BRIAN SCIARETTA - Tuesday, June 26, 2012
In 2012, many top young American players earned their first cap with the US national team.
The best of which were CJ Sapong, Graham Zusi, Joe Corona, and Terrence Boyd.
Despite that, there are still many good American players that remain uncapped. Here is a list of the top players who have yet to appear for the US national team. Please note that we are not including dual nationals like Americans like Adam Henley who are not inclined to play for the US at this time.
Also, with the list I am focusing on players on where they stand right now. There are solid young players but I am trying not to look into the future. A player like Joe Gyau has a ton of potential but he is still yet to play in a game higher than that German Regionalliga. He'll likely make his pro debut this year, but until he does he is more of a prospect.
The list of Americans players who are uncapped is impressive and let's look at the 10 best.
10) Nick DeLeon - (midfielder, DC United) - After being drafted in with the 7th overall pick in the 2012 MLS Superdraft, DeLeon is likely to be high in contention for MLS rookie of the year. He plays a wide midfield position and that is clearly something the US national team lacks. He is a likely candidate for the 2013 January camp.
9) Sheaonon Williams - (right back, Philadelphia Union) - Ever since joining Philadelphia in 2010, Williams has been a steady presence at right back where he has become one of the best at his position in the league. Playing with the US U-23 team likely prevented his first cap in January but this January will likely see him finally suit up for the first team.
8) Zak Whitbread - (out of contract) - Whitbread would likely be on the top of most people's list for uncapped Americans but his injuries have happened with such frequency that his overall reliability is very much in question. To be clear, Whitbread is a talented player who has done well in the English Premier League. If he can stay healthy for a reasonable period of time, he would help the US national team. He is on the list because of his talent but with amount of time he misses every single year, what good is talent?
7) Conor O'Brien - (central midfielder, Sonderjyske) - Ever since the Danish Superliga resumed from its winter break in 2012, O'Brien has taken his game to another level where he helped his team stay in contention for the Europa League right until the end of the season. O'Brien earned rave reviews from the Danish media for his technical play and is quietly becoming a nice player.
6) Alfredo Morales - (defender/midfielder, Hertha Berlin) - Alfredo Morales has twice been in camp with the US national team since Jurgen Klinsmann was hired but he has yet to find his way into a game. He played for the US U-23 team in a camp in February and did well in defensive midfield but the team clearly missed him in qualifying when Hertha did not release him. He did not see many first team minutes in the Bundesliga last year but this season in the 2.Bundesliga, more pressure will be on him to establish himself.
5) Andrew Wooten - (forward, FC Kaiserslautern) - In the 2011/12 season, Andrew Wooten scored at an amazing rate for Kaiserslautern's U23 team and that helped him get invited to US U-23 camps over the winter. By the end of the year, made the first team and managed to score his first Bundesliga goal. He looked impressive in the Bundesliga and clearly belonged. Kaiserslautern, however, were very poor this year and were relegated. In may he signed a professional contract with Kaiserslautern and playing in the 2.Bundesliga will give the 22 year old a chance for regular minutes.
4) George John - (central defender, FC Dallas) - John has twice been called into the January US national team camp. Injuries prevented him from playing the first time and a loan to West Ham stopped him the second time. He has twice tried to leave MLS with his transfer to Blackburn falling apart at the last minute and West Ham declining to purchase him after his loan expired in February. John is still one of the best central defenders in MLS and with the US national team defenders aging, he is still on the radar.
3) Seb Hines - (central defender, Middlesbrough) - Hines still must file a one-time switch to play for the United States since he represented England in official competitions at the youth level. He has always had a lot of potential but injuries have consistently set him back. In 2012, he returned to Middlesbrough's lineup completely healthy for the first time in years. He played very well and is now on the verge of signing a long-term contract extension with the only club he has ever played for. With Hines back at full strength, Middlesbrough are expected to be in contention for a return to the Premier League. At only 24 years old, he could be a boost to the US backline and he has publically said he would switch to the United States if asked.
2) Josh Gatt - (right midfielder, Molde) -Gatt is one of the most exciting young players in the US system because he extremely fast and his speed would give the US national team a legit option out wide. He is still a raw player but playing under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, he is in a great situation at the best club in Norway.
1) Chris Pontius - (forward/midfielder, DC United) - Ever since being drafted by DC United in 2009, Pontius has been one of the best MLS players. He is on Klinsmann's radar and speaks with the US coach from time to time. Last year his future was in jeopardy after he broke his leg but he appears to have made a full recovery. Pontius is a very effective offensive player who can play both at forward and on the flanks. It's tough to imagine him being far away from earning his first cap.
Also on the radar: Caleb Patterson-Sewell, Will Bruin, Ryan Meara, Joe Gyau, Luis Gil, Andrew Wenger, Kelyn Rowe