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The SBI View: Wooten deserves a chance with the USMNT

U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Gregg Berhalter has numerous options to consider when choosing his summer’s Concacaf Gold Cup.

With many European-based players expected to receive the call, one lower-league player deserves a chance after starring in Germany. Sandhausen striker Andrew Wooten has single-handedly pulled his team off the bottom of Germany’s 2. Bundesliga to a current spot above the red line.

Wooten, 29, has 15 league goals in 28 matches for Sandhausen this season, including eight in his last 10 appearances. After an injury-plagued 2017-18 which only saw him make six appearances, Wooten has battled back nicely and has become one of the more prominent strikers in Germany’s second-tier.

The 6-foot-1 striker has the physicality to go up against strong centerbacks while also being able to run the channels and hold up play. His eye for goal has been crucial for Sandhausen late in this domestic season as he continues to move them away from a drop into Germany’s third division.  After spending several seasons in the second-tier, Wooten’s fine campaign could see numerous lower-level Bundesliga clubs interested in him for next season.

In March friendlies against Ecuador and Chile, Gyasi Zardes was the only forward who was able to find the back of the net. Meanwhile, Wooten domestically has averaged one goal every 143 minutes this season, which is statistically better than any of the forwards on Berhalter’s March roster.

Even if experienced players like Jozy Altidore and Jordan Morris lead the line to start matches, Wooten’s durability proves he can add something off the bench. Out of his 15 goals this season, six have come in the second-half of matches while he’s been able to score several with via header and his weaker left-foot.

Wooten may not be a household name, but he’s shown this season that he can provide important goals for his club. Should Sandhausen stave off relegation, Wooten will be applauded for his efforts the second-half of the season.

The opportunity to work with a head coach like Berhalter could also help Wooten grow as a player. Berhalter has been able to work with several USMNT players during his time in Columbus, such as Zack Steffen, Wil Trapp, and Zardes. All three are prominent faces for the USMNT going forward at their respective positions which shows the impact Berhalter has had on all three in some shape.

The USMNT have a pair of friendlies scheduled in June before their group stage schedule kicks off on June 16th. If Wooten is given the call by Berhalter, matches against Jamaica and Venezuela could provide him with some solid competition before the tournament begins.

Due to his age, Wooten may not be in the long-term plans of the USMNT, but for the Gold Cup, Berhalter may decide to go with in-form players in hopes of giving his side the best chance of winning.


  1. I’ll grant you that the USMNT striker options are limited, but I have a hard time believing that Wooten is a solution/option even in the short term. Nor do I think Berhalter is going to try many (if any) new players between now and the end of the year. He had an opportunity in March to bring in new faces, but didn’t for the sake of continuity from his January Camp or because he felt players were better served playing with the Youth NTs.
    Wooten has never established himself within the US player pool, so he won’t be given a shot like Omar, Ream, and other re-treads. He hasn’t been a consistent club player over the past couple years (due to injuries) so can’t say he’s a durable/consistent contributor. And lastly at 29 he doesn’t have any upside where he could potentially grow/develop under this coach.
    We’re basically going to see the same striker options for the remainder of this calendar year… Jozy, Morris, Zardes, Ramirez, Baird, Lewis & Ebobisse.

    • If Wondo, who was older AFAIK, can grab a spot on our WC roster, anything is possible. No, he’s probably not in the long term plans of the MNT, but you never know. Considering some of the stiffs that have already earned callups, why not. Morris looked awful in the two friendlies.

      • Wondo was a goofy pick who produced nothing at world cups and even missed a key shot. That is an odd argument to make. Why not Twellman too? I didn’t realize the age thing and that is a rule-out for me. There is no point to gelling a team with new players who will be well into their 30s next time. I don’t even think Bradley should be around. Gel a younger, appropriate age team, and if you need to fill a hole in 2 years, watch their current tape and see if they still have it. But otherwise this is like setting up the dumb Jones/Beckerman scenario of last cycle. No point in building a team around players so old you have to pull them back out tomorrow.

  2. If he is too old for the next WC and not vital to success in the next WC, he would be wasting a roster spot.

  3. I would be the first one to jump on this idea…..but then you have players like Terrence Boyd and Caleb Stanko who came from that neck of the woods and can’t even start in MLS. So at this point I just don’t know….I guess it wouldn’t hurt to call him into camp (you never know) and see how he matches up to Zardes, Ebobisse, No-score, Dwyer, Morris.

    • Let’s be honest neither Boyd or Stanko had this kind of success in Germany and both of their careers were hampered by serious knee injuries.

    • I don’t know if we can make that determination right now, Greg has only been manager for about 4 months or so, and has only had 2 camps to work with the players. I think taking a wait and see approach instead of being presumptive about who GB would rather have in the team, or more over to insinuate that there is some dual national bias at play seems really silly and a reach atm

      • Fabian Johnson being considered not good enough even when we need versatile outside backs for GB’s system and we have a clear weakness at Left Back. He was quoted ” if you’re needed, we’ll certainly look at you”. Ditto for Timothy Chandler. Minimal chances to Julian Green (if any)? The only guy he really has brought in and rated is Brooks. Plus, all that team spirit blah blah… be a family and fight…. blah blah. His love of the Philosopher Jogger. Read between the lines a bit.

