The great USMNT striker search: Can Ricardo Pepi and Daryl Dike stake claims as Folarin Balogun looms large?

Folarin Balogun Ricardo Pepi Daryl Dike USMNTGetty

The most talked about U.S. men's national team-eligible striker isn't even currently on the U.S. men's national team.

He is in Orlando, though, and his presence is looming large over everything going on ahead of the return of the Nations League.

For many in the USMNT program, the hope is that Folarin Balogun could be the guy at the No. 9 position. He's proven to be exactly that in Ligue 1 with Reims, where he's scored 17 goals this season while on loan from Arsenal.

But despite his trip to Orlando and all it implies, there's a chance Balogun may not be the guy. At 21, his career is still just taking off and, to be fair, no one is totally sure whether or not he will ever put on a USMNT shirt.

What we do know, though, is that there are two guys in USMNT camp that could also provide an answer at the position, even after missing the World Cup.

Both have been anointed at one point or another and both have experienced frustrating setbacks in their young careers.

But here they are, back in the picture with a chance to stake their claim.

Balogun is the talk of the town, but might this week be remembered as the week where either Ricardo Pepi or Daryl Dike staked their own claim?