It was always a long shot, but the first opportunity for Jurgen Klinsmann to call up Darlington Nagbe to the United States Mens National Team has come and gone with the announcement this morning of the provisional 35-man rosters for the upcoming CONCACAF Cup 2015 match between the US and Mexico.
Nagbe, who received his citizenship last week, has been speculated about as a potential part of the USMNT setup for some time, but has not been eligible until now.
While he could still be brought in for some of the US's World Cup Qualifying dates this November, this most likely leaves Nagbe looking toward this January for his potential call up. January traditionally sees the USMNT cast a wider net for its call ups, with European players in midseason, MLS players in preseason, and only friendlies to worry about.
Of course, with Kinsmann at the helm the US has seemed somewhat less than predictable in recent years, bringing in players from the lower leagues in Germany like Union Berlin's Bobby Wood or SV Sandhausen's Andrew Wooten, and snubbing a number of MLS players gunning for a spot.
Just as importantly to his national team future, however, is Nagbe's level of play with the Portland Timbers, something that has fluctuated greatly over the course of the 2014 and 2015 seasons after showing the league the sort of dangerous attacking play that he is capable of generating in the 2013 season. While Nagbe has shown extremely well in spots this year -- he was a key part of the Timbers' domination of the Seattle Sounders three weeks ago despite the team's finishing-yips inspired loss -- he has struggled to bring that level week in and week out.
The Timbers' most recent match, the 0-0 draw at home against Sporting Kansas City, saw Nagbe put on one of his worst ball-handling performances to date, struggling with what are usually his strengths: his impeccable first touch and the ability to hold off a defender and cycle the ball around the field. Nagbe was not without his moments, but in a match that had Diego Valeri, Lucas Melano, and Fanendo Adi all running roughshod over the Sporting defense, Nagbe's off-night was doubly noticeable.
The USMNT's provisional roster for October:
GK (4) - Brad Guzan (Aston Villa/England); Bill Hamid (D.C. United/USA); Tim Howard (Everton/England); Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake/USA)
DF (12) – Ventura Alvarado (Club America/Mexico); DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo/USA); Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City/USA); John Brooks (Hertha Berlin/Germany); Geoff Cameron (Stoke City/England); Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC/USA); Greg Garza (Atlas/Mexico); Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy/USA); Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana/Mexico); Tim Ream (Fulham/England); Jonathan Spector (Birmingham City/England); DeAndre Yedlin (Sunderland/England)
MF (12) – Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake/USA); Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes/France); Michael Bradley (Toronto FC/Canada); Joe Corona (Veracruz/Mexico); Mix Diskerud (New York City FC/USA); Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach/Germany); Jermaine Jones (New England Revolution/USA); Alfredo Morales (FC Ingolstadt/Germany); Lee Nguyen (New England Revolution/USA); Danny Williams (Reading/England); Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy/USA); Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City/USA)
FW (7) - Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC/Canada); Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC/USA); Alan Gordon (LA Galaxy/USA); Aron Johansson (Werder Bremen/Germany); Jordan Morris (Stanford University/USA); Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes/USA); Bobby Wood (Union Berlin/Germany)