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U.S. World Cup squad taking shape

Three months from today, the 23 players selected to the U.S. World Cup squad will begin gathering for the start of training camp ahead of two friendlies and then the journey to South Africa. Most will be from foreign clubs; in one model, I have as few as 5 1/2 MLS representatives. (For the time being, Landon Donovan is both a Galaxy and Everton player.)

Who will make the cut? We'll get a sneak preview before the March 3 friendly against the Netherlands in Amsterdam -- a match that falls on an international fixture date and, subsequently, allows for top-flight call-ups.

Many of the World Cup selections are essentially in place, and barring late medical setbacks or significant fitness issues, will not change. The locks are:


GK Tim Howard (Everton)
GK Brad Guzan (Aston Villa)
D Oguchi Onyewu (AC Milan)
D Carlos Bocanegra (Rennes)
D Jay DeMerit (Watford)
D Jonathan Spector (West Ham)
MF-F Landon Donovan (Galaxy-Everton)
MF-F Clint Dempsey (Fulham)
MF Michael Bradley (Moenchengladbach)
MF Ricardo Clark (Eintracht Frankfurt)
MF Stuart Holden (Bolton)
F Jozy Altidore (Hull City)

We're also close to adding:

D Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA)
MF Benny Feilhaber (Aarhus)
MF Jose Francisco Torres (Pachuca)
MF Maurice Edu (Glasgow Rangers)
MF Robbie Rogers (Columbus)

The squad is also going to need a target forward:
Conor Casey (Colorado) or Brian Ching (Houston)

Another central defender:
Chad Marshall (Columbus) or Clarence Goodson (Start)

Perhaps another option at right back:
Steve Cherundolo (Hanover)

And a third goalkeeper:
Marcus Hahnemann (Wolverhampton) is starting in the Premier League -- and comfortable stepping into the lineup if something were to happen to Howard -- so he gets the edge over Troy Perkins (D.C.). His experience might also put him in position to challenge the younger Guzan for the No. 2 slot.

That would leave two roster spots available....

The latest developments concerning Americans abroad have certainly added intrigue to the selection process: DaMarcus Beasley's return to Rangers' lineup; Eddie Johnson's playing time with Aris; and Freddy Adu's appearances (and goal) for the Greek side.

Mystery surrounds forward Charlie Davies (Sochaux) and defender Edgar Castillo (Tigres). Davies continues to make remarkable progress rehabilitating from severe injuries suffered in a car accident but, even if healthy, would be hard-pressed to be in form to make a Cup impact. Castillo would provide an option on the left side but has spent so little time with the U.S. team since switching allegiance from Mexico.

We'll also have to continue monitoring forwards Kenny Cooper (Plymouth) and Robbie Findley (Real Salt Lake) and midfielder Alejandro Bedoya (Orebro). Barring a scoring surge in England, Cooper doesn't appear to be in the mix. Findley offers frontline speed in Davies' absence and Bedoya can run the flanks.

On the fringe: Defenders Jimmy Conrad, Frank Simek and Marvell Wynne; midfielders Sacha Kljestan and Kyle Beckerman; forward Jeff Cunningham; and Jermaine Jones, the German-American midfielder from Schalke who has suffered repeated setbacks in his comeback from a leg injury and has yet to be healthy for a U.S. camp.

I will take a closer look at specific players and positions in the coming weeks.

Please share your thoughts.....

By Steve Goff  |  February 15, 2010; 2:59 PM ET
Categories:  2010 World Cup , Americans Abroad , MLS , U.S. men's national team  
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Comments

i thought robbie rogers looked awful against honduras, if adu keeps his level of play up i could see him easily grabbing that roster spot. hopefully he'll get a chance against the netherlands.

Posted by: joe_hill | February 15, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Not sold on Bornstein after seeing him get torched during Confed cup. Castillo merits a serious look, and, if he's up to it, its Def. worth it to give Davies a run out before the cup to see where he's at. If nothing else, they should have him travel with the team, talk about inspiration...

And here's hoping that EJ picks up his game amd helps us avoid deciding between Ching and Casey.

Posted by: me_ahogo | February 15, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

yeah, i agree davies should be made honoray water boy or something to have him on the bench and keep the guys perspective right. maybe frankie hedjuk should be along in some cheerleading role as well.

