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Olympic Elderly Options

Take a look at the U.S. Olympic training camp roster in the previous thread. Assume the Americans qualify for the Summer Games. Figure Michael Bradley and Jonathan Spector are in the mix after missing much, if not all, of the qualifying tournament because of club commitments.

Which three positions do you think need to be filled by overage (23+) players? An experienced central defender (Onyewu)? A versatile attacker (Dempsey)? Keep in mind that any overage player selected for the China trip would not be available for the national team's World Cup qualifier at Guatemala on Aug. 20.

In 1996, Bruce Arena invited a goalkeeper, a midfielder and twoa defender: Kasey Keller, Jeff Agoos Claudio Reyna and Alexi Lalas.

In 2000, Clive Charles brought a goalkeeper, defender and midfielder-defender: Brad Friedel, Agoos and Frankie Hejduk.

By Steve Goff  |  February 26, 2008; 6:18 PM ET
Categories:  U.S. men's national team  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Olympic Outlook [updated]
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Comments

Hard to say since those in camp are not the only U-23s under consideration.

Historically,we've gone with an experienced keeper, a defender and a midfielder -- but it really depends on which U-23s make the cut.

Posted by: Curious | February 26, 2008 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Hopefully Subotic is on the final roster as well..

If we qualify, I'd like to see a flank player. Beasley would be nice if he is fully fit by then. Dempsey would be a good addition as well. As for the final spot, a keeper or defender would be nice. Maybe Dulo, or Keller for history's sake.

Realistically, Donovan, Bocanegra and and a keeper are a safe bet I think.

Posted by: Ted | February 26, 2008 6:34 PM | Report abuse

1. Tim Howard
2. Gooch
and just because
3. Ben Olson

Posted by: Bellus Ludas | February 26, 2008 6:38 PM | Report abuse

If Brad Guzan can be there...

Posted by: Phillip | February 26, 2008 6:38 PM | Report abuse

Is the Guatemala game the first game of that round? If so there's no way a starter from the senior team goes to the Olympics.

Posted by: dwbpnm | February 26, 2008 6:52 PM | Report abuse

I would take Big Bad Brad again, he won't play for the seniors against Guat. anyways ;-)

Posted by: jgildea | February 26, 2008 6:55 PM | Report abuse

I say bring Bocanegra, Dempsey and Donovan.

Dempsey worked well with Adu, Blackmouth can teach the kids in the backline whats really good, and Donovan needs some good quality games against good talent.

Posted by: Bolivian DC Fan | February 26, 2008 7:01 PM | Report abuse

I'd have to include Gooch, just for the "scare the crap out of them" factor. Plus, regardless of what Harkes thinks, he's got the longest throw-in I've ever seen from an American.

Posted by: bbarrie | February 26, 2008 7:04 PM | Report abuse

I'd have to include Gooch, just for the "scare the crap out of them" factor. Plus, regardless of what Harkes thinks, he's got the longest throw-in I've ever seen from an American.

Posted by: bbarrie | February 26, 2008 07:04 PM

------------------------------------

Harkes continuous complaining about that was laughable.

I'd like to amend my choices, and throw Gooch in there solely for the "scare the crap out of them" factor.

Posted by: Ted | February 26, 2008 7:10 PM | Report abuse

This team looks weakest in defense (both keeper and defenders)

I think Jay DeMerit would be a good guy to bring along, for leadership purposes (and since the senior team can get along without him). Jimmy Conrad would be a good choice for the same reasons.

I think Guzan or Hahnemann would be ideal as keepers in there.

As for attackers, Dempsey would be a good fit up top.

I don't think we need as much senior help to settle the midfield, since our best central midfielders are already in the squad (Feilhaber, Edu, and possibly Bradley).

Posted by: jrnail23 | February 26, 2008 7:14 PM | Report abuse

Hahnemann, DeMerit, and Ching.

Need veteran keeper, central defender to keep everyone organized, and a target player.

Posted by: wmsiii | February 26, 2008 7:14 PM | Report abuse

you know what's nice? Not needing a striker or anyone in the central midfield. I can see taking guzan, although seitz is perfectly adequate and can use the experience, brad will be in Europe anyway, or should be. So let's take a winger, DMB if he's healthy will need time on the pitch. And good defenders are always worth it, let's say gooch for intimidation and Spector for experience.

