On Monday morning, U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann named his roster for Friday's friendly match against Ecuador (7 p.m. ET, ESPN/WatchESPN), and although looking at which players did and didn't make the cut is usually a good indicator of where certain guys stand in Klinsmann's pecking order, it's not the only one.
That's especially true this time around, as several national teamers who play in MLS or with the under-23 national team who otherwise might have been named were omitted. (U-23s Cody Cropper, Emerson Hyndman, Jordan Morris and Rubio Rubin -- all of whom were on Klinsmann's September roster -- are unavailable for either game, but domestic league stars like Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey are expected to be summoned before next week's game against Honduras.)
Fortunately, the hot list has it covered. Here's slightly a bigger-picture look at whose stock is rising or falling heading into the international break.
Mix Diskerud, Rosenborg (Norway)
Why he's here: The lack of exposure to the out-of-sight Tippeligaen means Diskerud is often out-of-mind, but the playmaking midfielder is quietly having a fine club season.
What this means: Diskerud, a good bet to start in Hartford on Friday with Bradley out, seems poised to play a bigger role with the U.S. team going forward. He's also positioning himself for a jump to a bigger league -- word is there's interest in Serie A -- which could happen as early as January.
Luis Gil, M, Real Salt Lake (MLS)
Why he's here: It says plenty about how highly Klinsmann rates Gil that the 20-year-old received an invitation even though he hasn't been starting regularly with RSL.
What this means: While the call-up should boost his confidence, it's still imperative for the unquestionably gifted Gil take the next step in his development. At some point, that means becoming an automatic selection for his club.
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Tim Ream, D, Bolton Wanderers (England)
Why he's here: Ream continues to be one of few bright spots for second-tier Bolton, which, 17 months after playing in the Premier League, sits at the bottom of the English Championship standings.
What this means: It's not ideal that Ream rarely mans central defense, the spot Klinsmann sees him in, for his club. But as long as he's playing regularly, the technical Ream can compete for the national team's left center back spot -- especially given the recent struggles of Matt Besler and John Brooks.
Rubio Rubin, F, Utrecht (Netherlands)
Why he's here: Just because he's not with the senior team for this camp -- Rubin will play in an Oct. 13 friendly against Brazil's U-23s, a decision that was made before he picked up two assists in an Eredivisie game over the weekend -- doesn't mean that the 18-year-old's stock is slipping.
What this means: Rubin's start to the European season has been more than bright -- it's flat-out unprecedented for an American his age. At this rate, his first senior cap could come as soon as next month.
Jozy Altidore, F, Sunderland (England)
Why he's here: Not only was Altidore an unused sub for consecutive games for the first time this season -- ironically, the two matches immediately followed the one in which Altidore scored his lone goal of the campaign (albeit in the Carling Cup) so far -- but a pair of forwards he's competing with for minutes at Sunderland scored in the Black Cats' 3-1 win over Stoke City.
What this means: The international break couldn't have arrived at a better time for Altidore, who is still in line to start both games for the U.S. It's only a temporary respite, though. If things don't improve at Sunderland over the next two months, the 24-year-old will have to seriously consider a January exit.
Andrew Wooten, F, Sandhausen (Germany)
Why he's here: Despite a recent four-game scoring streak for the 2. Bundesliga club, the 25-year-old isn't on the roster for the Ecuador and Honduras games.
What this means: Wooten is still relatively young, and Russia is still almost four years away. You can be sure the U.S coaching staff is well aware of his exploits this season and, given Klinsmann's extensive contacts in Germany, is plenty familiar with him as a player. If he keeps producing, Wooten will eventually get his chance.