Sizing up the USMNT Player Pool

Maurice Edu 2 (ISIphotos.com) 

Photo by ISIphotos.com

With a month to go before the U.S. men's national team convenes for its pre-World Cup training camp, we are down to a month to go for players to impress and earn invites to that camp, and a month for players to play themselves off the radar.

My recent Fox Soccer column took a closer look at the national team pool and discusses 20 players who fall into four different categories: those players on the rise, those on the decline, those who have fallen out of the running and those who are still holding on to slight hopes.

Give the piece a read and let me know which selections you agreed and/or disagreed with.

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in U.S. Men's National Team. Bookmark the permalink.

117 Responses to Sizing up the USMNT Player Pool

  1. Patrick in NYC says:

    I liked your article when I read it yesterday. One big thing that I wanted to be able to do was put faces to names. I had heard of many of those players, and for some even watched them play, but right now about the only faces I could recognize are those who’ve been on the starting XI over the past three years.

    I need to be a better fan.

  2. Aaron in StL says:

    Sacha’s picture is fitting for the current situation he’s in.

  3. Aaron in StL says:

    Also, I’ve bought my ticket for the Bedoya train. He continues to play well and has a good showing in the upcoming friendlies then I’m 100% on board.

  4. Shmenge says:

    Conrad cannot possibly be “still alive”–he can barely move and tries to export his cheap MLS fouls to the int’l game. Way past it.

    Gonzalez or Ream would be better.

    Agreed about Findley–he’s done absolutely nothing. The real question is whether Eddie Johnson has done enough to get a call into camp.

  5. Felix says:

    I don’t have many complaints with your list, I don’t exactly agree with your Still Alive list, but just some quibbles.

    I can still see some scenarios where Bedoya doesn’t make it to choose Beasley, or a Torres OR Feilhaber pick, or Gomez not making it in order to bring in a freshly rehabbed Davies

  6. sread says:

    Conrad doesn’t need to be mentioned anymore in USMNT discussions. Gonzalez is on the rise, but if Ream isn’t on Bradley’s radar at this point, then he needs to buy a ticket for this weekend’s match at RBA. Dude is for real. He will secure his spot back there soon enough, though Ives is right in not including him in the picture at this point. He probably starts at that positon by mid 2012 for the USMNT

  7. LIUNITED says:

    I would hope now that we will no longer see anyone calling for Jermaine Jones, Edgar Castillo, Freddie Adu, Sasha Kljestian, Kenny Cooper. All of these players had missed the boat and unless they played like Messi for the past two months there only chance to go to south africa is on thier own dime. I am scared to think Conrad and Hedjuk would even be considered. I think Conrad sealed his fate with the red card.

    Definate starters will be Donovan, Dempsey, Altidore, Bradley, Howard, Bocanegra, Spector.

    Hopefully Onyewu and Davies are healthy enough to start.

    Others absolutely in SA will be Hahnemann, Guzan, Borestein (who is better then people give him credit for just like Boca used to be picked on), Cherundolo, Goodson, Feilhaber, Maurice Edu, DeMerit.

    Bedoya makes the team as does Torres and Clark, Holden should be back.

    The rest is up in the air and Gomez and Buddle need to be called into camp and be considered. Beasley, Marshall, and Rolfe get called into camp as well.

  8. Josh D says:

    You mention Adu but overlook Johnson who has been on way better terms since his move?

    Castillo is an enigma, has played wonderfully this season at a position that’s one of our weaknesses and can’t even get on the bench? While the likes of Bornstein gets serious playing time?

    I for one can’t wait for Bradley to get the ax after the WC so we can bring someone in who wants the team to rely on passing and skill over pure physical prowess.

  9. William the Terror says:

    last night, my 61-year-old uncle scored 4 goals in his Tallahassee senior league recreational game. he hasn’t been capped yet. of course, those old guys “jog” around on a half-length field and the offsides rule is enforced very loosely, but talk about senior leadership. call him up, BB!

  10. Josh D says:

    Oh, and I’d throw up the question of why isn’t Casey in your list of fallen heroes – he’s gone from serious playing time against top tier teams last summer, to absolutely nothing for club or country. Biggest fall in my books next to Clark (no surprises).

  11. DC Josh says:

    -Okay I admit it, I have a man crush on Frankie Hedjuk. He brings passion that will help bond the team and be a leader in the locker room. Just look at his performance against Mexico last year in Columbus. I’d rather see him (100% healthy) on the plane than Castillo or Simek.

    -We still lack depth in the back. I’m not concerned up top. With the emergence of young midfielders, Donovan and Dempsey can move up top to help out Jozy. However, there should be NO reason Jozy is left up top alone. He just can’t manage, yet. But we’re weak in the back, especially out wide.

    I love these columns.

  12. Dan says:

    I hope that Freddy Adu, Sasha Kleistian, and US National Team are never mentioned in the same sentence again. Also, why was Bornstein not mentioned as “doomed for failure” or some other negative characterization. It seems like we need to give some of these other guys a look. Bedoya is intriguing. Ives, you are way too into this Gomez character; he’s telegenic and he’s tallied a few of late, but he didn’t even play last week for his club. Rolfe is interesting too. May will be a silly month for speculation.

