Diskerud looking to bring special mix to U.S. World Cup team

Mix Diskerud

Photo by John Todd/ISI Photos

By CAITLIN MURRAY

STANFORD, Calif. — It is that name. Mix. It can be a noun or it can be a verb, but however it is used, it is clear that something is coming together.

For a guy that considers himself equally American and Norwegian – “a mix,” he says – and is keen to play either holding mid or attacker, it might be fate that gave Mix Diskerud his name. Or maybe it was just fate that it stuck.

“When I was younger, I ran around the house all the time, I’m told. And my mom called me Mixmaster,” he told reporters Friday before training at Stanford University.

But as a youngster in Norway with another teammate who shared his given name of Mikkel, it was decided someone had to change.

“I was the youngest one, so Mix came,” Diskerud said. “From there on, everybody calls me Mix. My teachers, my grandparents, everybody.”

IN THE WORLD CUP MIX

And soon, if he makes Jurgen Klinsmann’s final 23-man World Cup squad, many more people will know that name.

With fewer caps than many of the guys he is competing against, Diskerud sits on the precipice of the seven cuts Klinsmann will make before the U.S. Men’s National Team leaves for Brazil.

“Now I’m closer than ever,” he said. “From the start, when you’re a little kid running around with the ball, can barely walk, and now you’ve come this far.”

It was only last summer that Diskerud cap-tied himself to the USMNT, and at the same time showed he could be a valuable bench option with his versatility in the midfield and his ability to make an immediate impact.

“That tournament, I had so much fun,” Diskerud said. “The Gold Cup helped me get into the mix.”

But now that he’s made the preliminary roster, Diskerud has work to do before Klinsmann must name his final squad by June 2. Lately he hasn’t made the starting XI with his club Rosenborg BK and will have to shake off the rust quickly in Stanford.

When asked about where he fits in with the USMNT, he’s leaving his role up to whatever Klinsmann needs at the time, getting only as specific as “anywhere in the middle.”

“I like setting my teammates up for chances and opportunities, but I can also go more offensively and be in the attack,” Diskerud said. “As long as I get the ball, I am happy.”

AN AMERICAN MENTALITY

Diskerud, a native of Oslo, was playing for Norway’s youth national team when U.S. U-20 coach Thomas Rongen spotted him.

“He asked if I had an American passport when I was going to take a corner kick, actually,” Diskerud said. “And I said yes.”

That was in 2008. By 2013, he would join the U.S. permanently on a run to the Gold Cup title.

When asked if he regrets his decision to play for the U.S. instead of Norway, Diskerud won’t even let the reporter finish the question.

“No. Not at all,” he said. “I’ve had so much fun and I feel part of this group now and it’s the best feeling ever.”

There are some quirks about it, though. If you ask Diskerud about his ultimate World Cup memory growing up, he talks about watching the 1998 World Cup. Norway shocked the world and defeated Brazil in group play to advance to the second round.

Many of his friends play for the Norwegian national team. But he gives them a hard time.

“I always joke with them because we’re ahead of them in the FIFA ranking,” Diskerud said, referring to the U.S. ranking at 14 while Norway sits at 55 worldwide.

The Gold Cup that was so pivotal for Diskerud’s standing with the USMNT showed him what the American mentality is capable of. The team believed they would be the best – and they were, winning the tournament for the first time since 2007.

“Every time we played a game, we were certain. Not cocky, but we knew we were going win and we knew we had good players,” Diskerud said. “That’s a great mentality. That’s the American mentality.”

Although Diskerud, 23, plays in Norway’s top-tier Tippeligaen, he spends much of his downtime stateside. He has family in Phoenix and has taken a liking to California. He makes sure to show his friends on the Norwegian national team how much he likes it.

“I bring as many Norwegian guys as possible to kind of show the states because I’m proud, of course, and then we go on a huge road trip,” he said. “We fill up about two cars.”

If Diskerud makes it to the World Cup, he’ll be representing a certain kind of American that the USMNT seems to have a lot of – players who were born or lived their lives mostly in other countries.

But when asked by a reporter if he has reached out to new German-American recruit Julian Green because he may understand “what [Green] is going through,” Diskerud seemed surprised at the characterization.

“Going through? Isn’t it only positive?” he asked.

Diskerud may end up wearing the U.S. badge on his chest in Brazil on the world’s biggest stage, but he is very clear about who he is.

As he put it: “I feel half American, half Norwegian – a mix.”

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74 Responses to Diskerud looking to bring special mix to U.S. World Cup team

  1. SE says:

    “Special Mix” could be the next soccer cereal opportunity.