Posted by: northzax | February 26, 2008 7:25 PM | Report abuse

1. Guzan (Need a solid goalkeeper to have much of a chance at a medal, not sure Seitz is up to the job, Keller could be a good option too)

2. DeMerit/Conrad (Need a solid leader in central defense that can act as the teams captain and isn't likely to be one of the starters for the senior team in the qualifier)

3. Donovan/Twellman/Olson (A veteran in attack/midfield that can supplement Adu/Altidore/Zizzo)

Posted by: Chase | February 26, 2008 7:27 PM | Report abuse

I don't want to lose anyone from playing against Guatemala, so...

Cobi Jones
Taylor Twellman
Bobby Boswell (sorry Bobby!)

Posted by: B.A. | February 26, 2008 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Did I say 'spector'? I meant demerit. Darn demon rum.

Posted by: Northzax | February 26, 2008 7:30 PM | Report abuse

I think if you look at the previous selections you can see a pattern that will be repeated:

1 (Tim Howard)GK in the olympics goes on to be the World CUp keeper. HOward needs the big game experience and despite the fact we have good keepers, experienced GK's can make up for a lot of problems in the back.

2 (Boca/Onyewu) Central/organizing defender is essential to keep the defense on track. Either could go, but I'd bet on Boca as he's most likely to be out of a job - he's sitting now right?

3 (Donovan) The most polarizing of players for the fans needs to redeem himself after the WC 2006 disaster. A good oly showing would give everyone confidence,including donovan, of a successful 2010WC. When he's motivated he can win games singlehandedly (See many a DCU home game). Also how can you leave off the US's leading scorer

In short: LEADERSHIP, Experience, Consistency

Posted by: Looking Dangerous | February 26, 2008 7:53 PM | Report abuse

Goff,

Do you expect Szetela to play during the Olypmics if we qualify?

Posted by: Chase | February 26, 2008 7:56 PM | Report abuse

Saving Gooch, Bocanegra, Donovan, Dempsey and Howard for Guatemala; my selections would be:

1. Guzan
2. Conrad
3. Twellman/Ching/Johnson/Rolfe (whomever is hot; if equal, better leader among them)

Starting lineup
Adu, Freddy
Altidore, Josmer

Edu, Maurice D
Feilhaber, Benny
Bradley
Kljestan
Szetela or Holden (whomever is playing better)

Spector
Conrad
Freeman or Wynne (whomever is playing better)

Guzan

Posted by: Tim F. | February 26, 2008 8:12 PM | Report abuse

i like gooch, and think he gets called for fouls unfairly a lot, i feel like that would happen even more than usual against a bunch of wee under-23s.

Posted by: pat | February 26, 2008 8:14 PM | Report abuse

1) Tim Howard-too important of a position to give it to a youngster. Plus, the national team has plenty of depth for Guatemala.

2) Gooch-I don't really like him, but he's physically stronger than almost all 23 year olds.

3) Moor (just kidding). Bocanegra. With Adu/Edu/Altidore/Feilhaber/possibly Bradley, I am not at all worried about our attack.

In short, this is going to look a lot like our World Cup '10 team.

Posted by: Glaucon | February 26, 2008 8:31 PM | Report abuse

C'mon guys - I know I'm nitpicking here, but it's OlsEn!! This is a blog on the Washington (as in DC, as in DC United) Post's website.

And I like the idea of including him - he was the strongest performer in that debacle that was the Copa Libertadores last year and would provide some great veteran experience.

Posted by: DE | February 26, 2008 8:53 PM | Report abuse

I would put anyone who is not in MLS first, not because of any animus I have towards the quality of the league, but I like to see as few people pulled out of season as possible when equally good options are in their off season abroad.

I think EJ has to be in there to try to get something resembling confidence back. Basically, if he can't score against a bunch of green 19 year olds he might want to consider a new career.

Posted by: papa bear | February 26, 2008 8:57 PM | Report abuse

can we still get agoos to fill one of those?

Posted by: longfellow | February 26, 2008 8:58 PM | Report abuse

Is everyone assuming we're going with a 3-5-2? You have to be if you're only picking one over 23 CB. I don't see a single CB on the roster that could start for the senior side right now, and there are a number of older guys who could be starters (some less often than others, but still)

I'd say Gooch and Bocanegra normally, but one of them will definitely be playing against guat. I don't think Gooch's size will be needed in that game, so let's take him and Conrad to the Olympics and probably Beasley, too. As long as his instructions would be to just go to goal, DMB would be the last piece of a pretty potent attack. Please don't pass the ball backwards all the time, Beas. Let the WC be a lesson.

