Ranking USMNT strikers with Copa America looming: Josh Sargent surges as Haji Wright leads the way



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Rolling back the clock a year, it felt like there weren’t enough in-form strikers for the United States men’s national team as all hope was on if Folarin Balogun would declare to represent the red, white, and blue. But now as the team is preparing for a Copa America tournament that will test their limits, multiple strikers are in top form. It’s a good problem for Gregg Berhalter to have when he is selecting his roster for the tournament. 

Balogun may still be the starter for the national team but it’s imperative that he receives ample competition to start atop the line which he has no shortage of. With top options in form, it’s a good time to look at who is impressing or disappointing so far in 2024. There’s still time for players to kick it into high gear but let’s see how the striker pool looks at the moment, ranking players based on form in 2024. 

8. Jesus Ferreira, FC Dallas

Stats: One goal, one assist

With only three matches under his belt in 2024, Jesus Ferreira has been sidelined for two matches due to injuries. As a forward who can create chances for others, he can also score on his own for club and country. With 21 goals and 15 assists, Ferreira has shown his ability to do that for the national team but if he can’t get into form for Dallas, it will be hard for Berhalter to call him in ahead of forwards who are performing better.

7. Duncan McGuire, Orlando City

Stats: Two goals, one assist

Taking part in Concacaf Champions Cup and MLS play, Duncan McGuire is making the best of his situation following a failed move to Blackburn Rovers. He has been mostly fine so far to kick of the MLS season but leading the line for the U23’s, there has been much to be desired in McGuire’s game. Shining at the Olympics will help improve his national team standing but that won’t be enough to crack into this crowded group.

6. Ricardo Pepi, PSV

Stats: Three goals

Struggling for playing time with PSV now out of Champions League, Pepi will need to maximize limited minutes as he rarely gets more than 15 minutes in a match. This season is supposed to be about development for Pepi in the Netherlands but he needs more minutes to improve his national team standing.

5. Jordan Pefok, Borussia Monchengladbach

Stats: Three goals, two assists

It was a slow start to the season for Pefok after his move to Borussia Monchengladbach, but in 2024, the American forward has found his form helping drive the German side up the table. It has been a while since Pefok has been capped for the national team but if he can continue his current path, there may be a way back if others falter.

4. Brandon Vazquez, Monterrey

Stats: Five goals

Scoring goals for fun since his move to Monterrey, there isn’t much more that Vazquez has to do but keep up what he’s doing and await opportunities. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him called to the Olympics as an overaged option as it would be good to have a striker with his physicality in Paris and performing there will make it hard to keep Vazquez out of the senior squad.

3. Folarin Balogun, AS Monaco

Stats: Four goals 

Based on performances, Balogun should be behind Vazquez but the fact that his goals are coming for a Monaco side in Ligue 1 matters. While Balogun has struggled since making the move to Monaco, it’s natural for players to take time to get into form for new clubs. His performance with the senior squad hasn’t faltered during this time so as long as that doesn’t happen, Balogun’s place atop the XI is likely safe when healthy.

2. Josh Sargent, Norwich City

Stats: 11 goals

Sargent only has 14 goals this season and 11 have come in 2024 as he’s not only one of the hottest USMNT forwards, he’s one of the hottest forwards in the world. Previously a fixture in the national team, injuries at inopportune times are keeping Sargent out of important competitions like Concacaf Nations League play but if he keeps scoring at these rates, Berhalter will continue to have him on the radar.

1. Haji Wright, Coventry City

Stats: Nine goals, one assist

Also scoring in FA Cup play as Coventry City made it to the semifinals, Wright has had a flair for scoring in critical moments. With two goals scored in Nations League play to defeat Jamaica, Wright has also picked up a marquee moment for the national team that will assist with him staying in Berhalter’s rotation while also providing flexibility due to begin able to deputize on the wng.





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