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Jordan Pefok scores third Bundesliga goal in Union Berlin win

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Union Berlin remains atop the German Bundesliga table, Jordan Pefok continues his hot start, and the 26-year-old is doing all he can to stay in the World Cup conversation.

Pefok scored his third Bundesliga goal in six games as Union Berlin defeated Wolfsburg 2-0. Pefok scored the opening goal by heading in a cross from Sheraldo Becker in the 54th minute.

Manager Urs Fischer and Union Berlin are building off last year’s fifth-place finish by excelling to start the 2022/23 season. Pefok and Becker are one of the best duos in the Bundesliga at the moment, with eight goals between the two of them.

Union Berlin extended its stay at the top of the Bundesliga table for another week with 17 points.

Pefok’s continued excellent form piles attention on his chances at a World Cup roster spot.

The competition for the No. 9 spot continues heating up ahead of coach Gregg Berhalter’s World Cup roster selections. Pefok won’t have a chance to directly prove his worth to Berhalter’s plans, because Pefok did not earn a call into September camp. Pefok’s USMNT stock plummeted with his poor miss against Mexico in World Cup Qualifying, but he has since surprised many by moving from Swiss side Young Boys and thriving in a top-five league.

Fellow forwards Ricardo Pepi, Josh Sargent and Jesus Ferreira were called into the September camp. Pepi and Sargent are performing well in the Eredivisie and English Championship, respectively, while Ferreira has 18 goals for FC Dallas.

Pefok has been decidedly on the fringe of Berhalter’s plans due to stylistic differences and poor form in limited showings in a USMNT shirt. He must also contend with Haji Wright, who is on great form and was also not called into this month’s camp. Pefok’s club form as the World Cup approaches, however, will make Berhalter’s decision at center forward much more difficult.

Comments

  1. I think Pefok makes the team if he continues to score goals and Pepi and or Sargent go cold. Real possibility for Sargent since he is back on the wing for Norwich.

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  2. He needs to be on the team. He has NFL size and speed, and provides a different attacking option to Pepi. His ability to score goals on a team leading the Bundesliga is evident of this.

    Sure he doesn’t drop deeper and combine with other players, but that’s why you have options in your arsenal. Also, why would he need to drop deeper to receive the ball if your midfielders are correctly doing their job in getting past the opposition and put up crosses or making that through ball to him? Forwards only drop back because there’s a deficiency with other parts of the midfield.

    You cannot teach his size and speed to others already on the team.

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  3. I think he’s on the plane and will be needed against bunkers we see in the World Cup in and around the 6 but we’ll see, still a long way to go before the final call and availability might still decide GB’s hand

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    • Could be. But, like others are saying… Why not bring him just to gel in camp? Mr. “Only 180 minutes left” Berhalter seems to think the last camp can’t be used to BOTH (a) try out Pepi and (b) get Pefok in camp to gel with the team and train on set pieces. I see no reason not to call in more than 26.

      Combining these sorts of decisions with our GK and CB situation (multiplied by potential LB problems now), I’m getting a little nervous about our chances in Qatar.

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      • I think GB answered all of those questions directly, whether or not one likes his answers or agrees with them. I would like to have seen him called into this camp.

        but in 180 minutes, there are only so many to go around and GB chose to evaluate Pepi, who has performed very well in the uni and in key games to qualify, to see if he can get going again (hope he grabs this opportunity and never lets go). That makes sense to me. Pepi, if included, would have a much larger role imo than Pefok, who would be more of a specialist vs. certain defenses later in games, seems we all agree on that.

        Re. Sargent, if he’s scoring, he becomes the #1, he does most everything else well and fits the scheme (hope he grabs this opportunity and never lets go).

        Re. the Arriola/Morris spot, we’ll see but Arriola brings something our other players there do not, so I don’t mind him in there as much as others and think he’s going, but I hope he plays well these next 2 games.

        working on offensive set pieces is not the same as working on chemistry/timing/ideas in the run of play; it just doesn’t take as much time, although I think Pefok with McKennie really gives us air power in the area

        in the end, I think Pefok goes at the expense of one of the aforementioned, but I hope they make it very hard on GB to decide. Re. LB, injuries are what they are. Re. GK, I’ve seen it worse and better on the USMNT.

        the key for the USMNT, as always, will be the locker room, and how strong or not it is, whoever is in there. Historically, the TEAM coming together with fight and grit and the will to win which, even when we were outclassed when comparing man to man rosters, earned results and victories, has always been our key.

        Can we do it with the raised level of talent we now have? That’s the question I keep asking after 2018’s miseries. I don’t think we’ll know until the actual tough moments ask those questions

  4. I really hope GB’s comment means Pefok is already in, but I don’t see why you wouldn’t want him in camp gelling with the team if that’s the case.
    Snubbing him for Pepi is infuriating, and the the only story that makes sense is that it’s a personal thing with GB and Pepi and he owes him a chance. But why wouldn’t you add one to the camp at least and train with him and leave him off the roster on game day??? How does he think his “look” at Pepi is so much more valuable than what’s already been clearly visible – that he need a few years to get to where Pefok is already. “Different type of striker” my ass. We’re not good enough to talk like that. Put the best player on the field.

