[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.