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Jordan Pefok scores second Bundesliga goal, adds assist

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Jordan Pefok’s move to Germany is already proving successful. As a result, the campaign for World Cup roster spots at center forward for the U.S. men’s national team just got a little more interesting.

In his third Bundesliga appearance, Pefok broke into the final third and scored in the 32nd minute of Union Berlin’s match against RB Leipzig. He collected a pass from Sheraldo Becker, took two touches under pressure from defenders and sent a shot into the bottom left corner.

Pefok added an assist six minutes later, connecting again with Becker. Union Berlin went up 2-0 on Leipzig by halftime.

Pefok now has two Bundesliga goals in his first three appearances in Germany. He scored in his Bundesliga debut with a goal against Hertha Berlin.

The former Young Boys striker left the Swiss club to join Union Berlin this season for a reported $6.6 million fee. Pefok was the top scorer in the Swiss league with 22 goals, plus five more goals between Champions League qualifying and the group stage.

Pefok had been out of USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter’s plans because of his difficulty fitting into Berhalter’s system. A poor performance against Mexico in a March World Cup qualifier put Pefok’s USMNT chances even more in doubt.

This early-season wrinkle offers Pefok a chance to make his case for a World Cup roster spot. Norwich striker Josh Sargent is another Europe-based player coming into form, while Jesus Ferreira is also making a strong case for his inclusion with 15 MLS goals for FC Dallas.

Comments

  1. What’s good to see about that goal is that it’s a full counterattacking strike on the run. Back in Switzerland, it seemed as if most of his scores were poacher’s tap-ins or flick ons. He may be developing a more well-rounded game.

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  2. How many of us (me included) had Pepi on the plane during WCQ? He fit right in GB’s system and impressed everyone. I thought he would thrive at a mid-tier cloud like Augsburg, but has struggled. He got about 30 minutes today and did OK..average. He must know he needs to step up, but perhaps he’s just not quite ready.

    Pefok made the transfer he needed to raise and expand his game. He wasn’t going to improve at Young Boys. UB is a great fit, and he’ll get good coaching. Give him a lot of credit for the smart move. Keep it up!

    Sargent played for bottom-dwelling Bremen, then transferred to bottom-dwelling Norwich City in the EPL stuck on the wing. But you learn a lot playing in such adverse situations. Give him credit for making the most of the chance to start up top. He’s forcing coach Smith’s hand and maybe GB’s as well.

    Not sure yet on Tillman. He’s impressed at Rangers so far. Very athletic but still a bit of rawness to his game. There’s only so many spaces.

    With 3 of MLS top strikers Americans, the competition is suddenly getting very tight.

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  3. Haji with two more goals today. Second place for the golden boot race with three goals. Oh Berhalter you have striking options. I for one thought Haji did some decent stuff in the June window. Don’t know why Berhalter was so critical.

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  4. Pefok doing what he does, score goals. It’s what strikers need to do. Berhalters pressing game is fine against Concacaf. They ain’t gonna press Kane and co. Bring Pefok and he can sniff out a goal, has a physical presence some others do not.

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    • Why not? We have the athletes to high pressure any team. No reason to sit back against any team. I would take our starting 11 pound for pound against any starting 11.

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      • Kind of agree with that sentiment. We’ve got a young team with young legs…an older, more fragile team might want to take a more measured, tactical approach. Our guys are built to press and hustle and chase.

        We might as well go for it and see what happens. I don’t see this pack of kids doing well with Bob Bradley-style bunker-ball, they’re going to make some mistakes. But turning games into track meets and tearing up and down the field…that they can do well, maybe better than anybody.

  5. This was a good goal in terms of the run, the quick passing and of course the finish….Mr. Siebatcheu is playing his heart out, combining REALLY WELL WITH SHERALDO BECKER and showing he has what it takes to excel in the Bundesliga. 3 goals in 4 games for Union Berlin (with most of opposition having the majority of the ball possession), Pefok is quickly becoming the number one striker in the USMNT pool.
    1. Siebatcheu scoring goals
    2. Sargent scoring goals
    3. Top 5 goal-scorers in MLS are mostly US players
    Seems like the USMNT have the most striker options now (in terms of quality) than ever before.
    My weekend now includes watching Chelsea, Leeds United, Juventus, Union Berlin, Cincy (MLS) and FC Dallas.
    Gotta love it!!!!

