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Jordan Pefok stakes his claim for a World Cup spot with the USMNT by scoring cheeky bicycle kick

Jordan Pefok puts his claim to a World Cup spot on the USMNT on the line by scoring a brutal bicycle kick on Union Berlin’s German Cup debut… as the race for a place on Gregg Berhalter’s roster heats up

Jordan Pefok scored a daring overhead kick for Union Berlin this week, helping the German side move past the first round of the DFB Pokal and making his case for a place on the USMNT World Cup roster.

The 26-year-old moved to the Bundesliga club this summer after two successful seasons with Swiss club Young Boys, scoring a total of 39 goals and even scoring twice in the Champions League.

It looks like he brought that form to Germany by scoring on his debut.

Jordan Pefok scored a brilliant goal on Monday for Union Berlin vs.  Chemnitzer

Jordan Pefok scored a brilliant goal on Monday for Union Berlin vs. Chemnitzer

In front of goal, Pefok’s teammate Andreas Voglsammer clipped a ball into the American with his left foot before Pefok could twist his body to make contact with the ball.

The forward hopes the nimble finish will catch the attention of USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter, who left Pefok from his roster from last June (after injuring himself in May) and missing an all-too-obvious candidate to start up front in Qatar.

The current favorite to start is FC Dallas’s Jesus Ferreira, who has scored 12 goals in the MLS this season and, most importantly, started five out of ten American games in 2022.

Next in that category is Ferreira’s former teammate Ricardo Pepi (three starts in 2022), who left Dallas for Augsburg last winter and went through a downright miserable period for the rest of the season.

Pefok joined Union Berlin after a strong two-year stint with Young Boys in Switzerland

Pefok joined Union Berlin after a strong two-year stint with Young Boys in Switzerland

He started just four games after joining in January and failed to score for the German club, who were – quite frankly – flirting with relegation.

After a string of starts in World Cup qualifiers, it now looks like Ferreira will have to lose the job.

Elsewhere, Norwich City’s Josh Sargent is nowhere near the squad after once being Berhalter’s No. 9 – he hasn’t played for the national team since September 2021 – and Daryl Dike has also recently fallen out of favor following injury. at West Brom.

It is clear that Berhalter values ​​real performance more than just picking players in the best leagues, but that makes the case against Pefok more curious.

He has tested himself against clubs from the Europa League and Champions League and scored last season against Manchester United and Atalanta.

Daryl Dike has played eight games for the USMNT, but hasn't been seen that often lately

Daryl Dike has played eight games for the USMNT, but hasn’t been seen that often lately

While Pefok was left out of the June roster (he was in the March squad), another European-based player – Haji Wright of Antalyaspor – was rewarded with his first call-up for a strong season in Turkey.

Ultimately, Pefok’s position at the USMNT could very well come down to something he had no control over: how Berhalter wants to play.

Among the candidates for the striker, Ferreira is the outlier in terms of his size.

He’s listed on the team’s website at just 5 feet-8, while Pepi, Dike, and Pefok are all at least 6 feet. Tim Weah, a winger who sometimes played up front, is also six feet.

It seems likely at this point that Berhalter will favor Ferreira’s move over a traditional goalkeeper, but goals like Pefok’s bike should definitely keep him in the mix.

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