Darlington Nagbe is finally a US citizen. The 25-year-old's electrifying talent put him on the radar of fans across MLS, many of whom have been clamoring for the Liberian-born winger to represent the United States, where he has lived since age 11 and currently plays for the Portland Timbers
Nagbe indicated an interest in playing for his adopted country in April, and it's now incumbent on head coach Jurgen Klinsmann to actually call him in. If and when that happens, where might Nagbe fit in? Here are three questions to get you started:
Where would he fit in with the US national team?
Nagbe has typically been deployed as a right winger in the Timbers' 4-2-3-1 formation, where he can use his outstanding speed and technical ability to break down opposing defenses. Under Klinsmann in 2015, the US national team has often played variations of a 4-4-2 formation, which asks a little more from its wide players on the defensive side of the ball, especially at the international level.
Klinsmann has experimented with a 4-2-3-1 formation, though, including in Tuesday night's friendly against Brazil. Nagbe could offer a more natural fit in the wing positions than the likes of Gyasi Zardes and DeAndre Yedlin, who started on the wings against Brazil but are often regarded as a forward and right back, respectively.
When could he suit up for the USMNT?
Although he could be called in at any point, it is highly unlikely that Klinsmann will call on Nagbe – a player he has not yet had in camp – for the USMNT's crucial CONCACAF Cup clash against Mexico on October 10 or for World Cup qualifiers against St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago in November.
That leaves the team's January camp as the most likely time for Nagbe to begin his national team career, if he is called in. The camp has traditionally been used by Klinsmann and his predecessors to evaluate MLS talent and is often where young players make their first international appearances. A successful camp could see him follow in the steps of Zardes, who debuted for the national team in January 2015 and has been part of every roster since.
What does he bring to the table?
Nagbe may not put up the gaudy goal and assist numbers typically associated with elite attacking players (20 goals, 18 assists in 154 appearances), but he is constantly among the league leaders in other important statistical categories recorded by Opta.
His passing accuracy in the final third (84.18 percent) is tops in MLS this season, after finishing second in that category in 2014. Nagbe has also improved his ability to create chances, and currently leads MLS in chances created from open play with 53. Finally, he has completed the fifth most dribbles per 90 minutes of any player after completing the second-most in 2014, behind only FC Dallas' Fabian Castillo.