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USMNT Stock Watch: Josh Sargent reenters mix for World Cup
United States

USMNT Stock Watch: Josh Sargent reenters mix for World Cup

Updated Aug. 24, 2022 4:20 p.m. ET

By Doug McIntyre
FOX Sports Soccer Writer

Editor's Note: "Plane to Qatar" is FOX Sports' weekly feature tracking the progress of players hoping to crack the United States Men's National Team's 26-player roster for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

How quickly can things change on a week-to-week basis around here?

Just take Josh Sargent. A few weeks back, Sargent, a natural center forward who spent last season stranded on the wing for a Norwich City side that was eventually relegated from England's Premier League, was barely even a long shot to make the USMNT's World Cup squad.


Then Sargent filled in for Finnish international Teemu Pukki at striker and scored three times in his last two games in England's second tier. It's not just the goals, though. In his Man of the Match performance last week against Millwall, Sargent looked like a different player. He didn't stop running. He was getting into — and winning — physical duels with defenders all over the field. And both of his finishes were superb:

Sargent's confidence is clearly peaking. And with U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter set to name his roster for September friendlies against Japan and Saudi Arabia in the coming weeks, the timing couldn't be better.

It now seems likely that Sargent will return to the USMNT next month for the first time in a year. He'll still face stiff competition, of course — even if Berhalter takes three strikers to Qatar (and we think he will). Jordan Pefok, Brandon Vazquez and Haji Wright have also been scoring consistently, too.

But Sargent is better in the buildup, and he has more international experience than all of them combined. What was missing was goals. Now that those are finally flowing, we think he has moved ahead of Vazquez and snared himself a seat — for now. After all, things can change quickly around here.

First class

F/M Brenden Aaronson (Leeds): Denied his first Premier League goal two weeks ago, Aaronson opened the scoring in Sunday's 3-0 rout of Chelsea.

M Tyler Adams (Leeds): Any questions about Adams' ability to handle the rigors of the Premier League were answered decisively by his dominant, 90-minute performance against the Blues.

D Sergiño Dest (Barcelona): Barça manager Xavi told the USMNT's first-choice right back to find a new club before the transfer window slams shut next week, per multiple reports. Not ideal.

F Jesús Ferreira (Dallas): Ferreira bagged his 15th goal of the MLS season — converting a pass from USMNT teammate Paul Arriola — last week. 

M Weston McKennie (Juventus): McKennie has started both of Juve's two Serie A matches so far, going 62 minutes in Monday's scoreless draw at Sampdoria.

M Yunus Musah (Valencia): Like his fellow U.S. midfield lock McKennie, it's two games, two starts for Musah in La Liga.

F Christian Pulisic (Chelsea): Pulisic has played just 57 minutes through the Blues' first three games, and his future at Chelsea remains in limbo as the transfer window draws to a close. 

F/M Giovanni Reyna (Borussia Dortmund): Reyna came off the bench in his first action of the Bundesliga season and looked sharp in 28 minutes of work.

D Antonee Robinson (Fulham): Robinson has played every minute of the undefeated Cottagers' first three Premier League games.

*F Tim Weah (Lille): Weah's foot injury is worse than first feared. Word out of France is he could miss the September camp.

D Walker Zimmerman (Nashville): The big center back helped Nashville keep a clean sheet in Sunday's 4-0 win over Dallas.

Comfort plus

M Kellyn Acosta (LAFC): Another week, another 90 minutes for the hard-running destroyer, who has played all of the Supporters Shield leaders' past seven MLS matches.

M Paul Arriola (Dallas): If Arriola continues to play and produce as he has all season, he'll be in Qatar. 

D Reggie Cannon (Boavista): The versatile right-sided defender has played all 270 minutes of his club's first three contests in Portugal's top flight.

M Luca de la Torre (Celta Vigo): The slick-passing 24-year-old made his La Liga debut against Real Madrid on Saturday, coming on for the final few minutes of a 4-1 loss.

G Sean Johnson (New York City): The veteran keeper pitched a shutout — his MLS-leading 13th — without having to make a save in Sunday's 2-0 win over Chicago. (Chelsea-bound USMNT prospect Gaga Slonina stopped three shots for the Fire.)

D Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls): After 13 consecutive starts, Long was rested for Saturday's 1-1 draw with Cincinnati. He came off the bench with 33 minutes to go.

M Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders): The 27-year-old scored his seventh goal of the season in last week's 3-3 tie with the LA Galaxy.

F Jordan Pefok (Union Berlin): With a well-taken finish versus Leipzig, Pefok has three goals in four competitive games for his new club.