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  5. Jordan damn Siebatcheu, lol…..wow. I am starting to think that GB comments of “we already know what Pefok can do”…..means he is already on the plane to QATAR, lol. He’s scored 3 goals in the Bundesliga (the second ranked league in the World), is playing on a team that CURRENTLY sits at First place, a regular starter on a team that beat Bayern Munich……a player already known for scoring goals with Swiss Champions Young Boys, one of the few Americans that has shaken the net against Manchester United……I mean there is absolutely no way he is left off the plane for the like of Ferreira, Pepi, Sargent etc……absolutely no way.

    He’s form is just at a level that most USMNT players are not

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c-r2uwH_cAs

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    • Pefok has big game experience, with proven results against teams you listed. What has Pepi done in his short career? Scored in MLS and against CONCACAF mid-level teams? Are the teams he scored against good as any of those that Pefok has played against? Honest question.

      Pepi choked when he played in the Bundesliga due to inexperience, and Pefok has already shown what he can do. I followed his progress almost every week with Augsburg from ESPN+. The Bundesliga isn’t a developing league either, you better put up results or get back to the bench.

      The World Cup isn’t a platform to develop players, but for proven players to test themselves in the biggest tournament of the sport.

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      • There’s a certain Captain Tim Ream and regular starter for a Premier League team who even with injuries at his position can’t get a look. Added bonus–used to playing alongside a guaranteed starter at left back. I don’t get it.

      • Ream is not someone you play in a defense that plays a high line. He is slow. his greatest attributes are reading the game and passing. He’s not a man marker and will get burned by anyone fast.

        I remember him getting burned pretty bad against Spain in a friendly at Foxboro a long time ago.

  6. I understand why GGG likes more “complete” strikers. I get his take on the gaps in Pefok’s game. What I don’t understand is why that means we reserve a spot for an Arriola/Morris instead of Pefok. Sure, all he can do up top is score goals. That’s it. Nothing else to see here I guess…

    Sure, Perfok had a bad — really bad — miss against Mexico. Sure, it appears he hasn’t bothered to learn English. Yes, there may be trust and communication issues. And yes, Pefok it looks like Pefok accepted a US call-up mostly because France was never going to come knocking. All that said…

    Why wait and see on Pepi? Just take a guy to the world cup if he’s one of the hottest strikers in the BL. Pefok scores on set pieces. Pefok moves/blocks bodies in the box. He is better for situational, come-from-behind minutes than Morris or Arriola are ever going to be. So what if Arriola helped get us here?!? Last I checked, Jamaica isn’t in Group B.

    TLDR: There is no conundrum at striker. We take 4: Ferreira, Sargent, Pepi, and Pefok. Drop the Arriola/Morris roster spot. Or, if you must have that “hustle winger who can maybe help create” give that spot to Sargent, who has experience as a defensive winger in the EPL.

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    • Completely agree. Pefok’s a situational player but honestly, so many of our guys like McKennie, Aaronson, Tillman, and Gio play both inside and outside, why do we have to stick strictly according to “numbers” and take the requisite 6 CM’s + 4 Wingers + 1 spare when that ends up being 11 guys for 6 positions and four of those dudes can play inside or outside?

      Don’t see the point. That 10th, 11th midfield guy, whoever it ends up being, is unlikely to ever see the field, whereas if we bring 4 strikers they very probably all would, especially if one of them’s a specialty piece like Pefok.

      Pefok doesn’t have enough dimensions to start, but he’s special enough at what he does well he assuredly can help us in ways no one else can, and I’d have that tool in the box in the very likely possibility we’ll need him at some point. I’d love that we were just winning every game so convincingly we never need to throw numbers forwards and Just Go For It, but has that been any World Cup anybody else has ever watched?

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    • The reason for the Ariolla /Morris spot is shaky.

      Jordan is versatile and deadly, when he’s healthy and on form.

      But he’s not been that for some time. If he doesn’t get back to himself soon, like during these games or in the remaining time afterwards, then if the choice is between him and either Pefok or Pepi.

      Jordan loses that which is a damn shame.

      There’s no justification for taking Paul to Qatar.

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    • Rosters for a long time have been at 23 players. This year it is 26. I find it difficult to believe that with 3 more slots they can’t find room for Pefok.

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      • 3 more spots but for as long as I can remember we’ve played with 2 CFs so you’re already taking an extra spot just by taking 3. Two of each position and 1extra keeper makes 23, 1 Def, 1MF, 1F makes 26. Total 3 GK, 9 Def, 7 MF, 7 F/W. Certainly you could Pefok because other players can play MF or W. It’s not quite as easy as it sounds since only 2 forwards are going to play in a match.

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