  13. Fred says:

    Conrad? Hejduk? Come on, Ives. No way.

  14. Andy says:

    Conrad!?!? Seriously!?! Sorry Ives, but while I usually agree with you and respect your views greatly, after Conrad, after being handed the Captain’s armband, took 2 yellow cards in the first half against the El Salvador B-Team, I don’t think he’ll ever get a call from Bob again.

  15. DC Josh says:

    Ream’s had three good games. Give him some time. I would like to see him at some point in the next couple of years. Centrally, it’s looking like we’re going to be deep in 4 years (Gooch, DeMeritt, Boca all vets…Gonzo, Ream, Opara, Agbossoumonde all youngin’s)

  16. TimN says:

    I think with our VERY THIN options up top, we have to take Hercules Gomez. I mean, what more does this guy have to possibly do?? He’s scoring goals like a madman, confident, and is in top form. Though I think Adu should also get consideration, I think for some reason he’s in Bradley’s “doghouse.” I think there may be more there than is talked about openly.

    Jimmy Conrad…NO FREAKIN WAY. He’s made crucial mistakes that a veteran shouldn’t make in international matches in the last year. I can’t possibly see a reason to take him.

    Ricardo Clark should go. I know he hasn’t been getting the PT, but the Bradley-Clark tandem in the midfield last summer in the Confed Cup really worked…why mess with that?

    Maurice Edu adds strength and depth to the midfield. Now in form, I think he should be a no-brainer.

    I also like the idea of bringing Hejduk. Let’s face it, our back line is hit or miss, and Hejduk is they type of player that will give you a ton of hustle, and won’t commit the critical mistakes we’ve seen Conrad make.

  17. Teach_4_food says:

    Omar=awesome! Hope he gets a camp call up. At this point, I think we all have to realize that the dream that is Charlie Davies is not happening. I thought the list looked pretty good, a bit surprised by Conrad but wouldn’t be disappointed if he makes it. I use to be a Hejduk hater until I realized he is a crazed beast who never gives up. I’m okay with one or two of those, you need the spark plugs and Hejduk is that spark plug.

  18. einar says:

    love the article ives.
    here is what I disagree with:
    1. Frank Simek is not out of time. He is number 4 on the fullbacks list. Way better than Wynne.
    2. Conrad shouldnt be mentioned. he is done.
    But i love that:
    1. Hejduk is still alive. Because if there is a veteran that hasnt been with the USMNT for a long time but deserves a look. its only Hejduk. You need his leadership in the locker room.
    2. All the players that u listed on the rise.
    3. Gonzalez being still a live.
    4. Adu mentioned to be still alive. Because he is getting minutes now in every game and playing full 90s.

  19. Michael F. SBI Mafia Original says:

    Great read, thanks Ives. Pretty much agree with you. As for DMB, I think he’s lost a step and there isn’t enough time for him to prove otherwise. A start here are there won’t do it. Conrad hasn’t really proven it on Nats level consistently. And he makes dumb mistakes. He’s too much of a liability. And I would love to see Omar Gonzalez get a call up for the May camp and see how he does.

    Any work on Gooch at ACM? Is he in full training and available?

  20. ML says:

    “… he didn’t even play for his club last week.”

    Are you talking about his club team, Puebla, in which he started and played the full 90?

    I have a feeling you’re somehow related to Connor Casey.

  21. Felix says:

    I would dispute that Castillo has played wonderfully. He’s seen the bench at times and has been injured. Even some Mexican commentators during a Pachuca match recently were talking about Torres and how good of a chance he has to make the US WC roster brought up Castillo as well, they said he lacked intelligence and has no chance – and I agree. He’s a smaller version of Borstein, he’s better going forward than Jonny B, but even weaker defensively.

    Castillo is one to keep a eye on, but he hasn’t done enough to make it to this World Cup.

  22. Matt Mathai says:

    Good article.

    Just a couple of points.

    Conrad has no business being around our ‘real’ national team again. Adu, Kjlestan, Clark, etc. can work their way back, or at least, MIGHT work their way back.

    Re: Troy Perkins, I thought he was always just behind Hahnemann for the #3 spot. I think he’s now well behind Guzan for the #3 spot, esp. given his very shaky form for DC United. All said, though, GK is the one spot I’m not worried about on our national team.

  23. jig says:

    but the players arent skillful, so how can they rely on skill?

  24. Keith says:

    I think Onyewu’s inclusion must be questioned. He is not playing any games.

  25. Braden says:

    What’s with Bedoya? I’m all for new blood, but what, exactly, has Bedoya done to deserve a call-up? He plays in Sweden, which isn’t as competitive as the Danish league. He looked mediocre during his two national team appearances, he fills a slot on the national team that, frankly, is filled with other talented players with more experience.

