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USMNT Striker Power Rankings: Who Deserves To Lead The Line Against Mexico?

If I get this wrong we're not going to the World Cup.

The last time I rolled out this USMNT striker depth chart/power rankings article was seven months ago. Despite including nine center forwards, Ricardo Pepi wasn't even on the list — the 18-year-old was still a week away from receiving his first senior call-up, and things really escalated quickly from there.

It just goes to show how rapidly personal fortunes can change in this game for strikers, as well as the volatility of Gregg Berhalter's quest for a reliable No. 9 in his preferred 4-3-3 formation. We're now eight months out from the World Cup, and there's certainly room for a lot of movement in the power rankings with March's qualifiers weighing most heavily, but it's worth remembering that every player effectively has a full club season ahead of them before Qatar — the 2022 MLS campaign for some, or the final months of the 2021-22 season and the first half of 2022-23 for players in Europe.

USMNT Striker Depth Chart 2022

(+/- change since last article)

#1. Jordan Pefok | Young Boys (+1) 

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Pefok hasn't been included in a U.S. squad since September, when he started in the 1-1 draw against Canada before the Pepi show began in the following game against Honduras. But there comes a time when a player's club form is simply too good to ignore, especially when contrasted with the struggles of others.

Since Dec. 19, Pefok has played nine Swiss Super League matches with Young Boys. The 25-year-old has scored 10 and created three over that span. That's monstrous. He now has 17 goals in 25 league appearances (three more than anyone else in Switzerland), along with the five he scored in Champions League play. 

#2. Ricardo Pepi | FC Augsburg (NEW)  

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Pepi led the line against Honduras in Minnesota and was taken off in the 76th minute after the U.S. had secured the 3-0 win. Since becoming FC Augsburg's most expensive signing ever, the 19-year-old has started three matches (including a massive 1-1 draw with Borussia Dortmund on Feb. 27) and appeared in three more off the bench. 

Pepi's still looking for his first goal in Germany — he most recently didn't get off the bench with manager Markus Weinzierl preferring 27-year-old Austrian striker Michael Gregoritsch — but the Texan will have his chances as the club continues its fight against relegation from the Bundesliga. 

#3. Josh Sargent | Norwich City (-2) 

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January's squad announcement confirmed Sargent's fall from grace as the 22-year-old was omitted despite playing regularly in the Premier League (where he hadn't scored or assisted in his first 18 matches).

However, he immediately responded to Berhalter's direction with a brace against Watford on Jan. 21 to put himself back on the radar. Unfortunately he's now gone six games without a goal again, although he did register assists against Liverpool in both the PL and FA Cup. He's been primarily used as a right winger over the last few months.

#4. Daryl Dike | West Brom (-1) 

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We last saw Dike at the Gold Cup, where he fell out of favor after failing to make his mark while starting the quarterfinal match against Jamaica, but he finished the 2021 MLS season strongly with 11 goals in 19 appearances before joining West Brom in the January window.

Unfortunately Dike injured his hamstring almost immediately — and the manager that brought him in was replaced by Steve Bruce — and he's not set to return until after the international break. Then it's time to move up this depth chart. 

#5. Jesús Ferreira | FC Dallas (NEW)

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The 21-year-old started against El Salvador last window and replaced Pepi against Honduras, so Berhalter obviously likes what he brings to the table at center forward. He's started in that role for FC Dallas, where he recently signed a new Young Designated Player contract, but hasn't scored or assisted in three games.  

#6. Haji Wright | Antalyaspor (NEW)

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The 23-year-old hasn't earned a senior debut after playing extensively for the USYNT, but after a strong 2020-21 season in the Danish Superliga, Wright is back on the radar while on loan with Antalyaspor in the Süper Lig.

It's been an inconsistent season for the center forward, but Wright scored against Basaksehir on March 14 for a sixth goal in 23 games.  

#7. Jozy Altidore | New England Revolution (No change)

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What about the veterans? I'm leaving Gyasi Zardes off this list because Caleb Porter has dropped him and the Columbus Crew's trying to trade him, plus we all watched that game against Canada at Tim Hortons Field. Thank you for helping us win the Gold Cup, but it's time to move forward... by moving back to Altidore!

This is guaranteed to be an unpopular take, but I still think, at his best, Altidore links play, makes center backs uncomfortable and scores goals at a level that still hasn't been reached by all these other guys. But the 32-year-old hasn't been at his best for a long time.

It was time for Altidore to leave Toronto, and he's found an interesting landing spot with the Supporters' Shield winner in New England. If Bruce Arena — and it's a big if — can take Altidore back to 2017, then why not?

#8. Matthew Hoppe (-3) 

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We haven't seen Hoppe since he came off the bench against Costa Rica back in October, and we likely won't be seeing any more of him until he starts getting some time with Mallorca in LaLiga. The 21-year-old has only made two league appearances in 2022, totaling 38 minutes of action. 

Manager Luis García doesn't seem to trust him yet with the club hovering narrowly above the relegation zone. 

#9. Nicholas Gioacchini (-1) 

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Gioacchini hasn't been with the side since the Gold Cup, and the 21-year-old has fallen out of favor at Montpellier (failing to get off the bench in three of its last four Ligue 1 matches) after failing to score in 21 appearances this season. Gioacchini has provided three assists. 

#10. Sebastian Soto (-1)

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Soto still boasts the impressive international record of two goals in two caps, but he hasn't represented the U.S. since 2020. He's on the books at Norwich, but the 21-year-old spent the first half of the season on loan at Porto B before joining Scotland's Livingston in January. 

Soto's made four substitute appearances in the Scottish Premiership, including a 20-minute runout against Celtic on March 6. He hasn't scored or assisted yet.

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