Christian Pulisic will make his primetime debut after being named to the official 23-man United States men’s national soccer team roster for the Copa América Centenario.
The 17-year-old phenom has been rapidly ascending the ranks at Borussia Dortmund, the second best club in the German Bundesliga and earned his first cap with the national team after being a late addition to the roster for the second leg of the World Cup qualifier against Guatemala.
He’s the brightest prospect among Jurgen Klinsmann’s trio of promising young attacking players, whose other members include Bobby Wood and Jordan Morris.
Bobby Wood has been having a career year. He scored 17 goals in 31 games in the German second division with Union Berlin this year, a record for an American. He just inked a four-year deal with Hamburg SV last week, so barring relegation, he can look forward to four years of top flight Bundesliga action.
Being left off the Copa América roster is a huge snub for Jordan Morris, who has emerged as an early rookie of the year candidate in MLS.
J-Mo has come on strong in MLS with the Seattle Sounders. He has four goals in his last five games with the Sounders and is the team’s leading scorer. The 21-year-old spurned offers from Germany to stay home in the Pacific Northwest after skipping his senior year at Stanford in order to turn pro.
Klinsmann explained his rationale for leaving Morris off the roster,
“WE DECIDED IN THIS MOMENT RIGHT NOW TO GO WITH WONDO. HE’S IN TOP FORM. HE’S SCORING A LOT OF GOALS FOR THE EARTHQUAKES. BUT ALWAYS, WHEN YOU TAKE CERTAIN PLAYERS IN ONE AREA, YOU HAVE TO LEAVE OTHERS OUT.”
Chris Wondolowski is a great MLS player, but he is a vestigate of the past. Jordan Morris represents the future of American soccer. Klinsmann has to know that. He’s a progressive thinker. A futurist. He’s the guy who forced Landon Donovan into retirement to usher in a new era of American soccer.
But he can’t see what’s right in front of him. The Copa América is a perfect opportunity to get Jordan Morris valuable experience against the kind of competition he’ll face in the World Cup, the only tournament that really matters.
Who do you think will be more valuable to the United States come Russia 2018: a 35-year-old Chris Wondolowksi on the brink of retirement or a Jordan Morris entering the prime of his career and his third MLS season with the Seattle Sounders. If he’s still playing in America in three years.
DeAndre Yedlin, one of the United States’ best young players, lasted only one year with the Seattle Sounders before upgrading to the English Premier League.
It’s great news that Pulisic made the United States’ final 23-man roster. He could very well emerge as the face of American soccer after this tournament if he plays as good as everyone hopes he will.
Unfortunately, Jordan Morris is missing out on a huge opportunity. You couldn’t ask him to be playing any better in MLS. Ultimately, his snub from the Copa América roster is just another manifestation of Jürgen Klinsmann’s anti MLS bias.
If Jordan Morris had opted to play in Germany instead of the USA, even Wondolowski’s impressive seven MLS goals this season wouldn’t have been enough to secure a spot ahead of Morris.
Klinsmann’s not-so-secret disdain for American club soccer unfortunate, because nothing would be better for U.S. men’s national team than having a strong domestic league.
Should Jordan Morris have made the roster over Wondolowski?