It has been a while since we last saw Darlington Nagbe in the uniform of the United States Men’s National Team, but that could change today as the US takes on Serbia in an international friendly.
Today’s match will be the USMNT’s first under returning boss Bruce Arena and will be vital for a number of players looking to make an impression under the former Galaxy head coach. Among those players will certainly be Nagbe, who made waves in 2016 when he declined a call up from then-head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, ostensibly for family reasons, although rumors pointed to a rift between player and coach as the real cause.
Of course, Nagbe is not the only player trying to force his way into the national team picture today and will be competing for minutes with others generally overlooked by Klinsmann like Sacha Kljestan, Benny Feilhaber, and Lee Nguyen. Making Nagbe’s future with the team even more difficult to pin down is his positional ambiguity, meaning that Nagbe could find himself playing any number of different roles under Arena — an issue that plagued his time under Klinsmann and has limited his ability to put up the sort of numbers that fans demand in club play with the Timbers.
So, will Nagbe get on the pitch today?
It seems likely that he will make at least a substitute appearance with the US, but a start should not be ruled out, particularly if Arena is willing to rest some of his more experienced players like Alejando Bedoya or Jermaine Jones. What’s more, the US play again on Friday, giving Arena another chance to look at the players he has in camp and another chance for Nagbe to make his first-ever start for his country.
Watch it on: ESPN2, UniMas
When: Sunday, January 29th at 1:00 p.m. PT
Where: Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California
United States: FIFA Ranking No. 28, 6th place in CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying
Serbia: FIFA Ranking No. 45, 2nd place in UEFA World Cup Qualifying Group D