Leeds United‘s Brenden Aaronson may be in line to start for the USMNT ahead of their huge World Cup knockout stage clash with the Netherlands on Saturday afternoon.
The Whites had three players at the World Cup but only US pair Aaronson and Tyler Adams have qualified for the round of 16 stage. They finished Group B in second place behind England after their 1-0 victory over Iran on Tuesday evening, but Rasmus Kristensen’s tournament is over as Denmark finished bottom of Group D on one point.
However, Aaronson has only featured from the bench so far for national team at the tournament, being restricted to just 108 minutes, per Wyscout, across the three group stage games.
The 22-year-old could be in line for a full debut on the footballing world’s biggest stage on Saturday if injuries to teammates Christian Pulisic and Josh Sargent are to keep them out of the side. The pair were substituted in the previous game against Iran.
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Aaronson can cover in central-midfield, attacking-midfield and on both flanks and his versatility is important to USA coach Gregg Berhalter and is surely the favourite to start of his back-up options.
He has impressed from the bench in what is just over a games worth of minutes, whether he comes on as a central player or off the left as he did against Iran. His final third threat has been particularly evident, with 100% accuracy into the penalty area so far, combined with nine dribbles already.
His willingness to run and attack has been a particular feature of his game during his time with the Whites but he plays in much the same way with the US. Aaronson’s off the ball intensity has given him five recoveries and three interceptions already from his limited game time.
Aaronson has also created two shots from his overall play and one for himself. He’s showing exactly what you would wish to from a substitute. His play has injected energy, dynamism, and a degree of creativity from the bench for the US.
He’s surely done enough to warrant a start by this stage. If the USMNT are carrying injuries, then they really ought to start the Leeds midfielder.