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What to look for on U.S. roster
by Paul Kennedy, May 11th, 2010 1:46AM

TAGS:  americans abroad, men's national team, mls, world cup


[WORLD CUP COUNTDOWN] By Tuesday afternoon, we'll have a better idea who will be representing the USA at the World Cup. U.S. coach Bob Bradley will name his preliminary 30-man roster that was submitted to FIFA -- and the list of players who will be attending the training camp beginning Saturday in Princeton, N.J. -- at 2 p.m. ET live on ESPNEWS. Here's what to look for ...

The final 23-player roster isn't due to FIFA until June 1, so Bradley can use the training camp and friendlies against the Czech Republic and Turkey later this month to gauge the fitness and form of some key players, as well as fringe candidates. He may need until the end of the month to make his final selections.

These 19 players look to be sure bets to make the preliminary 30 -- and final 23:

Goalkeepers: Tim Howard, Marcus Hahnemann, Brad Guzan.
Defenders: Carlos Bocanegra, Oguchi Onyewu, Steve Cherundolo, Jonathan Spector, Jay DeMerit, Clarence Goodson, Jonathan Bornstein.
Midfielders: Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley, Stuart Holden, Ricardo Clark, Maurice Edu, Benny Feilhaber, Jose Francisco Torres.
Forwards: Jozy Altidore.

Here are three key issues related to these players?

-- What's the fitness of Onyewu, who hasn't played since injuring his knee in October? If he isn't ready, does Bocanegra or Spector (or both) move back into the middle?

-- If Charlie Davies isn't ready to go, who will take his place up front? Dempsey is the logical choice, but that then means a spot is opened up on the right side of midfield. Is Holden, injured the March 3 friendly against the Netherlands, ready?

-- What role for Edu, who was one of the few foreign-based field players in form over the last month but was not a factor in qualifying? In midfield, alongside Michael Bradley or perhaps on the backline?

Here are three key issues related to the remaining spots in the preliminary 30:

-- Which additional defenders does Bob Bradley take to Princeton? Among the possibilities: Heath Pearce, Chad Marshall and Frankie Hejduk, all MLS players.

-- Does DaMarcus Beasley still merit a spot in the team despite his lack of playing time this spring at Rangers? It may come down to Beasley or young Alejandro Bedoya for the last midfield spot?

-- Probably two forward spots remain up for grabs. And there are at least a half dozen possibilities: Davies, Brian Ching, Edson Buddle, Herculez Gomez, Eddie Johnson and Conor Casey. First in the pecking order are Davies, who hasn't played since being injured in a car accident last October, and Ching, who hasn't played for the Houston Dynamo since the beginning of April. Ching should go to Princeton. The big news story will be if Davies gets an invite. Buddle has probably played himself on the World Cup team with his fabulous spring season with the Galaxy. Gomez may need a strong May to win a spot.

  1. Gregory Weiss
    commented on: May 11, 2010 at 9:20 a.m.
    Gomez and Buddle should really get serious consideration for the extra forward spots. You have to consider current form and not potential. This isn't a training camp for the next few years, it's a camp to determine who is playing best right now. Davies clearly has amazing skill and if healthy is better than all the others listed, but how can he possibly be sharp? Finally, why is Bornstein such a shoe-in for a spot? If Onyewu is anything approaching healthy we need to leave him at home. He is clearly outclassed in international play and, if he's on the field, the U.S. is in serious trouble. We need a player who won't be the obvious point of attack for other teams.

  1. Kevin White
    commented on: May 11, 2010 at 9:23 a.m.
    Why not Torres? He has been playing very well.

  1. Kevin White
    commented on: May 11, 2010 at 9:24 a.m.
    Why not Torres?

  1. Walt Pericciuoli
    commented on: May 11, 2010 at 9:54 a.m.
    Leave Bornstein home, wasted roster space. If he is on the pitch, we are in trouble. Spector can and does play left side for West Ham. Although his time has past, I would include Hedjuk just for what he could bring off the bench. Buddle and Gomez should be included as shoe ins.No other forwards listed are in the form they are right now. Ching has earned the right to be included on the roster.Perhaps Johnson should get a look as well. Dempsey played mostly as a left sided MF for Fulham, if he has to play up top, we should look for a left sided type player (Beasley????)shouldn't Donovan be the right side MF as he was for Everton?

  1. Gregory Weiss
    commented on: May 11, 2010 at 10:10 a.m.
    Torres is listed as a midfielder who can and should make the team. As for who starts, that is much more tricky...

  1. Gregory Weiss
    commented on: May 11, 2010 at 10:15 a.m.
    Torres is listed as on the team as a mid-fielder. He definitely should make the roster, just a question of whether or not he gets playing time.

  1. Andy Sinsigalli
    commented on: May 11, 2010 at 11:57 a.m.
    I think that Conrad will be included. He has been in excellent form recently (pre-injury) and was one of our best players at the 2006 WC. He has quality where we need it he completes passing. We need 4 true center backs, Gooch (we are all hoping that he will somehow get sharp in the next 2-3 weeks), DeMerit (wasn't he injured?), Goodson (Nice goal in last friendly), Marshall in my opinion just doesn't show the confidence or the passing ability at this level. Conrad has been there and has continued to prove he can play at this level. Take away his quick red card against El Salvador and he has showed very well.

  1. Kevin Kilpatrick
    commented on: May 11, 2010 at 12:21 p.m.
    WHy not Omar Gonzalez in the back line. He is young but he has shown he can hang in the back and has deceptive speed when guarding fast forwards. If Guch is hurt give him a chance in May!

  1. Ric Fonseca
    commented on: May 11, 2010 at 12:50 p.m.
    Get Buddle, Gomez, and Gonzalez in! Bornstein is too shaky, and Ching is but a sentimental favorite, and as for Conrad, De Merit and Goodson, would be detrimental to the team. I'd bring in Beasley instead of Eddie Johnson... it is a matter of experience over "emotional and sentimental favoritism." Unfortunately, it boggles the mind to note that Bradly is barely getting the team together in a matter of a few days while other national teams have been in training for several days if not weeks. This harks back to the time when the players were brought in for a couple of weeks before their opening games. So will it be "three up and three down and out" for the US no matter who Bradley brings in? Gee whiz-louise, I hope not but the writing is on the wall!

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