  2. Jacknut says:

    I remember when Mixx was lobbying for a call up on BigSoccer. He promised us he would play in the World Cup for the US. This makes him the only person even to back up their internet talk with real world action.

  3. KingGoogleyEye says:

    “Mixmaster.” How did we not know about this name before?!

    “Going through? Isn’t it only positive?” Very interesting. As has been noted on other threads, the USMNT has a reputation for being very welcoming of newcomers—competitive, but still collegial.

    • Rob says:

      “Very welcoming” compared to who? Most countries develop their own players. They don’t need to “welcome” anybody since they’ve known each others for years.

      • Joe+G says:

        And many teams introduce someone who wasn’t part of their system growing up… Iran, Spain, Italy, Mexico, for example. There are lots of dual nationals who grew up elsewhere who might be a good addition to the team. Some bring them in and integrate them better than others. It’s one (not the only) ways to build a winning team.

      • KingGoogleyEye says:

        Rob: “very welcoming” compared to other teams the athletes have been a part of. I’m not the one coming up with that description, the athletes are.

        Also, knowing someone is not the same as being welcome by them.

  4. Gio says:

    Really well written.

  5. William the Terror says:

    All along, I have argued with people that Mix will definitely be on the plane. In my private thoughts, I even believed that he might produce one or two special moments in Brazil.

    But, according to the spreadsheet being meticulously maintained by FRANK, he will not even make the plane. Right now, I believe that spreadsheet to be the definitive resource documenting the workings of JK’s mind. So, I guess I need to rethink my final 23.

    • Paul says:

      FRANK also said it was a work in progress, so who knows who’ll he will have in a couple weeks – maybe Reyna coming out of retirement.

    • rph says:

      What is this mythical plane you speak of?

  6. John says:

    One of the better written articles on this site.

  7. Heather Soltis says:

    I love you, Mix!

  8. Captain Obvious says:

    Can’t even make the bench on for a average Norwegian side. Gets muscled off the ball easily and is way to inconsistent. Heck if Klinsi really wanted someone who plays in Norway and is doing much better he should have called Michael Stephens or some of the guys who play for Molde.El gringo Torres should have been called up he plays in a better league, been on fire as of lately, and probably the best at set pieces in the US pool.

    • james says:

      agree

    • User222 says:

      the one to get easily muscled off of the ball is Gringo Torres… in South Africa 2010 he showed he wasnt cut for international level.. and I aint talking concacaf international level.

      • Captain Obvious says:

        The only game I don’t know if you saw the Gold Cup but I saw Mix flopping to the floor almost every time he had the floor against concacaf level opposition. So if he’s flopping on the floor against concacaf what makes you think he’s “international level material” Torres only played against Slovenia and he looked really well even the testing Handanovic a couple of times on set pieces.

        • William the Terror says:

          Yeah, and when he danced through the Mexican defense and slotted the ball across the goal mouth so that LD could tap home the “dos a cero” goal in the Hex, he really sucked, didn’t he? Why don’t you just demote yourself down to Corporal Obvious.

        • User222 says:

          Torres played the first 45 minutes in the Slovenia game and looked like high school soccer player, so much so that he was subbed out and never played not even one second the rest of the four games….

          coach Bradley didnt even call Torres for the 2011 GC.

          you might be right about Mix, he might flop in the WC but Torres alreayd has, no need to compare gringo any current or future US prospects.

          • Haydenjo says:

            +1
            Torres has been plenty of chances
            Always looking like he can’t play at the international level.
            Mix impresses at the gold cup but I still don’t think he makes the plane ride.

          • John says:

            Torres has never really been played at his position before on the NT.

            Against Slovenia he played as a DM covering for Michael Bradley in the very rigid system we had under Coach Bob. Defensively he was exposed.

            Under Klinsmann he has only played 45 minutes as a CM (Guatemala). He has improved as playing as a LM though and was one of the best players in the Gold Cup.

            Mix can play as a CAM and Torres can’t, but as a CM, Torres is definitely better. He’s one of the best players in the pool and would prove it if actually given a chance at his position.

    • bogie8 says:

      You have got to be kidding. Did you watch the Mexico game in Columbus? The Gold Cup? Mix belongs in the 23. He has talent. Michael Stephens couldn’t even find the field in MLS. He appeared 58 times over 4 years, including CCL matches. And you think he should be called into a National Team camp over Mix? Wow.

    • Nate Dollars says:

      i maintain that he’d be a great sub for dempsey, who, funny enough, also “gets muscled off the ball easily”.

      • Nandez says:

        Ya’ll do have to admit Mix does “get muscled off the ball easily” It’s a bad thing but at least it’s not as bad as bambi on ice Opara. Anyways why are ya’ll are having the torres vs mix argument when it should be Corona vs Mix. Pretty pointless for the person who started it.

