Fortuna Düsseldorf's Alfredo Morales (r.) is back in the USMNT fold for the first time since Jürgen Klinsmann's German-American-influenced spell as coach. - © imago/Sch¸ler
Fortuna Düsseldorf's Alfredo Morales (r.) is back in the USMNT fold for the first time since Jürgen Klinsmann's German-American-influenced spell as coach. - © imago/Sch¸ler

Why Alfredo Morales deserves his USA recall: the case for the Fortuna Düsseldorf midfielder


Alfredo Morales has been called up to the USMNT's September roster for upcoming matches against Mexico and Uruguay, ending a three-year international exile dating back to the days of Jürgen Klinsmann. explains why the Fortuna Düsseldorf midfielder is deserving of his place in Gregg Berhalter's 26-man ensemble, alongside the likes of club-mate Zack Steffen, Wolfsburg's John Brooks, Schalke's Weston McKennie and Werder Bremen's Josh Sargent.

It's been 11 years since Morales - born in Berlin to a German mother and Peruvian-American father - elected to represent the United States at Klinsmann's behest.

The 29-year-old went on to win 13 international caps under the former Germany striker, albeit with his last falling in the May 2016 friendly with Puerto Rico, when he lined up on the left-hand side of midfield.

"The national team was my goal and will always be my goal," he said later that year.

But if there has been radio silence ever since, that's because Morales prefers to do his talking on the pitch.

Morales (r.) won all 13 of his previous US caps under Klinsmann (l.) between January 2013 and May 2016. - imago/Matthias Koch

In his five seasons in the top two divisions of German football - first with Ingolstadt and now current employers Fortuna - Morales has tallied 12 goals and 12 assists spread over 187 appearances.

Last term alone, Morales threw himself into 21 challenges per Bundesliga game - which is one more than McKennie - underpinning Fortuna's successful top-flight survival mission, just as he previously did for Ingolstadt.

Two games into 2019/20, the German-American-Peruvian tri-national already ranks in the Bundesliga's top 10 for most challenges won (30), and was even on the scoresheet in the Matchday 2 defeat to Bayer Leverkusen.

No one is suggesting he should displace McKennie - who captained the US in their 2019 Gold Cup final defeat to Mexico - but the statistics underline his case for deployment alongside the Texan battler.

Morales and Weston McKennie (l-r.) are opponents at club level, but could line up alongside one another for the USMNT. - imago/Uwe Kraft

Moreover, Morales' position on the left of Friedhelm Funkel’s preferred three-man central midfield for Düsseldorf is compatible with Berhalter’s hitherto most-used 4-3-1-2 formation.

He could even complete an all-Bundesliga midfield trio, should Berhalter chose to deploy RB Leipzig's Tyler Adams in a more central role - rather than at right-back - when the former New York Red Bulls prodigy returns from injury.

Needless to say fans of a certain vintage would welcome a dyed-in-the-wool battleaxe in the mold of Kyle Beckerman, who unfussily patrolled the US midfield for almost a decade up until 2016.

Morales, who grew up playing on the same Berlin streets that produced Kevin-Prince Boateng, could be that man.

Morales' (l.) no-nonsense approach, anticipation and organistion skills make him stand out from the crowd. - 2019 DFL

Morales' long-awaited recall also suggests Berhalter is more than happy to think outside of the box, and follow Klinsmann's example of drawing on the USA's talent pool of German-American dual nationals.

It had looked like Brooks was the only Deutschamerikaner survivor from the Klinsmann era, but Morales' involvement in the September 2019 squad will have put the likes of Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Timothy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt) on red-white-and-blue alert.

As Morales once said, "Football in America profited from the Klinsmann era, and will continue to do so in the future."

Chris Mayer-Lodge