Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySoccer World DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America ClassifiedsGame Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
USA faces Sweden on Saturday
by Ridge Mahoney, January 23rd, 2009 7AM



[HEXAGONAL COUNTDOWN] The revolving door has finally spun to a halt, so no longer will U.S. national team players wonder whom they might line up with Saturday when they face Sweden in the first match of a very busy 2009. Home Depot Center is the venue for the match (8:30 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer Channel, Galavision) that kicks off perhaps the most grueling year in the team's history.

The team will play at least 16 competitive games, including 10 Hexagonal qualifiers and matches in the Confederations Cup and Gold Cup, so now is a good time for casual acquaintances to know each other better. There are 17 players (of 22) in camp with 10 caps or less and seven with zero, but during the next 10 or 11 months Coach Bob Bradley will need a lot of bodies.

"It's just like any other team, there's competition for each individual position," says midfielder Ricardo Clark, whose 16 caps ranks third on this squad behind Brian Ching (32) and Danny Califf (21). "That's just what I'm fighting for on this team. Bob has a lot of players to choose from. I just want to make the most of my opportunities when I get the chance."

The timing of this match, 18 days before the Hexagonal opener against Mexico in Columbus Feb. 11, and the three-week training camp gives Bradley a way to measure the readiness of players whose seasons have yet to commence. He may need more than a few of them, since Feb. 11 is a friendly international date and teams need only release players a few days prior.

"The January camp is always important because the guys who play in MLS need to start the year after being off and you have a January game and that helps those guys get ready," says Bradley. "You mix that in with what you're seeing in Europe."

Four players - Danny Califf, Charlie Davies, Clarence Goodson, and Perkins - play in Scandanavian leagues that take an extended winter break. The players in England go straight through, and the German season resumes Jan. 30.

Michael Parkhurst, summoned from his Danish club FC Nordsjælland after several defenders had to be scratched, has trained for only the past few days. Sacha Kljestan has returned from a five-day trial with Glasgow Celtic, which might attempt to buy the Chivas USA midfielder during the European transfer window that closes Feb. 2. Former D.C. United keeper Troy Perkins is also back with the U.S. team, following a jaunt across the Atlantic to join his Valerenga IF teammates for a few days of team-bonding exercises that included wading through icy, waist-deep water under the direction of Norwegian Special Forces members.

Perkins is just one of four keepers summoned for the camp, yet still Chivas USA goalie Dan Kennedy turned up to take his place. From an original squad of 25 players, there were some notable departures.

Defenders Chad Marshall (knee) and Sean Franklin (sports hernia) had to pull out of camp after aggravating pre-existing problems, and another backliner, Cory Gibbs, elected not to report. One of the replacements summoned, Quakes defender Jason Hernandez, pulled a calf muscle. Houston midfielder/defender Geoff Cameron suffered a hamstring strain on the second day of training.

"You're going to end up looking where everybody is and as is always the case for a single fixture, you're going to be left with bringing guys in on a short turnaround and have them ready to play," says Bradley.

Sweden, which also plays Mexico in Oakland on Wednesday, brought a squad of domestic players very familiar to Davies, who has played in the Swedish league the past two seasons for Hammarby IF. He expects to meet up after the Sweden match with his club teammates when they arrive at HDC for two weeks of training - Hammarby is owned by Anschutz Entertainment Group - unless he's sold to another European club.

"I've been progressing and I think Bob Bradley has seen me progress not only as a forward but as a professional," says Davies, who last year scored 14 goals for Hammarby and also notched his first U.S. goal. "I hope I get the chances with the national team, because I think I can show I can not only play at that level but do well."

No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now



Recent Soccer America Daily
MLS preseason returns to Tucson in 2016    
Ten MLS teams will take part in preseason training in Tucson, Arizona, where the 2016 Desert ...
Ellis calls up Colaprico and Lavelle for first time    
U.S. women's national team coach Jill Eilis called in 28 players -- 20 who went to ...
What They're Saying: Chris Dangerfield    
'We used to go to movies, have cups of tea, strange things you do when you ...
What They're Saying: Tim Leiweke    
"I think we have found a site. It's probably different than what people think we're doing, ...
Video Pick: How Ronaldo gets treated by customs     
Cristiano Ronaldo doesn't seem to have a difficult time getting through customs, as demonstrated by this ...
NASL's Jacksonville banks on Tony Meola    
Hall of Fame goalkeeper Tony Meola, whose previous coaching experience since retiring as a player in ...
Video Pick: Messi proves he's fully recovered    
Lionel Messi, out of Barcelona's starting lineup for two months because of a knee injury, scored ...
Red Bulls' success nets Marsch Coach of the Year honors    
Inexperienced head coaches don't often flourish in MLS, yet in just his second season as a ...
TV Report: El Clasico draws 1.87 million BeIN Sports viewers    
The Real Madrid-Barcelona game on beIN Sports and beIN Sports en Espanol drew a combined television ...
What They're Saying: Rangers manager Mark Warburton    
"I have been delighted with his contribution and the last game he played for Rangers was ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives