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Bob Bradley talks U.S. roster, World Cup

With the World Cup six weeks away and training camp decisions nearing, U.S. Coach Bob Bradley addressed the roster outlook and several other issues during a media gathering in Manhattan on Thursday. Some highlights:

*He plans to bring 26 to 28 players into training camp at Princeton starting May 16.

How many slots, barring new injuries, are essentially set for the 23-man Cup roster?

"16 to 18, some days a little higher."

Bradley will continue to monitor players through next weekend (May 8-9) and then make decisions just before the May 11 FIFA deadline to submit the 30-man preliminary list. The final roster probably won't be set until after the second friendly, May 29 vs. Turkey.

As part of the evaluation process.....

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Bradley and the coaching staff solicited feedback from four confidantes -- he declined to name them but I'm guessing Bruce Arena and Peter Nowak were among them -- about who they thought should be on the final roster.

"All national team coaches have the challenge of where a lot of people have opinions as to who you should pick. We don't worry too much about what 99.9 percent of those people think, but one exercise I have done is go outside our coaching staff and ask four people, without me giving them any information, to give me their 23. A couple of them said to me, 'No, what about this guy? And I said, 'No, I don't want to say anything. You just give me your 23 because maybe it will bring up a discussion that we haven't thought of so far.' That's how we operate, knowing at the end of the day, there will be tough decisions. Honestly, no [it didn't change Bradley's thinking], but did it bring up a couple discussions that hadn't taken place? Yeah."

*On recovering forward Charlie Davies: "The fact that Charlie is this far along is great, but even within the framework of training, let's face it, there are different levels there." Bradley said it remains uncertain whether Davies will be invited to camp. "The final steps are the hardest steps. We still need to see where that goes."

*On Jermaine Jones, the oft-injured German-American midfielder: "It doesn't look good. What we have come to is a point along the way where, if it's not going to happen for the summer, he may need to have another surgical procedure" in order to be ready for the the next Bundesliga season with Schalke. "We are at that cross in the road. Jermaine has tried to hold off as long as he could to give this thing time but I think we'll know in the next week whether it has any hope."

*On Brian Ching, out with a hamstring injury: He is not in regular training with Houston and will be monitored over the next two weeks.

*On possible long-shot call-ups, such as in-form forwards Edson Buddle and Herculez Gomez: "It's a little bit of instinct, gut feel."

*On Buddle: "The easy thing to see is he has scored some incredible goals. As a young striker in the league, his talent came through on his ability to score. That part is not new. There has been a lot of maturing that has taken place in less obvious ways.. In less obvious ways, he has done a lot of little things [pressure on defender, etc]. Will that still be the case in international games?"

*On Gomez: "If you go back to his beginnings, everything he touched went into the net, his pure ability to strike a ball. And that has come back a little bit at Puebla. We try to project and factor" in determining whether he could succeed at a World Cup.

*On Jozy Altidore, who headbutted an opponent in England on Saturday: "These are steps for a player. ... His [overall] experience at Hull has helped him. There have been some good days. [Against Chelsea,] there was an extra edge in everything he did. And there are moments where it goes the other way."

*On DaMarcus Beasley: "He had some very good games [in the winter] and got back into the team and did well. Since then, it's been up and down, more down." The fact that his contract is up has impacted his playing time, Bradley believes. "DaMarcus is on the radar screen, and with it, there are still clearly some questions."

*Bradley said he does not have a definitive No. 2 goalkeeper in mind behind Tim Howard, but did make reference to Marcus Hahnemann's strong season with Wolves.

*On the left back situation, Bradley mentioned Carlos Bocanegra's regular role there for Rennes and Jonathan Bornstein, who "has played in some tough games along the way, come against some good players." He also said that "We have paid a lot of attention to the fact that Jonathan Spector has played more left back than right back for West Ham."

On the possibility of using midfielder Maurice Edu on the backline: "His experience playing in the Olympics as a center back absolutely helps as we look at things now. He hasn't played there regularly, but nonetheless, there is a comfortable level."

*On adapting to the altitude for all three group matches in South Africa: "We know what it was like when we got there [last year for Confederations Cup] and then how we felt as we moved along. When we put our programs together, we work hand in hand with some different people, some at the U.S. Olympic Committee. If you are at altitude early [at the start of training camp], you can't work as hard because you don't recover the same way. We wanted to start where we can work hard and build our base, knowing then that 12 days of being there [in South Africa] will be more than enough time to acclimatize. We've done all our research with regard to everything from oxygen tanks. We're still looking into certain things -- we don't want to miss anything. [Oxygen tents] are still being looked into."