    • Goalscorer24 says:

      Can’t make the bench for the Norwegian team? The Norwegian team was recruiting him, but he held out for the US.

      • Goalscorer24 says:

        -Never mind. I thought you were talking about the Norwegian national team, but I just realized you are talking about his club team.

  9. Colin in MT says:

    I agree with Ives that Mix is likely battling with Corona for a position on the team. I would give the edge to Corona. Both Corona and Mix played well in the Gold Cup last year, and Mix has been involved with the USMNT more since then. However, Mix hasn’t been playing for his club. Whereas Corona has been getting good minutes with Tijuana, in an arguably tougher league. Also, Corona can play central, left or right. Mix is only a central player.

    Just my two cents.

    • Nandez says:

      Also, Corona has shown well when he plays for the US. Corona also proved he was better even in the olympic qualifiers in which mix was also a part of.

    • skyman says:

      This is the discussion I was looking for. In my mind Corona and Mix can best each other on any given day. If one is on, and the other isn’t quite on as such, then there’s a clear winner. They both can do what few USMNT players can do: score, from the midfield with accuracy, and/or creativity.

      Based on recent form it’s very possible Corona has been the stronger of the two, but I don’t know (who’s seen them both play for club recently?). It’s going to come down to who is playing better in this camp. Very interesting. I will be okay with either player, trusting Klinsman to choose the best one for the occasion.

      • Nandez says:

        Corona has been great for TJ. He’s the primary reason they made that late push for the playoffs it’s basically just been assist assist for him. The bad thing is that he pretty much pushed off Paul Arriola outta the 11 due to this form.

    • SingularityCup says:

      Huh. Mix has played plenty for his club. 3 starts, 3 sub appearances in 7 games this season.

    • quozzel says:

      Mix has been really good in the past…but if he’s not in form now, I agree, Corona could take his spot on the plane.

      As you mentioned, he’s also more versatile and can play more positions. After the Gold Cup I pretty much figured Mix had locked his spot up – especially after Holden went down again – but he picked a bad time to get benched by his club team…and Corona might have picked a good time to get hot.

      Mix was thinking about coming back to MLS last year – to Portland, I believe – but couldn’t get a deal done. I do think a DP deal – not a million-dollar DP deal, but a $400-$500K one – could serve him well. MLS has an increasing amount of talent, but due to the cap no MLS team has enough depth that they can invest that kind of money in a player…and then not play him. Guaranteed time is never a bad thing, from a player’s perspective. Especially with the cap about to take a bump up due to the new TV deal, Mix could well get that deal done this time around, and I think it’d be a good move for his career if he could find a good fit.

  10. dude1 says:

    JK is going to take him. He’s the best x-factor creative sub we’ve got, and he plays well every time he enters the game with the other big dogs in the squad. AJ is an offensive sub when we need more goals, but he’s not able to generate possession as well; Torres, as someone mentioned above, is a deep lying midfielder, and he’s not beating out Jones or Beckerman, who play the role that JK wants in his system. If he doesn’t make the squad, it would be a mixstake.

    • Nandez says:

      Corona is that x-factor he can play as forward,winger, and as a mid. Mix can only play in the middle.

      • Increase says:

        Corona has a good shot to be honest. It pretty much comes down to which one shows better in camp. Corona has some good club experience in the Copa Lib. Too. TJ only lost on pens to Athletic o Minero, who went on to win it.

    • OMGnoEJ says:

      Torres is not on the 30 man list so why do you mention him?

      If you want creative and productive off of the bench do you want to see Donovan or Mix? I know who I’d rather see warming up.

      You say Mix is able to “generate possession”. What does that mean? The only way to generate possession is to tackle or intercept well. I was not aware that Mix was known for that.

  11. Murray Braun says:

    The guy is dynamite as a sub. You cannot ignore that.
    he’s shown what he can do against good opposition.

    • Bomb Pop says:

      Because he’s totally lighting it up in Norway

      • Bill says:

        Kinda like Jozy is lighting it up at Sunderland?… Ohhh let the bad team excuses roll. Point is, the same standards need to be applied to everybody. You cant say hes not lighting it up with his club while we have Jozy in exactly the same situation.

        • Killjoy says:

          “Point is, the same standards need to be applied to everybody.”

          Not really.

          Jozy has no serious competition as a starter for his position. His track record with the US tells you that the probability is good that the camp and the three games should give you a Jozy ready for the World Cup.

          Mix and Joe Benny, on the other hand, don’t have Jozy’s track record and the spot they are competing for is a lot less well defined than the spot Jozy has.