Posted by: Skyler | February 26, 2008 9:00 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone else seen this> Houston is signing Franco Caraccio from Argentina

Posted by: Central PA fan | February 26, 2008 9:31 PM | Report abuse

Goff--How likely is it that MBradley and Spector will not be part of the Olympics? Must teams release players? And, if MBradley is about to change teams, wouldn't any new employer want him fresh with no chance for summer injury?

Posted by: Larry | February 26, 2008 9:45 PM | Report abuse

Keller

DeMerit

Johnson or Dempsey

No Gooch, No Donovan, please, please!

Posted by: delantero | February 26, 2008 9:55 PM | Report abuse

The last person the U-23's need is Dempsey to slow them down. If we're taking a MF/F of substance, it's got to be Landon.

Posted by: Jonathan | February 26, 2008 10:01 PM | Report abuse

Tim Howard, Gooch, and Pablo

Posted by: bubbles | February 26, 2008 10:05 PM | Report abuse

Top Euro teams should release players for the Olympics. Telemundo showed Argentina's probable Olympians vs Guatemala's full Nat side a few weeks ago and the Argies had Riquelme (Boca), Mascherano (Liverpool) and DeMichelis (Bayern Munich) as their over-23 players.

Argentina has already qualified and is widely expected to take those 3 players to Beijing. And yes, they did whoop up on the Guatemalans (5-0).

The US weakest points are at goalkeeper and defense so I would take someone like Guzan or Hahnemann plus a defender like Gooch, Boca, Demerit, Conrad or Parkhurst.

I also like the idea of taking Eddie Johnson but with Altidore and Adu, forward is not really a weak spot.

I was surprised to see Adu called in to this qualifying camp as I thought Benfica might be wanting to use him.

Posted by: garbaggio | February 26, 2008 10:07 PM | Report abuse

Goff, you made a small goof when you said Agoos was one of Arena's overage players in 96.

In fact, Goose wasn't on the 96 Olympic team. The third overage spot was used on Claudio Reyna, even though he was a U-23 player because he had been on the 92 Olympic team and at the time of the 96 games, FIFA had some silly rule that said if you'd been on a previous Olympics you couldn't be on another one without using an overage slot, even if you weren't overage.

(This rule has since been amended)

Posted by: SM | February 26, 2008 10:11 PM | Report abuse

GK: Guzan or Keller
CB: DeMerit, Parkhurst, or Conrad
F: Twellman or Ching

I honestly thing the U-23 would beat the full national team. There is a lot more depth in the midfield and upfront. The defense is a little inexperienced though.

Posted by: Mark | February 26, 2008 10:44 PM | Report abuse

Guzan, Oneywu, Donovan

We can beat Guatemala without those 3 guys. Oneywu is prone to foul against smaller speedy guys and he can make the opponents big target striker better than anyone on the current list. Guzan is a big upgrade over Seitz. Donovan is there because he can make things to when he is on his game.

Posted by: GoldenChild | February 26, 2008 10:53 PM | Report abuse

GK - Howard/Guzan
CB - Onyewu/Bocanegra
M/F - Donovan/Dempsey

On a side note, Philly MLS announcement is slated for 2:00 pm this Thursday.

Posted by: Zman | February 26, 2008 10:54 PM | Report abuse

Goff, you made a small goof when you said Agoos was one of Arena's overage players in 96.

In fact, Goose wasn't on the 96 Olympic team. The third overage spot was used on Claudio Reyna, even though he was a U-23 player because he had been on the 92 Olympic team and at the time of the 96 games, FIFA had some silly rule that said if you'd been on a previous Olympics you couldn't be on another one without using an overage slot, even if you weren't overage.

(This rule has since been amended)

Posted by: SM | February 26, 2008 10:11 PM

You're right, my bad. Agoos was an alternate on that roster and did not play. Despite being age eligible, Reyna was an "overage" selection. Thanks!

Posted by: Goff | February 26, 2008 11:07 PM | Report abuse

I'd go with

Guzan, Parkhurst, and a FW (Ching/Wolff) for leadership and experience.

