Bruce Arena has replaced Jurgen Klinsmann as USMNT head coach. Arena, a long time MLS coach, has proposed using a more MLS-based squad. Here are six MLS-based American players who could get a fresh (or first) look with the coaching change. Goalkeeper and midfield positions could be wide open.
Goalkeeper and midfield positions could be wide open. Don’t expect Landon Donovan to make an appearance, as a player.
Sacha Kljestan [M – New York Red Bulls]
The 31-year-old midfielder has been in awesome form since arriving back in MLS with the New York Red Bulls. Arena had tried to sign him for L.A. Galaxy. Kljestan led the league with 20 assists in 2016. Kljestan has been in and out of the squad with 51 caps, but missed out on a spot for both the 2010 and 2014 World Cups. He could be a complimentary attacking player to work with young Christian Pulisic.
Benny Feilhaber [M – Sporting Kansas City]
Feilhaber, a 31-year-old Brazilian-born midfielder, has been a standout for Sporting Kansas City, with 17 goals and 28 assists over the past two seasons. He was a regular presence with the USMNT during the Bob Bradley years. Though, Klinsmann had not called him up since the January camp for domestic players in 2014. Feilhaber tweeted this in response to the Klinsmann news…
Darlington Nagbe [M – Portland Timbers]
Nagbe is a 26-year-old attacking midfielder who is an excellent passer. He was a fixture of the Portland Timbers team that won the MLS Cup in 2015. He had been rumored to have had a falling out with Klinsmann after skipping friendlies in October. Nagbe has been in the squad under Klinsmann but has seldom been used in position or long enough to make an impact.
Bill Hamid [GK – D.C. United]
The once deep U.S. goalkeeping well has dried. 25-year-old Hamid has been the “next big thing” for a while at D.C. United. But, he has struggled with injuries and missed much of last season after knee surgery. That has kept him from clawing his way up the depth chart under Klinsmann. If Hamid can stay healthy, he could fill a need.
Wil Trapp [M – Columbus Crew]
Trapp, 23, already has a few seasons under his belt in MLS. He’s a defensive midfielder who is also adept on the ball. He was an MLS All-Star in 2016. Trapp played for the U.S. at U-20 level and was called up to the past two January camps by Klinsmann. He could be a player ready to step forward at a position of need for the U.S. Thierry Henry is a fan.
Sebastian Lletget [M – L.A. Galaxy]
The 24-year-old is a former West Ham youth player. He’s been effective and versatile for the Galaxy under Arena, providing both a speedy attacking option down the wing and a competent deep-lying playmaker. Lletget has appeared for the U.S. at youth level, but never been called into the full team.