    I have no doubt he’ll one day be a great player, but Gomez is scoring goals, Rolfe is scoring goals, Buddle is scoring goals. And, I get the impression that Bedoya is a midfielder/forward, and I don’t think we need another one of those for 2010.

  26. Helmet says:

    On Conrad and Hejduk:

    There are some players on the roster who will not play in any game. Moral is a huge part of success at a world cup, and these two guys are highly liked and respected by everyone. So having at least one of them on the roster wouldn’t be a bad idea. They aren’t bad players although there are certainly better in the pool, but they give a lot to the team moral.

  27. afc says:

    Mike Grella and Jon-Paul Pittman

    2014 :)

  28. josip says:

    you can count on Simek and Castillo NOT being on a plabe to SA, that’s for sure. However, an extra MF or a Gomez/Buddle will make sure Frankie has seen his last WC. No disprespect to the guy because I love watching him too. That’s just the way it goes.

  29. Tony in Quakeland says:

    At this point, versatility may be more important than anything else. Bornstein, for example, can play in the middle (in a dire emergency) or push up into the midfield. Now, we don’t really want him there, but that versatility is a HUGE separator between him and Castillo (and undermines the argument that they are essentially the same player.) Edu is also more versatile (and flat out better than Clark, IMO) which gives him the edge over Clark.

    Versatility also favors Gonzales, who has played everything from keeper to forward, once coached the team and even drives the bus from the hotel. Conrad, in contrast, lacks that.

    Hercules Gomez can drop into the mid (not well, but…) and that puts him over Buddle.

    A lot of final choices will be made based on

    who supplies the most coverage in the most palces.

  30. Skeptical says:

    Foolish Manc U fan.

  31. Paul says:

    Bedoya and Gomez deserve a look in May, at a minimum. But as much as I love Hejduk’s passion and intensity, I don’t see him as a realistic possibility, at least off recent performances. I’d love to be proven wrong, but I think his WC days are behind him. Edu’s ability to slot into the center of the back line make him especially valuable.

  32. William the Terror says:

    true. but i would have rather had my uncle starting against Blackburn last weekend than Berbatov.

  33. JL says:

    I wouldn’t want to see Freddy or Sascha in this year’s WC, and I’m sure we won’t. But to hope that we never see them play with the Nats again? I’d hope, instead, that they grow as players and people and reach the potential we all saw in the back in the day.

  34. JL says:

    * “…saw in them…”

  35. Josh D says:

    Could work on not starting off on the bench 50% of the time : )

  36. Josh D says:

    Have been saying for a year now, I think Grella will come out a fantastic player for us!

  37. Josh D says:

    Except Castillo’s versatility allows him to move to a left winger which is perfect for the situations where we have 10 minutes left and are chasing a game. We move to a 3-4-3, he gets pushed up. Bornstein has no presence in the opponent’s half.

    It’s all context but very unfair on Castillo.

  38. ThaDeuce says:

    Ives, which category do you place Charlie Davies in? One all his own?

  39. andrew in tampa says:

    where do they play in tally? I’d be curious to drop by. my boots are catching dust in my closet.

  40. fischy says:

    Deep — probably, but I wouldn’t include Boca in that. Unreasonable to expect him to be at WC level in 4 years. Arguably, he’s not there any more now. If he weren’t so deadly coming forward, I’m not sure he’d be starting.

  41. ko'd says:

    Ream? Is that a joke?

  42. fischy says:

    “What’s with ______? I’m all for new blood, but what, exactly, has _______ done to deserve a call-up? He plays in Sweden, which isn’t as competitive as the Danish league. He looked mediocre during his two national team appearances….”

    Go back 2 years and plug in Charlie Davies’ name into that paragraph, instead of Bedoya. That’s what’s up with Bedoya.

  43. fischy says:

    Ream helped shut out the Chicago Fire. He’s ready for the World Cup stage.

  44. Goalscorer24 says:

    What is the story with Edu, how badly is he hurt?

  45. Tony in Quakeland says:

    I don’t think I am being the least unfair to Castillo. (I don’t have a vested interest in either player, by the way.) Bornstein can and has played left wing, which is what I meant when I said he can push into the midfield. On the other hand, I have not heard of Castillo shifting into the center back like Bornstien has done (for example, following a red card against the CD).

  46. fischy says:

    Way better than Wynne. That, and $3.00, will get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks, but it won’t get you on the World Cup charter plane.

  47. NTim says:

    “Though I think Adu should also get consideration, I think for some reason he’s in Bradley’s “doghouse.” I think there may be more there than is talked about openly. ”

    The reason is he does not produce.

    Adu is in it for the money. He doesn’t deserve to be on a World Cup roster and he barely deserves to be playing for Aris. If Benfica hadn’t been so stupid as to give him a big contract they would have cut him loose some time ago. Next stop Vietnam the last place who might give him more money than the MLS.

  48. Isaac says:

    Charlie Davies isn’ the rule though. He’s an exceptional player. We should watch for talent, but we shouldn’t assume every player follows the same pattern.

