Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
Final audition for U.S. World Cup hopefuls
by Ridge Mahoney, May 25th, 2010 12:55AM
Subscribe to Soccer America Daily

MOST READ
TAGS:  men's national team, world cup

MOST COMMENTED

[USA-CZECH REPUBLIC] The decisions faced by U.S. coach Bob Bradley to pick which 23 players will suit up for the friendly Tuesday against Czech Republic (8 p.m. ET, ESPN, Galavision) are shaped by players who are sure to be on the plane for South Africa as well as those likely to be excluded.

Is this the game to get Oguchi Onyewu some minutes, or is the Saturday game against Turkey the right opportunity to ease him back after seven months on the shelf?

Carlos Bocanegra underwent hernia surgery less than three weeks ago, and an abdominal strain has been bothering Jay DeMerit; does Bradley test their fitness, or use this first send-off game to test Maurice Edu in the back and giveJonathan Spector a chance to play in the middle rather than on the outside?

Bradley could sit a few of his projected defensive starters and send out a back line of Jonathan Bornstein, Clarence Goodson, Edu, and Steve Cherundolo, or mix and match without burning too many subs on the backline, since there are numerous puzzles to be solved elsewhere.

Is Brian Ching fit enough to play and if so, who does Bradley audition alongside him up top? If Ching and Jozy Altidore are assured of spots, a starting front line of Edson Buddle and Robbie Findley – perhaps supported by Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey in midfield – would give those candidates a solid platform.

But there are also question marks in midfield, and among the slightly hobbled is DaMarcus Beasley, so what does Bradley do with him, or one of his former players at Chivas USA, Sacha Kljestan? Are Stuart Holden and Ricardo Clark on the plane, on the bubble, or somewhere in between?

The coach can only play 17 players – 11 starters plus six substitutes – and if he sticks to his plan of picking his World Cup 23 after this game, logic would indicate any player on the bubble who gets a start is getting the best shot to impress. However, a good showing off the bench by a Herculez Gomez or Alejandro Bedoya could be enough to win a spot in the final 23.

What is only known by Bradley and his staff is how the players stack up based not on the past week, but since Bradley took over more than 3 ½ years ago. Yet among the 30 players summoned are Bedoya (two caps) and Buddle (one).

The Czech Republic is in a rebuilding phase, and of the team that squashed the U.S., 3-0, at the World Cup four years ago, only keeper Peter Cech and midfielders Jan Polak and Jiroslav Plasil are in the squad. Libor Sionko was on the subs’ bench in the 2006 game but didn’t play. Several other veterans, such as playmaker Tomas Rosicky, are not on the trip because of injury or post-season fatigue.

Turkey has brought a stronger team, which beat the Czechs, 2-1, Saturday at Red Bull Arena, and Bradley might elect to field his best team – injuries permitting – in Philadelphia on Saturday with a crowd of perhaps 50,000 expected. But for a few players, the stakes couldn’t be higher than they will be Tuesday, and no matter what their past performances, that pressure is what they must endure to prove they are World Cup-worthy.



0 comments
  1. Colin Reese
    commented on: May 25, 2010 at 12:48 p.m.
    I like how you recognized Edu's potential in the back. This would be a good option to have more skill players on the field. DeMerit is a definite starter at full fitness. I don't see Holden and Clark not making it. They are just too good not to make it. It's too bad our defensive pool is not as good as our midfield pool.
  1. Anthony Pignataro
    commented on: May 26, 2010 at 10:55 a.m.
    Sacha, Findley, Bedoya, Johnson, Pearce, Bornstein and either Marshall or Gooch should be sent home.

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




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
Red Bulls get defensive held with Collin    
In need of help at center back, where it lost Matt Miazga, sold to Chelsea, and ...
MLS Week 9: Results and standings    
The Colorado Rapids earned a 2-2 tie at Montreal to join FC Dallas and Real Salt ...
NWSL: Reign's Fishlock sidelined with fractured tibia    
Jess Fishlock, an NWSL Best XI pick in each of her three seasons with the Seattle ...
MLS Week 9: Weekend schedule    
One of five Saturday afternoon matches features the Montreal Impact, first in the Eastern Conference, against ...
Soccer gets new Vegas pitchman: David Beckham    
A surprise pitchman at Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis' Thursday meeting with Las Vegas government officials ...
MLS Countdown: FC Dallas looks to rebound quickly    
FC Dallas, which plays at the New York Red Bulls in a battle of 2015 conference ...
Alex Morgan flexes her social media muscle    
If U.S. women's national team players want to show off their clout to make their case ...
What They're Saying: Seattle Sounders sports scientist Dave Tenney    
"One of the biggest red flags we have is guys that have kids. Almost across the ...
U.S. U-19 men fall to Slovakia on the way to final    
The Brad Friedel-coached U.S. U-19 men's national team, having already clinched a spot in the Slovakia ...
Video Pick: Dog invades field, kisses player    
The hound who ran onto the field during a Copa Libertadores game seemed especially happy to ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives