Adu called up for Gold Cup

[U.S. MEN] The recall of Freddy Adu and fresh starts for Robbie Rogers and Sacha Kljestan provided the major surprises of Coach Bob Bradley's 23-man Gold Cup roster. When it came to explaining some of his more curious choices to face Spain and Concacaf opposition in the Gold Cup, Bradley admitted he wanted to go with guys he knew.

“That certainly was a factor,” said Bradley in a conference call Monday shortly after the roster was finalized and released. “Robbie Rogers, Sacha Kljestan and Freddy Adu are players that we know well.

“They are players that have shown that when they come in for these types of tournaments, they understand the way we work and the way we do things. People certainly respect what they bring when we go into a month-long tournament so those were definitely factors.”

Those three players help cast this 23-man squad in a more varied and different light than the roster picked by Bradley for the 2010 World Cup. There are some younger players, such as Juan Agudelo, who can gain valuable experience – there’s that word again – but with a place in the 2013 Confederations Cup on the line for the winner, this is a competition to be won, not tinkered with.

“We certainly thought first and foremost about putting a team together that has the best chance to win this Gold Cup,” said Bradley. “With that we believe that there are players here that we see for sure being key parts in 2014, so I hope those things go together well.”

Adu’s recall earned the most notoriety, since the one-time, can’t-miss superstar wasn’t even in contention for the 2010 World Cup team, yet since moving to the Turkish second division to play for Caykur Rizespor on loan from Benfica has impressed Bradley and his staff, at least on-screen. All Bradley has seen are clips and computer feeds of live games.

“We have followed Freddy since he transferred to Rizespor,” said Bradley of Adu’s move at the end of January. “We’ve watched him a number of different times on the computer. We’ve not managed to get there. We watched one of his playoff games this morning, but we still feel that there are good signs from him as a player that have shown us soccer qualities that we think help our team.”

When pressed for details of those qualities, Bradley said, “I think it’s important to say that it’s not that we’ve seen anything specific playing for his new club that shows how he’s made progress or how he’s improved. It’s a package of things.

“He’s a player that certainly we all know at different times has shown some soccer abilities that are special. He hasn’t always been able to make them count in different situations at different levels but we respect the fact that he made this move to go to a smaller club because he had to show people he was willing to do whatever to keep going.”

This is Adu’s fourth loan since he signed with Benfica in 2007 and not always has he displayed that he’s “willing to do whatever to keep going.” Yet as Bradley also said, this call-up is just a step to assess Adu’s current value at the senior level, and not based on what he’s done for other U.S. teams in the past.

“There are still challenges for Freddy to show that the things that he’s been able to do at times, let’s say at some of the youth levels, that they can really make a difference whether it’s for the senior national team or a top club,” said Bradley. “Those are things that we all need to assess and it yet it works well sometimes and it’s a gut feeling sometimes that this is a good time to size this guy up again and that’s probably where it comes into play.”

The selection of Rogers may be predicated on a shortage of left-sided midfielders as much as his play in MLS recently, which has been average for the most part. Bradley referred to his ability to get in behind opposing defenses, which the U.S. team occasionally struggles to do unless the ball is played to Landon Donovan or Clint Dempsey. And on his day he’s an aggressive, fluid dribbler who can also play combinations through the channels.

Kljestan, formerly coached by Bradley at Chivas USA, fell out of favor in the run-up to the 2010 World Cup. In MLS and for the national team his remarkable skills and vision were tainted by inconsistency and defensive frailty; like Adu, he will be examined closely to assess how those elements of his play have changed since he left for Europe.

Several players in Mexico have been passed over, including Herculez Gomez, whose scoring burst over the past month didn’t sway Bradley sufficiently. “It was certainly not a situation where we were looking at Jozy [Altidore] vs. Herculez [Gomez],” said Bradley. “His club form hasn’t been what he would want or what any of us would want but Jozy has certainly shown that he is an important player for our national team.”

Some fans will lament the absence of Jose Francisco Torres, but since the World Cup, his fortunes have plummeted. When Pachuca lost some of its impact players, he failed to step in as a reliable starter. Injuries also affected his form and with several European-based midfielders – Maurice Edu, Kljestan, even Adu – playing regularly his chances dimmed.

“It’s a roster that certainly has experience from previous Gold Cups and World Cups and yet includes some new players that we think in the moment have earned the opportunity and that we’re excited to bring into this tournament,” said Bradley.

Bradley called up 14 players from the 2010 World Cup team.

