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A closer look at 5 USMNT pool players who could use moves this winter

Jozy Altidore Sunderland 93 (Getty Images)


The month-long winter transfer window in Europe is set to open in a little more than a week, and that could lead to several U.S. Men’s National Team players switching addresses.

They are probably hoping so, at least.

With a chance at starting anew presenting itself, a number of Americans will be hoping to move clubs in January much in the same way that Brek Shea did last week when he left a bad situation at Stoke City to join Orlando City. No, not everyone will want to head to MLS at this point in their careers, but they are still likely to seek a new home in order to stay sharp, fit and in contention for Jurgen Klinsmann’s 2015 Gold Cup roster.

Mix Diskerud, Juan Agudelo and Freddy Adu will all likely be on the move given their free agent statuses, but there are others who are currently under contract that could also enjoy a change of scenery.

Here is a closer look at the foreign-based U.S. pool players who might benefit from finding a new club this winter:


The veteran forward said back in the fall that he would seek a move in January if his playing situation at Sunderland didn’t get better. While it has improved somewhat, Altidore is still a spot-starter, so a move away from the Black Cats seems likely. There is reported interest from Werder Bremen and Lille, but Altidore should have plenty other options available to him.


The loan move from Bayern Munich to Hamburg was supposed to produce consistent playing time for the teenage prodigy, but regular minutes have been hard to come by. Green has played in just five games and started only once, amassing a whopping total of 111 minutes through the first half of the Bundesliga campaign. A return to Bayern is unlikely to provide him with the desire repetitions he seeks, but a loan move to a 2. Bundesliga side could perhaps be beneficial.


Coming off a strong World Cup showing, Johnson jumped over to a bigger club in Borussia Moenchengladbach with the hopes of cementing a starting role. That has not happened yet, as the versatile veteran has gotten the nod in only three of his 10 Bundesliga appearances this campaign. His situation might not seem all that bad given that he has also seen time in the DFB Pojal and UEFA Europa League, but he has just one start in all those competitions since the start of November.


After a move to the LA Galaxy fell through this past summer, Kljestan has tried to rectify his standing at Anderlecht without too much success. The midfielder has seen an improvement in that department in recent weeks, but it has only been slight at best. In total, Kljestan has eight combined starts for the club despite it being involved in the UEFA Champions League, the Coupe de Belgique and Pro League.


Things looked promising earlier this season for Wood, but not so much anymore. The youngster has been dropped from 1860 Munich’s first team and there do not appear to be any signs of him making a return any time soon. A promising prospect that Klinsmann was looking at more closely in recent months, Wood will need to find a better situation pronto if he wishes to keep himself in the U.S.’s conversation during the first half of 2015.


Which of these players do you think needs a move the most? See any of them breaking through at the club they’re currently at? Where should each of them go if they do switch addresses?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Omar could definitely use a move. He’s achieved and learned about all he is going to learn in MLS so I hope he decides at some point to move abroad, even if it is only down the road to TJ.

  2. At what point do we stop calling Juan Agudelo a “soccer player” & start referring to him as a “former player?’

    I mean, geez, he is unemployed, has no prospects & his game has not improved in 5 years.

    Let’s keep it real on this guy.

    • Juan will be a “former” player when he formally retires.

      There have been players who missed more time due to injury than Juan has due to lack of love ( from teams) and still come back.

      Hopefully, Juan will use this time off to figure out if he really wants to play this game and if so, just how much comittment he wants to put into it.

      • so if Juan never formally retires, goes on to a career bagging groceries and never kicks a ball again, you still consider him part of the national team pool?

      • Neither your original post , nor my reply said anything about “consider him part of the national team pool”.

        At this writing, if he is still part of the national team pool, and only JK can answer that, it is at the farthest reaches of the outer darkness as is possible.

      • It was obvious what GW was saying. If he were to start bagging groceries it would, in effect, be him retiring. I’ve seen much better trolling…..

  3. I’ve been saying it for a while now (since at least the world cup) the days only look to be getting darker for the USMNT turning the page into 2015. Our European starters are beginning to either fall out of favor or moving back to MLS. Seriously, who in our talent pool can really step up to the plate right now? Green who was being hyped soo much by the media because he was at Bayern can’t even get minutes for a lower Bundesliga team. This is the implosion that fans have to swallow now because of the amount that we were blown up by the media.

    • The next competition that actually matters is the Gold Cup which is about 6 months away.

