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Focus on missing center backs
by Paul Kennedy, May 17th, 2010 11:36PM

TAGS:  men's national team, world cup


[USA 30] On the opening day of the USA's pre-World Cup training camp at Princeton University, as much attention was on who wasn't on the field as was who was there. Considering Oguchi Onyewu, scheduled to arrive from AC Milan on Tuesday, hasn't played a game in seven months, the news that three other regular center backs didn't take part in full training on Monday wasn't good, but Coach Bob Bradley said it was too early to be concerning.

Watford's Jay DeMerit (abdominal strain) and fellow center back Chad Marshall (slight hamstring strain) sat out Monday along with goalie Tim Howard (quadriceps strain).

Tuesday Update: DeMerit and Marshall worked with trainers and did not take part in the full workout.

Carlos Bocanegra, who played on the left side and in the middle of the backline in qualifying, missed the last three weeks of the French season at Rennes, is recovering from an abdominal strain of his own, and worked on the ball by himself on Monday.

"Carlos did the warmup with the team today, a little bit of ballwork, individual work," said U.S. coach Bob Bradley, "and so he is making good progress."

The only other regular central defender in the USA 30 is Clarence Goodson, who like Onyewu, was en route from Europe.

Outside backs Jonathan Bornstein and Jonathan Spector have both been used (sparingly) in the middle of the U.S. defense, while midfielder Maurice Edu played at center back for the USA at the 2008 Olympics.

Like Marshall, Eddie Johnson has a slight hamstring strain and worked out on his own.

  1. Gene Jay
    commented on: May 18, 2010 at 2:20 p.m.
    Yeah, massive concern. given our best is pretty average on an international stage Bob should be craping his pants. One slight misjudgement, mis-kick or brain fart in the center back can easily be the difference in points vesus no points in WC. Only saving grace is England usually has a few brain farts of their own in European cup (when they qualify!!!) and WC play.
  1. Robert Kiernan
    commented on: May 18, 2010 at 8:13 p.m.
    Well while there has been much talk of just how threadbare we are with proven Strikers... it's just about as bad in the central defense. Outside of Parkhurst or Gonzalez, we really don't have many other candidates available... both Califf and Orazco have shown great ability to get themselves tossed from matches and after the Honduras debacle, Conrad isn't likely to be recalled either. Add to all this the fact that we have YET to truly deal with our lack of a first string LB and we are looking to be in less than World dominating shape. Personally I'm still quite annoyed that Edgar Castillo wasn't given the chance even to play the position even once... and Frank Simec is another player who deserved a chance at wingback... so now if Bocanegra continues to have problems we are seriously looking at Jonathan Bornstein not only making the 23 man squad but even starting??? This is NOT what I want to see from my National Team this late in the game... and since I have less than divine belief in Bunker Bob's abilities... me thinks this might be a very bumpy ride ahead!

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