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Josh Sargent shines in first Norwich City start, netting two goals in Carabao Cup romp

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If Norwich City fans were curious about what Josh Sargent could bring to the striker position, they were treated to an impressive showcase on Tuesday in the kind of confidence-building performance that comes at the perfect time for the U.S. men’s national team striker.

Josh Sargent scored two goals and added an assist in Norwich City’s 6-0 Carabao Cup romp over Bournemouth on Tuesday.

Making his first start for the Canaries since completing his transfer from Werder Bremen, Sargent needed a while to get going but turned it up in the second half as he had a hand in all three Norwich City goals after the halftime break.

The performance comes at a good time for Sargent, who will be preparing to join the USMNT next week for World Cup qualifiers in September. The 21-year-old is expected to be Gregg Berhalter’s first-choice striker for qualifiers, though he is facing good competition from Jordan Siebatcheu.

Sargent had been limited to a pair of substitute appearances totaling 28 minutes since completing his transfer, but he went the full 90 minutes on Tuesday, which will be welcome news to Berhalter ahead of qualifiers against El Salvador, Canada and Honduras.

Sargent remains the back-up striker for the Canaries, behind veteran Teemu Pukki. It has been a rough start to the season for Norwich City after a pair of lopsided losses to English Premier League giants Liverpool and Manchester City.

Sargent and the Canaries will return to action on Saturday at home against Leicester City and while Sargent isn’t likely to overtake Pukki for the starting striker role, his performance on Tuesday should improve his chances of more playing time in the future, while also giving him some confidence heading into the international break and the all-important Concacaf World Cup qualifiers in September.


What did you think of Sargent’s performance? See him being the starting USMNT striker for September’s qualifiers?

Share your thoughts below.

Comments

  1. Are the goals going to wind up in Goal of the Cup Highlight videos? Certainly not, but the first was a textbook poacher’s finish, right-place right-time, and I actually think he did incredibly well to get the second in the back of the net. The pass was well behind his run, he had to drag a foot back to get any kind of contact on it to steer goalward. I am excited to see what he does this window.

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  2. The game against Bournemouth is a microcosm of the Josh Sargent experience, as he taps/bundles in two Zardes-que goals and then on his one nice turn into space in front of net…sends it into the upper deck. This inability to convert on the more complicated maneuvers has been my fear about Sargent from the getgo. If you go back and look at his clips of all those goals he scored for our youth squads, they were all very similar. Great passes into space that he was able to run onto and one-time or two-time. No shots from range. No dribbling past 2-3 guys. Nothing that showed he could separate from his defender and get off a shot or score from having to receive the ball with his back to goal. Not to mention that many of his goals took advantage of horrible goalkeeping. Fast forward to 2021 and we are still seeing him only score when the ball is on a platter or when there is a broken play. But anytime there is a defender on him or he has to rush? He botches it.

    I really don’t want to bash the kid. The thing is that I like him for the same reasons many others do. He has a great attitude, hustles his butt off, has very good 1st touch and good soccer IQ. He just isn’t very ruthless or efficient. And we REALLY need that in our strikers, because we have the wingers who can create offense. But they can’t be double-teamed, which is what happens when defenders don’t respect a striker.

    Apparently Pepi is coming to the next camp. From what I have seen, he could be the perfect combination of Sargent’s touch and Dike’s hunger to score goals. If so, I hope then Greg lets there be an open competition for our #9 spot. Because if not, I could see another Rossi situation, where we let a striker go and he ends up scoring on us in competition.

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    • I have seen similar things from Sargent, regrettably.

      I’ve coached a ton of kids all the way up to Premier and ODP level. Some of them have that natural nose for goal. Others do not. Occasionally you get some that have all the ingredients and the light goes on but more often than not it seems innate, how well does a guy focus when that split-second pressure descends, does a guy get that narrow-beam focus and finish with ice-water in their veins, or do they get the yips, panic, and just flub it more often than not?
      Sargent has just never shown me that he’s one of the guys who focuses, and given how persistently he seems to get the yips when the moment occurs I really don’t like his pressure reaction and I really question if that light is ever going to go on with him…or if he’s going to be one of those forwards who does everything but score.
      I hope he proves me wrong. But he’s always been a dismal finisher in the clutch.

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      • I agree. Having that sort of ice-blooded mindset in pressure and being able to slow the game down doesn’t just magically appear after 21. If he doesn’t have it by now (like Reyna or Aaronson do) then it’s unlikely Sargent will ever. Pepi has shown (at least against MLS competition) that he does have this mentality. So I hope he gets a chance to show if he can do it against better competition. Because if we could find a striker who actually can put it away on a consistent basis (even Jozy level)…this team could be special.

  3. Lol this guy is getting praised for Zardesque abilities. While Gyasi Zardes would still receive trash talk for these goals and assist. No one can tell me that those are goals Zardes hasn’t done already. He is Zardes 2.0.

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    • Remind me again when Zardes replicated this performance against an EPL opponent???

      Plus anyone with one functional eye can ascertain that Sargent’s touch is infinitely better than brick feet Zardes…

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    • Totally!!! Has Josh Sargent ever scored off his own face? What happens if US is winning by four and that fifth goal is needed? Who’d step up to the challenge and replace Zardes in that moment?

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    • Glad for him and no goal is ever a bad goal and all, but wow…that first one was a tap-in from three feet and he sort of Forrest Gump’d that second one in across the line from even closer than that while doing his best to blow it.
      The question of whether or not he has a nose for actual goals remains. He did establish once again his movement is pretty durn good but we knew that about him already.

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    • Yes he starts. But if Pepi continues his red hot form into camp, I see him getting minutes in these qualifiers to cap tie him and see what he can do playing with our top guys. Especially against Canada where a lot of the players will be the same ones he is abusing in MLS. Remember, he and Reyna have played together in our youth squads, so there could be some good chemistry there.

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