That possibility burst into the American soccer discourse Wednesday after The Athletic and Queen City Press reported FC Cincinnati’s captain is nearing his United States citizenship and a path toward USMNT eligibility.
The 29-year-old attacking midfielder is originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina and turned pro via the famed Boca Juniors youth system. But he’s never been capped by La Albiceleste, who are coming off a 2022 World Cup title.
These steps would open the door for Acosta to start a late-career USMNT journey, should the proper paperwork and applications get approved. He also told The Athletic he would “obviously” accept a call-up, should it come.
Acosta, a Landon Donovan MLS MVP candidate in 2023, is the heartbeat of an FCC squad that’s atop the Supporters’ Shield standings at the season’s halfway point. He finished last season as the league leader in assists (19) and earned both MLS All-Star and MLS Best XI presented by Continental Tire recognitions. This year, Acosta is the club’s leading scorer (eight goals) and plays alongside USMNT forward Brandon Vazquez.
Save for a year-long stint at Liga MX side Atlas FC, Acosta has been part of MLS since the 2016 campaign. Across time at D.C. United (2016-19) and Cincy, he has accumulated 49 goals and 67 assists in 203 regular-season games (181 starts). He primarily plays the No. 10 role, capable of game-changing plays.
Should Acosta join the USMNT ranks, he’d be the latest dual-national MLS talent to enter the pool – and bring a unique skill set. LAFC midfielder Timothy Tillman and Vancouver Whitecaps FC midfielder Julian Gressel have both committed in the last year after being eligible for Germany. Chicago Fire FC homegrown product and Chelsea goalkeeping prospect Gaga Slonina is another after being eligible for Poland.
The USMNT are entering a busy summer, hoping to defend Concacaf Nations League and Gold Cup titles. The program is eyeing a full-time head coach as well, likely by the end of summer, as sporting director Matt Crocker leads the search process. The hire bears extra importance before the US host the 2024 Copa América (must qualify) and 2026 World Cup (auto-qualified).