      The team picture could be a lot brighter ( or a lot worse) by then.

      And the next REALLY meaningful competitions after that, Copa America and the Olympics are in 2016.

      The fair weather bandwagon jumpers , so called USMNT “fans” ,for whom the sky is falling are slightly overreacting.

      There will be plenty of time to panic later.

    • It isn’t as bad as you think, though I understand your sentiment, There are no prizes for peaking in November, and many of the top performing teams at the WC have turned in disjointed, uninspired, or otherwise bleh performances since Brazil. Heck, just last year we sleepwalked through very weak perfomances vs. the likes of Scotland, Austria, and Ukraine during this part of the calendar. A lot can change in 6 months.

      But yeah, I too would like to see who amongst our MF’s and attackers is ready to step up and lead the next generation. In the past, we have had guys like Dempsey, Donovan, McBride, etc… who you could point to and say “if he is in the side, we will create chances and score”. We have a lot of guys with potential, but none has made that push yet to really displace the incumbents. They will have their opportunities.

      It can happen quickly…. look at Greg Garza, who has more or less forced his way into the reckining as first-choice left back in a matter of a couple of months.

      • That is a pretty rosy memory. Prior to the 2006 WC, the looming question for the USMNT was who besides McBride could score. As that WC proved, the fears were well-founded as McBride and Donavon were held scoreless and Dempsey managed a single goal in what was a pretty under-whelming performance by the US. That ,despite what was a pretty easy run through CONCACAF qualifying.

      • Dennis,

        It’s not 2005-2006 anymore.

        I may be going out on a limb here but my impression is that soccer is much more advanced in this country these days and that the USMNT player pool is much deeper now than it was then.

        More importantly, it is December 2014.

        Which means the USMNT still has has about three years and a number of serious tournaments to help them find players and build the team. Besides the WC qualifiers, the Gold Cups , the Olympics (if they qualify, for the kids) and possibly the Confederations Cup, there is Copa America maybe the toughest of them all.

        As best as I can tell this is the most competitive schedule a USMNT has ever had between World Cups.

        Hopefully, it will result in a sharper, more cohesive World Cup team in 2018. Or not.

        Whatever the case, it is a little early for people to be slitting their wrists with rusty knives.

      • +1. Agree as well. Replacing their leadership qualities has proven just as tricky as replacing their talent.

  4. i don’t think Green will end up in the 2. Bundesliga. as Honigstein pointed out in his article a few days ago, Slomka is the guy who brought Green in and told Bayern he would get playing time. he was let go very quickly and Zinnbauer came in who is not getting great reviews himself on his coaching:

    “Zinnbauer is just as inexperienced as Green at this level and some of his decisions, like the promotion of players from HSV’s U19s to the seniors, have smacked of capriciousness.”

    in other words, i think this loan is not representative of Green’s ability to play in the Bundesliga. hopefully next go around will just be a better situation as a whole.

    FJ’s situation is interesting. in that same article from Honigstein, i was expecting him to have a more negative take on how the move to ‘Gladbach has worked out. instead, he seems to think the move has met expectations. especially with his Achilles problem, another nagging injury, and getting the flu. not to mention his competition; Thorgan Hazard, André Hahn, and Patrick Herrmann along with Alvaro Dominguez holding down the RB spot. he even goes on to say FJ could be one a few Americans to get some CL games next season. personally, i think FJ should stick it out.

  5. Juan Agudelo is #2 on this list. Jozy obviously #1.

    Still hoping that F. Johnson finds a role on BMG; certainly a good enough player at multiple positions.

    Green, Wood, Packwood, etc. they are young enough and need to earn their spots.

  6. I would like to see Zelalem transferred to the USMNT via citizenship. He could be the next Julian Green: Too much hype too soon but with loads of potential

  7. Green is fine where he is. He needs to earn time.

    I think Packwood needs a move most. He was a starter last year and now can’t find playing time in the lower leagues.

    Can we add Bradley to this list too?

  8. This couldn’t be a less promising time to be a USMNT fan. Many European stars failing at achieving high levels, low FIFA rating (Costa Rica and Mexico above us), team has World Cup hangover, SBI show consistently under 2 hours…

      • I think that Fabian is in the same boat Bradley was last year, he is already in his prime, won’t improve much as a player even if he stays at a high level league and can’t make it to the starter line up of a mid-class CL team, he obviously has to go a level lower to get playing time and MLS offers that + a big paycheck.

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