U.S. Hot List: Matt Miazga in form, Clint Dempsey hits scoring drought
Chances are running out to make an impression on United States head coach Bruce Arena before the final round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers, beginning with the Oct. 6 must-win vs. Panama in Orlando, Florida. Here is a list of the those who starred and those who did not over the weekend.
Matt Miazga, DF, Vitesse (Eredivisie)
Why he's here: Miazga was excellent for Vitesse in a 2-1 win over Dutch giants Ajax, earning Eredivisie Team of the Week honors.
What this means: It's no secret that centre-back is one of the biggest problem areas for the U.S. right now and of late, Miazga has emerged as an option for Arena. Granted, he had just one appearance in the Gold Cup against Nicaragua, but if you're looking for a central defender who is healthy and playing with confidence, Miazga has to be in the discussion.
Paul Arriola, MF, DC United (MLS)
Why he's here: Arriola collected two assists in DC United's 4-0 drubbing of San Jose on Saturday.
What this means: Patrick Mullins' four-goal day against the Quakes may have gotten the headlines, but Arriola's performance was also quite impressive. His vision and passing abilities would go a long way in helping the U.S. in their final two qualifiers. For a player in such good form, it would be unwise to leave him out of the starting lineup against Panama.
Julian Green, FW, Greuther Fuerth (2. Bundesliga)
Why he's here: Green started and went the distance in his side's 3-1 loss to Nurnberg.
What this means: This is a pleasant surprise. While Green likely won't be called for the upcoming qualifiers, the fact that he's started the past four matches is a great sign, especially for a player who has seen few minutes in the past two to three years. He didn't score but did register six shots, three of them on target. Minutes lead to confidence and so you'd have to think a goal is coming soon.
Lee Nguyen, MF, New England Revolution (MLS)
Why he's here: Nguyen had a goal and an assist in the Revolution's 2-1 win over Toronto FC.
What this means: Nguyen got the cold shoulder for the Gold Cup squad but his play this season suggests he should be on Arena's radar. Few teams have been able to bewilder Toronto FC this season, yet the Revs have done it twice thanks in part to Nguyen. Ten goals and 15 assists this season means he deserves a harder look.
Danny Williams, MF, Huddersfield Town (Premier League)
Why he's here: Williams missed Huddersfield Town's scoreless draw against Burnley due to injury.
What this means: Just when he was making his case for inclusion in the national team, the injury bug strikes. Huddersfield Town announced on Saturday that the midfielder will miss the next three to six weeks with a broken bone in his foot. It's rotten luck for Williams, especially after his stellar performance the week before.
Clint Dempsey, FW, Seattle Sounders (MLS)
Why he's here: Dempsey is now goal-less in his past five games after Seattle fell 2-0 at Real Salt Lake.
What this means: Dempsey is likely to be included in the starting XI for the Panama game, but his drought is worrisome. However, "Deuce" always seem to pull through in the clutch for the Yanks, but Arena would surely like to see the Texan score this week against Vancouver or Philadelphia just in case.
Walker Zimmerman, DF, FC Dallas (MLS)
Why he's here: Zimmerman was part of FC Dallas' horrific defensive effort in a 4-1 loss to Minnesota United on Saturday.
What this means: As stated above, the U.S. has major issues at centre-back, and Zimmerman didn't exactly play his way back into Arena's plans on Saturday. The 24-year-old was beaten badly by Christian Ramirez on Minnesota's first goal, and FC Dallas never recovered. These are mistakes that can't happen at the national team level.
Caleb Stanko, MF, Freiburg (Bundesliga)
Why he's here: Stanko was once again omitted from Freiburg's matchday squad for the 0-0 draw vs. Werder Bremen.
What this means: Hopes were high this season that the versatile Stanko would see playing time with the first team after a successful loan spell at Swiss side FC Vaduz, where he made 26 appearances. But he has yet to play this season and a return to the national team -- he made his U.S. debut last September under Jurgen Klinsmann -- could not be further away. A loan this winter looms.
Arch Bell covers CONCACAF for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @ArchBell .