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US National Team roster picks

There is one month left before the US begins its final preparations for the World Cup with a match against the Czech Republic in East Hartford, Connecticut. So, it seems like a good time to discuss the possible 23 man roster that Bob Bradley will prepare for South Africa. Because of some recent impressive performances there are several new faces that need to be considered as potential World Cup players.

Both Edson Buddle and Herculez Gomez have given Bob Bradley reason to think about his stable of forwards. Since both Charlie Davies and Oguchi Onyewu have not played a competitive match in many months, they should not be considered locks to make the World Cup roster. While Onyewu has to have a strong possibility of making the roster, Charlie Davies may be a bubble battler at this point.

So who should make up the 23 man roster? Let’s look at the forwards. The list of forwards includes Brian Ching, Kenny Cooper, Casey Conor, Charlie Davies, Eddie Johnson, Robbie Findley, Jozy Altidore, Jeff Cunnigham, Justin Braun, and Marcus Tracy, Edson Buddle, and Herculez Gomez. Given that we have greater strength in midfield, I suspect we will only see four forwards selected.

Many of these forwards have not really been involved in the US National Team set up, or at best have only some slight connection. For example, Marcus Tracy got called up, but didn’t play. Edson Buddle and Herculez Gomez haven’t featured for the team in this World Cup cycle, but they have been looked at in the past. Others like Kenny Cooper, Eddie Johnson, Jeff Cunningham, and Robbie Findley have seen little playing time.

The only player that must make a forward roster position is Jozy Altidore. After that Kenny Cooper hasn’t been playing and Brian Ching was recently injured. Justin Braun has almost no experience and Eddie Johnson hasn’t improved enough while in Greece. As a target forward I would have to go with Conor Casey, so that’s two spots.

I would like to take a chance on Charlie Davies, but who knows what his ability is at this point. To be safe, I would leave Charlie Davies at home. I would look for a speedy forward and given the options, I think that Herculez Gomez is the best pick at this point but, unfortunately, it might be difficult to bring in a player who hasn’t previously been with the team – it could really screw up the team’s chemistry. Instead I would choose Robbie Findley. Given the lack of options I would pick Eddie Johnson for the fourth spot.

Now, let’s move on to midfielders. There is a lot of strength here, so I would pick 8 midfielders. Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, and Michael Bradley are automatic picks. After that I would look at defensive midfielders, and given the injury to Jermaine Jones and Ricardo Clark’s lack of playing time, I would pick Maurice Edu. After that Jose Francisco Torres and Benny Feilhaber both look like strong options. That leaves two more picks. DaMarcus Beasley is back to not playing, so I wouldn’t pick him. Stuart Holden hasn’t had much playing time either. Alejandro Bedoya has been playing well and could be a decent wing player. Finally, maybe Sacha Klejstan makes the roster as an x-factor.

Now for let’s focus on the defense. Jay DeMerit, Jonathan Spector, Steve Cherundolo, and Carlos Bocanegra have to be automatic picks. After that Oguchi Onyewu probably gets the nod given that he is such a talented player and has had some time to get back in shape, unlike Charlie Davies. After that Jonathan Bornstein and Clarence Goodson look like strong options. Some players who are interesting but haven’t been playing much recently with the national team include Frank Simek, Heath Pearce, Frankie Hejduk, and Jimmy Conrad. Out of this group of players I think you have to go with Heath Pearce.

As for goalkeepers, Tim Howard is the obvious first choice. After that it gets sketchy given that Brad Friedel and Kasey Keller are not in consideration. Marcus Hahneman, Troy Perkins, Brad Guzan, Kevin Hartman, Nick Rimando, and Zach Thornton come to mind as possibilities. Realistically, I think the choice is between Hahneman, Perkins, and Guzan. I would choose Troy Perkins and Brad Guzan as the back ups because I think it is time to move on and Hahneman is pretty old.

So let’s look at what we have.

Forwards:

Jozy Altidore

Conor Casey

Robbie Findley

Eddie Johnson

Midfielders:

Clint Dempsey

Landon Donovan

Michael Bradley

Maurice Edu

Benny Feilhaber

Jose Francisco Torres

Alejandro Bedoya

Sacha Klejstan

Defenders:

Jay DeMerit

Jonathan Spector

Carlos Bocanegra

Steve Cherundolo

Oguchi Onyewu

Jonathan Bornstein

Clarence Goodson

Heath Pearce

Goalkeepers:

Tim Howard

Brad Guzan

Troy Perkins

My starting eleven and subs by position would look like this in a 4-4-2:

1st Team

————————————–Jozy Altidore———-Clint Dempsey———————————–

Landon Donovan————-Michael Bradley———–Maurice Edu—————–Benny Feilhaber

Carlos Bocanegra————–Jay DeMerit————–Jonathan Spector———–Steve Cherundolo

—————————————————Tim Howard————————————————–

2nd Team

————————————-Conor Casey————-Robbie Findley———————————–

Alejandro Bedoya—————Jose Torres————— Sacha Klejstan—————Clint Dempsey

Jonathan Bornstein ———— Oguchi Onyewu———-Clarence Goodson———— Heath Pearce

—————————————————-Brad Guzan—————————————————


Tell me what you think.

3 Comments

  1. there’s no way Stuart Holden isnt on this team. He’ll be fit very soon and he easily beats out klestjan and bedoya for a midfield spot. Even if he’s not there for the full 90, Bradley loves him as the first man off the bench, he’s in the team.

    While i can see your point about swapping boca and spector, it just wont happen. Bradley’s too conservative. If he really wants bocanegra on the left he’ll hopefully have a healthy gooch or would even start goodson who has been strong of late with the national team.

    as much as i hate to agree with you about the strikers, i am concerned that findley will make the side. he has been an abject failure for the red white and blue, looking out of place every opportunity he’s had. but bradley knows what he saw from charlie davies and findleys quickness looks the most like that, despite the massive dip in quality between the two players.

  2. Ed Farnsworth says:

    I think you have to go with Gomez – they’re all pros and can deal with a new guy, especially one who is in form. (Why pick Johnson if he hasn’t improved enough in Greece? All you have to do is look at Johnson and he falls over.) If you put Gomez up front, you can move Dempsey to bolster the midfield while still being the tremendous offensive threat that he is.

    I would also go with Hahnemann as Howard’s backup – he has been spectacular as the starter for Wolves, returning to the kind of form he was in when Reading were first up in the Premiership. If Keller and Friedel being retired from international play presents a problem, why pick Guzan or Perkins over Hahnemann because “it is time to move on and Hahneman is pretty old”? Hahnemann is younger than Keller and Friedel, Guzan barely plays and Perkins is in the MLS.

  3. Howard,Donovan,Altidore,Dempsey,Bradley,Zusi, Oneywu,Bocanegra,Beasley,E.Jones?,Shea,Holden

    ***might have too many at same position????

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