D Tim Ream (Fulham): The hugely experienced Ream continues to impress in his return to the Premier League. Berhalter also knows Ream would be a valuable locker room presence, even as a reserve.

*M Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders): A sports hernia kept Roldan from making the Rave Green's trip to L.A.

D Chris Richards (Crystal Palace): After coming off the bench in Palace's last two Premier League games, Richards made his first start for his new club in Tuesday's EFL Cup match at Oxford United.

^F Josh Sargent (Norwich City): Sargent's recent run of goals has him right back in the mix.

Is Josh Sargent among Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie & the USMNT's best?

Josh Sargent bagged a brace against Millwall over the weekend.

G Zack Steffen (Middlesbrough): Five games into his loan from Manchester City, Steffen hasn't been overly convincing. He was beaten by Tyrese Fornah's strike from outside the box in Saturday's 1-0 loss.

G Matt Turner (Arsenal): The Gunners' No. 2 could see live action when the Prem leaders begin their UEFA Europa League campaign Sept. 8.

D DeAndre Yedlin (Miami): Yedlin continues to be ever-present at right back for a Miami side now in playoff position following a 4W-1L-2T run.

Standby list

F Jozy Altidore (Puebla): The 32-year-old wasn’t in manager Nicolás Larcamón’s matchday squad for Sunday’s 1-1 tie with Atlas.

D George Bello (Arminia Beilifeld): Bello continues to struggle in his first season in Germany’s second tier. The 20-year-old was an unused sub in Sunday’s 1-1 stalemate with Heidenheim.

M Gianluca Busio (Venezia): Although Busio is still starting for the now-Serie B side, that might not be enough to get him a final USMNT audition in September.

D Cameron Carter-Vickers (Celtic): The stout center back is doing all he can to move up a class, and he’s close: Carter-Vickers has played every minute of the Scottish leaders’ four league matches so far.

F Matthew Hoppe (Middlesbrough): Hoppe had a lively 20 minutes off the bench against Reading, committing three fouls and seeing his late shot blocked. But the 21-year-old needs goals to have any chance of a trip to Qatar.

G Ethan Horvath (Luton Town): Against Swansea on Saturday, the well-traveled 27-year-old posted his second clean sheet in five games in England’s Championship.

M Djordje Mihailovic (Montreal): Mihailovic is probably a long shot for September unless he recaptures his early-season form soon.

D Erik Palmer-Brown (Troyes): The 25-year-old central defender has been part of a back line that has conceded 10 goals through three Ligue 1 contests.

D Kevin Parades (Wolfsburg): He wasn’t in the match-day squad the first two weeks of the Bundesliga season, but Parades, 19, debuts here after playing the final 14 minutes of Saturday’s scoreless draw with Schalke.

⌄F Brandon Vazquez (Cincinnati): With 15 goals, Vazquez has earned a call-up next month. But Pefok’s hot start in Germany and Sargent’s reemergence, should it continue, bump him off the flight for now. 

D Sam Vines (Royal Antwerp): If Berhalter wants a naturally left-footed fullback to back up Jedi Robinson, Vines is the front-runner over Parades and Bello.  

F Haji Wright (Antalyaspor): With three goals in three Turkish Super Lig games, Wright is keeping pace with his Europe-based roster rivals.

*D Shaquell Moore (Nashville): Right back Moore helped set up Nashville’s opener Sunday but was subbed after suffering a noncontact injury.

F Ricardo Pepi (Augsburg): Less than a year removed from scoring three huge goals during World Cup qualifying, the 19-year-old might not crack the September roster. He has logged just 51 minutes though four games.

D/M James Sands (Rangers): Sands has a huge chance to impress Wednesday, when the Glasgow club plays PSV Eindhoven for a Champions League berth. 

D Joe Scally (Borussia Monchengladbach): Scally, 19, has played all but six minutes at right back for Germany’s second-place team. He’s quietly making a case for inclusion.

M Malik Tillman (Rangers): Rested over the weekend, the versatile attacker will be in line for an upgrade with a big performance at PSV. 

M Eryk Williamson (Portland Timbers): Williamson has been a sub in two of the Timbers’ past three outings. That doesn’t help him. 

F Gyasi Zardes (Colorado Rapids): Zardes followed up his Aug. 6 hat trick with another goal last week, but it will still take something extraordinary for the polarizing veteran to earn serious consideration at this stage. 

Removed this week: Daryl Dike, Richy Ledezma.

*Injured, ^Upgraded, ⌄Downgraded

One of the leading soccer journalists in North America, Doug McIntyre has covered United States men’s and women’s national teams at multiple FIFA World Cups. Before joining FOX Sports in 2021, he was a staff writer with ESPN and Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter @ByDougMcIntyre.


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