In the final game of the group stage against Egypt, it all clicked for me. I was in tune with the tendencies of my teammates, and they understood where to find me. I scored 21 minutes into the game, all because I wasn’t going to be denied. On a cross from Jozy Altidore, Egypt’s keeper coughed up a rebound and I reacted to it first. There were two Egyptian defenders converging and I had to use my body to shield the ball and get into position to put a shot on goal. I wanted it more and wasn’t going to squander the loose ball. That was the turning point for me.
I recalled that memory just as a reminder that a lot can happen between now and November with the forwards available for the USMNT. Every player develops at their own pace and players can get injured (knock on wood). There are several players who could come into contention with a good run of form, consistency and staying healthy.
If Jordan Pefok (Young Boys) were to secure a transfer to a bigger club in Ligue 1, Bundesliga, La Liga or the EPL and continue to have the same results in front of goal as he did in the Swiss top-flight, then I believe we would likely see him recalled for the World Cup camp. Josh Sargent (Norwich), Daryl Dike (West Brom) and Matthew Hoppe (Mallorca) have all had a bright moment or two, but need to stay healthy, get consistent starts and produce in front of goal. In Hoppe and Sargent’s case, maybe a change of scenery would be beneficial. Jeremy Ebobisse (San Jose) and Brandon Vazquez (Cincinnati) are on a tear in Major League Soccer but, in my opinion, will need to finish the season scoring at the same rate in order to get a look before roster selection.
As the Qatar 2022 World Cup fast approaches, it is sure to be an exciting build-up for US Soccer supporters. This next camp should give us a better indication of who is in the position to lead the attack, but a lot can change and form in the fall heading into the World Cup will be vital.