  49. froboy says:

    Would love to see an all Maryland center defense combination at the next world cup with Goodson and Gonzalez in the back and Mo Edu playing the defensive center mid, Fear the Turtle, if only Seitz could remember how to play to finish off the center of the defense for Maryland

  50. John1 says:

    If Cunningham starts scoring goals again, he has to be called in. However, if he does not, he will not even be considered. In my opinion, he did better than Findley and actually scored a goal against Denmark. If BB wants a target man, it will be Ching if healthy. If not, it will be Casey. If he is looking for speed, it can be a number of guys. It will probably boil down to who is in the best form at the moment. Considering the circumstances, if possible, BB should wait until the last possible day assigned by FIFA to make his full selection. Whoever the forwards selected for the World Cup are, I hope they do well.

  51. Isaac says:

    “I hope that Freddy Adu and Sacha Kljestan and U.S. National team are never metnioned in the same sentence again”

    Statements like this piss me OFF and I honestly don’t understand why anybody would say something this (in my opinion) Idiotic. How do you know the next time these guys are on a roster it will be a bad thing and they’ll be in bad form? Moreover, why would you want less players playing well when this national team has always been lacking depth? Statements like that are very personal, and whether you know it or not, reduce your credibility as a commenter. I’m not saying that Freddy and Sacha are playing well, I’m saying that assuming they never will is one of the less intelligent statements I’ve heard this decade, not just in application to those two players, but anybody that people use this kind of statement against.

  52. Isaac says:

    Why not? he played himself into that category last summer =).

  53. Isaac says:

    Jonathan Bornstein can move to the left winger/midfield as well. He can also play as center back, even as a striker.

  54. froboy says:

    i agree, though i don’t think either deserves to be on the team this cycle, i think freddy especially has a good shot at 2014 still

  55. kenny_b says:

    Agree!

  56. TimN says:

    He’s been producing for Aris. He’s had some very nice goals and assists.

    I think the problem with Adu is work ethic, not “being in it for the money.” However, I think he may now be getting the point that there are PLENTY of good players in the world, and no coach has to play him if he’s not going to work and hustle. They have many other options.

    He’s been better since going to Aris, and let’s not forget that he is still one of the most skilled players on the ball in the MNT pool.

  57. chifire says:

    Did your editor force you to throw Freddy on there?

  58. phil says:

    Buddle Bedoya and Gomez are all worthy of a look, but I’m not ready to give up on Beasely. If Hedjuk gets a call I’ll poop my pants with rage.

  59. madmax says:

    Ives, drive a stake into 12 of those 20. They can comeback in another life. Wouldn’t mind seeing Cameron, Gonzales, and Ream in camp.

  60. phil says:

    yep and he can be coach and water boy as well. boyeeez gat MAAAAD skillz

  61. phil says:

    Bornstien can be versatile? what the hell is wrong with you? He’s eaten alive wherever he plays as soon as we leave the hemisphere.

  62. ko'd says:

    Oh, I must have missed that. Thanks, fischy.

  63. ko'd says:

    Seriously, stop talking about Ream, folks. It’s ridiculous.

  64. Isaac says:

    Bornstein played as a left midfield and a forward in the waining moments of the Honduras (2-1) game, he played as a left midfield in the Spain towards the end, he played as a center back against Holland and El Salvador and as good enough with his right to play right back. I’d say that’s versatile. Bornstein’s speed, stamina, energy, and work rate are definitely things that come in handy when the USA needs to fill in a gap late in the game and get some help across the finish line. I’m not saying he should necesarilly start, but his versatility probably wins him a spot.

  65. madmax says:

    “I hope that Freddy Adu, Sasha Kleistian, and US National Team are never mentioned in the same sentence again…”

    I agree for this WC. The USA deserves better. However the myth persists that both are playing well enough for the MNT. It might happen.

  66. LIUNITED says:

    Bedoya is listed because he is a hot player right now and in good form and deserves as much a chance at getting on the plane as the rest of them. I believe Bradley will bring him to SA. The reason we are having these debates are three fold, 1. a number of players have been injured 2. players have not anchored themselves as locks to make the team. 2. Another set of players do not fit with Bob Bradley’s or the teams style of play (see Gringo Torres).

    I could have included Eddie Johnson as a player who should be brought into camp and could make the squad but frankly I think he has had a number of opportunities and proven that he does not belong. I think everyone would love to see him return to form and build on his potential and become a threat for US. Unfortunately I do not see that happening for this cycle. I think I could say the same statements about a number of US players (Beasley, Klestjan, Clark, etc).

  67. Isaac says:

    I agree; Good prospect, but let’s let the kid build some consistency.

  68. fubar says:

    Then you might as well throw in Marcus Tracy and Eric Lichaj. Mark it down here, Lichaj will be Aston Villa’s starting right back by September 2011.