          Chances are good neither one makes the 23.

          • User222 says:

            we can argue that Mix was crucial assisting Agudelo score the winning goal on the road against South Africa four years ago.

            On the road as well, as a late sub Mix scored an important equalizer against Russia for a 2-2 final.

            Both Mix and Corona played well and scored in the Gold Cup, and although Corona scored more goals, Mix saw more minutes and played in the GC Final because Jurgen, the know-it-all coach deemed it necessary for the US to win the Final against Panama.

            And more recently, how can anyone forget the smooth skill to break the mexican defense and assist Donovan to score.

            If JK uses Jozy standards for Jozy, then hes gotta use Mix standards for Mix…

            Edge goes to Mix who has done “more” for the US.

            • Killjoy says:

              Mix and Jozy are not in the same category as US players.

              However, if you insist on comparing them, basically you are talking about two guys who are having or had bad club seasons.
              • Mix sits on a bench in a league weaker than MLS.
              • Jozy was benched late in the season in the EPL.

              Jozy has 67 caps and has scored 21 goals for the US. He is a Confederations Cup and World Cup vet and played well in South Africa. He has played well for the US this past season.

              As bad as his EPL season was there is still no more skilled and accomplished target man for the US. And if you watched him you would know that he is not far off from being in form.

              The things you cite in Mix’s favor amount to a few plays in friendlies and a couple of good appearances in a B team tournament.

              The South Africa game was a friendly and everyone was looking to get off the field and had given up by the time Mix came on with only a few minutes left.

              Same with the Russia game.

              The standard that always applies is “does the team play better with him playing”?

              Neither Jozy nor Mix is indispensable but the way the US plays and given the personnel available, Jozy is harder to replace than Mix.

      • Nate Dollars says:

        if he plays well for us, why the heII should i care how he’s playing in norway?

        • dude1 says:

          The f#@%ing truth.

          • Bomb Pop says:

            I’m guessing ya’ll are part of that crowd that wanted Sacha in and since he didn’t make the cut ya’ll jumped in as Mix Dix fanboys. Jump in guys the wagons hot!

            • KingGoogleyEye says:

              I’m guessing y’all are part of that crowd that doesn’t keep track of who says what, then lumps everyone together to make a fallacious counterargument.

              • Bac says:

                King… proper usage of Ya’ll requires the little apostrophe like thingee to be inserted between the Ya and ll, or u may choose to exclude it altogether and just say yall.. growing up in the south that’s how we was learned….
                But then again, autocorrect lists it as you did, as Y’all… which is debatable…

              • Nic D "the TX 2 Stepper" says:

                “Y’all” is definitely the right way to contract You All. It is not a similar contraction to Don’t or Ain’t

              • Bac says:

                Damnnn.. I gotta go back to school and relearn all my teachers????

              • KingGoogleyEye says:

                Bac: y’all got to have a word with y’all’s teachers.

                G’nite, all y’all.

              • Killjoy says:

                You all are making too much of this.

              • KingGoogleyEye says:

                Killjoy: you mean “ye,” not “you all.”

              • Killjoy says:

                No

                I meant you all

              • KingGoogleyEye says:

                Suit thyself.

  12. Hush says:

    Mix is a cool dude! But the reaction Latin American Futbol players get when they say they consider themselves from both nationalities, is not the same as Mix’s and the Ice man receive on this board,.. at least not for the most part.lol

    • RB says:

      Interesting comment because I was just thinking along the same lines, only about the difference between the reactions to the US/Germany dual nationals who play for the US, on the one hand, and Diskerud and AJ, on the other.

      Not that it’s all black and white (though they are, interestingly), but there does seem to be consistently a rather more easygoing acceptance of the latter pair across the board than of the former group…

    • Vic says:

      The Mexican Americans were born and raised in USA. You can criticize however, this debate takes place in many countries with dual nationals, not just here.

  13. Ronaldo Messi says:

    My insightful comments are deleted because they speak the truth about the state of disarray the USMNT is in because Klinsi decided to exercise his executive powers by undeservedly bringing to camp Yedlin and Green ahead of many other players who contributed to this team’s qualification for the WC. I repeat this move will bring discord and some descent if he dares to include either one of these to untested player in the final roster. We will see a 0-0-3 WC for USMNT while Mexico laughing all the way to quarterfinals will cement their position as number one in CONCACAF.

  14. Addage says:

    I like Mix and certainly wish him well! He has some creativity that is often lacking in US play.

    But at this stage, I wish all 30 well. If Mix makes it, I only hope it’s because he played well and not because others were injured or disappointing.