Posted by: MikeinSD | February 27, 2008 12:50 AM | Report abuse

man, oh man. deuchar in MLS. only 27! quite the signing for a bunch of mormons.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 27, 2008 5:59 AM | Report abuse

BOCANEGRA
DONOVAN
CONVEY

Posted by: JCROME | February 27, 2008 8:01 AM | Report abuse

Keeping in mind that the WC qualifier will require the best senior players...

Brad Guzan - because Tim Howard will start the qualifiers
Jay Demerit - because Boca and Gooch are first choice for the full team.
Frankie Hejduk - because every team needs Frankie...great locker room guy, and can play either fullback spot, which is key for an 18-man roster.

Look for Demerit to earn the captains armband.

Posted by: Adam R. | February 27, 2008 8:14 AM | Report abuse

Hahnemann, Gooch, and... drumroll please.... Mathis!

The US needs to toughen up. What better group to do it with?

Posted by: La Cabra | February 27, 2008 8:36 AM | Report abuse

Retirement from the USMNT doesn't necessarily mean retirement from the Olympic team, does it?

So how about Friedel and McBride? I mean, if you're going to go senior, go all the way.

Posted by: Joe S. | February 27, 2008 8:38 AM | Report abuse

GK - Howard
CD - Parkhurst. No Onyewu, please. He will get a red card for coming to a few feet distance to a fragile youngster (/sarcasm)
Leadership - Olsen !! Nobody is better in leaving his heart on the field. His influence is good even on the bench.

Posted by: Tolik | February 27, 2008 8:49 AM | Report abuse

I think it's a perfect spot for Parkhurst. Great size is not a necessity, but a poised and cerebral figure in the middle of the defense would be great for keeping the kids calm and organized.

I thought of Guzan, but isn't this the kind of showcase where you want your younger guys to get some key experience?

Posted by: rkupp | February 27, 2008 9:40 AM | Report abuse

A little off topic, but... I went to the Wilco show at the 9:30 Club last night and the band is selling "You'll Never Rock Alone"soccer scarves:
http://media.musictoday.com/store/bands/241/product_medium/WCAM44.jpg

Too bad they say "Chicago" on them. If I were a Fire lover I would totally get one. But I'm not, so I won't.

Posted by: DJC | February 27, 2008 9:53 AM | Report abuse

I'd take guys from areas where the full team is deep. That means central defense, keeper, and - if Convey and Beasley are healthy (granted, a big "if") - left mid. With that in mind, I'd probably go with:

Bocanegra
Guzan
Beasley

Bocanegra instead of Gooch because we'll need an emergency left back in case Spector goes down. Seitz is good, but Guzan is still better and could use some time in important international matches. Beasley is a major upgrade over Arturo Alvarez. The good news is that most of the best attacking players and central midfielders are already on the roster.

I wouldn't rule out taking two center backs.

Posted by: Jeff M | February 27, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

D Pope
M Reyna
F McBride :-)

Posted by: Vascao | February 27, 2008 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Retirement from the USMNT doesn't necessarily mean retirement from the Olympic team, does it?

So how about Friedel and McBride? I mean, if you're going to go senior, go all the way.

---

Totally agree. How Friedel isn't a unanimous choice here so far baffles me. Guzan is good, but lacks big game experience. McBride and Jozy would be fantastic up top, allowing Freddy to roam. Conrad, Olsen, or Hey-duck!! because they can get it done AND lead the lads by example in every way.

Don't forget Nowak knows Olsen well, so he might win out. Plus the Kaiser might not want to have the whole spine of the team be "new guys" to the roster that might not even know everyone's name. I wouldn't be surprised at all to see Olsen in there as a winger in 4-4-2, or DM in a 3-5-2.

Posted by: Hummer | February 27, 2008 10:28 AM | Report abuse

The team is already deep enough to win a medal.

I'll buy my own airline ticket and bring my own food.

Vote for ME

Posted by: CD | February 27, 2008 10:29 AM | Report abuse

give seitz a chance in goal, should be great experience, leave Gooch with the UMNT, bring in Twellman, DeMerit and EJ

Posted by: froboy | February 27, 2008 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Agree with those wanting Seitz to handle the net. Gooch is a liability, if Boca can get some game time @ Fulham, I still like him in the middle. Creativity out of mid-field (Deuce or Landycakes). Why not bring in EJ - let EJ & Altidore begin to develop their understanding of each others game. The potential strike force duo makes ones head spin.

