Does Mix Diskerud fit in USMNT mix?
It's been a long road back into the U.S. national team for Mix Diskerud. After making his full national team debut under Bob Bradley in a 2010 friendly in South Africa -- in which his clever assist set up Juan Agudelo to grab the glory as the youngest scorer in the team's history -- the 22-year-old had just one more appearance for the U.S. full team, in January 2011, before scoring the tying goal last week against Russia in the dying minutes in Krasnodar.
With time running down against Russia, Diskerud made the most of a few late minutes, running onto a Terrence Boyd knockdown and slamming a shot that caromed off a defender and into the back of the net, giving the U.S. a satisfying 2-2 tie against the Russians, who are ranked in FIFA's top 10.
Insider caught up with Diskerud after the match, when the playmaker indicated in an email exchange that he felt good about contributing to Jurgen Klinsmann's team, but doesn't feel the goal by itself will convince the coach to give him more looks.
"It doesn't feel good until you can come in and contribute. Then it feels great. Ended up feeling good in Cape Town too, but in L.A. against Chile was the best," Diskerud said, referring to his first two caps over the past couple of years.
Though talented -- Diskerud has been rated among the top players in Norway since returning to that country to play for traditional power Rosenborg after a loan spell in Belgium over the summer -- the midfielder faces an uphill battle to contribute to Klinsmann's lineup.
Here's a look at some of the national team opportunities and challenges confronting Diskerud, including the USMNT's backlog of central midfield talent, his commitment to the U.S. and how his Olympic experience -- and club play -- will factor into his potential Gold Cup participation and beyond.