Sorry about my lack of posting lately, I’m struggling with a questionable internet connection and a slate of late games for the Cardinals. That’s a recipe for working and sleeping only. Luckily, Weller has appeased the masses with his condemnation of cheerleading. Anyway, on Tuesday afternoon the 30 man preliminary roster for the World Cup was announced. There were no real major surprises but one omission did spark an awful lot of debate among US fans.
First, however, we’ll take a look at the roster in its entirety:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Marcus Hahnemann (Wolverhampton)
DEFENDERS (9): Carlos Bocanegra (Rennes), Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover), Jay DeMerit (Watford), Clarence Goodson (IK Start), Chad Marshall (Columbus Crew), Oguchi Onyewu (AC Milan), Heath Pearce (FC Dallas), Jonathan Spector (West Ham United)
MIDFIELDERS (12): DaMarcus Beasley (Rangers), Alejandro Bedoya (Örebro), Michael Bradley (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Ricardo Clark (Eintracht Frankfurt), Clint Dempsey (Fulham), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy), Maurice Edu (Rangers), Benny Feilhaber (Aarhus), Stuart Holden (Bolton), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA), Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew), José Torres (Pachuca)
FORWARDS (6): Jozy Altidore (Villarreal), Edson Buddle (Los Angeles Galaxy), Brian Ching (Houston Dynamo), Robbie Findley (Real Salt Lake), Herculez Gomez (Puebla), Eddie Johnson (Aris Thessaloniki)
The roster will have to be trimmed down to 23 by June 1st meaning that seven players on this list will be cut before the competition starts. The strength of this team lies, once again, in the net. Tim Howard is one of the best in the world and his primary backup, Marcus Hahnemann is certainly no slouch. By the way, the rules state that a team must carry three keepers so these three are on the roster barring some crazy, unforeseen injury.
Another strength…or non-weakness, I guess…would be our backline. I was at times very happy with the starting defense of John Spector, Oguchi Onyewu, Jay DeMerit, and Carlos Bocanegra. Of course, this hinges on Onyewu’s health. He has been sidelined with a knee injury since October but has been selected for AC Milan’s match this Sunday. That’s good news to American soccer fans.
The midfield might feature several different looks depending on who Bob Bradley wants to put up front. I’d expect Landon Donovan and Michael Bradley to hold down the center sports with Clint Dempsey on one side and an open competition for the other spot. If Bradley wants to move Dempsey or Donovan up top, I’d like to see Ricardo Clark get a shot in the upcoming exhibitions against the Czech Republic and Turkey. He doesn’t score many goals but his defensive presence works well with Michael Bradley’s offensive style. I think plenty of people would disagree with me on that, but none of the other options are that appealing either.
My main concern with this team is our attacking ability. We have none. It’s hard to win games when you can’t score goals. I’d imagine one spot goes to Jozy Altidore despite his season-long slump for Hull City. I think in the end the other spot will go to Dempsey and we’ll work out who the outside midfielders are later, but if not, I’d say Brian Ching. He’s coming off an injury he sustained while playing for the Houston Dynamo but should be healthy by the time the tournament starts. He’s at least got international experience, something Edson Buddle and Herculez Gomez do not have. Eddie Johnson is okay at best when he’s healthy and Robbie Findley won’t be on the team come June. This is where Charlie Davies would have been nice. Davies provided the spark for the National Team in the Confederations Cup and had been our best striking option until the car accident that ended his shot at making the team. His club team, Sochaux, wrote a letter to Bradley saying they would not release him to play for the US team. While I certainly understand Sochaux’s concern and Bradley’s decision to leave him off the roster…man, it would be nice to have him there. I’m very afraid that if the midfield doesn’t produce the goals for this team, we won’t score at all. Is it too late to have Brian McBride end his retirement?
Looking at this roster, I’d say we’re in for some low scoring games. It’s certainly not a high-powered offensive team, which will I’m sure disappoint the casual viewer. If I’m being totally honest, I don’t see any way this team makes it past the second round and I’m afraid we’ll have another performance l
Filed under: Soccer