USMNT Player Tracker: Pulisic flying, title close for Carter-Vickers and Sargent major concern (2024)

Christian Pulisic’s record-breaking form, Cameron Carter-Vickers one step closer to silverware and worries over Josh Sargent all draw the focus in this week’s USMNT player tracker.

Each week, we bring you updates on how American players in leagues around Europe fared over the weekend.

With Copa Americato host this year and the2026 World Cup partially on home soil looming ever larger on the horizon, we are keeping tabs on how they are performing.

How to follow theCopa AmericaonThe Athletic

  • Copa America news and features
  • Copa America fixtures and schedule
  • Picking the USMNT’s 23-man roster

Issue of the weekend

There are plenty of questions for Gregg Berhalter to ponder ahead of Copa America this summer.

What should his central defensive partnership look like? How can he replace the injured Sergino Dest at full-back? Which of his in-form midfielders gets the nod to start?

But there is one thing of which he can be absolutely sure: the USMNT head coach will have the galvanising benefit of his best player arriving at the tournament off the back of the best form of his career to date.

Christian Pulisic’s brace for AC Milan on Saturday took his goal tally for the campaign so far to 12, making him the first Rossoneri midfielder to score more than 10 goals, excluding penalties, in a single season since Kaka in 2005-06 (11).

USMNT Player Tracker: Pulisic flying, title close for Carter-Vickers and Sargent major concern (1)

Pulisic has been in irresistible form at AC Milan (Image Photo Agency/Getty Images)

His man-of-the-match performance in the 5-1 win over Cagliari, a victory that almost ensures Milan will finish runners-up to rivals Inter Milan, was a delight for Americans seeking evidence that their team can seriously compete against the South American big guns at the tournament.

Featuring on both sides of the attack, Pulisic scored with both feet and proved a constant menace for the Sardinian side.

He has 26 goal contributions across all competitions for his club with two games remaining, an even more impressive feat given it is his first season in Italy since last summer’s move from Chelsea in a deal worth up to €22million ($24.2m; £18.8m).

Putting the star in Stars and Stripes ⭐🇺🇸#MilanCagliari #SempreMilan

— AC Milan (@acmilan) May 11, 2024

Pulisic’s rapid adaptation and consistently good form have even surprised Milan boss Stefano Pioli, the man who pushed to sign him.

“In my opinion, Pulisic is a phenomenal player because he has quality in his choices, an intensity throughout the match which is exceptional,” he told DAZN.

“When I met him this summer on Zoom, I had very positive perceptions, but then working together was even better than I thought: for the quality of the player, the quality of the person and the professional that he is.”

Next up for Pulisic are games against Torino and Salernitana before he reports for international duty ahead of the Copa America, which begins on June 20.

Player of the weekend

Cameron Carter-Vickers is tantalisingly close to picking up his third Scottish title winner’s medal after helping Celtic to a decisive Old Firm derby win.

Brendan Rodgers’ team edged out 10-man Rangers 2-1 at Parkhead on Saturday to move six points clear at the top of the table, meaning they need just one point from games against Kilmarnock and St Mirren to secure the title again.

Carter-Vickers played a significant role in the pivotal victory, with the 26-year-old making six clearances, winning seven duels (according to FotMob) and helping create Matt O’Riley’s opening goal for the hosts with an arrowed long ball to Callum McGregor, who then teed up the midfielder.

With Chris Richards also in impressive form at Crystal Palace, who again performed well on Saturday as they beat Wolverhampton Wanderers 3-1 at Molineux, the pair offer Berhalter an interesting alternative partnership for the summer.

USMNT Player Tracker: Pulisic flying, title close for Carter-Vickers and Sargent major concern (3)

Richards has played a key role in Palace’s recent revival (Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

Graphic of the week

For years, Johnny Cardoso felt as much a mythical prospect than a real midfielder. Few young Americans spend their developmental years in Brazil, a league that’s not terribly well-followed Stateside and, for many years, was hard to watch at all. That, coupled with a lack of consistent involvement under Berhalter, left Johnny as a relative outsider when projecting USMNT rosters.


Of course, clubs in Europe were watching and, after a few sharp seasons with Internacional, Real Betis pried him away last winter with a five-year contract on offer. Given the 22-year-old’s strong first impression, it seems unlikely that he’ll be around to play out that pact in its entirety.

Reports in recent weeks have already linked him to Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig.

USMNT Player Tracker: Pulisic flying, title close for Carter-Vickers and Sargent major concern (4)

In a side with distinguished veterans of Europe’s top leagues like Isco, Nabil Fekir and Hector Bellerin, Johnny has swiftly made himself a regular starter.

Manuel Pellegrini’s side prefers a short-passing game throughout much of their build-up, with La Liga’s sixth-shortest average distance of 17.3 meters per pass. In Brazil, Johnny’s deep-lying distribution drew eyes, but as Betis’ defensive midfielder, he’s had plenty of time to refine his re-circulatory craft.

It’s easy to see why some of Europe’s top clubs are already kicking themselves for not signing him sooner. Johnny’s seamless transition also bodes well for his potential role at the Copa. As Tyler Adams has continued to fight leg muscle injuries in the season’s final weeks, Johnny may be equipped to not just make the squad, but become the USMNT’s starting No 6 at the tournament.

If so, his role with Betis would help Berhalter’s side retain possession — though he may need to rediscover some of those line-breaking balls to help the team advance upfield given Sergino Dest’s absence.

Jeff Rueter

Quote of the weekend

“Surgery went well! Thank GOD! Now it’s time to look forward.”