Posted by: joe_hill | February 15, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

About right. Calling Gooch a lock before his actual return is a bit of a stretch. He has to be penciled in, but I'd be anxious until I see him play.

I'd move Bornstein, Feilhaber and Cherundolo to the "lock" side.

If the Fringe players make the squad, we're going to be in deep kimshee.

Posted by: delantero | February 15, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Please hold back Casey.

Posted by: redskinsux | February 15, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

yes I'm screaming here..

PLEASE NOT BRIAN CHING. PLEASE.

I've played on co-ed teams that have had better forwards than Brian Ching.

Posted by: jase700 | February 15, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

i don't think robbie rogers will make the squad.

Posted by: andrew23 | February 15, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

NO BRIAN CHING... I am scream with Jase700.

No, nada, no way...

Posted by: Shanoni | February 15, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Bornstein has earned a trip to SA. The others, no. Not yet, anyway.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | February 15, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Lot of this has be viewed through Bradley's eyes . . meaning any player who has sweated out the Qualifiers, the Confed Cup and is uninjured, has to be considered front runner . . . for the simple fact of cohesion, experience, and coaching staff's knowledge of player's abilities, etc

Posted by: delantero | February 15, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Bedoya and Feilhaber are both currently injured.

As much as this saddens me (I like attacking midfield options) this leaves the Netherlands game wide open for Torres to make an impression, either on the left of in the center. The squad deserves someone who can control rhythm and pass.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | February 15, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

I would switch Torres and Fielhaber (ankle injury notwithstanding) for Holden and Clark. Its up in the air whether Holden or Clark will get any PT with their respective clubs prior to the WC while Torres and Fielhaber get solid minutes with their respective clubs (when healthy).

Posted by: dcfan11 | February 15, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

$5 says Casey and Ching are both on the roster.

Posted by: benonthehill | February 15, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

To me it's less a question of Ching, but of Ching vs Casey vs Findley vs Cunningham vs EJ, etc.

I think Ching's an option in that case. I think he's better than Casey, and is certainly faster and is more skilled in the air.

Findley's asset is speed and he is the forward that most resembles Davies' attributes . . speed. He's woefully inexperienced though. Although I might have said that about Davies up until last year too!

Posted by: delantero | February 15, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Immediately insert Castillo in left back, PLEEEASE. He has the speed and can get forward.. scored golazo earlier this year.

It will have to be a total change in direction for Big Bradley to bring in some of the (most likely) better players who haven't been in camp. I think he holds allegiance to some of these players and will give them a token ticket on the plane. Whether we like it or not Olsen got that from Bruce in '06.

Posted by: inzzo79 | February 15, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

I bet $5 bucks benonthehill is right. The only way I see Ching not going is if he is injured. There's just not a lot of depth in the front and anyone who's fit and starting for their club teams is going.

Posted by: DadRyan | February 15, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Adu continues to disappoint, notwithstanding a goal in the Greek league. Can't we please write him off? Let's hope everyone recovers from their various injuries, with no more setbacks.

Most impressive of all is the level of analysis. We are lucky indeed to have the Insider. "Big hitter, the Insider."

Posted by: Section304 | February 15, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

does anyone else feel amazed/sad/worried/glad to see
MF Ricardo Clark (Eintracht Frankfurt)
MF Stuart Holden (Bolton)

its a bizarre group of emotions for any dynamo fan.

Posted by: crocken | February 15, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Nobody will be "immediately slotted in", and there will not be many new faces added to the pool. It is SO much more important to get 11 guys playing together on the pitch than it is to get the best 11 players onto the pitch. A national team coach has almost zero time to build team cohesion. Finding guys who play well together and giving them the time to build up some chemistry is half the strategy of the qualifying campaign. (Qualifying being the not-insigificant other half.)

And so Goff's list is close to complete. Will Ching go to the WC? He well might. Is he a world-class striker? No, but everybody on the team knows how to play with him, and he knows how to play with them. And that is priceless.

That being said, it is too bad we won't be seing the Charlie-and-Jozy show, cuz they were really beginning to light it up. Personally, I'd like to see Clint and Jozy up front, but it may be too late in the game to make that happen. (But Clint *did* play forward at the Confed Cup! So, here's hoping.)

