Many young MLS players were included in the U.S. Men’s National Team Concacaf Gold Cup roster on Friday with Gianluca Busio and James Sands among the selections. One impressive talent who did not get the nod was New York Red Bulls midfielder Caden Clark, just a few days after earning a move to German Bundesliga club RB Leipzig.
Clark was not in Gregg Berhalter’s final 23-player roster for the upcoming summer tournament due to a recent appendectomy, which forced him out of the Red Bulls squad. The 18-year-old attacking midfielder has quickly grown into a fan favorite in Harrison, New Jersey, and one of the top young talents in MLS.
While Clark’s current role with the USMNT is still undecided, his future remains very bright ahead of a winter move to Germany.
“He was a guy who I was really looking forward to working with,” Berhalter said in a conference call Thursday with reporters. “[He’s] a really good player, [with] really good spatial awareness, really good balance with turning between the lines, really good vision [for the] final pass and ability score a goal.
“It’s really unfortunate how things work out sometimes, but we know that this kid has a bright future,” Berhalter said. “And we’re going to continue to monitor him when he goes to Leipzig.”
Clark has rapidly risen through the Red Bulls system and is continuing to play a key role in Gerhard Struber’s squad as the club pushes through the summer months. The Minnesota native has registered four goals and two assists in eight matches so far this season, becoming a menace in the final third with his goalscoring and passing abilities.
After missing Sunday’s 0-0 draw with Atlanta United, Clark remains out for the time being following his appendectomy, looking to get back into the fold quickly at Red Bull Arena. His move to RB Leipzig in January 2022 is a testament to the hard work that Clark has continued to put in as a professional player, as he now becomes the latest American talent to take the trip abroad.
With Clark out of the Gold Cup picture, Berhalter will get to see many new and familiar faces in his squad as the USMNT aims to win a second-straight trophy in 2021. Should Clark get back to form with the Red Bulls in the coming weeks, he could force himself into consideration for a spot on the roster for this fall’s World Cup Qualifying matches.