wasn't all that much suspense regarding which of the European-based players would be selected by Coach Bob Bradley
for the Hexagonal opener against Mexico Wednesday in
Columbus. So the inclusion of Jozy Altidore
, who just went on loan to CD Xerez, and the exclusion of Freddy Adu
, stuck on the bench while on loan to Monaco from
Benfica, is notable for Adu's notoriety, but not at all surprising.
Altidore started, and scored, against Mexico in the last meeting of the Concacaf rivals, a 2-2 friendly tie
in Houston one year ago. Adu came on as a sub in that match but his scant playing time in the past 12 months counted heavily against him.
Regulars Landon Donovan
, Oguchi Onyewu
, Carlos Bocanegra
, Michael Bradley
and Tim Howard
head the squad, and Bradley also
selected DaMarcus Beasley
, who hasn't played much this season but scored a nice goal for Glasgow Rangers against Milan in a friendly last week. Maurice Edu
Beasley's teammate at Rangers, wasn't picked, as Bradley has nearly all of his preferred selections available in central midfield and central defense except for the suspended Pablo
Bradley must choose between Frankie Hejduk
and Marvell Wynne
to replace the injured Steve Cherundolo
back, and whether Ricardo Clark
will get the chance to lend his pace and range to the USA cause may depend on where, and if, Sacha Kljestan
gets a start.
Kljestan hit a hat trick playing centrally against Sweden in a 3-2 win last month but Bradley might prefer a Bradley-Clark pairing to better contain Mexico. Kljestan could still start on
the right but that is one of the roles Dempsey fills.
Bradley and Clark started centrally against Mexico in Houston. The quickness of Jose Francisco Torres
another option but with only two caps he's extremely inexperienced, though his presence in this squad is a clear signal of future intentions.
There is cover at each position in
the squad of 20: two goalkeepers, two left backs, three central defenders, two right backs, two left mids, three center mids, several options at right mid, and either three or four forwards,
depending on where Donovan and Dempsey line up.
Bradley's choice of eight players from the January training camp that included MLS players and four based in Scandinavia mirrors
his confidence in excluding Adu and Edu and a few others based in Europe. As it has turned out, those guys weren't at Home Depot Center just to make up the numbers.
is the second choice to Heath Pearce
at left back; a year and a half ago, Bornstein played the entire Gold Cup final, a 2-1 win over Mexico in
Chicago. Defender Danny Califf
backs up Onyewu and Bocanegra in the middle; Charlie Davies
adds speed and Brian Ching
bulk to the forward
possibilities. Robbie Rogers
is the natural alternative to Beasley at left mid, and both have the speed to give the pacy Mexicans something of their own medicine.
Mobility will be essential defensively, as Nery Castillo
is just one of Mexico's blur merchants who can run at opponents or blow past them at any moment.