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360 View: 5 national team snubs set for a big Matchday 7 | MLSSoccer.com

360 View: 5 national team snubs set for a big Matchday 7 | MLSSoccer.com

Hello there, beautiful people! Welcome back to 360 View with yours truly, Kevin Egan.

Nearly 100 MLS players jetted off during Matchday 6 to represent their national teams, but some big stars didn’t feature.

Here are my top five players who could absolutely help their national teams in the future. They’re bound to have a say this weekend for Matchday 7.

Juan Camilo Hernández Suárez, or simply ‘Cucho’, has to be the frontrunner for Landon Donovan MLS MVP (I know, we’re only five games in, so cool the jets Kev). BWP is constantly in awe of what he’s doing for Columbus. On #MLS360 last week, Bradley called Cucho the “modern-day No. 9,” in that he can do it all. He’s started the season where he left off, as the man who brought the Crew to MLS Cup gold.

So, if he’s operating at his operatic high note, why aren’t Colombia using his talents?

There is a simple answer, and also one that’s slightly more complicated. Let’s start with the obvious: Colombia are winning football matches. Néstor Lorenzo’s men are on a six-match winning streak, which includes a World Cup qualifying win against Brazil and a friendly victory against Spain last week in London. They’re also on a remarkable 21-match unbeaten run. Cucho largely hasn’t been part of Lorenzo’s squads once he took over, and while he’s been phenomenal in MLS play, Lorenzo’s winning formula can’t be denied.

And the slightly more complicated answer is directed to the type of striker Cucho is. When BWP says he’s a modern-day No. 9, one who can drift, roam, assist, create spaces for others, and use his creative freedoms to produce magic, that may not be what certain teams need. Colombia play with true wingers, a true No. 10 in James Rodríguez, and true No. 9s. I can understand why Lorenzo’s sticking with what’s working.

If and when Cucho gets another call-up, he’s going to have to prove he can play the role of an old-fashioned No. 9, rather than the modern-day star we know and love in MLS.

When you think about the reigning MLS Cup champions, who do you think of? Wilfried Nancy? That’s fair. Darlington Nagbe? Of course (greatest MLS midfielder ever!). Cucho? Obviously!!! But what about the match-winner from December’s MLS Cup? Yaw Yeboah deserves some love, as well as recognition from the Ghanaian national team. 

Yeboah is a former Ghana U-23 captain. I was surprised to learn he only has four caps for the senior team, the last of which came in 2021. He was named in manager Chris Hughton’s 55-man provisional squad for the Africa Cup of Nations, but was not selected for the final cut. Hughton was sacked after failing to advance from the group stages. Yeboah must now impress former Hannover and Borussia Dortmund star Otto Addo.

Coming off what Yeboah described as “one of the best seasons I’ve ever had,” he is surely edging closer to a return to Ghana. Four goals and six assists in MLS in 2023 is impressive for a wingback, and his goal in MLS Cup offers a snapshot into just how intelligent he can be. Under Nancy, Yeboah has taken his game to another level. His sense of timing and recognition with his teammates is a joy to behold. 

Yeboah has been sensational in Columbus, now let’s be havin’ ya Ghana!

I’ve been banging on about this call-up for years now. Jon Gallagher to my native Ireland, let’s make it happen! 

Austin FC’s dynamic fullback has certainly taken the road less traveled. Jon’s father worked for Guinness (cheers for all your fine work, Mr. Gallagher) and traveled a lot with his job. That meant young Jon was also taking to the skies, and man did he become a worldly fella. By age 16, Gallagher had already lived in Ireland, the United States, Jamaica, Singapore and England.

While that makes for a fascinating life journey, it may also have hindered his chances of a call-up with Ireland. Not once did Gallagher represent Ireland at the youth level, and now at 28 he still hopes for a shout to the senior team. I think he deserves it.

Ireland’s manager over these past two international matches was former Manchester United star John O’Shea. O’Shea was a coach’s dream for Sir Alex Ferguson. Reliable and versatile. The same can be said about Gallagher, who was originally a striker or No. 10 during his college playing days with Notre Dame. Gallagher was deployed as a winger with ATLUTD 2, and sometimes a striker with the first team in MLS. Out of necessity, he played as a central midfielder for Aberdeen in Scotland. And now in Austin, he’s developed into one of the best wingbacks in Major League Soccer. 

Gallagher was an MLS All-Star last year, and this late bloomer feels the best is yet to come. With US citizenship rumored to be a few months away, maybe Gallagher will finally get that international call-up, but for which country?

The time is now for Lewis Morgan and Scotland.

The former Celtic man has a mere two caps for his beloved country, and if you’re watching him play right now, that number seems hard to believe. Last Saturday against Luis Suárez and Inter Miami, Morgan was the headline act, scoring a sensational hat trick. The 27-year-old has five goals in his last four games, and sits at the summit of the Golden Boot presented by Audi race alongside Dejan Joveljic.

It’s not as if Scotland are banging in the goals for fun. Quite the opposite. Steve Clarke’s squad have failed to win any of their last seven games. In this past international window, Scotland were beaten 4-0 by the Netherlands and they fell 1-0 to Northern Ireland on home soil. No goals and no momentum as the Tartan Army approach this summer’s European Championships.

Morgan is a winner. A big-game player. A proud Scot. Selecting him before this summer’s Euros wouldn’t be a gamble. It’d be the obvious thing to do.

And while we’re talking about you Scotland, what’s the deal with Vancouver Whitecaps captain Ryan Gauld? What a player. And what a loss to not see him perform for his country at the senior level. We’re all big fans of Gauld on MLS 360.

  • Matchday 7: Saturday vs. Seattle Sounders FC (10:30 pm ET | MLS Season Pass)

I love this player!

Last week I wrote about why the LA Galaxy are the most fun team to watch in MLS. The week before that, I told you why I think Joveljic is the Golden Boot winner nobody picked. Now I’m back talking about Joveljic again. Why? Because he has the X-factor that’s so rare in our game, that innate smell and sense for where the chances will fall. He’s a goalscorer. Inside the box is where Joveljic comes to life. It’s his natural habitat.

Joveljic has big dreams of being part of Serbia’s European Championship campaign this summer, and that’s why his current form is so crucial. A goal this weekend against Seattle would see Joveljic cement his place in MLS history, as the only player to open a season scoring in six straight matches. He needs to grab the attention of Serbia manager Dragan Stojković, and fast.

It doesn’t help Joveljic’s case that the Serbs are stacked up front, with a player of Dušan Vlahović’s caliber potentially starting from the bench. Serbia are in a group with England, and no doubt a chance to take down the highest-profile team in the tournament will be a massive motivator.

All Joveljic can do is control the controllables. If he scores again in Matchday 7, you can be sure the Serbian people will be reading the headlines.

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