The U.S. men’s national team is going through a transition period, with Gregg Berhalter entering his first competitive matches as the team’s coach and midfielder Djordje Mihailovic is one of the players who has seen his stature grow under the coach.
The Chicago Fire midfielder earned his first cap under Berhalter and will get another big chance in the upcoming Gold Cup. Mihailovic didn’t make the initial 23-man roster for the upcoming Gold Cup, but he replaced injured Duane Holmes on Saturday.
Holmes re-aggravated a left quad strain. He follows Tyler Adams as another injury loss for the Americans, who begin play in the tournament on Tuesday.
Mihailovic was a part of the preliminary roster and took part in a tune-up match on June 5. The 20-year-old scored in his national team debut on Jan. 27 against Panama. He also played against Costa Rica on Feb. 2 as part of the same camp. Mihailovic was not called in for the team’s March friendlies against Ecuador and Chile.
In the lead up to the Gold Cup, Mihailovic picked up his third cap in a 1-0 loss to Jamaica on June 5. He did not play in the final tune-up against Venezuela four days later, a 3-0 loss.
The fact that he was not on the initial roster doesn’t bode well for Mihailovic getting significant time during the Gold Cup. However, there aren’t many attacking-minded central midfielders on the roster.
With the Fire this season, Mihailovic has 16 appearances (13 starts) and two goals. He tore his ACL in a playoff defeat in 2017 and missed most of 2018 as a result. This season, he already has reached a new high-water mark for minutes played (1,115).
Mihailovic also made news after the Fire’s Open Cup defeat to Saint Louis FC. After the loss, traveling Fire fans vented frustration at some Fire players, including Mihailovic. Mihailovic’s vulgar response was caught on video and shared on social media. He has since apologized for the incident.
If the U.S. make it to the final, which will take place in Chicago’s Soldier Field on July 7, Mihailovic would miss four Fire matches. The Fire are also without defender Francisco Calvo, who is with Costa Rica for the Gold Cup.