      • “Silly?” All we can go by is who he calls, and so far he has steered way clear of European experiments or trying dual nationals, including Germans. Just like so far all I know is he likes Zardes and Baird and hasn’t even called Wood, Weah, and Sargent who had 6 NT goals last year. Or that he has brought back Gonzo, Ream, Bradley. I grant that can be corrected any call sheet going forward, but concern would actually be objectively warranted until the correction (if any) comes. After all, from my perspective I am looking at a team that missed Russia and after a year of experiments under the interim, the new guy objectively has swung back towards Arena’s team with a hint of Camp Cupcake mixed in. From that standpoint I have every reason to be concerned at the retro swing and to be watching the next few call sheets like a hawk to see if he is engaged in some long term integration project or is just skewed.

    • Yes it’s an utter crime that Berhalter who started in January didn’t call in Chandler for any matches when he’s been out with a knee injury since last May. How many FJ matches have you actually watched this season? If this was 2015 you’d have a point but he has made 28 appearances in the last two seasons combined. He hasn’t scored or assisted on a goal since September. Julian Green 7 goals in three seasons in the 2Bundesliga. Really that’s your justification? I like how you tried to make a veiled suggestion that the man that spent most his adult life in Germany is some sort of xenophobe who purposely excludes German players, good try.

      • Nice insinuation there. I can make the argument for him. That as a NT alum he might lean towards status quo players. That as someone fighting the last war — and now bringing back last cycle players — he might be stuck on last cycle issues like favoring dual national Germans (when the reality is you never heard the new kids beefing about the roster makeup or who was playing). That as someone who played a lot for club but was bench for the US he might subconsciously want to push the grinder players who see the field a lot in club, even if they like him are really a mixed bag for the Nats. That he seems to have a Late Bradley GC 2011 fetish for slow semi technical players (Baird, Trapp, Bradley) of the sort that got Bradley fired. I would disagree with the poster and say that England — Holmes, for example — might be just as interesting a hunting ground as Germany, but it is odd to me that with a young team the push under Sarachan to look at new foreign options has ground to a halt. And that when we have tried new people it was domestic MLS people in camp cupcake. I don’t think it’s some pure German vs American thing but I do think it’s not objective what he’s doing. For some reason we have just stopped calling in new prospects from outside MLS. Go look at the last 23 list, there was literally no one new about it outside MLS.

  4. If you go by goals/90 this season it would be Jozy Weah Sargent starting (mind you, Jozy is now hurt) with the bench your choice of Nova Wooten Zardes Ebobisse Dwyer. Wooten’s per 90 is about the same as Nova’s. I would also like to see the 6’3″ Siebatcheu considered as a banger option. We seem to have grown out of the wisdom of having a target guy on the bench whom in a tight game late we can just whack crosses.

    • It’s an extreme reach to say that Weah and Sargent should be playing above ST’s that are playing week in and out, and scoring goals in the process. The fact remains Weah can’t get off the bench in the Scottish Premiere League and hasn’t scored a goal in months because of that lack of playing time. Trying to drive home this goals per 90′ argument for Weah and Sargent to be included in the team right now is underselling the facts for purposes of trying to cater to who you like rather than who deserves those chances. Listen, we all see the promise of Weah and Sargent and hopefully they continue to develop the right way, and one way of continuing that hope is by allowing them to play with their age group this summer(if released by their clubs ofcourse),where they will be looked at as leaders to help the U-20’s possibly win a WC, something that has never happened by any US team at any level. I don’t understand the need to rush youth players into environments they are not ready to consistently contribute to.

    • Siebatcheu has been out since February with an injury and hasn’t score since Christmas. It was originally thought he’d be out for two months but we are past that timeframe. Also I don’t think we’ve heard of any interest from Jordan in several years.

    • Last year, Wood had 3 goals, Sargent 2, Weah 1. Zardes has 1 goal since 2016. Sorry, no, I don’t buy that they are a “stretch” and veterans who have done less for the Nats are not. And I think you missed the point on my stats, which is that while the two kids are often bench material, they have 2 of the highest 3 goal scoring rates with Jozy when used. Zardes “plays regularly” but then also has a very low strike rate for both club and country. One NT goal this year (and for 3 years). Few goals this season for the Crew but he plays almost every minute of every game. When you break it down as a strike rate it’s unimpressive and suggests the younger players have the upside, because if you play them 10 minutes they score.

  5. Jordan Morris is only exp in MLS. He has not played against top 10 competition, played in a WC, nor has he played against European or South American clubs with great amounts of talent. You all are reaching calling Jordan Morris exp.


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