Not since Clint Dempsey and Brian McBride were in the Premier League have American forwards been playing — and scoring — at the top levels of Europe at a rate they are now.
Christian Pulisic at Borussia Dortmund and Timothy Weah at PSG are two of the more prominent examples, but Josh Sargent is off to a strong start with Werder Bremen 2 and a pair of USMNT defenders scored in the Bundesliga over the weekend.
One name flying under the radar right now is Romain Gall, a 23-year-old winger playing for Sweden’s top club Malmö.
Born in Paris, Gall moved to Virginia at the age of 7 and became a U.S. citizen before he turned 16. He’s made 29 appearances with the U-18 and U-20 U.S. youth national teams, scoring 17 goals in the process.
However, Gall hasn’t appeared for the U.S. since 2015. The Columbus Crew waived him in 2016, prompting a move to Sweden to kick-start his career.
After just one season with Nyköpings in the third tier of Swedish football, Gall was signed by GIF Sundsvall, where he tallied seven goals and four assists in just 13 top-flight league matches during the start of the 2018 campaign. This prompted a midseason move in July to Malmö, a club with a record 23 Swedish league titles.
Romain Gall scored his first two goals with the Swedish giant in a 5-0 win over Sirius on Sunday. But he didn’t just score a couple of goals, he scored a couple of great goals.
Romain Gall's brace for Malmo. What a brace that was! He now has 9 goals in the Swedish season. pic.twitter.com/Hzg7B6dvTB— USMNT Videos (@USMNTvideos) August 26, 2018
While the goals did come in a rout, the technique and power with which Gall struck the shots showed an attacker playing with supreme confidence.
With nine league goals and five assists (plus two more goals in Swedish Cup play), maybe it’s time to think about giving Romain Gall a full USMNT call-up. The question is, could he make it into the squad today?
The U.S. has more depth in attacking positions than at just about any other time in its history. Even if you look past older guys like Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey, the likes of Jordan Morris, Gyasi Zardes, Paul Arriola, Christian Pulisic, Tim Weah, Josh Sargent, Julian Green, Rubio Rubin and Bobby Wood make for a crowded pack for interim coach Dave Sarachan to choose from. (And he needs to pick his team soon for upcoming friendlies against Brazil and Mexico.)
Given Gall’s past success for the U.S. youth teams, it would make sense to at least give him a chance; he’s clearly in fantastic form.
The matches against Brazil and Mexico (on Sept. 7 and 11, respectively) are huge opportunities for younger players to match up against strong World Cup teams. The U.S. also plays Colombia, Peru, England and Italy before the end of the year, a great slate for Sarachan (or a full-time coach, if the U.S. ever picks one) to test out young players for the 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign.
After two impressive goals on Sunday, Romain Gall better at least be on the U.S.'s radar.