  69. Murphy says:

    i still don’t know much about bedoya but i would take beasley over him. beasley looked ok recently and has more experience. either one probably won’t play much.

    conrad can’t do it anymore, please leave him off the time.

    looks like there will be no jermaine jones on the team. i’m so disappointed about this. he would have been a difference maker. too bad…

  70. Brian S says:

    “I hope that Freddy Adu, Sasha Kleistian, and US National Team are never mentioned in the same sentence again.” That’s a little harsh to say about a 20 year old. He has come on of late and put in back-to-back 90 minute performances. He may not be ready for SA but I still have faith that he will be a class player in the near future

  71. Brian S says:

    I agree with that. I think Villa has him in their future plans which is why they keep loaning him out instead of selling him outright

  72. William the Terror says:

    how old are you? there’s several rec leagues that run at the Meridian soccer complex.

  73. fischy says:

    I suspect Lichaj will be playing for the USA before those other guys.

  74. madmax says:

    Don’t agree. If they along with Bedoya outperform the current back-ups at next two camps all four should be highly considered.

    I won’t list the back-ups who could be beaten, but it’s not hard to figure out.

  75. FidelNadal says:

    He’s 22, not 14. He’s a big boy and holds it down in big boy games. Who are you to say that he’s not good enough to be in the discussion for our thinnest (and possible weakest) position. If we’re talking about in form players in Denmark, Sweden, Coca Cola CC, why not an in form player in MLS?

  76. GauchosLocos says:

    Why does everyone keep saying that Edu is more valuable because he can play center back? The only way that would happen is if Onyewu, Boca, or DeMerit got a red card and Spector isnt playing. He would never start at center back or be subbed in there when we have 4 or 5 centerbacks (including Spector) who are better than him there.

  77. madmax says:

    “…beasley looked ok recently…”

    coach at Rangers disagrees with you, and keeps Beasley off the pitch more often than not.

  78. madmax says:

    I prefer subs with skill and energy over experience.

  79. Tony in Quakeland says:

    Bornstein is not about to make anyone forget Palo Maldini, but his shortcomings, while real, are routinely exaggerated in blogland and the internet boards.

  80. Tony in Quakeland says:

    Great post and very true. It is ridiculous how many people assume players never change, never develop, never slump, never rebound, etc. Grant Wahl’s article today on Adu mentions Ribery as a late bloomer. How many people in France gave up on him early in his career? The fact is that Sacha and Adu both have shown flashes of being very, very good. As a Nats fan, you should be hoping they find away to reach their peak and stay there, rather than decided today that they should never get looked at again

  81. montana matt says:

    I’d like to see Gonzales and Gomez in the final 23 for SA, especially since it seems less and less likely by the day that CD9 and Gooch will be healthy in time.

    I’m sure I’ll get criticized for suggesting this, but why isn’t Daniel Williams’ name floated at least as a possibility? Ives mentioned in his article that beyond dolo and spector depth at RB is an issues. I’m not saying he should be an automatic inclusion in the final 23, but still, why no love for Williams?

  82. sef-one says:

    and who would you bring in then? Opara?

    Gooch is our best CB and has his spot on lock.

  83. ko'd says:

    Wow. You’re right, he is 22. Let’s count the “big boy” games he has played in: 3. And before that, he was in the PDL. 3 GAMES??? And yes, I would take Heath Pearce, Jonathan Bornstein, Edgar Castillo, and, Paul Caligiuri before I took Tim Ream.

    Bedoya is a completely different story. He has played well in a couple of national team games and is proving to be very effective for his club team (over the span of a year and a half). You cannot compare the two players.

    @madmax: You are welcome to prefer skill and energy over experience, but Ream would be abused in the World Cup.

  84. Austin says:

    Adu and Cunningham should be put on the dead list, while Dan Williams, Jermaine Jones, and Sacha Kljestan should still be alive…lets face it, BB will call Sacha into that 30, there is still very slight hope for Jones, and Williams could be called in as a wild card too

    I also think Jimmy Conrad ruined any hopes with the red earlier in the year

  85. Austin says:

    btw, Hejduk dead too…..we would have seen him in a friendly recently if there was any hope of BB caling him in

  86. FidelNadal says:

    Obviously, Bornstein would be a no-brainer over Ream in the end. The other three, I hope, are just you clowning around. Ream wouldn’t be abused any more than a lot of these names being thrown around. I never said anything about him even going to the WC anyway–just defended his name in consideration for a role in camp along with other prospectives.

    Yeah, yeah, I’ve heard the whole Bedoya’s a different story chant. He’s got plenty of talent and upside but, again, you’re just basing everythign off of getting a few caps. As long as the circumstances are favorable, a lot of different players could possibly get a handleful of caps early on (Johnson, Pearce, Convey) That doesn’t mean he is entitled to that role going into the future.

    He chose not to enter the draft and other young players went into the MLS, so I see where it’s easier for you to call Bedoya’s early success in Sweden much greater than another MLS-based player’s at the same time. My argument is not with Bedoya’s skill or his ability to make the WC roster–know that. But I love how there is such a sense of entitlement with players who are young playing overseas. Look at our core of players. They all started here and played solid for the MLS before going to their Euro clubs. These things will all work themselves out soon enough, but it’s always better to have healthy competition with ANY and ALL players who are playing at a quality level. Honestly, who knows who the backups are and could be right now? Speculation.

