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USMNT Watch: Julian Green Records Hat-Trick, Brad Guzan Signs for Middlesbrough

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJuly 31, 2016

Bayern Munich midfielder Julian Green moves the ball against Inter Milan during the first half of an International Champions Cup soccer match, Saturday, July 30, 2016, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)
Bob Leverone/Associated Press

After a few years out of the United States men's national team spotlight, it may be time for Julian Green to finally play a key role at the club and international levels—or at least that's what his successful preseason has given us hope for. 

Green, who is trying to work his way into the Bayern Munich first team, had another strong showing in a preseason game for Carlo Ancelotti's side on Saturday. 

Another big USMNT player also made news during the week as he transferred back into the Premier League. 

We'll have more on those two major stories and more below in our USMNT Watch. 

Julian Green Bags Hat-Trick in Bayern Friendly

Green made a splash on the international soccer scene on Saturday, as he recorded a first-half hat-trick in Bayern Munich's 4-1 win over Inter Milan in the International Champions Cup. 

The 21-year-old, who broke onto the international stage as an 18-year-old at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, opened the scoring in the seventh minute and had two more goals to his name by the 35th minute. 

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After the match, Ancelotti told reporters that Green is competing for a spot at center forward, per ESPN's Doug McIntyre: 

Doug McIntyre @ByDougMcIntyre

Bayern Munich coach Carlo Ancelotti says Julian Green is competing for a center forward spot, is not as effective elsewhere. #usmnt

Green still has a long way to go to earn consistent playing time in the Bundesliga, but he's displayed plenty of development in his game during the preseason tour under the new boss at Bayern. 

The uptick in form might be attributed to Green being a more mature player. Fans and media put a ton of pressure on him to succeed at a European giant at a young age, and he may not have been ready to handle it. 

If he continues to fight for time at the club level, Green may be able to impress USMNT boss Jurgen Klinsmann enough to secure a return to the Yanks. 

Brad Guzan Inks Deal with Middlesbrough

Brad Guzan left Aston Villa for Middlesbrough on Friday after a disastrous season that saw the Villains fall out of the Premier League following a 20th-place finish. 

Middlesbrough FC @Boro

CONFIRMED | #Boro have agreed a deal to sign United States international Brad Guzan - https://t.co/8BNZMbtXoI #UTB https://t.co/SuT9MuzH3W

Guzan is one of four goalkeepers currently on the roster for the newly-promoted club. One of his new teammates is former Barcelona man Victor Valdes. 

A move back up to the Premier League can only be seen as a positive one for Guzan, as he gets to test himself against the world's best once again.

The new season should also hand Guzan a chance to redeem himself after a 2015-16 season full of gaffes and defensive mistakes that led to an embarrassing amount of goals let in by Villa as a whole.

Guzan's status as the USMNT's No. 1 goalkeeper shouldn't be in doubt regardless of how he fares at the Riverside Stadium. 

The 31-year-old is ahead of Tim Howard on the depth chart, and until he decides to give up the throne to a younger goalkeeper, the job is his. 

Thomas McNamara Extends Strong Form vs. Tim Howard's Rapids 

One MLS player that should be on the radar of the USMNT in the near future is New York City FC's Thomas McNamara. 

The 25-year-old's season is rightfully being overshadowed by the superstars in the NYCFC lineup like David Villa and Frank Lampard

Jul 30, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York City FC midfielder Thomas McNamara (15) controls the ball in front of Colorado Rapids midfielder Michael Azira (22) during the first half at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

However, McNamara deserves some praise for his play as well in the middle of the park for Patrick Vieira's side. 

In Saturday's 5-1 win over the Colorado Rapids, McNamara dished out an assist on the first of three goals scored by Lampard. 

The assist moved McNamara's season total up to nine. He also has four goals in 21 games played for the first-place side in the Eastern Conference. 

Tim Howard started in goal in the match at Yankee Stadium for the Rapids. The five-goal tally was the largest given up by the Rapids this season. 

Three Americans Start in MLS All-Star Game 

Two young American stars of Major League Soccer and a wily veteran of the USMNT started in the MLS All-Star Game against Arsenal on Thursday at Avaya Stadium in San Jose, California. 

Rookie Keegan Rosenberry of the Philadelphia Union and FC Dallas' Kellyn Acosta started on the defensive flanks, while Beckerman began the match in midfield. 

Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

Darlington Nagbe, Brandon Vincent, Steve Birnbaum, Sacha Kljestan, Wil Trapp, Chris Wondolowski and Clint Dempsey all came off the bench for the MLS All-Stars. 

Gedion Zelalem played for 23 minutes in reserve action for the visiting Gunners, who won the match 2-1 by way of an 87th-minute goal by Chuba Akpom.

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

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