Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Yanks Going to South Africa

Bob Bradley has just announced the 23-man USA roster for the World Cup:

Goalkeepers: Brad Guzan, Marcus Hahnemann, Tim Howard.

Defenders: Carlos Bocanegra, Jonathan Bornstein, Steve Cherundolo, Jay DeMerit, Clarence Goodson, Oguchi Onyewu, Jonathan Spector.

Midfielders: DaMarcus Beasley, Michael Bradley, Ricardo Clark, Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan, Maurice Edu, Benny Feilhaber, Stuart Holden, Jose Torres.

Forwards: Jozy Altidore, Edson Buddle, Robbie Findley, Herculez Gomez.

I don't think there are any surprises in the back.  Guzan showed last night that he is the number three goalie behind Hahnemann, and Bradley was forced to choose at least one natural left back, meaning Bornstein obviously gets the nod over slightly more horrible Heath Pearce. 

That said, is anyone else not horrified by our defense at the moment?  Gooch just looks off, which shouldn't be surprising, seeing as he hasn't played a single match in seven months!  The US has depth at center back, until you realize that Bocanegra just had surgery for a hernia and he also probably needs to play left back if only because playing Bornstein would be like inviting the apocolypse upon the team's hopes of advancing.  Imagine Aaron Lennon or Theo Walcott racing past a hapless Bornstein as he either falls to the turf or concedes another penalty.  Yikes.  Once again I'll clamor for Spector to play at left back, even though he's stated that he's more comfortable on the right, and Bradley has never seemed inclined to play him there.  I don't know if Gooch can get up to full speed in time, and I'm a little worried.

The midfield brings practically no surprises.  Bedoya and Rogers made late pushes for inclusion, and I thought they looked alright last night, but Beasley has also looked better recently and his experience won out.  He did well last night, cementing his place.  I won't really argue with anything here.  Holden looked good last night and can argue for a starting spot if Dempsey goes up top. Remains to be seen.

One slight disappointment I had was with Edu.  Yes he scored, but I just wasn't as impressed with his control of the defensive midfield area as I was hoping.  Was I the only one?  There were times where he just didn't seem as engaged and was too passive in the middle when the Czech's had the ball and were attacking.  This is when it would help to have no life to be able to re-watch the game for such things.  Still, I think he's better all-around to Rico Clark and should start with Michael Bradley, but we'll learn more with the Turkey match.

Finally, the forwards are the one area where Bradley shook things up.  The big surprise, causing outrage amongst some, is Findley over Brian Ching.  Personally I thought Ching had a roster spot all but guaranteed, especially after another good showing last night where it was clear that his hold up play and ability to link with other attackers is head and shoulders better than the rest of the US forwards, even if that's not saying much.

Findley clearly won out because he has speed and will be replacing Charlie Davies.  In an ESPN chat recently Bocanegra revealed that he was impressed with Findley in training and was hoping he could make an impact, so maybe there were signs behind the scenes we just didn't see.  I could even see taking Findley, but at the expense of either Buddle or Gomez.  Gomez looked more dangerous and scored last night, all but sealing his spot on the roster, so in my opinion Buddle should have been cut.  Again, it would be nice to be able to go back and watch the game and analyze how Buddle played, but from my viewing last night I just didn't see anything from him that lends me to believe he'll make any impact against world class calibre defenders.

I'm trying to stay positive because all the key players except Gooch were in the stands last night.  Hopefully the Turkey match will provide more answers, because I think last night raised a few more questions.  16 days until June 12...

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