  87. patrick says:

    how is it less likely that gooch and davies will be healthy? There ahve been no reports of setbacks, and by all accounts CD9 is a freak and should be back in w or 3 weeks. Gooch has gotten clearance from the surgeon and physios and will be back in training rather soon. I think its likely BOTH will make it with no problem

  88. KMac says:

    Tracy is injured…ruled out.

  89. Adam M. says:

    The starters will be the same team that beat Spain except Edu for Clark and assuming Daives can start. I doubt very much that the back of bench will be used at all, parituclarly on the back line, unless the third Group Stage game is meaningless or we pick up a typical red card. If Daives can’t start, Dempsey is the one who gets pushed up top and there is one question mark in midfield, which is relatively deep and is probably Holden’s to lose if he is healthy because he is a natural winger. I don’t see Bradley essentially relying on an unknown to pair with Jozy or, for lack of anyone else, Ching, who is extremely limited on a good day. Gomez, who should be at least on the bus with the team to the airport at this point, could be a well-used striker sub (though he must be given a shot up top with Jozy before SA). Torres, Feilheiber, and Bedoya will see time, and Bornstein might come on late for offense (not for defense) reasons because he is decent in the air. But that’s probably about it barring injury. Finally, I’d take Daives and use him as a sub as long as he can go 30 minutes.

  90. montana matt says:

    Don’t get me wrong, I think both of them are studs, and I sincerely hope they are able to make it back in time, but I am starting to get pretty skeptical that that will happen. I haven’t read anything to suggest they won’t make it back, but I certainly haven’t seen much lately that’s given me cause to be overly hopeful. When Gooch is targeting a return for Milan? Even an appearance in a reserve match would be grounds for optimism at this point.

  91. acbc says:

    I would wait for this week’s chivas game before taking bornstein and kljestan off the board

  92. JuanPabloJorgeGringo says:

    Hey, what about Brad Davis as a midfielder off the bench?

    He’s got great skills… fantastic ball control…excellent free kicks… hustle… soccer savvy and awareness…leadership … can create tons of opportunities for scoring…he’s played for the USMNT before… he’s been a major factor and contributor on Championship teams in MLS…he’s still young and he has a vast amount of confidence.

    C’mon Coach Bradley…we can certainly use him.

    GO USA GO USA GO USA GO USA GO USA GO USA GO USA GO

  93. ko'd says:

    I was only kidding about Caligiuri. But between your assumptions and straw men, I am struggling to take you seriously. Ream has played in 3 professional games in his ENTIRE LIFE.

    I am not basing my opinion of Bedoya on the fact that he got a couple of caps. I have watched–through live streams–the Orebro games that he has played in and his national team games. There is a noticeable improvement in his performances over the course of his time with Orebro. His game against GAIS last week was very lively–he was the most dangerous player on the field.

    You made too many assumptions about my argument. I don’t claim that Bedoya should be selected because he has caps. I claim that he has gotten caps and should be selected because he is playing well, playing well consistently, and is maturing into a national-team-caliber player. His tactical awareness, technical ability, and ability to find the ball should make USMNT fans excited.

    I don’t call Bedoya’s success in this instance much greater than any MLS player’s success. Again, and please be clear: my point is that it is ludicrous to suggest that Tim Ream should be called up when he has played THREE GAMES IN HIS PROFESSIONAL CAREER against the Fire, Sounders, and Chivas. There is simply no basis at all in your argument to suggest that he is prepared, at this moment, to compete with national team players (ours or other countries’).

  94. NTim says:

    Pele is is about 70 and is more skilled than Adu. The reason he doesn’t play anymore is because at his age, he can no longer run and is not strong anymore. Still, he ‘d be about as useful as that lazy little twit. Yes he’s doing better at Aris but compared to what? No production at Monaco? Litle production at Benfica. There is a long line of younger, more skilled, better , cheaper players than Adu just dying (almost literally) for half the chances he has had. I’ll shed no tears for the fool.

  95. JuanPabloJorgeGringo says:

    Even though the present USMNT has achieved some respectability in the world of soccer, and many of our best players have played or are playing on clubs in the best leagues in the world, I still can’t explain why I’m not as confident going into this World Cup as I was back in the days when we had,

    (in no particular order and off the top of my head)-

    Reyna, Wynalda, Max-Moore, Harkes, Cobi Jones, Mcbride, Ramos, Keller, Olsen, Pope, Balboa, Lalas, Agoos, Stewart, Armas, Lewis, Wolff, Hejduk, O’brien, Mastroeni etc. etc.

    (I know I’ve accidentally left off some of my other favorite players from this era, but you get the idea)

    Except for Donovan, Dempsey, Bradley, Howard, Davies, Bocanegra, and Beasley I’m a tad worried about our team.

    Then again… maybe this is where our new heroes will emerge.

    Let’s hope so!!!!