Posted by: glfrazier | February 15, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

No Danny Williams? ;)

Posted by: Reignking | February 15, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

I would like to see Jeremiah White given a look but, he seems to have conflicts with the coaching staff (do you blame him?)I would rather see Kenny Cooper and Eddie Johnson over Ching and Conor "The Lumberjack" Casey any day. If Bradley calls Bornstein up for the WC, I will seriously assume that he has some sort of secret that he and Bradley intimately share... just saying. The player pool has potential to compete, I am just not confident in the coaching staff. We need more international experience on the staff. I mean, we just hired an MLS player as one of the coaches. What the heck Gulatti? Bring in Klinsmann for 2014!!!

Posted by: petepstl7 | February 15, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

What Chest says...

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | February 15, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Ching is in. I don't think he deserves to be, but Bradley has always included him when available and has given not even a hint that he will leave him out. I'm scared Hedjuk is in to be honest. In no way do i think he deserves to go, but Bradley has played him a ton. Likewise Adu isn't playing in the WC. I guarantee it. He hasn't been called in hardly at all. And even if he scores 10 with the Greek team (which won't happen) Bradley won't give him a look unless all the other options are hurt.

Bradley doesn't pick based on skill, or at least skill on the ball. Not sure what his selection process really is but i guess its more of a teamwork, work rate, listens to him, kind of deal. He has these guys he likes and they are in no matter what. He'll give a guy 10 shots if he likes him no matter how bad he is (see Heath Pearce).

The time for messing with his roster was last year and he didn't do it much, so you're looking at Ching, Casey, Bornstein, etc. guaranteed in. Beasley might still make it, Klejstan is probably still an option as well. Those are the kind of guys he'll bring in for the last spots, guys he knows what he'll get from. I'm worried about Torres, he won't play him even he picks him on the roster, but he'll probably squeak in and not get a minute.

I'm saying barring a minor miracle or amazingly outstanding form, no Castillo or any "new" face, if they haven't played 10 games so far, odds are against them being chosen.

Posted by: Brian76 | February 15, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Too bad Torres is such a good, technical player. otherwise, he would make a great addition to the US roster.

Posted by: DCUSince96 | February 15, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

@ Section 304 -- Let's see: Adu is finally playing again, making contributions on offense, and, perhaps most importantly, displaying strong effort and a real motor on defense. And he's still just 20. Aaaaaannnnd just a year and a half ago he was putting in great performances in friendlies against Argentina and Spain. Yes, let's be idiots and "write him off". Puke. Let's face it: he could make the World Cup squad, score goals, and haters like you would say, "notwithstanding his goals in South Africa, he continues to disappoint." No, he's not Pele. But he's already proven in the past that he has the ability to be a contributor with the national team against top competition. He needs to show that he can do it again, and quickly. Perhaps it's not likely, but it's certainly possible. Anyone trying to write-off a 20 year old is stupid. Period.

@ Goff -- I don't think either Clark or Holden are locks at this point. Clark has a knock, and neither have played a minute with their new clubs. I think Clark has the best shot of the two, especially if Edu and Jones are still hobbled. Torres and Feilhaber are closer to being locks, in my opinion. I also think Bornstein's spot is in serious jeopardy. If Castillo gets a couple more looks, I think Bornstein stays home. I think Cherundolo is a lock. Also, I think Rogers isn't close to a lock. Lost in all the hand-wringing over Adu's poor showing in last summer's Gold Cup was Rogers's playing just as poorly. He needs to get off to a blazing start in MLS play. I don't like Marshall much -- too darn slow. But he's probably the best bet to provide depth in central defense. We desperately need Onyewu to get healthy and find his form. Wrap him and DeMerit in bubblewrap and we have a chance.

Lastly, I think we'd be just fine without Ching AND Casey. Ching's done nothing of note in quite a while with the national team. Casey had one terrific performance in Honduras but has been dead weight in more than a dozen other appearances. Altidore now is a better option, even in the "target forward" role. Hell, I'd rather see Dempsey in that role instead of Ching or Casey. But if it has to be one of Ching and Casey, I'd definitely go with Casey at this point, especially if he picks up where he left off in MLS play.

Posted by: DEFPOTEC1 | February 15, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

I would love to see Chris Rolfe make an immediate impact at Aalborg and sneak on to the team. Won't happen, but he has a way of snapping off shots from improbable positions.

Posted by: b18bolo | February 15, 2010 5:16 PM | Report abuse

I hope to Davies makes it to the World Cup Roster and proves everyone wrong.

