United States Men’s National Team interim manager Dave Sarachan has chosen his squad of 21 players for the upcoming friendly against Portugal, and MNUFC forward Christian Ramirez was not among those called in.
Over a week ago, a report surfaced that Ramirez had been included on a preliminary list for the friendly, which apparently included over 60 players. After a disastrous World Cup Qualifying campaign, the United States seems to be using this upcoming friendly as an opportunity to get a look at some of their young and untested talents, which is why it made sense that Ramirez was reportedly on the national team’s radar.
Ramirez’s omission from the squad is particularly painful when you take a look at the forwards that were included over him. Revolution forward Juan Agudelo was once again included over Ramirez, despite the fact that the former Stoke City signee has already made five scoreless appearances for the USMNT in 2017. 28-year-old forward C.J. Sapong was named to the squad over the Minnesota United star as well despite the fact that the two posted similar numbers this season in MLS and Sapong is two years older.
When you compare Christan Ramirez’s domestic league form to the likes of Agudelo and Sapong, it’s not unreasonable to think that he was snubbed by Sarachan. Ramirez scored 14 goals from open play this season, averaging .53 goals per 90 minutes. C.J. Sapong scored 13 goals from open play and had similar goals per 90-minute average as Ramirez (.52). Agudelo started just twenty games this season and was nowhere near as effective as Sapong or Ramirez. In 1821 minutes played, the Revolution striker scored just eight goals and provided one assist. Agudelo’s goals per 90 was just .39.
Considering the fact that this friendly was a great opportunity to turn over some rocks and reveal overlooked talent, Agudelo’s inclusion over Ramirez is that much more painful. Agudelo is still young, as he will turn 25 later this month, but he has already made 26 international appearances under three different national team managers. In his 26 games played for the United States, Agudelo has managed to get on the scoresheet just three times and has scored only one goal since 2012.
Being left off of this roster is hardly the end of the world for Ramirez, who emerged as Minnesota United’s superstar in 2017. If he continues to demonstrate his great form in MLS he should stay on the National Team’s radar but one has to wonder what Superman will have to do to finally get his chance to represent the United States.