    GO USA!!!!!!!

  96. wichin says:

    You Adu haters need to stop. You might be right in regards to not playing a whole lot but you can not take away the skill he has above anyone else on the roster (Even our number 1 Goal Keeper has said it.) He is not a starter now but you bring him in to change the game and create something during the last 10-15 minutes. Who else is going to do it? Sacha? Bornstein? they were used in the confed cup and they were deplorable.

    You need someone with skill and freddy has it. I hope Bradley does get him to WC even if its the 23rd spot. All he needs is to be given a chance and you will see the skill come on and take over. If he is needed, then use him if not, then he got the experience of being around a loud world cup that you can not duplicate anywhere else. Prepare for the future.

    If Bradley would have used Adu and Torres during the Confederation cup, they would have been better prepared but his desire to use his favorite players that do not possess the skills have limited their progress.

  97. JuanPabloJorgeGringo says:

    I agree…Please no Casey!!!

  98. JuanPabloJorgeGringo says:

    Sacha …alive????

    C’mon, didn’t you see him at the last big Tournament(Confed Cup)…he looked like a deer in the headlights.

    HE LOOKED TERRIFIED TO BE OUT THERE!

  99. soundersfan says:

    You’re pretty much spot on with your analysis. I think Bedoya won’t get consideration unless Holden and Beasley are both injured, but besides that you may have hit the nails on the head.

    It’s a few weeks old, but here’s a different breakdown. Other than Ching’s injury and the Buddle/Gomez explosions, nothing’s really changed.

  100. CaliSoccer10 says:

    Um, Rolfe is scoring goals? Really? He scored one this week, and so did Bedoya (both firsts of the seasons).

    As for his two performances, if you think they were mediocre you need to go back and watch the film.

    By the way, your last sentence said it all. Bedoya is a midfielder/forward? What games have you been watching?

  101. Jakob says:

    I’m really excited with the youth and prospects we have currently. Great potential for 2014.

    As for 2010 …. anything can happen, right?!?!

  102. CaliSoccer10 says:

    Adu can give you something in the last 10-15 minutes? Did you watch last year’s Gold Cup? Just because he has talent doesn’t mean he is ready to contribute. When he gets consistent playing time, then we’ll talk. His World Cup dreams are over for this cycle.

  103. Tom R says:

    Frankly I am surprised there is no mention about Robbie Rogers. His versatility helps him. He plays left, he plays right, he can play left back in a pinch. We know he can make a late game impact as he did against Costa Rica which is what Bradley is no doubt looking for as he fills his last roster spots.

  104. patrick says:

    he’s not good enough to be a starter and is also wayyyy too streaky. He’ll look good, then drift out of the game for long spells. Maybe for 2014 if he can keep consistent form but right now he’s not there. I like his skills and his aggression but he needs to harness it a bit more and learn to stay more consistent.

  105. Josh A says:

    Right, then watch the US plummet as they fail to qualify for the 2014 World Cup.

    Of course Spain and Brazil do not rely on physical prowess at all, which is why Senna a tough guy defensive mid (Jones type)is often cited as the reason why Spain recently went from pretenders to European Champions and why Brazil is just keeps getting,bigger stronger and tougher under Dunga( and before him actually). Have you ever seen C Ronaldo in person? The guy is a monster, big tough and fast. So go ahead and rely on pretty boys like Adu who has all the passing skills in the world and see how far that takes you.

    You can make a case for a number of players being an upgrade from Bornstein but Castillo ain’t one of them. I’ve watched him a number of times lately and overall, he’s no big upgrade. And he plays for an awful team.

    There’s a reason Mexico didn’t call him up.

  106. Douglas the Black says:

    Is he eligible for the US? After all US fans are willing to wait for Adu to develop. Obviously your uncle is a late bloomer. How are his passing skills?

    Josh D Castillo will want to call him up for the USMNT.

  107. Smokey in Iceland says:

    Versatility is great but you can go overboard with it.

    Would you rather have a guy who can play three positions okay or a guy who can play one position great?

  108. Doctor says:

    Why?

    Does it have someting to do with a traumatic event in your childhood? Something repressed?

    If the DUDE is called up you can assume there is probably a really good reason. Unlike many, I suspect it would be because he is playing well and is better than the alternatives.

    If so then , I’d be very happy to see one of my all time favorite USMNT players ever go to SA. I’d be sure then that the US has at least one guy with huge cojones.

  109. MiguelNadal says:

    “But I love how there is such a sense of entitlement with players who are young playing overseas. Look at our core of players. They all started here and played solid for the MLS before going to their Euro clubs. These things will all work themselves out soon enough, but it’s always better to have healthy competition with ANY and ALL players who are playing at a quality level. Honestly, who knows who the backups are and could be right now? Speculation.”

    I’m not sure I get your point but I’m assuming you are saying that American players who go abroad shouldn’t be presumed to be better than those who stayed here just because they went abroad and other’s didn’t.

