The answer to the U.S. men’s national team forward problem could be to play in northern France.
Folarin Balogun, a 21-year-old striker who was born in New York, scored a hat trick in Reims’ 4-2 win against Lorient on Wednesday and now leads France’s Ligue 1 with 14 goals. French superstar Kylian Mbappé is second. with 13 goals.
Balogun has represented England at youth level, most recently with the Under-21 side, but has never been called up by the Three Lions’ senior team. That means the U.S. Soccer Federation still has a chance to recruit him like they did with his former Arsenal teammate Yunus Musah.
Like Balogun, Musah played for England in his youth but used his one-time switch through FIFA in 2021 to represent the United States, where he was born, at senior level. Since then, the 20-year-old has made 23 appearances for the USMNT, including every match at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
England may make a bigger effort with Balogun than with Musah, particularly as Balogun has proven more at club level than Musah as a teenager, but given the level of talent in England’s senior attack, Balogun could see the forward -starved USMNT as a better fit for his international future.
The United States and England will have games during the international window in March. It will be interesting to see if Balogun gets the long-awaited call-up from either team during this time. A player is tied after two senior international appearances for one country.
Can Folarin Balogun be the USMNT’s missing piece?
Alexi Lalas and David Mosse debate whether Balogun is the missing piece in the United States’ 2026 FIFA World Cup attack.
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