The Loons are on a bye this week, two weeks after the International break when the spine of the team was decimated by international call-ups to Calvo, Boxall, and Schuller. Until MLS aligns to the international schedule, the Loons and the rest of their competitors will continue to lose players to represent their respective countries.
So who is the next Loon to go global and represent their country for the first time?
First, let’s eliminate all of the players on the current roster that have represented their country at the senior level.
The players above have already gotten senior caps. On-loan midfielder Johan Venegas leads the way with 44 caps and Kevin Molino leads with 19 goals. Fullback Tyrone Mears is English, but appeared for Jamaica(illegally) in a friendly in 2009. Christian Ramirez is up there because even though he didn’t make an appearance in a game, he was in camp and was within punching distance of a well earned cap. If that was his peak, it’s frustratingly close to the real thing, but here’s hoping he can find his scoring touch again and get back into the mix for the friendlies later this summer.
Jerome Thiesson: Jerry made a handful of appearances for Switzerland at the U20 level, but never broke through to the senior team. Currently his path is blocked by experienced Juventus right back Stephan Lichtsteiner. With Switzerland heading to the World Cup this summer it is hardly the time to try something new and Jerry will likely be staying with us.
The Verdict: 1/10
Ibson: Ibson plays in a position where Brazil have an incredible amount of depth. The UEFA Champions League vet has a couple of years over all of his midfield compatriots, but still has a few tricks up his sleeves. Plus, “Ibsonity in Russia” just has a nice ring to it.
The Verdict: 0/10
The Forgotten Prospects:
Alex Kapp: Kapp’s last time with the US National team came at the U17 level. He has a couple things on his side if he wants to get back to the National Team. The US is in a state of rebuilding and is willing to try out new things, and goalkeepers peak later than field players, giving him more time to develop. Standing in his way are several keepers his age who have found starting spots on their teams, particularly Alex Bono for Toronto FC and Zack Steffen for the Columbus Crew.
The Verdict: 3/10
Collin Martin: Martin is another who racked up time in training with the U20 US team, but has not yet matured into the player that he once might have been. Once known for his creativity and movement as an attacking midfielder, he has become more of a deep-lying ball player in his time at Minnesota. A National Team cap seems a long way off, more minutes(possibly at a USL side) might just be the thing to get his career to the heights that it once promised.
The Verdict: 4/10
The New Kids on the Block:
Abu Danladi: The Ghanaian burst onto the scene last year with several cracking game winners. He deputized well when filling in for Christian Ramirez and did enough to make Adrian Heath scratch his head when picking the lineup. Ghana is also on a rebuilding mission after their own recent World Cup Qualification unpleasantness and Danladi may get his chance if he can rediscover his form from last year.
The Verdict: 6/10
Mason Toye: The youngest player drafted in the 2018 Superdraft has shown two sides two his game for the Loons this year. The side that got him drafted deftly laid the ball off to Miguel Ibarra to set up the winner against Orlanda. The 19 year old side of him missed a couple opportunities to put the game on ice. The good news is that he is clearly talented and an incredible athlete and there will always be a place for that in the sport. A little more finesse could see him pulling on the Red, White, and Blue jersey sooner than later.
The Verdict: 5/10
Maximiano: While we haven’t seen much of Maximiano in a Loons’ jersey yet, he has an impressive pedigree. He captained the Fluminese U20 team and was breaking into he first team before suffering a knee injury. It’s a long shot, but if he is given time to recover from his injury and learn a few tricks from Ibson, he could break into a very talented Brazilian team in the future.
The Verdict: 4/10
The Scottish Left Winger:
Sam Nicholson arrived last year as an established player in Scotland and a fan favorite. He left Hearts of Midlothian and came to the Midwest and right into our hearts. He also racked up a dozen or so appearances at youth levels, most recently at the U21 level during Euro Qualification. Scotland missed out on the Euro 2016 and World Cup 2018, but only just. Nicholson is shifty, he’s quick, he’s versatile, and he can uncork some crackers from distance if space opens up. All things that would be handy for a country going through Euro 2020 qualifying. Scotland are in the third tier of the UEFA Nations League, which starts next year, but Nicholson will have to keep up his form if he wants to have a chance to break into the team.
The Verdict: 8/10
I don’t want to have any more of our players leaving during the middle of the season, but I would love to see Sam Nicholson, or any other Loons, pull on their respective national team jerseys and fight for their colors.