Underdog Soccer Podcast Episode #68: Mark McKenzie Interview | iTunes
Age: 21 (Born February 25th, 1999)
Height: 6’ 0”
Club: Philadelphia Union
Born: Bronx, New York
US History: 2019 U20 World Cup captain, first USMNT cap February 2020
Mark McKenzie made his MLS debut in 2018 and was a Rookie of the Year finalist. Philadelphia Union have continued to produce some of the best young talent in Major League Soccer. He went on to make several appearances over the course of the season. 2019, unfortunately saw the young centerback suffered numerous injuries over the course of the season. These limited his involvement, both for club and country. In many ways the 2020 MLS season has been his breakout year. His first USMNT cap in February has become the first highlight in a season filled with headlines, including winning the supporter’s shield and finishing second for MLS Defender of the Year. It is no surprise teams in Europe are rumored to be watching.
Style of Play
Mark is a modern centerback. He is solid defensively and able to snuff out counters when fullbacks are pressed high up the pitch due to his athleticism. Capable of winning headers, he is a threat offensively as well. He is comfortable when in possession and can play out of the back with ease. He is skillful and has technical quality thefore the pieces to go far. One of the best traits to Mark’s game, however, is that while technically right footed, he is just as comfortable with his left foot.
Mark is a leader. He was named the captain of the U20 World Cup squad, despite his injury and being mostly unable to play. His teammates both with the US national teams and Philadelphia have the upmost respect for Mark. In addition to being a leader in the locker room, he is a leader away from the pitch. He is involved in Black Players For Change and was involved in encouraging voter participation.
Mark is looking to earn the USMNT’s right center back spot. He has the skill set that would benefit him in playing in that position under Gregg Berhalter, being good with his feet, athletic, and capable of snuffing out counter attacks. He got his first cap in February 2020 and will be looking to add his second this December. It is likely Mark will be a mainstay in USMNT camp soon.
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