"The call will come": CF Montréal confident Djordje Mihailovic's 2021 will produce USMNT look

New England Revolution star Carles Gil has resided atop the MLS assist leaderboard for virtually all of the 2021 season, but the player second in that department is a name you might not expect.

That would be CF Montréal's Djordje Mihailovic, who's currently enjoying a career year in his first season with the Canadian side, stuffing boxscores to the tune of four goals and 13 assists and keeping his club firmly in the Eastern Conference's Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs race.

The 22-year-old former Chicago Fire FC homegrown hasn't been in the US men's national team fold since getting his most recent cap in a December 2020 friendly against El Salvador (he has six total). But should his 2021 breakout get him back on the radar? CF Montréal head coach Wilfried Nancy is among those who believe that he at least deserves a look.

"Everything started slowly and step by step, we were able to work together, and in a good way," Nancy said of Mihailovic at his Thursday press conference. "And for me, it's going to be natural that he will be your quarterback for the national team because he deserves it. For the moment, he's not in the national team but I like to say he has to control what he can control and the way he trains, the way he plays, this is the good way. So it's about time. It's about time. So, US national team has a lot of players in the middle. But again, I think that he has to stay confident and the call will come."

Asked about the same topic, Mihailovic said he hasn't been in communication with U.S. Soccer recently regarding a potential call-up. On paper, Mihailovic could be an ideal fit for Gregg Berhalter's play-driving No. 8 roles.

"I watched the game [against Costa Rica]. Obviously yesterday they played amazing, the attitude and energy was amazing, especially to bounce back from that 1-0 loss in Panama," Mihailovic said. "I haven't heard anything in recent time from the staff. I know they're watching, I know how much, how many games they watch and how many different players they watch so that's not an issue for me. I think it's more of when the opportunity [comes] and if they feel that I'm ready to contribute, which I think I am.

"But the most important thing is not what I think, it's what they think because they're the ones that make the choices. But when they think the opportunity is right for me to get another shot, I'm ready to take it. But I know I have to keep performing well for CF Montréal in order for that to happen."

In the meantime, Mihailovic is focused squarely on CF Montréal's playoff push. They qualified in 2020's expanded field, though were bounced in the Play-In Round by current Supporters' Shield leaders New England.

Emerging from the October international break, CFMTL are in a dogfight for one of the Eastern Conference's last bids. Their 40 points from 28 matches leave them one point clear of Atlanta United for the seventh and final spot above the playoff line.

They return to action Saturday afternoon when hosting the resurgent Philadelphia Union (1 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+).

"Now is the time to put the gas down and focus as hard as we can on just the next game, not so much the next 3-4 games, and as soon as one game's over, then learn from it and move on," Mihailovic said. " ... I think it's a huge opportunity for us to make a statement, but the only way to do that is if we focus on the next game."