[WORLD CUP COUNTDOWN] In selecting his forwards for the World Cup, U.S. coach Bob Bradley would like at least one target man with a foundation of international experience.
Brian Ching’s name has been prominent in discussions about 2010 World Cup selections. He didn't play in the 2006 competition despite making the cut for Germany; his current status is clouded by a hamstring injury that is expected to sideline him from four to six weeks. That period straddles a mid-May start of final World Cup preparations at a camp somewhere in the United States, though a final roster isn’t due until June 1.
Ching, who turns 32 in May, suffered the injury during a 2-1 victory against Real Salt Lake Thursday. An MRI performed Monday morning revealed a strained left hamstring that gives Bradley yet another injury complication to his preparation plans. Bradley must submit a 30-man preliminary roster to FIFA on May 11, and while Ching can be included whether he’s resumed playing or not, he might be pressed for time to get fit enough for the World Cup.
He’s been dueling with Conor Casey, among others, for a spot on the 23-man roster. In his one appearance for the U.S. this season, he replaced Casey Feb. 24 against El Salvador and scored a goal in a 2-1 win. In 44 U.S. appearances he’s scored 11 goals. He played seven Concacaf qualifiers for the 2010 competition and tied with Clint Dempsey for the team lead with four goals.
Ching joins Charlie Davies, Oguchi Onyewu, Ricardo Clark, Steve Cherundolo and Stuart Holden on the list of U.S. players either sidelined with significant injuries or just getting back to fitness nine weeks before the start of the World Cup.