GO DAVIES GO!!

Posted by: Bigmon411 | February 15, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

I agree with the locks and the "almost" players are on my plane.

I would take Ching over Casey and Goodson over Marshall though I think all 4 will ultimatley make the cut.

Cherundolo is in.

The last two spots? TBD although I believe Sasha and Kyle have the inside track. Then again, they didn't show well in their previous outtings, and there ARE other options out there.

Just what I think is going to happen, not what I would like to see though.

Posted by: SoccerVA | February 15, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

http://www.marca.com/2010/02/15/futbol/futbol_internacional/1266263385.html

PK by Fred (not Philly's) where he completely stops, fakes his shot, and then shoots. Horrible.

Posted by: Reignking | February 15, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Man, those injuries are serious downers for this team. Davies and Gooch. Funny. I was never spectacularly impressed with either of them when they were healthy, but when you start looking at the "depth" chart, it's a little scary.

Posted by: Matte | February 15, 2010 5:44 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand why you and other soccer journalists/analysts STILL think and pick Rogers should be called/included in the final 23!!!!???? He is and has been an awful player and has/can/will not compete at top international level at all. He hasn't impressed me at MLS nor US Intl games. Unless Bradley has a personal obligation to do so HE SHOULD NOT BE INCLUDED in the team. How could you letand would an injustice if the likes of Findley and Adu be replaced with the slow/awkward Rogers?

Posted by: chuck1956 | February 15, 2010 5:52 PM | Report abuse

there sure are a lot of locks there...more than are warranted I think. Especially Rico Clark who was decidedly behind Edu int he pecking order before Edu's injury.

Posted by: teo_68 | February 15, 2010 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Adu and Beasley have to make the squad. It's that simple.

We need to score goals. Adu and Beasley will help us score goals. I'm not saying we should necessarily use them against England. But both players will be useful against both Slovenia and Algeria, teams that may play defensively and possibly bunker depending on the circumstances. At that point, you need players who can on the offensive and create. Feilhaber, Holden, and Torres are all creators. But Adu and Beasley are at least as good as them.

Here's the situation: you're down a goal with 20 minutes left against Slovenia or Algeria. Who do you want to bring on the field? Adu and Beasley jump to the top of the list.

Posted by: yvesmontand | February 15, 2010 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Locks: Gooch is on the plane if fit, but is he starting over DeMerit without getting games in?

Holden has only recently cracked the bench on this team, and just made his first bench at Bolton yesterday. If he can't go one further and start making regular sub/occasional starting appearances for Bolton, I think you have to seriously wonder if he's in or out. The door's open, but he's got to walk through it.

Close to adding group: Bornstein is a lock at this point, whether the knee-jerk group against him likes it or not (and really, you're not an MLS player on the national team without a knee-jerk group of haters). The rest of this list will probably get in, though I'm starting to wonder about Edu. Didn't he rehab his knee, make an appearance or two, then go back to not playing? Rangers has a winning team, so Edu is going to have to go through an awful lot to get minutes. If he's not playing at all, you have to at least consider going another way.

Casey vs. Ching: It's a tough call. We all know Bradley is taking one of them. Casey is more of a goal threat, but Ching is better at pretty much everything else. I have no idea who I'd choose at this point. Hopefully one can start the MLS season on fire.

Marshall vs. Goodson: Give me Goodson. I think his ceiling as a player is lower than Marshall's, but I also think Marshall is much, much less reliable. Our 4th center back might get called to make just one appearance; you don't want to send a roll of the dice out there.

Cherundolo: Who's going to step up ahead of him? Wynne? Give me a break. We only have 2 good right backs, and Cherundolo is one of them. He's in.

Hahnemann vs. Perkins: Hahnemann's got more experience and is playing at a higher level. He's also been around the squad more, if Bradley wants to use the #3 keeper the same way Arena did (which, for what it's worth, seemed silly to me at the time and still does today). It would be great to see someone connected to United on the plane, but I don't think it's going to happen.

Last two spots: I'd take Beasley if he's fit. He seems to be over last year's malaise, and when available he's playing on a strong Rangers team. That leaves me with one spot...