The nearly 90-minute session was productive and informative. I will have a story in Friday's print edition and perhaps add more to the blog later. The Acela awaits.....

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By Steve Goff  |  April 29, 2010; 1:41 PM ET
Categories:  2010 World Cup , U.S. men's national team  | Tags: Bob Bradley, Brian Ching, Bruce Arena, Carlos Bocanegra, Charlie Davies, DaMarcus Beasley, Edson Buddle, FIFA World Cup, Jonathan Spector, Jozy Altidore, Oguchi Onyewu, Soccer, South Africa, U.S. national soccer team, World Cup  
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Please fire BB immediately...he's been looking at players for 4 years and has to wait this long to select his team he must be fired and get a decisive manager in immediately. All the top teams knew long ago who would represent them.

Posted by: euroman | April 29, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Nice work, Sr. Goff. I figured you were there to get an interview with Coach Bob. Good to know that Bradley has moved off that ridiculous, artificial mid-May deadline. That's what the friendlies are good for -- to get a look at where everybody is. So many injuries -- it's incumbent upon the coach to look at other players. Sounds like he's more positive about Gomez than Buddle, but maybe Arena has started a discussion.

Posted by: fischy | April 29, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

I'm pretty sure that no team's roster or starting lineup is set in stone. The USA's has to be more in flux now. It's just internet blathering to blame Bob Bradley.

Posted by: fischy | April 29, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

The core - as Bob said 16-18 players - is already decided...injuries (or more accurately, recoveries) and current form will drive the remainder of the decisions. No coach could do much better than that given our talent pool.

Posted by: soccerman | April 29, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

It is NOT as clear cut as people think it is as to who goes and who stays. Would we like the full strength squad that shocked the European champs in the COfederations Cup? Of course! Are all of those same players healthy? No they are not. Bradley is taking this to the wire because our first choice striker has decimated his chances in an accident that should never had happened had he followed curfew like a good little boy. He is now having to deal with the choice he made and the US is now suffering for it. Charlie Davies was becoming a fantastic striker for the USA and now to replace him it is not so easy. Clearly whoever replaces Davies is not a clear cut choice for number one.

Posted by: elfelixg | April 29, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Really euroman? Last time I checked the drama with the English and French starting XI is all over the place and in England's case has been for the last two years solid.

Thanks for getting in there Goff.

Posted by: DadRyan | April 29, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

No comment on EJ and Freddy? Doesn't Bob read Soccer Insider?

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | April 29, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

If BB already had his roster set, some would call for his head right now because he should be looking at ALL the players possible to make sure that he's got the best ones.

He is the manager currently and he will be our manager at the World Cup for 2010. The "FIRE BB" stuff is getting horrendously old and isn't going to happen. Get over it. Call for his head if/when we crash out of the group stage - I'll be there right beside you doing it.

Posted by: VercengetorixII | April 29, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Fire the next 4th, 8th, 15th, 16th, 23rd, & 42nd managers!

Posted by: addick | April 29, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Charlie Goes... The End,

His inspriation [and selling jersey's for Nike... I will have a Davies] are the heart the team needs

Posted by: Shanoni | April 29, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Davies may get the call to camp, but I cannot see him getting into the rotation in SA.

Posted by: nairbsod | April 29, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

If BB already had his roster set, some would call for his head right now because he should be looking at ALL the players possible to make sure that he's got the best ones.

He is the manager currently and he will be our manager at the World Cup for 2010. The "FIRE BB" stuff is getting horrendously old and isn't going to happen...
Posted by: VercengetorixII | April 29, 2010 2:04 PM
Yes, for heaven's sake. If others (I'm looking at you, euroman) were paying attention, they'd see lots of other international coaches working until the last minute to determine the final places on their rosters. Plus, the competition for those spots helps keep players sharp.

Posted by: schmuckatelli | April 29, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Bob said of Charlie today on ESPN's First Take... "We will get a good look at him in camp." Since Bradley keeps things so close to the vest, not sure if he meant to reveal that or not.

Posted by: amynin | April 29, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Fire Euroman! ...for over-egging the pudding...

Posted by: JkR- | April 29, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Charlie Davis is not going, I'm sorry to say. If you read between the lines, it is extremely unlikely that he is even getting an invite to Princeton. BB thinks that he is not ready and, in this one instance, BB might actually be right. It's too bad, but we have to be realistic.

