"Logan's been a real solid player for the Fire, someone who does a strong job in the center of the
field every game and I think he's been able to help our national team with the same kind of effort," said Bradley.
He's been paired with RSL midfielder Kyle Beckerman as a midfield tandem for several games and they're also rooming together. Of the two, Beckerman is the more prone to go forward, but their primary tasks are to hold firm in the middle and use the ball smartly when possession is won. At the Gold Cup, the USA has created plentiful chances with incisive, intelligent play from its flank players - including the outside backs -- and forwards.
"I've known Kyle for years since we've played for the U-23s in 2003 and 2004," says Pause, drafted by Chicago out of North Carolina in the third round of the 2003 SuperDraft. "We're good buddies and we get along well. All that helps when you get on the field."
Pause and Beckerman manned the middle - with Stuart Holden and Robbie Rogers on the flanks - for the quarterfinal against Panama, in which Beckerman scored a spectacular equalizer as the USA rallied to win, 2-1, in overtime. Of the midfielders, only Rogers failed to finish the match, and he came off only for the last 10 minutes, so the possibility of another 120-minute marathon could prompt a change or two.
Colin Clark, Sam Cronin and Quaranta all sat out the Panama game, so Bradley has several rested midfielders at his disposal in case he needs a change in the starting midfield lineup or early substitutions in case of fatigue or cramp. However, he feels the five-day turnaround has given the players enough time to recover. "I think we'll have had enough days at that point to be ready to go," he says.
Fatigue will be problematic Sunday, with only two rest days as well as a trip to New Jersey separating the semis from the final.
Holden, who scored goals against Grenada and Haiti in his first two U.S. appearances, is the lone U.S. player to score more than once at the Gold Cup. As the goals have been spread around, so has the playing time; of the 19 players listed on the semifinal roster, only goalie Jon Busch - who took Robles' spot just a few days ago - has yet to see action in the competition.
Defender Michael Parkhurst, who has also returned to the team, played the group game against Honduras paired in the middle with Chad Marshall. Jimmy Conrad is recovering from a concussion he suffered against Panama; the man who replaced him, Clarence Goodson, has also played well.
"It's definitely going to be a different game then the last one," said Pause. "We're in the semifinal of the Gold Cup and we know they're going to put a lot into it. They'll be hungry, but we feel with our group the important thing is concentrating on what we do. In a short period of time, the U.S. has beat Honduras twice now, but we're looking at this game just by itself, as a semifinal."