USA Makes Final Roster Cuts

I meant to do this yesterday but I was busy.  It happens.  Anyway, Bob Bradley made his final cuts from the provisional squad down to the 23 man team that will be representing the US in South Africa.  For the most part, I think he did a fine job.  One pick in particular confused me a bit, but we’ll get into that later.  First, let’s take a look at the team:

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USA Fails to Impress In First Warmup

I guess that headline is misleading since most of the first team wasn’t used tonight but it was still a disappointing performance.  Some players played their way into my good graces (not that it matters) and some certainly did not during the United States’ 4-2 loss to the Czech Republic.

Once again, this was not a good indication of how we’ll do in South Africa, it was more of a test run for the players who are on the bubble.  We’ll find out around noon tomorrow who is on the team and who will watch it from home.

We’ll start with the few players who impressed me tonight.  I was really watching two things this game: how the forwards performed and how Oguchi Onyewu held up in his first action in seven months.  What I got was a stellar performance, except for one ball that handcuffed him, from Clarence Goodson.  His play in the air was essential to both US goals.  Every set piece was sent to the back post toward Goodson who managed to get his head on a fair amount of them.  The US has relied on Onyewu to get his head on most set pieces since Brian McBride retired.  It would be nice to have another reliable threat in the air.  He also looked solid at the back, aside from the one glaring error that led to the Czech’s third goal.  Goodson should be packing his bags to Africa.

None of the forwards really impressed me, but if I had to pick two I’d go with Edson Buddle and Herculez Gomez.  The announcers kept mentioning how Buddle and Eddie Johnson were working well together but Johnson never did anything that jumped out at me.  Brian Ching was also a nonfactor while he was in the game.  Still, Ching gets a spot on my team for experience alone.  At this point, Buddle would get the nod with Altidore up front for my team, assuming Dempsey stays in the midfield.

Robbie Rogers played well off the bench.  He showed some creativity on the flank and wasn’t afraid to test the Czech goal from distance with good shots.

Now for the bad.  Heath Pearce completely demolished any chance he had of making this team.  He was beaten badly twice leading to Czech goals each time.  He wasn’t in the game long enough to have that much of a negative impact.  He was bad.

I was also not a fan of Jonathan Bornstein’s play in the back.  He tends to get beat and then give up fouls in dangerous areas.  That’s not good enough in the World Cup.

Oguchi Onyewu’s performance was…meh.  Not good, not bad.  He was obviously out-jumped on the first goal, which should never happen, but the rest of his game was fine.  I was not encouraged by the way he was limping after he exited in the 65th minute.  I’ll be interested to see how much and how well he plays on Saturday against Turkey.

I’m not sure anyone played his way onto or off the team tonight since Bradley is set to announce the final squad tomorrow but it’s still fun to speculate.  I’ll try and get another post up tomorrow about the final squad, but I have sketchy internet around here, so no promises.

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