The one player that the U.S. Men’s National Team looks absolutely lost without is their injured rock solid midfielder, Michael Bradley. Bradley was the heart and soul of this team, and the USMNT’s 3 – 1 loss to Costa Rica in World Cup Qualifying that broke their 12 game winning streak was likely due to Bradley’s absence.
So, the very important question that Head Coach Jürgen Klinsmann faces going into the final two games of World Cup Qualifying is who would be the best option at backup for Bradley, in the event that he was injured early into the World Cup?
The answer is the Norwegian Tippeligaen team Rosenborg’s Mix Diskerud.
Diskerud may not be a player that many people outside the USMNT fan base have heard of, but he is clearly one of the upcoming stars for the Americans. He shows flair, vision, and unlike a lot of US players will actually take a shot from distance. Some of the best plays for the US in the CONCACAF Gold Cup this year were created by Diskerud.
Upcoming opponents Jamaica are the weakest team in the Hex, but their defense is solid and especially good in the air. Diskerud is extremely accurate from distance and has the ability to make pinpoint passes between defenders. His playing style directly complements the playing style of Jozy Altidore and Aron Johannsson. If these three players get an opportunity to play on the field together, Jamaica might get an early preview of one of the future most dangerous attacking trios in the world.
Midfielder Jermaine Jones is clearly the tough, hard tackling defensive midfielder that gives 100 percent on every play for the USMNT, but without Bradley they’re missing that creative spark needed to break through the center of the field. Kyle Beckerman is too close to the same style of play as Jones to have much success, and it would be smart for Klinsmann to have a couple of wildcard midfielders on the bench to put in during close games. With Stuart Holden re-injuring his knee, Diskerud is the best “Wildcard” that the USMNT has left.
Diskerud will get a chance in these last two games to prove to Klinsmann that he can be the backup to Bradley that the USMNT needs for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. However, he has to capitalize on opportunities such as this one, or he could find himself on the outside looking in to the final USMNT World Cup roster.