6 MLS Youngsters Who Can Soon Make a Push for the US National Team
The United States Men's National Team is in a bit of a transitional phase. Older players like Landon Donovan, Carlos Bocanegra and Demarcus Beasley, while still important, will slowly be phased out of the squad.
With this inevitability comes the time for young talent to break into the team and assert their case for a starting position representing their country.
The following is a list of domestic talent, playing in the United States, that might be able to break into the USMNT sooner rather than later.
Perry Kitchen (MF, 21, D.C. United)
Kitchen is one of five players who has played all 540 minutes of football for D.C. United so far this season.
Although he does not score goals, Kitchen could turn out to be a great contributor to the United States Men's National Team. In his first season in the league, Kitchen was an MLS Rookie of the Year finalist.
Kitchen has yet to be called up to the United States first team, having played at the U17, U20 and U23 levels.
Don't be surprised if the Indianapolis native is called up soon.
Luis Gil (MF, 19, Real Salt Lake)
Luis Gil is a midfielder who plays on the sides and top of Real Salt Lake's diamond formation. He was acquired by RSL in the 2010 draft.
Gil currently has played the second-highest number of minutes for RSL in the 2013 campaign, sitting second behind only Chris Schuler. In his 578 minutes played, he's managed to notch both a goal and an assist.
At the international level, the California native has represented the US at the U17, U18, U20 and U23 levels.
Across those different levels, he's played for the Yanks over 40 times and scored seven goals.
With an aging midfield, the United States is going to have to start bringing in younger midfielders if it hopes to ease the transition away from the current crop of regular starters. Gil will be high on the list of midfielders waiting to snatch at a chance to play for the senior team.
Omar Salgado (ST, 19, Vancouver Whitecaps FC)
Omar Salgado is a striker for the Vancouver Whitecaps. He has yet to participate in any of the Canadian side's matches in 2013. So how does he break into this list?
It's not Salgado's fault that he's on one of the deepest teams in Major League Soccer. Salgado is 19 years old and is stuck behind one of the league's best attacking lineups.
The Whitecaps know what they're doing with their young players, though. He was the first overall pick in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft and has since started 10 games for the Canadian side.
Salgado has represented both the United States and Mexico at the lower levels of international football. However, it seems he has finally settled with the US.
He scored on his debut with the United States U20 team as a 16-year-old.
Salgado may turn out to be one of the best strikers in the United States, both on the international and domestic fronts.
Jack McInerney (ST, 20, Philadelphia Union)
Jack McInerney is a 20-year-old striker playing for the Philadelphia Union. His four goals currently lead his team, and two of the goals were match-winners.
McInerney, a native of Chattanooga, Tennessee, was drafted seventh overall to the Union in the 2010 MLS SuperDraft.
Nicknamed "Jack Mac" by the Union supporters, the American striker has yet to be called up to the senior team. He has represented the nation at the U17, U20 and U23 levels.
His starting position at the Philadelphia Union will ensure that McInerney develops quickly at a high level. Meaning that he's due for a call-up to the senior squad soon.
Michael Farfan (MF, 24, Philadelphia Union)
Michael Farfan is the oldest of our six MLS youngsters, but I know a lot of people that would consider 24 years old to be plenty young.
Farfan, a San Diego native, was drafted 23rd overall in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft by the Philadelphia Union.
He's not as decorated as other members of the list, having just started four matches for the Union this season, but his talent is undeniable. He finished third in Rookie of the Year voting in the 2011 season.
Farfan has appeared to dodge the eyes of the United States international setup, having just represented the nation 13 times at the U17 level.
Still, his versatility is a great attribute, and his work rate gives him a good case to politic for a call-up to the senior team sooner rather than later.
Jack McBean (ST, 18, LA Galaxy)
Jack McBean has been outstanding this season. In each game he's played for the Galaxy he's contributed and looked dangerous. Oh, by the way, he's only 18 years old.
A native of Newport Beach, CA., McBean has scored and set up one goal for the Galaxy this season. He's started just three games, but in those three games he's shown why the club rate him so highly.
On the international front, McBean has only represented the country at the U17 and U18 levels, but expect that to change very quickly.
In the March 19 Castrol Index, McBean came in as the 20th-most productive player in the MLS for the week. Not bad for such a young player.
McBean is certainly on the radar of Jurgen Klinsmann and the boys in Chicago, it's only a matter of time before he breaks into the team.