GOALKEEPERS: Tim Howard (Everton, England), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake), Marcus Hahnemann (Wolves, England).
DEFENDERS: Oguchi Onyewu (FC Twente, Netherlands), Carlos Bocanegra (Saint-Etienne, France), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96, Germany), Eric Lichaj (Leeds, England), Clarence Goodson (Broendby, Denmark), Jonathan Bornstein (Tigres, Mexico), Jonathan Spector (West Ham, England), Tim Ream (New York Red Bulls).
MIDFIELDERS: Michael Bradley (Aston Villa, England), Clint Dempsey (Fulham, England), Maurice Edu (Rangers, Scotland), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy), Freddy Adu (Rizespor, Turkey), Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew), Benny Feilhaber (New England Revolution), Jermaine Jones (Blackburn, England), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht, Belgium).
FORWARDS: Juan Agudelo (New York Red Bulls), Jozy Altidore (Bursaspor, Turkey), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes).

10 comments about "Adu called up for Gold Cup".
  1. Paolo Jacobs, May 24, 2011 at 5:39 a.m.

    I woulda have picked H. Gomez as a 4th striker, and left off Sacha K. we need all the scoring we can get, and Sacha really has trouble playing D

  2. Walt Pericciuoli, May 24, 2011 at 9:21 a.m.

    Please please tell me what Bornstein,Fielhaber,Bradley,Hannemann,Altidore,and Wondolowski have shown over the past few months that would keep out the likes of Gomez, Chandler and Bedoya? I don't see these picks as the best team to win the gold cup. I believe Badley underestimates the CONCACAF opponents. Why are we allowing BB to coninue to waste our time? With these picks, we will see more of the same.

  3. John Burns, May 24, 2011 at 11:20 a.m.

    There will always be disagreement on national team selections but somewhere along the line Bobby Convey committed a horrible sin that has apparently relegated him to BB purgatory. His consistency,talent and skills as a left side mid or left back are superior to a number of choices for this roster but he is off the radar completely.

  4. Robert Kiernan, May 24, 2011 at 11:20 a.m.

    OK I'm not a fan of Sponge Bob and this selection has done nothing to change that fact. First off I want one or more of our soccer pundits to ask a follow up question about Tim Chandler asking out from this squad, is he Hurt or is he just "Tired" and I'm sorry but coming from a dual national who would be cap tied that type of a statement had better be explained more fully as he wasn't just likely going to make the team but in fact was likely to have started. Next I'd like to point out that this group that was selected really is lacking in flank players, but Rogers getting the call and Bedoya or Diskerud not? I expected Torres to get the cold shoulder from Bradley but it still annoys Me. Next I expected few Strikers, but just three? This clearly means we've not seen the last of the adventures of the Lone Ranger up top, but none of the three really is the classic back to the net Striker able to hold up the ball and shield until the midfield players are there to lay it off to, this calls for a Buddle or a Bunbury, instead we get Wondolowski and Agudelo both of whom are better used as that second striker who plays off the big guy, and we all know just what Jozy has been able to do up there all by his lonesome which isn't actually all that much. So clearly we are sticking with the packed midfield that has resulted in our only scoring FIVE times in our last seven matches, this is troubling as we seem to think that by just showing up other teams will crumble, I see this as a dangerous assumption. Can the CANADIANS hold us to a draw? Well just maybe especially if we fail to commit men to the attack or take enough shots on their net. I see faces that I'd hoped would NOT be back again, notably Kljestan and Bornstein. I expect now that Michael Bradley has actually got a minute or three in for Aston Villa after struggling even to make the bench that his father will not only start him but give him the full 90 each match which makes life tough for anybody else in the midfield, most likely Edu. But including Adu? He likely will be use if he is used at all out wide just as Clint Dempsey has been used out wide, but again he is much happier in the middle as is practically every one of the other midfielders, so just who is it that the Bald One thinks is going to serve up those crosses or make that through pass anyway? We still are lacking a true LB and if Bocanegra is played there his lack of pace can be a real liability, yet he does have a knack of scoring on corner kicks so maybe he starts inside at CB. But Gooch has not shown that he's back from the dead and still Bob Bradley will play those he is "familiar" with which might keep Goodson or Ream from starting as they should over Onyewu. So will Lichaj be moved to LB? Will Bornstein be moved from midfield to LB? In short we still don't have that spot covered. I expect Cherundolo gets the nod at RB, but again Spector has seem precious little time at fullback yet if he plays that's likely were it will be. (ICE)

