Jordan: Why the Union Berlin striker deserves to front the USMNT attack at the 2022 FIFA World Cup

A nine-time senior US international, Jordan was not included in Gregg Berhalter’s 26-man roster for September friendlies with Japan and Saudi Arabia. Instead, Berhalter opted for FC Dallas’s Jesus Ferreira, ex-Werder Bremen man Josh Sargent and Augsburg-owned teenager Ricardo Pepi as his three out-and-out strikers.

Ferreira has produced 18 goals and five assists in 31 games so far this season. Sargent has had a direct hand in seven goals across nine outings for Norwich City in England’s second tier, while Pepi has registered a goal and assist in two matches since joining Eredivisie outfit Groningen on loan.

In six appearances in the Bundesliga – one of European football’s top five leagues per UEFA coefficient – Jordan has tallied three goals and two assists. The 26-year-old also scored on his debut for table-topping Union in the DFB Cup, and is enjoying continental football in the UEFA Europa League.

For reference, Borussia Dortmund playmaker Gio Reyna has two assists in six games. Former BVB prodigy Christian Pulisic is without a goal or assist in eight for Chelsea. Ex-Schalke midfielder Weston McKennie has one goal in eight for Juventus.

So why the omission?

“It’s not the final roster for the World Cup,” Berhalter said of his latest squad. “A lot can happen between now and November – that was the conversation I had with the players not selected in this camp.

“We’re pretty confident we know Jordan’s profile. We know what he can do, and we didn’t feel like we needed to see him in this camp to determine whether he could be on the [World Cup] roster or not.”

Berhalter already knows Jordan as a proven goalscorer. On only his fourth US appearance, the Union No.45 stepped off the bench to fire his country past Honduras and into the final of the inaugural CONCACAF Nations League, which the Stars and Stripes went on to win.

He proceeded to finish 2021/22 as the Swiss Super League’s top scorer on 22 goals – a better return for the campaign than any other current US international at home or abroad.

Jordan’s two Bundesliga assists, as well as four in each of his two full seasons at Young Boys, also speak to a selfless streak not always shared by the modern-day fox in the box. The fact the 6’3″ forward ranks third among all Bundesliga players for aerial challenges won (36) after seven rounds of fixtures is further evidence of his one-for-all-all-for-one approach.

“Jordan’s hold-up play is good and he’s physical,” Berhalter previously said of the Washington D.C. native, who could have represented Cameroon or France at senior international level.

“It’s also his movement in the box – very good timing to attack space, making one move for the defender, one move for himself, so he can really open up and get to that space when the cross is coming in.”

Eight Bundesliga fixtures, four in the Europa League and a DFB Cup second-round tie with Heidenheim: Jordan will have 13 more shots at proving his worth, before the domestic club circuit breaks off for the winter World Cup in Qatar. On current form, he’ll be into double figures for total goal involvement by the time Berhalter names his roster for the finals.

“Why not? In the big competitions, you need experience, but you also need desire and to apply yourself,” said Jordan when quizzed on his World Cup prospects.

“In a cup competition, anything can happen. Why shouldn’t performances at the highest level in club football be reflected in the national team?”

There’s no denying Jordan would be an invaluable readdition to the US squad. But if it turns out the Union man’s best isn’t good enough for Qatar 2022 – to borrow a line from NBA legend Michael Jordan – at least he won’t look back and say he was afraid to try.