At this point, I'm going to guess Findley is taken as a wild card. He's the poor man's Davies, and internationally he's a total unknown. Plus, when you look at the squad, we will need another striker. Johnson is a longshot at this point, since I have no faith in him being able to get into actual good form (starting on a non-CL Greek club is not that impressive to me) and stay in that kind of form, and that's exactly what he'll have to do to make it. So, at this point, I think Findley gets the nod due to lack of better options.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | February 15, 2010 6:42 PM | Report abuse

40 days until United's first 2010 league match!

Posted by: Curious99 | February 15, 2010 6:53 PM | Report abuse

What Chest says...
Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish
============

Ditto

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | February 15, 2010 7:37 PM | Report abuse

I would not bet against Davies making the roster.

Posted by: dsheon1 | February 15, 2010 8:24 PM | Report abuse

@glfrazier:

I completely disagree that the team should be compromised of players who have played together just for that reason alone. None of the players beyond the 'lock' list are established on the international level. For me, this leaves positions like outside players open for competition.

Is this the way Bradley will make his decision? Probably not. Castillo is superior to at the position.

Posted by: inzzo79 | February 15, 2010 8:30 PM | Report abuse

I dont understand why a healthy Davies wouldn't be a lock for a spot. Gooch is in a similar situation where he may be healthy but not fit yet he is definitely in. I feel like even a not fit Davies is capable of contributing more than any of the other options at forward that are being discussed. Add the tremendous psychological boost his inclusion would give the team and it seems like a no brainer to me.

Posted by: pino149 | February 15, 2010 8:48 PM | Report abuse

Coach Bradley must remember he represents the best interest of a NATION! The interpersonal loyalty "owed" to a few veterans MUST NOT compromise the MISSION.

The most mature player at each slot - simple...please Bob, don't make the "I owe him - he's been faithful to the system" excuse.

YesterYear's performances are not indicative of this year's WC gains.

Finally, the "post up target" that we seem to be searching for is none other than Clint Dempsey - so that means we can STOP THIS FOOLISH talk of Connor Casey (truly a waste of a jersey - he could not even make a English 3rd Division side!) Play Dempsey up top and run speed off of him. He has showed the touch required to make connecting passes if folks will be FAITHFUL to make the post-run.

Bob, this is for our NATION and NOT the USSF and it's politics...

Posted by: oneborntwice | February 15, 2010 9:34 PM | Report abuse

It may be a miracle but we need Davies to be healthy even if Depsey starts up top with Jozy because that depth up top is unfulfilling. If not maybe Bedoya if he begins to score in Norway.

Also I think Beasley with the experience of playing in two cups has the inside track as long as he keeps up his form at Rangers.

I think Ching has the edge over Casey because of his Cup experience and because they are both equally crappy. It would be great to see Cooper blow up in the Championship and take the slot.

Goodson over Marshall, better form, better experience, and he is a Terp.

Cherundlo brings valuable leadership and can play solidly on the right if they want to slide Spector inside.

And Hanneman over Perkins, his Premiership experience and knowledge of English players will be valuable for this team.

Posted by: peteywheatstraw | February 15, 2010 10:06 PM | Report abuse

To me the roster should be:
starting 11
------------howard
Cherundolo,Demerit, Bocanegra,Spector
Donovan,Bradley, Edu, Torres
------Dempsey, Altidore
Extras assuming health:
K:Guzan, (Hahnemann,Alt.)
Backs: Gooch,Goodson,Bornstein(Simek,alt.)
Mids:Rolfe,Clark,Feilhaber,Beasley,Holden
Fwds:Cooper,Adu,Cunningham, (findley,Alt.)
Comparing players based on playing time in MLS vs. Europe makes no sense. All of these players in europe that are in the pool would unquestionably start in MLS and shine. Players should be picked on ability to perform and impact the game in our FAVOR. Furthermore if you can carry alternates and activate in case of injury , why take a third keeper on roster when he has no chance of playing.Take hejduk as an emotional assistant and davies as waterboy.

Posted by: m20001 | February 15, 2010 10:29 PM | Report abuse

Bob, this is for our NATION and NOT the USSF and it's politics...

Posted by: oneborntwice
-----------------------------------

Gimme a break. Do you really think Bradley is going to let anything other than HIS OPINION on who will help him win decide the roster and starters?

That is utterly ridiculous!

Fans and journalists will always second guess coaches (I have, too) but to suggest that our national team coach will let "politics" affect his choices is just absurd on it's face. You can disagree with his decisions, but it's HIS personal legacy rides on the success or failure of this squad.