The bigger problem with BB is that he is sooo conservative. It takes a long time for any player to convince him that he is worthy of inclusion. As a result, a disastrous player like DMB has a much better shot of being on the plane to SA than Buddle, Gomez, Bedoya, etc.

Posted by: jack35 | April 29, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

I'm guessing that having his comment so roundly criticized wasn't the reception euroman expected -- but, it does my heart good to see such rational, thoughtful, and informed responses to the usual play-to-the-crowd ignorant "fire the manager" comment that usually get too much internet love...

Posted by: fischy | April 29, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Shun euroman.

Posted by: Reignking | April 29, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Don't know why we would fire Bradley. He has actually grown on me. We are playing organized and have beat some top teams. More importantly, lets go Fulham.

Posted by: grubbsbl | April 29, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

His inspriation [and selling jersey's for Nike... I will have a Davies] are the heart the team needs Posted by: Shanoni

I'll take a bet that he's invited to camp, but not to South Africa. And inspiration plus a buck will get you a cup of coffee at 7-11, nothing else.

"Ooohh, I know I can just beat England singlehandedly because Charlie is on the bench. He's my hero!" Right.

Posted by: delantero | April 29, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

I question the decision not to start Dempsey. I know Hodgson likes to stick with his team but Dempsey is easily better than Gera and Davies. I guess it doesn't hurt to have someone with Dempsey's class on the bench.

Overall, the game has started brightly.

Posted by: grubbsbl | April 29, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

any chance we can fire Sven-Goran?

Posted by: hungrypug | April 29, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Well my streams out so I am going to the bar. To those watching it, enjoy the game.

Posted by: grubbsbl | April 29, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: the_slammer | April 29, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

To shun or to argy-bargy. That is the question.

Posted by: mason08 | April 29, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if Dempsey is one of the "16 to 18".

Posted by: Reignking | April 29, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Reignking | April 29, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Great job, Fulham!

Posted by: RedDevil1 | April 29, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

From what I know of BB, here are the players I would consider locks for his roster:

GK = howard, hanneman, guzan
D = boca, spector, demerit, dolo
M = bradley, clark, feilhaber, beasley, holden
F = altidore, donovan, dempsey

Guys who are marginal because of injury: davies, ching and gooch.

Guys I'd like to see, but who I don't think are locks in BB's mind: torres, bornstein, adu and jones.

Guys I think BB is considering who scare me: pearce, hejduk, kljestan and cassey.

That's 15 on my "locks" list. What do you guys think? Any names not on that list that you guys think are locks? Anybody you would put on the marginal list?

Posted by: Matte | April 29, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

I guess I missed Edu, didn't I. I think he should be on the lock list.

Posted by: Matte | April 29, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Dempsey comes on, match completely changes. Fulham through to the final. That guy might be up there at McBride level of legend in SW6 these days.

Posted by: Kev29 | April 29, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Matte, I am not sure if Beasley is a lock. He could be though. Great second half in the Fulham game. Congrats to Dempsey.

Posted by: grubbsbl | April 29, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

"Honestly, no [it didn't change Bradley's thinking], but did it bring up a couple discussions that hadn't taken place? Yeah."

this has to be about bornstein right?

Posted by: PindarPushkin | April 29, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Goodson a reserve central back. With Gooch and Goodson (both 6-4, I believe) on corner kicks, just need to float the service in there...

Do we have anyone who can hit a ball as precisely as Etcheverry? I loved the way he put a ball on a guy's laces from 50 yards (or more).

Posted by: Rand-al-Thor | April 29, 2010 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Well Liverpool are out. I wonder if they bother to show up against Chelsea on Sunday? I could use a Liverpool win...

Posted by: grubbsbl | April 29, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Bob's "16 to 18:"
3 Howard, Hahnemann, Guzan
9 Dolo, Spector, Bocanegra, Demerit, Bornstein, Onyewu
15 Edu, Bradley, Donovan, Dempsey, Feilhaber, Torres
16 Altidore
17/18 Goodson, Clark

After that you have to think either Ching or Casey is going, not both (19);
and Buddle (20) and Davies if all possible (I think it's doubtful, which means Herc may get that spot) (21);
Holden (22) if he is OK to play;
And someone from among Bedoya, Kljestan, Pearce and -- as a longshot -- Beasley. If Holden can't go I think you get two of these four.

