FourFourTwo's USMNT Top 50: 50-41
47. MATT MIAZGA
The 21-year-old established himself as one of the top center backs in MLS in 2015, but a move to Chelsea has seen him fall off the map – or at least off the radar of most American soccer fans. The 6-foot-3 defender must continue to develop, but the path hasn’t been easy in Europe.
Miazga is spending this season on loan with Vitesse, but his stint there has included appearances with Vitesse II, which isn’t an ideal spot for a player who was sold for $5 million just one year ago. If Miazga wants to break through in the United States’ strong depth chart of center backs, he’ll need to find more consistent first-team soccer, especially at such a crucial young age for a defender.
-- Paul Tenorio
46. Cameron Carter-Vickers
Quick, athletic, and with decent size (6-feet-0), Carter-Vickers’ breakthrough with the senior team is becoming long-awaited by U.S. men’s national team fans. But the England-born U.S. youth international is still only 18 years old. There’s plenty of time for this U-level standout of have the same impact on the full U.S. squad.
The son of a former NBA player, Carter-Vickers made his first appearance with the U.S. youth teams two years ago. This November, he was called into his first senior team camp, but he remains uncapped at the senior level. While that means, technically, he could still elect to play for England, there’s no indication the U-20 captain intends to change his commitment.
For now, Carter-Vickers is in a slight holding pattern, one that keeps him from being higher on this list. Good enough to stay with Tottenham’s senior team, but not good enough to earn regular playing time, “CCV” is in need of a breakthrough. Bruce Arena said as much in his first days on the job. Once Carter-Vickers gets regular time at club level, it’s hard to see him being kept out of the rotation among U.S. center backs.
-- Richard Farley
45. Ethan Horvath
The United States has long been blessed with elite goalkeepers -- on the men’s and women’s side -- but there is more uncertainty in the position than any time in recent memory. Tim Howard would be 39 years old at the time of the 2018 World Cup, and he’s out for several months after having groin surgery.
New (again) U.S. coach Bruce Arena hasn’t committed to Guzan as the default No. 1 goalkeeper, and how could he? Guzan hasn’t played a Premier League match for Middlesbrough since August, and he is close to securing a move back to MLS to earn regular minutes and get his form back.
All this leaves the door open for a competition in net in January and beyond. Enter Ethan Horvath. At 21 years old, he’s the youngest goalkeeper on this list. He has good range at 6-foot-4, but he’s still an unknown quantity at the international level. His only cap for the U.S. senior team came this October in an uneventful 2-0 win over Cuba. Horvath has the potential to be the first senior-level Academy product in net for the U.S. after plying his trade at Real Colorado in his teen years.
-- Jeff Kassouf