Take a chill pill.

Posted by: PrinceBuster21 | February 15, 2010 10:34 PM | Report abuse

You've got to wonder where the goals are going to come from. We'll have only one actual forward (Altidore) on the team and two midfielders who can play up top (Donovan and Dempsey). I actually hope he just moves Dempsey up there permanently.

Posted by: diego_r | February 15, 2010 11:07 PM | Report abuse

bornstein is too week too slow to defend at this level.

Posted by: castroviejo | February 15, 2010 11:14 PM | Report abuse

As a coach I would still hesitate on picking Davies. Staying up way past curfew until 2:00am on a game day and getting in a car with a drunk driver are not exactly good qualities in a young and developing player. I think he needs to sit out this world cup and get healthy. Of course looking at the option of an injury prone Beasley isn’t exactly an easy choice.

If only McBride were a little younger or Cooper had a bit more experience they would be great options as far as having a big and physical player up front to pound a few goals in, isn’t Moreno an American yet?

Posted by: Southeasterner | February 15, 2010 11:34 PM | Report abuse

Southeasterner,

He is not the first soccer player to stay out past curfew and will not be the last, that said you make it seem like he should sit out of the cup as a punishment. I feel like getting in a fatal car accident is punishment enough. I say if he can somehow get healthy by the world cup he deserves a spot.

Posted by: pino149 | February 16, 2010 1:28 AM | Report abuse

Gimme a break. Do you really think Bradley is going to let anything other than HIS OPINION on who will help him win decide the roster and starters?

That is utterly ridiculous!

Fans and journalists will always second guess coaches (I have, too) but to suggest that our national team coach will let "politics" affect his choices is just absurd on it's face. You can disagree with his decisions, but it's HIS personal legacy rides on the success or failure of this squad.

Take a chill pill.

Posted by: PrinceBuster21 | February 15, 2010 10:34 PM

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

Prince,

uhhh, yes he is heavily influenced since "he" collects a paycheck from them. They did not give him carte blanche - he is A voice at the table. Why? Because money talks.

This is the single greatest endeavor in US Soccer and you actually think its ONE man decision? With tens of millions of dollars at stake - this ain't like some college sports program (where some dude is looking to be a legend)...I don't do not think Bob is the only coach ;)


C'mon...if it really were ONE man's decision, he could show us he has the wisdom to select the most skillful winners to represent us! So, I hope you are actually right Prince....

One think is true though - the USSF "is" the boss.

Posted by: oneborntwice | February 16, 2010 1:38 AM | Report abuse

Southeasterner,

He is not the first soccer player to stay out past curfew and will not be the last, that said you make it seem like he should sit out of the cup as a punishment. I feel like getting in a fatal car accident is punishment enough. I say if he can somehow get healthy by the world cup he deserves a spot.

Posted by: pino149 | February 16, 2010 1:28 AM | Report abuse

Partially as a punishment partially as by the fact that he hasn’t been playing for how many months now? Even if we were talking about Donovan, if he was out most of the year leading up to the WC he wouldn’t be on the roster. Davies won’t be back playing until maybe the end of next month giving him a full 2 months of playing before playing England?

Sorry he blew it.

Posted by: Southeasterner | February 16, 2010 4:11 AM | Report abuse

What does Bradley really care about the USSF, since this is his first and last World Cup anyway. Guaranteed he's not around after S.A., so he picks his team based on his opinion, and the influence of the USSF be damned. Which is how it should be. What's the USSF gonna do if they don't like his squad, fire Bob right before the World Cup? Don't think so.

Posted by: loosek | February 16, 2010 4:45 AM | Report abuse

Even more hilarious than the paranoia over USSF "influencing" Bob is the thought that the USSF cares a jot one way or the other regarding who goes. The only motivation that ANYBODY has wrt who goes to WC is getting wins. I'm sure, just like all of us, the USSF has opinions on which players are best suited to make that happen, but there is no way they are messing with The Bob's selections.

In more futbol-crazy nations, the PUBLIC's opinion can influence selections (as the public can force folks out of their jobs), but happily for The Bob he is coaching in the US, where only a few of us nut-jobs know or care about who he might select.