Posted by: scott47a | April 29, 2010 5:54 PM | Report abuse

GK = howard, hanneman, guzan
D = boca, spector, demerit, dolo
M = bradley, clark, feilhaber, beasley, holden
F = altidore, donovan, dempsey

Guys who are marginal because of injury: davies, ching and gooch.

Posted by: Matte | April 29, 2010 4:58 PM

Holden is also injured.
On defense, Bornstein is a lock.
In midfield, Torres is a lock, DMB & Clark are longshots.
At forward, add Casey, Cooper, and maybe Johnson to camp.

So, here are my invitees to the camp.

GK = howard, hanneman, guzan
D = boca, spector, demerit, dolo, PLUS Bornstein, Gooch(injured), Goodson, Marshall, Pearce, and maybe Hejduk, Orazco, and Castillo
M = bradley, clark, feilhaber, beasley(definitely not a lock), edu, holden (injured), PLUS Torres, Beckerman, Rogers
F = altidore, donovan, dempsey, PLUS Ching(injured), Cooper, Casey, Johnson, and maybe David(injured).

Posted by: jack35 | April 29, 2010 5:54 PM | Report abuse

16-18 slots seems absurdly high for being so close to tournament time. Bornstein probably has a slot only because Bradley seems to favor him. Its not so much the roster as much as Bob's ability to make half time adjustments against other coaches that worries me going into the Cup.

Posted by: Verdeball | April 29, 2010 5:55 PM | Report abuse

I forgot Bedoya in midfield. I'd invite him to camp as well.

Posted by: jack35 | April 29, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse

was Jozy booted back to Villareal already?

Posted by: TheWashDipsSince88 | April 29, 2010 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Jozy is on loan at Hull City until June 30 (if it's a good World Cup, perhaps it is the Villarreal).

The list of Bradley is difficult, it is clear that the other names are missing the injured and is waiting for May.

Posted by: noonan_17 | April 29, 2010 7:23 PM | Report abuse

"Dempsey is easily better than Gera and Davies."

Posted by: grubbsbl

Perhaps a bit of poor timing on your comment, as Gera and Davies are the two names on the scoresheet for Fulham this evening.

Posted by: daandre3 | April 29, 2010 8:15 PM | Report abuse

Is it too late for Najar to switch citizenship? He's still listed as Honduran . . . but I am thinkin' he'd look good in Blue, white, and RED!!

Posted by: delantero | April 29, 2010 8:57 PM | Report abuse

Espn has hired Jurgi Klinnsman for the world cup

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | April 29, 2010 9:18 PM | Report abuse

@daandre3 - Perhaps a little season history is in order. Tonight was Davies first goal of the season, and Gera's third. So, add them up, double them, and you get Dempsey's total of 6 for the season. That includes Clint's sublime goal against Juventus to put Fulham through that stage - easily one of the goals of the year. Believe me, I'm thrilled that Gera and Davies scored tonight, and I would never question the strategy of Roy Hodgson. But grubbsbl is right, beyond just goal scoring, Zamora is the legs, Murphy the heart, and Dempsey the brain of Fulham.

Posted by: harkes4ever | April 29, 2010 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Oops. Never mind the poor math, but the point is still valid.

Posted by: harkes4ever | April 29, 2010 9:39 PM | Report abuse

OT but anyone else hear the Caps comments on NPR this afternoon about how DC has not won any sports championship since 1992?

The speaker, Patsis or something, must be from here, and Melissa Bloooock ("I'm Melissa Blooooooock") certainly is, so there's no excuse.

I was so livid I nearly choked on my tofu.

Posted by: fallschurch1 | April 29, 2010 10:15 PM | Report abuse

I have now sent NPR a sternly worded email telling them I am mothballing their tote bag and using my hemp tote bag instead until they issue an apology.

Posted by: fallschurch1 | April 29, 2010 10:37 PM | Report abuse

@harkes4ever: it was slightly tongue in cheek; I found it extremely amusing timing that the exact two names called out were the two scorers, but carried no implication they are better players. Although, being Welsh, I AM partial to Simon Davies.

The other part of your stats to take into consideration is that Davies was out injured most of the season, but traditionally he's been a very strong contributor from the wing.

Posted by: daandre3 | April 30, 2010 7:54 AM | Report abuse

@daandre3 - Always been a fan of Davies as well, my gf's last name is Davies, although her family is from Leeds. And, I may have gone a little over board last night, my celebration started when I bought a round for the bar right after Gera's goal. Those Fuller's will sneak up on you!

Posted by: harkes4ever | April 30, 2010 9:11 AM | Report abuse

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