    Well, I don’t think that’s happening but in the case of Bedoya he has worked very hard and established himself as a regular over a year and a half,in the same league that gave you Charlie Davies. So we know that he is capable of consistency over time and is presumably capable of repeating a good performance.

    Someone like Tim Ream, whose entire career is 3 pro games for the Red Bull, well, even if they were games where he shut Leo Messi and Barcelona down cold; it’s still just 3 games. Before a coach can trust him they will need a much bigger sample size. Jonathan Bornstein once played Leo Messi very well in a Copa America game. If you went off of that game you would have thought Bornstein a certified all star defender and he, of course, is not.

    Bedoya deserves to go to SA because of one thing only; how he plays. He looks very dangerous out there and is, courageous, direct and aggressive, something very few US players are. He’s not araid to attack. Compare his performace in Holland to Robbie Findley’s, who looked like a high school senior out there.He was afraid and Bedoya wasn’t. There is your difference.

  110. Sand says:

    “If Bradley would have used Adu and Torres during the Confederation cup, they would have been better prepared but his desire to use his favorite players that do not possess the skills have limited their progress. ”

    Bradley isn’t limiting their progress. They are.

    I wasn’t there in South Africa. Of course neither were you but I have to assume Torres and Adu did not impress Bradley enough during practice to EARN the privilige of playing. You don’t play someone because he is a fan favorite; you play them because they show you in practice they are ready, willing and able to do what you ask them to do.

    Also, you don’t use FIFA sanctioned tournament as garbage time for scrubs. In 2009 there was no guarantee that Torres and Adu would even be in the picture for 2010. The US went to the final with a chance to win their first ever FIFA tournament against freaking Brazil of all people; they advanced by the skin of their teeth; this means every minute was very precious with no room for non performing scrubs. If Torres and Adu had not been performing well in practice I would not have played them either.

    I think Adu and Torres did not get to play against Brazil because Bradley felt they would have cleat marks all over their backs from the Brazilians running all over them. Freddy is puny and easily pushed around and you saw how the Dutch just blew by Torres and had their way with him. The Brazilians are skilled yes, but they are also big, fast, strong and very, very physical.

  111. Drew Carey says:

    Holden and Beasley are both injured

  112. Heath Pearce says:

    Rogers would be a good left back.

  113. Hush says:

    Bedoya? I don’t get it. This kid might turn out to be a decent player for us in the future, but for now he hasn’t done anything special to put him on the map. Bedoya has had more games in than Adu, yet Adu holds better stats and a better overall ratio in 2010. And people here are saying Adu & Beasley have no business in the USMNT.lol

  114. Tony in Quakeland says:

    If the guy can play one position great, then he’s already on the team and not in the discussion of who is going to fill out the roster. Remember, this conversation is really about the last few spots.

  115. Gene says:

    I would consider giving another look to Gomez, Buddle, and Adu. The first 2 are scoring goals in bunches now. While it is far from certain they would be reading for WC level game, we are thin at forward and if these guys can continue to be hot, we can use them.

    As for Adu, his playing time certainly does not justify it. But whenever I saw him play, he has shown fleshes of talent on the ball, which few on the U.S. squad possess. May be he picked up enough in Europe to blend those skills with tactical knowledge and better defensive effort.

    And, if Hejduk is healthy, I’d take him, too. The guy works harder than many younger players around him. And since we cannot cap Schelotto, we’d have to settle for this particular Crew veteran:)

  116. Smokey in Iceland says:

    I’m probably in the minority on this site but I always believed players should be trained to be players first and then positional players second.

    Probably an offshoot of being a fan of the great Clockwork Orange Dutch teams. I think most of you make far too much of the difficulty of a midfielder moving to defense, a defender playing in attack and so on. Other than goalkeeper the skills necessary to play WELL anywhere on the field are the same.

    Here in America you have that guy Cameron who seems to be very good no matter where he plays and if you want one example from the EPL Michael Essien moves all over the field for Chelsea.

    Obviously at that level you want one position on a regular basis but an EPL level pro should be able to play another spot quite comfortably for a few games, for example for their national team in the World Cup. Asking Spector, Edu or even Michael Bradley to play CB for a couple of games should not be a big deal, except that it takes away from their regular spots.

    Great players like Cruyff,George Best or Pele were the best players on their team which meant Pele was probably the best left back, the best right mid and the best center forward on his Brazil teams. He may have been the best goalkeeper to never play in goal for Brazil. George Best was the same way and so is Wayne Rooney. Yet I read people arguing here about whether JF Torres is a left winger or a left midfielder. Insane.

    I’ll bet the best left back on the USMNT is Landon Donovan.

  117. JuanPabloJorgeGringo says:

    Hejduk brings alot to the team as far as leadership and energy…(he was one of the few bright spots for the USMNT during the ’98 WC), but the USMNT has a bad habit (or bad luck) when it comes to getting RED cards in the WC, and Hejduk is a red card waiting to happen,

    He’s in my personal USMNT HALL OF FAME, and I’ll always appreciate what he has done for the team… but we can’t afford to go down to 10 men once again in this tourney.