USMNT Watch: Wooten Continues Scoring Tear, Lichaj Shines for Forest

Joe TanseyFeatured ColumnistDecember 4, 2016

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 11: Eric Lichaj of Notts Forest in action during the Sky Bet Championship match between Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest at Villa Park on September 11, 2016 in Birmingham, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images

There's already plenty of speculation as to who United States men's national team boss Bruce Arena will add to his first competitive roster in March. 

Plenty of names will be entered into the conversation in the coming months, but two players were able to gain attention in the past week thanks to stellar games in Europe. 

In addition to the European-based players, a few stars of the USMNT thrived this week domestically and moved on to the MLS Cup Final.

We'll have news on those stories and more below in our latest USMNT Watch. 

 

Andrew Wooten Scores Eighth Goal for Sandhausen 

Andrew Wooten faces a ton of competition to even get into the squad at forward due to the increased depth at the position. 

But the Sandhausen forward is doing enough on his end to remain in consideration for a roster position. 

The 27-year-old striker scored his eighth goal of the 2.Bundesliga season on Saturday in his club's 3-1 win over Nurnberg. 

Wooten currently sits fourth in the 2.Bundesliga Golden Boot race, and Sandhausen is only three points back of fourth place in the league table. 

If he continues to score in Germany, Wooten may force Arena's hand and earn a call-up at some point in 2017. 

John Brooks started and played the full 90 for Hertha Berlin in a 3-2 road win over Wolfsburg on Saturday. Hertha Berlin are third in the Bundesliga table behind Red Bull Leipzig and Bayern Munich. 

Hertha Berlin's US defender John Anthony Brooks (L) and Wolfsburg's German forward Mario Gomez vie for the ball during the German first division Bundesliga football match between VfL Wolfsburg and Hertha Berlin, at the Volkswagen-Arena in Wolfsburg, centr
TOBIAS SCHWARZ/Getty Images

Christian Pulisic and Fabian Johnson both entered as late substitutes in Borussia Dortmund's 4-1 win over Borussia Monchengladbach

Aron Johannsson did not feature for Werder Bremen on Saturday. Johannsson is another name to watch on the forward depth chart. If he gets minutes under his belt, he could be a part of the squad for the next two Hex games in March. 

 

Eric Lichaj Impresses for Nottingham Forest 

The search for consistent full-backs was one of the biggest struggles of the last two years of the Jurgen Klinsmann era. 

Eric Lichaj is one player who could be a solution to the full-back problem if Arena recalls him into the USMNT. 

The 28-year-old had one of his best games of the season on Friday in Nottingham Forest's 2-1 win over Newcastle United

Lichaj, who has made 11 appearances for the USMNT, was named man of the match by Sky Sports for his performance in the home victory.

DeAndre Yedlin, who is the front runner to start at right-back in March, played 90 minutes in defeat for the Magpies. 

Tim Ream played all 90 minutes at center-back for Fulham in their 5-0 win over Reading on Saturday. Danny Williams was sent off in the 54th minute on a brutal day for the Royals.

Jonathan Spector continued to serve his red-card suspension, as he missed Birmingham City's loss to Barnsley on Saturday. 

In the Premier League, Cameron Carter-Vickers was an unused substitute for Tottenham Hotspur, while Geoff Cameron remained out with an injury for Stoke City

Lynden Gooch, who impressed in the final matches of the Klinsmann era, was dealt an injury blow this week as he's set to miss two to three months with an ankle ligament injury. 

 

American Stars Set to Meet in MLS Cup

Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley and Jordan Morris will headline Saturday's MLS Cup Final at BMO Field in Toronto. 

Altidore and Bradley were a part of a wild 5-2 second-leg win by Toronto FC over the Montreal Impact on Wednesday. 

TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 30:  Nick Hagglund #6 of Toronto FC celebrates a goal with Michael Bradley #4 during the second half of the MLS Eastern Conference Final, Leg 2 game against Montreal Impact at BMO Field on November 30, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario, Cana
Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

The pair of designated players will look to give the Reds their first title in front of their home crowd at the expanded stadium. 

Morris scored the series-winning goal for the Seattle Sounders a week ago against the Colorado Rapids. The forward has been battling the flu, but that won't hurt his availability for the championship match.

 

Steve Birnbaum Signs New Deal with D.C. United

Center-back Steve Birnbaum re-signed with D.C. United, the club announced on Friday. 

The defender was mentioned in rumors with some teams in Europe, but he ultimately decided to stay in the domestic league, where he's turned himself into one of the best defenders. 

Birnbaum should be in the mix for a starting role at center-back in the near future. The best chance for him to show what he's worth may be the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup this summer that Arena should use to test some of his younger players. 

In other MLS contract news, expansion side Atlanta United signed 19-year-old Brandon Vazquez from Club Tijuana

 

Joe Tansey covers U.S. Soccer for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter; @JTansey90