Posted by: Jim | February 27, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Looking at where we have needs on the roster, it's central D. So let's say Conrad, as he's not likely to play in the Guat game. After that, I'd say Bradley is not a shoo-in to make the U23 roster if it means he misses the Guat game. So maybe Mastro or Armas behind Benny in the center. Finally, I'd agree with those posters who say we need some incisive, speedy players on the flanks. Donovan will surely be on the Guat roster, so maybe Beas.

Posted by: Matte | February 27, 2008 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Guzan
Neven Subotic
Jay DeMerit

Posted by: stencom1 | February 27, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

The more I think about it, the more I'm convinced that Donovan will definently be one of those players. He has long been marketed as the "star" of the USMNT, and there may be a push to include him as part of the colossal marketing campaign Nike will push before and during the Olympics. Though Dempsey was also a big part of the marketing push of the new jerseys last months...

Posted by: Chase | February 27, 2008 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Just considering the fact that Maurice Edu is listed as a defender tells me that this team is way weak in defense. I love the idea of bringing Friedel back if he's interested, and leave Seitz if he's not.

How about the three senior players being Bocanegra, Onyewu, and Cherundolo (if he's recovered by then)? If bringing both Boca and Gooch is a bad idea, then substitute Parkhurst for one of them.

Posted by: DCUMD | February 27, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

I don't think we need a keeper with Seitz on the team, though if we had to have a safety net, I'd call in Hannehman since he would be accept his role as backup, and would have the summer off anyway.

My 3:
Bocanegra
Donovan
DMB


:-)

Posted by: swinreston | February 27, 2008 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Marcus Hanneman
Jimmy Conrad
Brian Ching

Posted by: Amit | February 27, 2008 1:35 PM | Report abuse

If it's a keeper you lack, I'm right here.

Posted by: Hope Solo | February 27, 2008 2:00 PM | Report abuse

I would be very surprised if Friedel were to accept an Olympic invitation. His reasons for retiring from the senior MNT apply here; in particular, his stated desire to focus on his work at the club level. This is the EPL preseason we're talking about.

Posted by: tri-village | February 27, 2008 2:14 PM | Report abuse

I know no one cares, but I obviously meant Copa America rather than Libertadores. Here I was correcting people for mispelling Benny's name and put down the wrong tournament name. I'm an idiot.

Posted by: DE | February 27, 2008 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Cory Gibbs
Michael Parkhurst
and one underage player Charles Rankin if you haven't seen this kid yet, you will very soon. By far the best american soccer player I have ever seen.Seitz is more than capable, but they will bring a goalie anyway, most likely Howard. Hanneman is donesies.

Posted by: soccer guru | February 27, 2008 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Re: "This is the EPL preseason we're talking about."

Actually, the EPL season starts in mid August, so any English-based players would be missing actual games. I believe the Coke League (where The Fulham Five will like be) starts even earlier. As such, I wouldn't be shocked if all three overagers are from MLS

Posted by: Doug Life | February 27, 2008 4:27 PM | Report abuse

As such, I wouldn't be shocked if all three overagers are from MLS

Posted by: Doug Life | February 27, 2008 04:27 PM
========================================

I think the MLS season will be underway, too. With regard to the six elderly Olympians that Goff mentioned above: Agoos and Lalas were in MLS at the time they were selected; Friedel and Keller were in EPL; Hejduk and Reyna were in the Bundesliga. (It should be noted that the 1996 Olympics were held in late July and early August.)

Posted by: tri-village | February 28, 2008 8:48 AM | Report abuse

What about:
Guzan, DeMerit, and Gibbs?

Cory can play LB and LCB. With Guzan in goal, and a defensive pairing of Gibbs, DeMerit, Edu, and Wynn; we solve all of our weak areas. Edu can push into the midfield to create a 3-5-2, or come back for a 4-4-2. With 5 mids, we can really use our best weapons to link up with Adu and Altidore. If we can make the best of our chances, then Bradley can push up like he does on his club team. Gibbs just played a full 90 with Charlton's reserves. If he gets more chances there, then he should be brought back into the national fold.

Posted by: Tucsonian | February 28, 2008 12:22 PM | Report abuse

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