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Apr 2, 2014

The hope for Julian Green

Julian Green [576x324] - Copy
Jurgen Klinsmann & Co. have high hopes for 18-year-old striker Julian Green.

U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann recently said his team's newest member, 18-year-old Bayern Munich product Julian Green, is "one of the biggest talents coming through European football right now." This immediately ignited hope for a U.S. soccer fan base unaccustomed to hearing praise of its players from the sometimes critical Klinsmann.

But while hopes are high, U.S. fans have reason to be skeptical. From Landon Donovan to Freddy Adu, there have been a wide spectrum of outcomes among promising U.S. youth products. The latest in the line of American players with game-changing potential is Green, who recently made the commitment to spend his international career playing for the United States.

At this point, U.S. fans are searching for expectations regarding what the young player can bring to American soccer. That search will likely continue until Green gets some meaningful first-team minutes (with or without Bayern Munich), but in the meantime his skill set appears to be able to improve some facets of the U.S. attack.  

Here are some pressing needs nagging at the current United States player pool, along with a conceptual sense of how Green can potentially alleviate them during his career with the national team.

A consistent finisher

Things are not looking good at the moment for incumbent starting striker Jozy Altidore, and the fact that he did not get any playing time in Sunderland's critical 2-1 loss against West Ham last weekend leaves American fans genuinely concerned. Ultimately, the United States is looking for a player who can establish himself as a consistently dangerous threat in the European game, and the furthest the team has come in recent memory is Clint Dempsey’s Premier League run of form between 2011 and 2013.

Chart of Clint Dempsey’s shots and goals with Fulham in 2011-12 season, left, and those with Tottenham in 2012-13 season, right.

Dempsey scored 17 domestic goals with Fulham in ...