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United States Men's National Team: Ranking the Top Five Wingers

Good wingers are crucial when it comes to scoring and setting up goals, and the United States Men's National Team has a nice selection of wide attackers.

USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter uses two wingers in his 4-3-3 formation, and they often drive the play by carrying the ball forward, dribbling at defenders, and creating chances for teammates or themselves.

The United States player pool has a handful of solid wingers, but Berhalter has a few regulars that he prefers on the right and left sides of the front three.

We're going to rank the top five wingers eligible for the USMNT, and we'll evaluate them based on stats including goals, assists, dribbles, chance creation, shot- and goal-creating actions, crossing, and more.

All stats are broken down into per-90 minute rates unless otherwise noted.

5. Diego Luna

Club: Real Salt Lake (MLS - United States)
Key Stats: 3 total goals, 3 total assists, 4.0 shot-creating actions, 1.8 shots, 1.8 key passes, 3.9 passes into attacking third, 1.6 successful dribbles, 2.4 progressive carries, 1.9 crosses, 4.5 ball recoveries, 2.0 carries into attacking third, 1.3 tackles won

Diego Luna didn't get a call-up for either the Copa America or the preliminary Olympic squad, but he deserved to at least be considered. Luna has been overshadowed by teammate and MLS leading goalscorer Cristian Arango, but the young attacker has produced three goals and three assists in 1,107 minutes.

Luna does a little bit of everything that a coach would want from a winger. He advances the ball through passing and dribbling with it, he takes corners, he sets up his teammates, and he's an efficient shooter as he finishes better than his expected goals suggest and he puts over 40 percent of his shots on target.

He's also a capable defender as he wins 64.3 percent of his tackles - good for the top eight percent among MLS wingers - and he draws 1.6 fouls per game. If he can become a better dribbler in one-on-ones against defenders, that would make him a more complete wide attacker.

4. Timothy Weah

Club: Juventus (Serie A - Italy)
Key Stats: 1 total assist, 2.7 crosses, 2.2 shot-creating actions, 1.4 tackles won, 2.5 progressive carries, 1.4 passes into attacking third, 0.5 fouls drawn, 4.1 ball recoveries

Timothy Weah was shoehorned into a wing-back role with Juventus in 2023/24 under manager Max Allegri, which Weah was not suited for. Thiago Motta, a more progressive, attack-focused coach, replaced Allegri - that will either benefit Weah or see him start to look for a new club.

Either outcome benefits the player. Weah would likely see more time in attack under Motta, but a move to a team where he would start every game in his preferred position - right wing - could be even better. Like the next player on this list, he could benefit from a year in a lesser league where he can boost his numbers and confidence.

Before joining Juve in 2023, Weah played for Lille and became a starter for the team in the season after it shocked the world by winning Ligue 1. Those expectations, paired with the fact that he's the son of 1994 Ballon d'Or winner George Weah, put him under pressure. But at 24 years old, the constantly dangeous USMNT attacker needs to produce for a full season for a club team.

3. Brenden Aaronson

Club: Leeds United (Championship - England); loaned to Union Berlin in Germany's Bundesliga for 2023/24
Key Stats: 2 total goals, 2 total assists, 0.5 shots on target, 1.6 key passes, 1.0 passes into penalty area, 0.4 successful through balls, 1.6 crosses, 3.8 shot-creating actions, 0.6 goal-creating actions, 1.3 tackles won, 2.4 successful dribbles, 1.8 fouls drawn

Brenden Aaronson was loaned out to Germany's Union Berlin for 2023/24 so he could play in the Champions League after Leeds United were relegated from the Premier League in 2022/23, but after a season where he mostly came off the bench, a year in England's second tier could be great for his development.

Two players who appear on our top five strikers list - Josh Sargent and Haji Wright - each had great seasons in the 2023/24 Championship campaign, and Aaronson could follow suit. He's a tireless presser who wins 0.43 attacking third tackles per 90 minutes, and he posted three seasons with at least eight goal contributions from 2020 to 2022.

Aaronson started 14 of 30 Bundesliga matches, so a return to Leeds where he'll start every week will aid his development. If he turns the five goals and five assists he had for RB Leipzig in 1,324 minutes in 2021 into seven goals and seven assists in 2,000 minutes for Leeds this year, he'll have a shot at the USMNT starting XI.

2. Malik Tillman

Club: PSV Eindhoven (Eredivisie - Netherlands)
Key Stats: 9 total goals, 10 total assists, 2.9 shots, 1.5 shots on target, 0.13 xG per shot, 2.8 key passes, 2.6 passes into penalty area, 5.7 shot-creating actions, 0.8 goal-creating actions, 1.4 tackles won, 6.8 ball recoveries, 1.7 crosses, 2.2 successful dribbles

Malik Tillman's stats from the 2023/24 season might be boosted by the fact his PSV team scored 3.6 goals per game and held almost 65 percent possession on average, but the versatile attacker still earned himself playing time on a team that had plenty of talented players in his position.

Tillman started the last seven matches of PSV's season, scoring three goals and providing four assists in that span and completing the full 90 minutes in five of those games. Though his skilled teammates helped him get his goals and assists, his dribbling and tackling stats show he did well in one-on-one situations in a difficult league.

The best indicator of Tillman's effect on that stacked PSV team is his plus/minus numbers. PSV outscored its opponents by 46 goals with Tillman on the pitch, which breaks down to +2.6 goals per 90 minutes. In terms of expected goals, PSV out-created opponents by 2.11 xG per match with Tillman playing.

1. Christian Pulisic

Club: AC Milan (Serie A - Italy)
Key Stats: 12 total goals, 8 total assists, 2.3 shots, 1.1 shots on target, 1.5 key passes, 1.5 passes into penalty area, 3.5 crosses, 3.1 shot-creating actions, 0.6 goal-creating actions, 0.9 tackles won, 1.6 successful dribbles, 3.5 ball recoveries, 1.6 fouls drawn

Christian Pulisic is, by far, the best winger - and best attacker - the USMNT has in its player pool. In 2023, he developed into the player that fans, experts, coaches and teammates thought he would become when he scored the USMNT's only goal in the 2-1 loss to Trinidad & Tobago that sealed the USMNT's fate of missing the 2018 World Cup.

In his first season at AC Milan in 2023/24, he had career highs in league goals and assists, reaching 20 combined goals and assists for the first time in his professional career. He was one of seven players in Serie A to reach 20 combined goals and assists, joining players including Lautaro Martinez, Olivier Giroud, Paulo Dybala and Dusan Vlahovic in accomplishing the feat.

Pulisic creates for himself and for teammates, and he proved this season that he can stay healthy and produce consistently. After a mixed four seasons at Chelsea, the fact he found a home at AC Milan should serve as a lesson in patience for his national teammates.

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