

The change stunned the DFB: Here was a player who had excelled at various international youth levels and made his breakthrough in Bayern Munich’s senior national team as a teenager. Tillman, on constant minute loan to Rangers this season, wasted little time stressing how clear Germany’s loss is America’s gain.

On August 10, Tillman got up for a superb header in the Champions League playoffs. On Saturday he did it again in the Scottish Premier League.

How likely is it for the 20-year-old to pre-board the plane to Qatar with his car seat and stroller despite only having two previous caps to his name? There is always a wild card. In 2014, Julian Green was a 19-year-old with only two appearances. 2010 saw Edson Buddle with the team after a remarkable start to the MLS season with just three caps.

If Tillman keeps scoring and impressing, he’s the joker.

#2. Tim Riem

After a stellar performance in Fulham’s opening tie against Liverpool on August 6, Ream (with USMNT starter Jedi Robinson on his left) was another commanding presence in Saturday’s 0-0 result against Wolves.

As USA continue to solidify at center back following Miles Robinson’s injury, it looks like we may start to sideline free agent John Brooks. It’s good to see Mark McKenzie, Erik Palmer-Brown and Cameron Carter-Vickers getting consistent minutes early in the season, but Ream’s start to the season as Fulham captain has been the clear standout.

#3. Josh Sargent

After being limited to a substitute role in Norwich’s last two league games, Sargent was given a rare opportunity to lead the line on Tuesday night due to an injury to Teemu Pukki.

The desperate American has delivered. Sarge scored and sent Huddersfield’s Tom Lees off for a tactical foul during his 68 minutes on the field.

He’s competing in the Americans Abroad League’s “Golden Boot Race,” which has all of our fighters—Jordan Pefok, Haji Wright, Malik Tillman (maybe even Jozy Altidore and Kenny Saief)—pulling together.

2 boys play their way out of the level*

*You will be on the plane.

#1. Christian Pulisic

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Since 17-year-old Pulisic watched in horror from the sidelines as he celebrated his first goal for Dortmund with a dab, Thomas Tuchel no longer trusted the American.

The German coach prefers an attack led by defenders and Jorginho from the point, giving Pulisic a total of 31 minutes this season. He needs a transfer and the rumor mill initially tipped Atlético, AC Milan, Juventus and Newcastle as possible targets.

On Wednesday morning, however, Manchester United entered the race. Things could get worse before they get better for the next LeBron.

#2. Sergino goal

Ronald Araújo was Xavi’s preferred option at right-back earlier in the season, while the versatile Sergi Roberto is clearly in the manager’s confidence. The club want him to leave but Dest made his dream come true by joining Barça with three years left on his contract.

And now? He has been linked with a move to Manchester United. Joan Laporta is so cruel.

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