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  6. The announcer called him “the new striking sensation.” I wonder if that is good enough for Berhalter. He definitely deserves strong consideration.

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  7. Quizzel, whatever your name is – less is more. The rambling is no good. Keep it short and concise. Respect your passion, but not enough to read 5 paragraphs of the inner workings of your brain lol. Cmon guy.

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    • Then don’t read. Nobody’s compelling you.

      All you’re doing is advertising your short attention span, and the fact that you’re incapable of more than Twitter.

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  8. Multiple strikers that is in good form is going to be left at home for the WC, and scrutiny will be applied if the strikers taken don’t play well. Mexico could very well go after Vazquez. Wright, Pefok, Sargent are all scoring goals with the respective European teams. Ebobissie, Vazquez, and Ferreira are all scoring regularly and are all in contention for the golden boot race in MLS. So it looks like striking options will not be hard to find for Berhalter. What will be hard for him is making the right decision for the USMNT regarding which strikers he selects.

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    • Vasquez did say in an interview I saw a few days back that the US had been in contact, Mexico had not.

      That can all change fast when a guy’s hot, though.

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  9. Josh and Jordan are providing some excitement. I hope these guys keep it up of course… But we’re still a few months away. Don’t print the plane tickets for them just yet.

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    • We’re so close to the end, though. Every goal and week is magnified right now. The last-and-final audition is about to happen September 23rd when we take on Japan and Saudi a few days later. Camp for that probably opens the 17th-18th, and you’d think the roster will be out a few days before that. So there are probably just three game-weeks left for player to put forth their resumes.

      Those who are hot now, are probably in or durn close to it for September. Then it’s just another month-and-a-bit before they break again for the World Cup.

      We’re coming down to it, for sure.

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      • Close? Yes.

        Excited? Durn right I am.

        Cumulative trauma from decades of supporting this team? Also yes.

        I’ll get truly excited when: (a) GGG makes the right selection, and (b) everyone on the roster is firing and healthy in mid October.

        Until then… Fingers crossed over a rabbit’s foot, and holy water on the steel casings around the bubble wrap over our wingers’ hamstrings.

      • QuakerOtis, I feel you. Five hot strikers can turn into none in a heckuva hurry, and a big part of me just wants to put some of these guys in bubble wrap. Dike lasted all of like, ten minutes before his hammy flared up on him.

        Still, we’ve got some forwards off to some seriously hot starts at exactly the right time for us. Ever since Dempsey retired we’ve had this giant HELP WANTED sign over our striker pool.

        Also glad it’s Gregg and not me that has to decide who’s on the plane. Who gets left out? Pepi? Vasquez? Wright? Ouch any which way since they all have legit arguments…and no matter which way he goes, the pundits and fans will have a WHOLE lot to say.

  10. Anybody remember a time, like, say, two weeks ago when the everyone thought the problem was America didn’t have any strikers in any kind of form? Now you blink twice and suddenly we’ve got, like, five of them.

    I definitely didn’t think Pefok was going to be scoring goals for fun in the Bundesliga. In fact I didn’t even think he’d start in the Bundesliga and would be lucky to be the #2-off-the-bench, and could wind up as a third-choice striker who got the odd game in Cup competitions and injury subs. This astounds me, honestly.

    I personally think that barring injury or suddenly going ice-cold again, Josh Sargent has probably put himself right back on the plane for Qatar just because he fits what Berhalter wants his forwards to do so incredibly well. The knock on Sargent was he did everything else well but just didn’t score goals, and suddenly he’s seemingly over the yips and converting the chances he always generated. Jesus Ferreira continues to bang in goals in MLS and it’s hard to see him left off the plane.

    I do think we’re taking three strikers, though, and the third guy is likely a holdup player who’s good in the air…which leaves Haji Wright, Brandon Vasquez, Ricardo Pepi…and of course, Pefok.

    Right now I don’t know how you don’t give it to Pefok, the form he’s in. I mean, there’s on fire, and then there’s whatever Pefok’s been since he jumped to the Bundesliga. Unless he himself cools off huge, he’s just hard to deny right now.

    Berhalter’s got some headaches trying to pick this September roster, and some deserving guys are going to get left out. Uptown problems, but still….

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    • man your rambling so long lol j/k. There’s no way we have 5. Brandon Vasquez is still unproven. Its Pefok, Josh and Haji and my guess is Greggggg doesn’t value Turkey soccer.

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