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Ranking USA's 10 Greatest Strikers of All Time

John D. HalloranContributor IIJanuary 9, 2017

Ranking USA's 10 Greatest Strikers of All Time

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    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    The United States men's national team is still looking for that truly transcendent player—the one who will catch the attention of the rest of the world and force them to take note of American football.

    When that player does arrive for the U.S., it will likely come in the form of a goal scorer, as so many of the world's all-time greats have been.

    However, that doesn't mean the USMNT doesn't have a rich tradition of beloved strikers in its history. Here at the 10 best—ranked primarily by their contribution to the national team, but also with an eye on their professional accomplishments.

Honorable Mention

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    Gary M. Prior/Getty Images

    Joe Gaetjens scored only one goal in his entire national team career, but it happened to be the one that led the U.S. past England 1-0 in the 1950 World Cup. He also led the American Soccer League with 18 goals in the 1949-50 season and is a member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame.

    Clint Mathis, the fiery American striker who played for seven different Major League Soccer clubs in his career and played for two years in the Bundesliga, is best known for the iconic mohawk he wore in the 2002 World Cup. In that tournament, he scored against South Korea and finished his national team career with 12 goals.

No. 10: Roy Wegerle

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    Roy Wegerle scored seven goals for the U.S. national team in 41 appearances and represented the U.S. in the 1994 and 1998 World Cups. Professionally, Wegerle played with three different teams in the English Premier League, playing for nine seasons in England before returning home to MLS at the end of his career.

No. 9: Bert Patenaude

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    Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

    Bert Patenaude holds a special place in U.S. soccer history as he scored the first hat trick in the history of the World Cup against Paraguay in 1930. In total, he scored four goals in that tournament and six in his national team career.

    He is a member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame.

No. 8: Jozy Altidore

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Although Jozy Altidore has spent much of his USMNT career being criticized by fans, at the age of 24, he has already tallied 23 times for the U.S. national team—good for sixth among all-time leading goal scorers.

    Professionally, Altidore also holds the single-season goal-scoring record for an American in Europe with the 31 goals he tallied for AZ Alkmaar in the 2012-13 season.

No. 7: Joe-Max Moore

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    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Joe-Max Moore earned 100 caps in his USMNT career, scored 24 goals and represented the team at the 1994, 1998 and 2002 World Cups.

    He played professionally in Germany and for numerous seasons at Everton in the EPL before finishing his career with the New England Revolution in MLS.

No. 6: Bruce Murray

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    Simon Bruty/Getty Images

    Bruce Murray earned 85 caps in his U.S. national team career, scoring 21 goals. He represented the United States at the 1990 World Cup, where he assisted on the U.S. goal against Czechoslovakia and scored the only other U.S. goal in the tournament, against Austria.

    He retired as the U.S. leader in appearances and goals and is a member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame.

No. 5: Eric Wynalda

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    Lennox McLendon/Associated Press

    Eric Wynalda scored 34 goals for the USMNT and earned 106 caps in his national team career, retiring as the team's all-time leading goal scorer. He represented the U.S. in three World Cups and, in 1994, scored a key goal for the U.S. against Switzerland on a tremendous free kick.

    Professionally, he played for several years in Germany before returning home and finishing his career in MLS.

    He is a member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame.

No. 4: Earnie Stewart

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    Earnie Stewart was one of the U.S.'s early dual-nationals, the son of an American father and a Dutch mother, and spent most of his professional career in the Netherlands.

    For the U.S. national team, Stewart represented the U.S. in three World Cups and, in 1994, scored the eventual game-winner against Colombia—the key victory that helped the U.S. advance to the Round of 16. In his career, he earned 101 caps for the U.S. and scored 17 goals.

    He is a member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame.

No. 3: Brian McBride

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    YANG HYUN-TACK/Associated Press

    Brian McBride is a legend for both club and country.

    He represented the U.S. in three World Cups, scoring the lone U.S. goal in the 1998 World Cup and the game-winning goals against Portugal and Mexico in the 2002 World Cup.

    Professionally, he became a beloved player for the Columbus Crew, Fulham FC and the Chicago Fire.

    He finished his national career with 96 caps and 30 goals, and is fourth on the all-time list of U.S. goal scorers.

No. 2: Clint Dempsey

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Clint Dempsey has scored 37 goals in over 100 appearances for the United States men's national team. His goal total brings him in at second all-time for the U.S.

    He was awarded the Bronze Ball at the 2009 Confederations Cup, was the U.S.' leading scorer during 2014 World Cup qualification and is the team's current captain. He has also been named U.S. Soccer's Player of the Year three times and will be representing the U.S. this summer in his third World Cup.

    With Fulham in the EPL, Dempsey became a legend, earning Player of the Year honors twice and scoring 23 goals in all competitions in the 2011-12 campaign—then a record for a U.S. player in Europe.

No. 1: Landon Donovan

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    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    Landon Donovan is the U.S.' all-time leader in goals and assists. His 57 goals best his closest competitor by 20, and he has been named U.S. Soccer's Player of the Year four times.

    He was named FIFA's Best Young Player of the Tournament at the 2002 World Cup, where he scored against Portugal and Mexico. In the 2010 World Cup, he scored three times for the U.S., including vital tallies against Slovenia and Algeria. He has also led the U.S. to four Gold Cup titles.

    Professionally, he is MLS' all-time leading goal-scorer and has won the MLS Cup five times. In two separate loan stints at Everton, he was named the team's Player of the Month.

     

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