Dest kept fans updated after surgery on his damaged cruciate ligament. He revealed on Instagram that the procedure had been a success, next to a picture of him leaving hospital in a wheelchair.

Dest will be a big miss for the USMNT this summer and his injury has also cast uncertainty over his club future, with Dutch champions PSV hoping to negotiate a new deal with Barcelona to sign him permanently this summer.

USMNT Player Tracker: Pulisic flying, title close for Carter-Vickers and Sargent major concern (5)

Dest celebrates PSV’s league championship (Photo Prestige/Soccrates/Getty Images)

GO DEEPERDest, Tillman and Pepi: The USMNT trio who became league champions at PSV

How did other U.S. players get on?

Name: Nicholas Gioacchini
Club: Como
Position: Forward
Appearances: 9

The 23-year-old has had limited game time for Como in Italy’s second tier since joining in January, with one start and eight introductions from the bench. But he will be extra incentivised to build on that next term after Como sealed promotion to Serie A at the weekend with a 1-1 draw against Cosenza.

Gioacchini, who joined on a three-and-a-half-year deal from St Louis City, has eight caps for the national team.

GO DEEPER'It's not just about the lake or George Clooney. It's about the club too' - Behind the scenes at Como 1907

Name: Josh Sargent
Club: Norwich City
Position: Striker

Sargent was forced off in Norwich’s goalless Championship play-off first-leg draw with Leeds United on Sunday. The nature and severity of the 24-year-old’s ankle injury is not yet clear, but fans of club and country will hope the prolific frontman has not had a recurrence of the problems that caused him to miss the first part of the season in England.

The second leg of the fixture, to determine promotion to the Premier League, is at Elland Road on Thursday.

USMNT Player Tracker: Pulisic flying, title close for Carter-Vickers and Sargent major concern (8)

The prolific Sargent is now a major injury concern for Norwich (David Watts/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Name: Kevin Paredes
Club: Wolfsburg
Position: Full-back/wing-back

Paredes started his side’s 2-0 defeat to Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena on Sunday.

The 21-year-old created a chance and all his crosses and long balls were accurate, according to Fotmob, while he made two interceptions and three recoveries for his team.

GO DEEPERKevin Paredes exclusive: 'So many USMNT legends have won this award. It's a dream come true'

Name: Gio Reyna
Club: Nottingham Forest
Position: Midfield
Appearances (for Dortmund and Forest):24

Reyna was left out of the Forest squad for their 3-2 defeat by Chelsea on Saturday with no explanation provided by manager Nuno Espirito Santo.

Name: Folarin Balogun
Club: Monaco
Position: Striker

Balogun provided an assist in second-placed Monaco’s 2-0 win at Montpellier on Sunday. The victory kept them in a strong position to qualify for next season’s Champions League.

USMNT Player Tracker: Pulisic flying, title close for Carter-Vickers and Sargent major concern (10)

Balogun gakes on Montpellier’s Becir Omeragic and Christopher Jullien (Pascal Guyot/AFP via Getty Images)

Name: Gabriel Slonina
Club: KAS Eupen
Position: Goalkeeper
Appearances: 34

The USMNT youngster, who is set to play for his country at this summer’s Paris Olympics, kept a clean sheet in doomed KAS Eupen’s final fixture of their relegation round play-offs in the Belgian Pro League.

Eupen beat RWDM 2-0 on Saturday but have already been condemned to the drop. Slonina is expected to return to parent club Chelsea for pre-season.


Name: Lennard Maloney
Club: Heidenheim
Position: Midfield

The 24-year-old recovered from missing two games with injury to come off the bench for his side’s 1-1 draw at Freiburg on Saturday. Maloney, who has had a strong season in Bundesliga, played 24 minutes in the second half.

GO DEEPER'I’m the one who does the dirty work': Lennard Maloney on his 'bulldog spirit' for club and country

What’s coming up?

(All times Eastern)

Watch Weston McKennie and Timothy Weah’s bid for silverware as Juventus face Atalanta in the Coppa Italia final on Wednesday (3pm, Paramount +).

Celta Vigo could do with beating Athletic Club to allay fears of being dragged into La Liga’s relegation spots and will hope Luca de la Torre can provide inspiration on Wednesday (4pm, ESPN +).

USMNT Player Tracker: Pulisic flying, title close for Carter-Vickers and Sargent major concern (12)

Tyler Adams with the AFC Bournemouth owner Bill Foley on Saturday (Robin Jones – AFC Bournemouth/AFC Bournemouth via Getty Images)

On Saturday, Jordan Pefok and Joe Scally will hope to feature as Borussia Monchengladbach face third-place Stuttgart in the Bundesliga (9.30am ET, ESPN+).

The following day, Paxten Aaronson’s Vitesse take on Ajax (8.30am), while Tyler Adams is fit again and could play for Bournemouth against Chelsea on the Premier League’s final day (11am, Peaco*ck Premium).

(Top photos: Getty Images)

USMNT Player Tracker: Pulisic flying, title close for Carter-Vickers and Sargent major concern (13)USMNT Player Tracker: Pulisic flying, title close for Carter-Vickers and Sargent major concern (14)

Greg O'Keeffe is a senior writer for The Athletic covering US soccer players in the UK & Europe.Previously he spent a decade at the Liverpool Echo covering news and features before an eight-year stint as the paper's Everton correspondent; giving readers the inside track on Goodison Park, a remit he later reprised at The Athletic.He has also worked as a news and sport journalist for the BBC and hosts a podcast in his spare time.

USMNT Player Tracker: Pulisic flying, title close for Carter-Vickers and Sargent major concern (2024)


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