The size of Bob Bradley's 33-man roster for the upcoming US men's team friendlies against England, Spain and Argentina has got Ives Galarcep wondering who will step up for the U.S. on the road to qualifying for the 2010 World Cup. Although he calls the pool "the deepest collection of talent" a U.S. coach has ever been able to call on, "it also is a group loaded with question marks."
Veterans such as Frankie Hejduk, Eddie Lewis and Pablo Mastroeni will all likely play a role in qualifying for South Africa, but some of the fringe players in the pool are "compelling and intriguing." Jozy Altidore was an obvious choice, but how much will he be used in the coming games with concerns about fatigue after a busy year? Kenny Cooper of FC Dallas boasts the "combination of size, technical and finishing ability make him a future national team fixture," but needs to show he can handle the pace of the international game. In-form Robbie Rogers could fill the outside left position where the U.S. lacks depth and consistency, while Michael Orozco, unknown at home until the U-23 qualifying tournament, "has established himself as a regular starter in the Mexican First Division and looks like a bright center back prospect for the future."
There are question marks too around the ability of players such as Nate Jaqua, Heath Pearce and Eddie Johnson to step up consistently. And last but not least, Freddy Adu -- after turning in a stellar performance during the Olympic qualifiers, he returned to Benfica to be rewarded with no playing in the ensuing three months. Galarcep assesses Adu as "perhaps a super-sub type of player for the national team at the moment, which is something Bradley will need down the road in situations like tough World Cup qualifiers."