I've already said it, but you have to realize that the Bob's principle concern is how to craft a team. Just as Greece won Euro 04 with 11 players who would not have started on most of the other European teams, Bob is trying to craft a side whose whole is greater than the sum of its parts. He is trying to find the guys that play together well. We can all debate as to whether or not he is succeeding, but to actually believe that he has some other motive in mind for selecting a player is ridiculous.

Posted by: glfrazier | February 16, 2010 7:02 AM | Report abuse

Coach has his core players picked. I'm not concerned about the individuals on the squad. It is what it is. What is most important is utilizing players in their strength positions and molding team shape on both sides of the ball. I see the greatest roadblock being over-conservatism; too much thinking and not letting instinct take over.

Posted by: juke2 | February 16, 2010 8:47 AM | Report abuse

The U.S.'s fate will be determined whether they take Conor Casey with them or not... If Casey makes the squad for the World Cup we won't have a shot at making it out of the group... he has been nothing short of a waste of space up top and our attacking threat will essentially be nothing if he's playing for the US in the world cup... Without a legitmate attacking threat teams will not be threatened by us and continue to pound us on defense, and our defense is not solid enough with Onyewu coming back from injury to withstand that kind of beating for 3 games at the top level.

Posted by: mchoate | February 16, 2010 8:49 AM | Report abuse

The US needs a skilled, clinical finisher. That could be a tall target forward, but so far McBride is the best we've produced and none have come close to him when he was at his zenith. Davies was en route to being that finisher. Findley has the potential. In the end it's going to be - who is the best strike partner for Altidore, with support from Donovan, Dempsey and company. Ching doesn't fit, neither does Casey. Maybe either one of them as back up to Altidore but not as starters. It all depends on recovery for Davies, and Findley's head. After that, we're in trouble.

Posted by: dsheon1 | February 16, 2010 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Goodson over Marshall -- Goodson has two international goals already to Marshall's none. Set pieces are crucial in World Cup play, and Goodson is more dangerous in the air.

Posted by: Rand-al-Thor | February 16, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

How anyone in his or her right mind could pick EJ over Ching is beyond me. EJ is AFRAID OF THE GOAL.

Posted by: JRandomReader | February 16, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

After watching Friedel play against Man Utd last week, and in a few other Villa games this season, I am not sure how he is not competing for another starting GK appearance. He has been exceptional this season for Aston Villa. Guzan is a backup for him at Villa, which makes absolutely no sense as to why he is in the "locks" listed above. Friedel still has some gas in the tank, as he's played in 200+ consecutive games in the EPL, and he brings more experience than anyone in a US uniform today.

Also, Kyle Beckerman should be a lock. He's a better player than Bradley, and given the opporunity (which he will never get b/c of the coach/son relationship), he would prove himself.

Just my two cents...

Posted by: BmoreManUtd | February 16, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Heard this over the weekend, but US Soccer posted it today - Goodson is coming to camp for the El Salvador match.

http://www.ussoccer.com/News/Mens-National-Team/2010/02/Clarence-Goodson-to-Join-US-Camp-before-Match-against-El-Salvador.aspx

Posted by: soccerman | February 16, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Friedel retired from international play. If he had not, he'd certainly still be our #1 -- over the last decade, he has been the best goalie in the EPL, and possibly the world. (Others might argue Buffon, of course.)

Posted by: glfrazier | February 16, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

If only McBride were a little younger or Cooper had a bit more experience they would be great options as far as having a big and physical player up front to pound a few goals in, isn’t Moreno an American yet?

Posted by: Southeasterner | February 15, 2010 11:34 PM
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Cap-tied to another country, perhaps?

Posted by: universityandpark | February 16, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

The presence of Casey, Ching or Rogers, any of them, will be a sign that somebody is not making the right selections. With respect to Casey and Ching, yes, it would be nice to have a big target up front, but they have to be able play forward in the first place. Neither Casey is particularly bad. If you want a big guy up front, you'd be better off playing Gooch at forward. Casey is slow, clumsy and totally lacking aim and technique. of these guys are worth anything at the World Cup level. Rogers' worth is almost as questionable at the World Cup level.

Posted by: joebrinker | February 16, 2010 10:16 PM | Report abuse

For those of you hoping Friedel will make a return to the MNT in time for the WC, join the the Facebook cause, Brad Friedel: Come Back for the World Cup!

Posted by: joebrinker | February 16, 2010 10:20 PM | Report abuse

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