Leon Flach has been one of the more impressive newcomers in MLS this season and despite not being named to the U.S. Men’s National Team Gold Cup roster, the midfielder is staying focused at the job at hand.
Flach was not included in Gregg Berhalter’s final 23-player roster on Thursday, seeing fellow MLS midfielders Eryk Williamson, Kellyn Acosta, and Jackson Yueill among the selections. The 20-year-old midfielder made the switch to the Philadelphia Union earlier this year, and since has become a fan favorite and regular starter in Jim Curtin’s side.
After being named to the 60-player preliminary roster, Flach is grateful for the recognition in just a short period of time back in the United States.
“First of all, I’m happy because it went really fast for me from March to now, because I wasn’t even playing at St. Pauli and now I’m here, I’m happy, I’m playing and I was in talks about the Gold Cup,” Flach said in a press conference. “I would say it’s encouragement for me, and I’m really happy. It’s always a nice feeling because you can see that you’re doing good work here because everyone’s maybe talking about you.
“For sure it’s helpful, but I know that it can change really quickly, especially in soccer,” Flach said. “I will do my thing and if I can continue my work here and how I’m playing, I think the rest will come.”
The former St. Pauli man has made 11 appearances for the Union during the early stages of the regular season, competing 90 minutes in six of those 11 outings. Flach’s versatility and youthful energy has seen him fit right into the Union’s 4-4-2 diamond formation, and due to Jose Martinez’s involvement in the ongoing Copa America, Flach has been used as both a No. 6 and No. 8 in the diamond.
Martinez is back with the Union for this weekend’s trip to Nashville SC, meaning Flach will likely stay on the left side of the diamond, providing help to left back Kai Wagner and also covering plenty of ground on the field. While the midfielder did not make the final cut for the USMNT, he remains an exciting option for Berhalter’s group going forward, whether than be in World Cup Qualifying this Fall or future friendlies later this year and in 2022.
“I think Leon was right on the cusp there,” Curtin said. “They still think very highly of Leon. The conversations were good ones, just at this time, he wasn’t selected. They wanted to take a look at some other players. But I think they know what Leon brings. He’s certainly on their radar.”
“I would’ve loved to be in the squad, but it’s not that I could decide who was in a spot and who was not,” Flach said. “For sure, I wanted to be in it but I can’t change it. I will grind hard to maybe show that that’s maybe the wrong decision. I will continue my work here. I think the next few weeks, I definitely want to show everyone that it is maybe the wrong decision, but I can’t change it.”
Flach and the Union visit Nashville SC for the first-ever meeting between the two clubs on July 3.