Folarin Balogun switches national allegiance from England to USMNT

When I was growing up, it was understood that the Chicago Cubs would never have a third baseman. Or even center fielder, but the third base gap was more sacred Because it followed Ron Santo. There was no universally beloved centerfielder whose legacy the team could never live up to and thus broke a series of morons and fucks to stand somewhere near the hot corner and tried desperately to get down (mostly unsuccessfully) . For a minute, Kris Bryant and Dexter Fowler filled in those gaps, but we’re basically back where we started.

Same goes for the Bears QB. We just grew up knowing that there would always be a black hole of despair (as opposed to a black hole of happiness? Don’t make up those jokes). This is clearly not exclusive to Chicago. Jets QB, Leafs goalie, Knicks… well, the Knicks. There are only a few positions on some teams that will always be a toxic waste site.

The most recent has been number 9 for the USMNT. The men’s side will never be without Alex Morgan, a pivotal figure he can always count on to find a goal, whether the team is playing well or not. It didn’t really matter that very few international teams actually came up with a dependable, consistent central striker. Spain doesn’t have one, Germany doesn’t have one, Suspiciously the Dutch haven’t, Brazil haven’t really, and neither have reigning World Cup champions Argentina. It’s hard to find.

But the U.S. Well, they never really had. We romanticize Jozy Altidore because he was an automatic choice, but we all remember what it was like when he actually lined up for the national team, and we were all asking, “Is that cool?” Wouldn’t it be better if that were?” He doesn’t even have a World Cup goal to his name. His most important goal for the national team was probably against Spain in the 2009 Confederations Cup, a tournament that no longer exists.

Since then, we’ve talked ourselves into Bobby Wood or Eddie Johnson (though it’s still fun to sing “We’re going to score with our Johnson!”) or Aaron Johansson or Jesus Ferreira or worse, someone. Kind of too. we shine ricardo pepi or daryl dyke Trust us there was more to come. We let Josh Sargent’s capable and hardworking but hardly lethal performance in Qatar entice us that something might happen down the road. We deluded ourselves that Haji Wright’s statistics were meaningful in Turkey. We fumbled and ran in the dark, and everything we touched had to be the answer.

not anymore. we think. Perhaps. Like, good chance.

FoLARin Balogun has officially switched Their national team switches allegiance from England to the United States. He will almost certainly suit up for the USMNT in the Nations League semifinal against Mexico come June. If it isn’t, then the whole program should really shut down.

What we do know is that Balogun is the most skilful striker to ever put on the shirt, and it’s not really close.

No Yankee striker in the top five has ever scored 20 goals. European League. Altidore had a bonanza in Holland, but everyone has a bonanza in Holland. So Johansson did. Balogun has scored 19 goals in Ligue 1 in France and is sitting for a mid-table team. 19 goals in 34 games for Reims, who are in 11th place. he is an arsenal player on loan And the pretty fragile Gabriel could re-join the Gunners next year to support Jesus. or he can replace christopher nkunku Play more in Leipzig.

The underlying numbers are also promising. Balogun is in the top five in France in both shots per 90 and shots on target per 90. He hits the right places many times. Perhaps a little worryingly, he is actually subservient to his expected targets. The number of shots he’s getting suggests he should have scored 18 non-penalty goals, and he scored 13. But he is also 21 years old, playing regularly at the top level for the first time. And either way, America has never had a striker depositing XG in the top five. League or so.

natural fit

He also fits perfectly into the current profile of the USMNT. He has blinding speed and wants to get behind, and it’s not like this US team is stringing together 30-pass moves to score. They wanna be straight, they wanna play on the break And there is a striker who threatens to open up space for Pulisic, Weah, Musa and McKennie. Balogun checks those boxes.

He is also of an age the rest of the squad could grow together, and was another influenced by the USMNT culture that seduced Musa and Sergino Deste. It’s encouraging that things like this can continue without Greg Berhalter, who was his greatest strength. There is now something permanent.

Yes, warnings. Of course there are and fuck you for bringing it up. He has only one season at the top level. He misses some chances. He’s choosing America because he’ll walk straight into the starting lineup and play in the next Copa America and World Cup, no questions asked, instead waiting for Harry Kane to decline and play for England through other competition instead of fighting. it happens. That doesn’t really link the play. He doesn’t press much.

what the hell ever He knows where the target is. He knows how to find spots to score. It is still the biggest currency in the game. Or would you rather see Ferreira roam midfield with his Mr Bill-like touch? thought so.

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