The CONCACAF Gold Cup is now less than ten weeks away, and with the U.S. men’s national team having its final two friendlies before June, players hoping for spots on the roster have done what they can do on the national team level to impress head coach Bob Bradley and earn a place on the U.S. roster.
Players can still impress or fall behind based on club form, but it’s a safe bet that Bradley has a good idea which players he’s going to choose from when he selects his 23-man roster in May.
Forward Juan Agudelo and defenders Timmy Chandler and Tim Ream were the big winners in the national team’s most recent camp and set of friendlies, with each of them looking like good bets to make the Gold Cup roster when it wasn’t too long ago that all three were either considered long shots or weren’t even on the radar.
Our Projected Gold Cup roster for the month of March isn't much different from our February Roster Projection, with Timmy Chandler and Jay DeMerit joining the squad, while Stuart Holden and Clarence Goodson were not on this month's projection.
Here is a closer look at the players who look like the best bets to make this summer’s U.S. Gold Cup roster:
PROJECTED 2011 Gold Cup Roster
GOALKEEPERS- Tim Howard, Marcus Hahnemann, Brad Guzan
DEFENDERS- Carlos Bocanegra, Steve Cherundolo, Oguchi Onyewu, Timmy Chandler, Jonathan Spector, Eric Lichaj, Tim Ream, Jay DeMerit
MIDFIELDERS- Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones, Maurice Edu, Sacha Kljestan, Benny Feilhaber, Alejandro Bedoya
FORWARDS- Jozy Altidore, Juan Agudelo, Edson Buddle, Teal Bunbury
Here are some thoughts on the picks:
GOALKEEPER- As we reported in our last projection, Brad Guzan is getting married this summer, but the word we're getting is that it's not a sure bet that he misses the entire tournament. We can see David Yelldell getting the call if Guzan winds up missing the tournament.
DEFENDERS- The surprising omission from this group is Clarence Goodson, who gets edged out by the emergence of Tim Ream and the return of Jay DeMerit. Goodson could play himself onto the team (he's out with a broken toe), but it could be tough going. As for fullback, we don't have a left back on the squad to back up Carlos Bocanegra, so you could still see someone like Heath Pearce or Zach Loyd edging out a Lichaj, but after another shaky match I can't put Jonathan Bornstein on this list.
MIDFIELDERS- No real surprises here. Alejandro Bedoya gets the call over Mikkel Diskerud, who failed to get a minute despite being called up for the March friendlies. Bedoya helps fill the need for players who can play on the wing, but Bedoya could also provide an attacking option in the middle. The rest of the group seems pretty clear-cut, though you wonder if Ricardo Clark can play his way onto the radar with a good two months with Eintracht Frankfurt.
FORWARDS- The same quartet as last month. Jozy Altidore is slumping but is still a safe bet to make the team. Juan Agudelo solidified his place on the squad. Edson Buddle is a big option while Bunbury remains a good option. Buddle and Bunbury beat out Wondolowski and Eddie Johnson.
What do you think of the squad? Which players do you think should be on the squad? Which players do you are you surprised to see included in our projection?
Share your thoughts below.