This weekend, Dom Dwyer and his Sporting Kansas City teammates were on national TV, hosting the Colorado Rapids on Sunday evening and broke his duck for 2017 with a slick left-footed finish to ice a 3-1 win. According to Opta, Dwyer has struck the second-most goals of any player in MLS since the start of 2014: Bradley Wright-Phillips leads with 70, Dwyer follows at 51 after his goal against the Rapids and Robbie Keane leaves 49 in his MLS wake.
One of those three players is US eligible.
Yes, British ex-pat Dwyer has been naturalized, as of March 16. The 26-year-old could be called in as soon as the next round of US national team competition in June. Perhaps more reasonable, given the stakes of the Yanks' still-wobbly (though stabilizing) World Cup qualifying campaign, is training an eye on the Gold Cup. And Dwyer, who first moved to the States in 2009 for college, could be wearing Red, White & Blue next time he does this:
Yet Manneh, without help, won't be an opttion until near the end of the calendar year; a FIFA regulation requires naturalized citizens to have lived in the country they represent for five years after their 18th birthday, and Manneh turns 23 December 30. The waiver application has been submitted, but with no set timeline for an approval, eligibility could come quickly … or not at all.
Though his 2016 campaign was injury-shortened, Manneh's tallied 22 goals and 12 assists in 101 MLS appearances (62 starts). Crew SC paid a pretty penny to acquire the talented youngster, and targeting an extension in the last year of this deal means they're likely to turn him loose.
If you weren't hype yet, here's the highlights:
Also on the domestic front, minus all the eligibility hullabaloo lies an intriguing 26-year-old, Christian Ramirez of expansion club Minnesota United FC. "Superman" has made a slow burn into the national consciousness, and was a hero for the NASL version of the Loons, racking up 50 goals and slipping on a pair of Golden Boots (2014, '16) to go with a trio of Best XI awards for the second-division squad.
But anyone wondering whether the scoring spree would hit a wall in the face of sterner stuff need not worry. It took Ramirez only 10 MLS minutes to find the back of the net, and he's put home another three in four games since:
Ramirez's there-and-back-again teammate, Miguel "Batman" Ibarra notably earned a nod from former US boss Jurgen Klinsmann, and now that Ramirez is – yet again – thriving against whoever lines up across the field, it wouldn't be a shocker for MLS-aware head coach Bruce Arena to tab Ramirez for a trial run sometime soon.
What say you? Which of these three most interests you as a USMNT prospect? And who'd I miss? Drop a line @viewfromcouch.