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Josh Sargent, Haji Wright open 2024 with goalscoring performances


Two strikers aiming to return to the U.S. men’s national team in 2024 kicked off their new years on positive notes.

Josh Sargent and Haji Wright both found the back of the net on Monday in respective EFL Championship matches with their clubs. Sargent scored the equalizing goal for Norwich City in a 1-1 draw with Southampton while Wright netted the winner for Coventry City in a 3-1 road triumph over Middlesbrough.

Sargent came off the bench in the 66th minute for David Wagner’s men before celebrating the tying goal 12 minutes later. The USMNT forward drilled a right-footed shot into the bottom-left corner, cancelling out Adam Armstrong’s opener for Southampton.

It marked Sargent’s fourth goal of the EFL Championship campaign and his first since August 26 for the club.

“It was very nice,” Sargent said postmatch about scoring his first goal in over four months at home. “The fans obviously were very good to me, and I’m very grateful to them. I’m also very grateful to the medical staff who have helped me get back on the pitch.

“I’m feeling good at the moment, so hopefully we can keep going,” he added. “I’m still trying to get sharp, I haven’t been training for too long but it’s getting better each day and we’re going to keep working on it.”

Wright’s 58th minute finish at the Riverside Stadium helped Coventry City erase a 1-0 deficit and take a 2-1 lead. His close-range finish off of an Ellis Simms assist gave Wright his eighth league goal of the campaign.

Coventry City would add a third and final goal through Tatsuhiro Sakamoto’s header 11 minutes later. The Sky Blues moved up to eighth place in the league standings after extending their unbeaten run to seven matches.

“I thought Haji was outstanding,” Coventry manager Mark Robins said about Wright postmatch.

Both Sargent and Wright will be crucial in whether or not their clubs can boost themselves into the top-six picture this year. In addition, a strong second half of the season could be important for Sargent and Wright in the USMNT picture.


    • It helps his stock bigly with the USMNT too, particularly since after Pulisic and Weah there are plenty of contenders – Aaronson, Parades, Zendejas, Booth – who have flashed stuff on the wing but none of them remotely have a spot on lockdown. Which means there’s definitely room for someone to make a roster move. Especially since there are many situations where having that third striker is important, finding a way to sneak that guy onto the roster is massive and Wright’s demonstration of versatility offers a way. Truthfully it may even offer an opportunity to get all four strikers on the roster (which would be a huge advantage) since we can now get away with only bringing three outside backs – Jedi, Dest, and Scally – since Dest and Scally can also play left back, and Weah is playing right wingback for Juventus now and McKennie has played there for Juve as well. So we have cover at fullback.

      That’s just a massive edge from a roster and depth standpoint. If you can bring Balogun, Pepi, Wright, and Sargent, it gives you so many options off the bench and in terms of formation. You can switch freely between 4-3-3 (or 4-2-3-1) and 4-4-2 (or 3-5-2), and you’ll always have impactful offensive players to bring in off the bench…which allows you to press a lot more aggressively.

      Here’s what it could potentially offer for Copa America:
      FORWARD (3) – Balogun, Pepi, Sargent
      WINGER (4) – Pulisic, Weah, Aaronson, Wright
      MIDFIELDER (6) – Reyna, Tillman, Musah, McKennie, and two of Luca/Cardoso/Maloney and hopefully Tyler Adams if he’s healthy
      CENTERBACK (4) – Ream, Richards, Trusty, CCV
      FULLBACK (3) – Jedi, Dest, Scally
      KEEPER (3) – Turner and two other rando dudes

      That’s a durn intriguing potential roster. We get a healthy Adams back – or if Cardoso can establish himself at Betis – and Oh My there’s certainly the potential there for a deep run at Copa.

  1. Josh Sargent was sorely missed in the game v holland last year. He’s probably our best striker and definitely is the best striker in the pool at doing the dirty work, that makes teams better. Amazing touch and composure on this most recent goal.

    • Hmm. He was missed, but I don’t know if he is put best striker. But it is good to see him back on the pitch. Right now Pepi is our best striker and stats for the USMNT speak to that.


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