Technically, Daniel Lovitz was traded to Nashville SC a couple hours before suiting up for the Cuba game back in November. In practical terms, though, NSC fans haven’t had the opportunity to see a camp call-up and anticipate one of their players donning the Red, White, and Blue. That remains the case, with Lovitz – who had been a regular for Gregg Berhalter’s Nats – un-summoned for the January camp.
When will a player representing the Boys in Gold also represent his country? (For the sake of the exercise, we’re focusing only on the US: Randall Leal is a first-team fixture for Costa Rica– may even play against the USMNT in February – Aníbal Godoy is one of Panama’s most-capped players ever, etc., etc.). Lovitz has been a member of the player pool, and midfielder Dax McCarty was a regular call-up 2009-11. That’s the extent of USMNT senior caps for the team (coincidentally, each has 13 appearances). Unless Lovitz is called back in, which is a distinct possibility, NSC’s first call-up will be a player either seeking his national team debut, or has yet to be acquired by the Boys in Gold. There appear to be five candidates in the former category.
Abu Danladi. This is a trickier one: Danladi is a native of Ghana, and while he’s a green card holder, he’s not USA eligible at this point. However, if he wants to seek citizenship (having gone to high school in California, he’s a little closer to the residency requirements than Julian Gressel, for example), there’s a chance that further development in his game makes him an option.
Derrick Jones. Jones is certainly the closest of the bunch: he was called to a United States U-23 team as recently as last March, playing 25 minutes in a 0-0 draw against the Netherlands in a training camp friendly. Jones has to stay healthy – Nashville fans are obviously very familiar with his ankle injury last Summer – but if he does, he could be on the radar as a box-to-box midfielder. As it stands, he’s age-eligible for the Olympic team this Summer.
Dave Romney. This one is a little on the speculative side: the Americans tend to have more talent at the centerback position, and Romney is not much younger than the established players (eight months younger than Aaron Long, five months younger than John Anthony Brooks) and older than plenty of top MNT prospects. However, CBs tend to have more tread on the tires, so to speak, and a call-up for the next MLS-heavy camp isn’t out of the question.
Alan Winn. The 22-year old Winn had his most recent call-up at the U-18 level, so it’s been a minute. However, his physical abilities are impressive, and if he can continue to hone the final product skill-wise, the potential is there to get back into the program.
Adrian Zendejas. This is another speculative one, but less so than Romney: Zendejas has limited MLS experience (one (1) appearance), but the goalkeeper position is one that skews older, and the 24-year old seems to be Nashville’s first-choice player of the future. He passed over Youth National Teams of both the US and Mexico, so starting from outside the system may make it tougher to crack, but if he excels in live action, he’ll draw eyeballs.
For what it’s worth, if this January camp isn’t the venue for some of these guys, the time may be running out. January is traditionally the most MLS-heavy camp of each calendar year, and if some of the above aren’t called in for it, they may be out of luck when the Euro-based players are also available during International Windows.
Who do you think earns the call?