  5. Robert Kiernan, May 24, 2011 at 11:32 a.m.

    John I couldn't agree more with that statement, here is a player who is still in his twenties, 27 or 28 and so clearly is still young enough to compete for a full qualifying cycle and yet has international experience at all levels as well as several years of successfully playing in England, is left sided and can play at both LB and as a flank midfielder and played no small part in Chris Wondolowski's being the leading scorer in MLS last year as he was the guy getting him the damned ball, but he's on that unofficial Bradley S**T list along with Jose Torres and Kenny Cooper and now apparently Edson Buddle and Hercules Gomez... I still am ashamed at the way Edgar Castillo has been treated, given a cup of coffee in a hopeless match in Denmark and then never called again, this pattern is disturbing, but in Bobby Convey's case it is worse because it was Convey far more than Adu that lead that u-20 team to such a strong finish several years back and it was Convey who was deserving of the "next big thing" tag at 16 years old... he's healthy and he's a much cagier player than say Robbie Rogers who for some reason makes this cut while say Alejandro Bedoya doesn't... it's just such a damned waste of talent. (ICE)

  6. Robert Kiernan, May 24, 2011 at 11:52 a.m.

    I'm still more than a bit put off by the idea that the USSF thought that playing arguably the worlds greatest possession side, SPAIN was a wise way to prepare only days before having to play a much more direct and physical type team in CANADA... what happens if one of our key players is hurt or picks up a stupid Red card? How does playing SPAIN get us ready for CONCACAF sides that play absolutely nothing like them? It will certainly make them some money and this business of charging $20 to watch the teams train is a good way to piss off a great many people... but none of this seems well thought out, just as never even TRYING to develop much of a possession side and using those players suited for it, say that guy Torres who is better than Kljestan will ever be or Diskerud or Bedoya or any of several other players not on Bob's front porch. Look each year we are treated to the MLS amateur hour where we get to see that Marvell Wynne still is all speed but little touch... and yet those players who really do show both touch and work rate like Dax McCarty say, are not even on this team while Bornstein is? This coach is a disaster and I really hope that the buy out clause in his contract isn't as large as I fear it is, so when GUUS HIDDINK or some other truly worthy coach is available we might have a chance not to embarrass our selves come Brazil '14 because while I do believe we can qualify, I absolutely do not think that good ol' Bunker Bob is really going to be able to improve on his last outing and I'm sure we won't get that type of dream draw twice in a row. (ICE)

  7. Albert Harris, May 24, 2011 at 2:11 p.m.

    No knock on Rodgers, but his performance this season is no better than Convey's and Bobby's performance last year was demonstrably better so other than personal dislike, I fail to see the logic of picking him over Convey particularly since Bobby also gives cover at left back. But, as with the coach's dislike of all things from the Mexican league except for Bornstein at this point, the coach's thought processes surpasseth all understanding.

  8. Kevin Mahlan, May 25, 2011 at 6:43 a.m.

    I agree with everything that everyone has said. Bungling Bob is a screwup and if you keep going with what you had you will keep getting what you got, which so far for US Soccer hasn't been much. We "might" win the CONCACAF with this group because the competition is not that great but is getting better. We are not getting better looking at the roster we have set. We need to make some changes and not go with people because they are who we know. Boo Boo Bob needs to be sent packing and a REAL coach needs to be brought in but money and POLITICS play a big part in what is happening with US Soccer, always has and always will.

  9. Jake Lammi, May 25, 2011 at 9:30 a.m.

    Isn't the US trying to build towards Brazil 2014?!?!? I mean why are Adu,Rogers,Hahnemann,Wondolowski, and Kljestan on the team?!?! Adu, Rogers and Kljestan were all given their chances and have failed to make any sort of impression. Wondolowski hasn't done much to warrant a call up and no offense to Hahnemann who is quality, but he won't be in Brazil as he will be what like 44 at that time,? so get another keeper some experience! I was really hoping to see Chandler out there, he was quite impressive the last time he played. And when was the last time Michael Bradley did anything anywhere? I hope people realize now that he isn't good!!! He didn't even play for an underachieving Villa squad, couldn't beat out the likes Sylian Petrov Reo-Coker or even Marc Albrighton for playing time!?!?! When was the last time Reo-Coker or Albrighton were playing for England? This is why Bob Bradley is hot garbage, because of his comment that he went with players that "we know well" Seriously!!! The U.S. needs to find better players they "don't know" as why they have now isn't good enough. Bob Bradley should have been canned the second he arrived back from South Africa. He is a bad decision maker. And I bet there are even some college players right now better than Adu,Rogers, Wondo and Kljestan. We needed to start over after the terrible performances in South Africa, and that starts from the top.

  10. beautiful game, May 25, 2011 at 9:51 a.m.

    Rogers and Sacha are too inconsistent and really have no business being selected to the squad. It's really up to Bradley to step up with new combinations that work, not the samo-samo combos which struggle. Now, let's see if Freddy gets on the pitch, and I don't mean for 20 minyes or less.

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