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:

Goalkeepers
# Name CLUB Birthdate
Weight
Height
Brad Guzan Aston Villa 9/9/1984
207
6’4″
Marcus Hahnemann Wolverhampton 6/15/1972
218
6’3″
Tim Howard Everton 3/6/1979
189
6’2″
Defenders
# Name CLUB Birthdate
Weight
Height
Carlos Bocanegra Rennes 5/25/1979
172
6′
Jonathan Bornstein Chivas USA 11/7/1984
146
5’9″
Steven Cherundolo Hannover 96 2/19/1979
152
5’7″
Jay DeMerit Watford 12/4/1979
180
5’11”
Clarence Goodson FK Start 5/17/1982
169
6’4″
Oguchi Onyewu AC Milan 5/13/1982
201
6’4″
Jonathan Spector West Ham United 3/1/1986
167
6′
Midfielders
# Name CLUB Birthdate
Weight
Height
DaMarcus Beasley Rangers 5/24/1982
145
5’8″
Michael Bradley Mönchengladbach 7/31/1987
180
6′
Ricardo Clark Eintracht Frankfurt 2/10/1983
150
5’10”
Clint Dempsey Fulham 3/9/1983
169
6′
Maurice Edu Rangers 4/18/1986
169
6′
Benny Feilhaber AGF Aarhus 1/19/1985
150
5’8″
Stuart Holden Bolton Wanderers 8/1/1985
161
5’10”
Francisco Torres Pachuca 10/29/1987
134
5’5″
Forwards
# Name CLUB Birthdate
Weight
Height
Jozy Altidore Hull City 11/6/1989
158
5’11”
Edson Buddle Los Angeles 5/21/1981
185
6’1″
Landon Donovan Los Angeles 3/4/1982
159
5’8″
Robbie Findley Real Salt Lake 8/4/1985
165
5’9″
Herculez Gomez Pachuca 4/6/1982
176
5’10”

(I just lifted that straight off Foxsports.com)

First thing I’d point out is that Landon Donovan is listed as a forward here, but I don’t know if that’s how he’ll be used.  It certainly wouldn’t surprise me.  It also says that Jozy Altidore only weighs 158 pounds.  The US Soccer website has him listed at 6’1″ and 175 pounds.  That seems more like it.

Anyway, the one thing that I have an issue with is Robbie Findley’s inclusion over Brian Ching.  I realize that Ching is battling a hamstring injury but he was really the best option aside from Altidore.  Between Findley, Edson Buddle, and Herculez Gomez they have a combined total of eight (8!) national team appearances.  That’s not the kind of experience I want to take with me to the biggest stage.  Ching has more goals (11) for the US team than that trio has games.  Ching was a part of the 2006 team that disappointed in Germany, but didn’t play a minute.  At least he was there and he experienced what the World Cup atmosphere is about.  As it stands we have no forwards (not counting Donovan and Clint Dempsey) who have ever participated in a World Cup.  I don’t like that.  Even if Ching isn’t healthy enough to compete, he would bring valuable experience to the forward crew and all indications are that he would be able to play by June 12th.

My only thought is that Bradley is hoping that Findley can replace Charlie Davies speed and energy up top.  Hopefully, he’s right.

In the midfield, I might have considered bringing Robbie Rogers over Benny Feilhaber but I don’t hate the decision enough to rant about it.

I also read where people are concerned about Oguchi Onywu’s inclusion.  Simply put, he’s the best defender on the US roster.  If he can walk, he’ll be out there.  He did look a bit rusty against the Czechs, but he has two more games to get that worked out.  He’ll be fine.  The came goes for Carlos Bocanegra (hernia) and Jay DeMerit (eye).

So without seeing our upcoming warm up matches against Turkey and Australia (which will go a long way toward deciding who plays), here is the starting line up I’d send out against England on June 12th:

GOALKEEPER – Tim Howard.  He’s the best, no surprise here.

DEFENDERSJonathan Spector, Oguchi Onyewu, Jay DeMerit, Carlos Bocanegra. With DeMerit’s emergence as a viable option in the middle, Bocanegra can slide back outside to his natural position.  I’d put Spector out there due to his familiarity with the English team through his club experience with Aston Villa.  I would feel very comfortable subbing Clarence Goodson in for Onyewu or DeMerit if one of them isn’t capable of going a full 90 or Steve Cherundolo for Spector if he isn’t getting the job done.  This unit gelled very well during the Confederations Cup last Summer and I see no reason to break up that group.  Unlike others, I’m not worried about our defense as long as they are all healthy.

MIDFIELD – Landon Donovan, Ricardo Clark, Michael Bradley, Stuart Holden. I’m letting Donovan run wild up and down a flank creating space which makes him dangerous.  In the middle, I’m letting Ricardo Clark be a defensive presence with Michael Bradley.  These two work well together as long as they can keep their harsh tackles in check.  Both have recently gotten untimely red cards which has become a plague on US soccer.  On the other side, I’m giving Stuart Holden a shot to show off his energy and creativity, but I could easily be swayed into giving Jose Francisco Torres that spot.

FORWARD – Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey. Altidore obviously gets the nod for one spot.  For the other, I’m taking Clint Dempsey out of his midfield role to become a forward.  Dempsey can play both and he has excelled up front for the US before while his midfield play has been rather pedestrian.  Dempsey has a knack for scoring large goals for this team so hopefully he can continue his magic.  As I said above, I’m not wild about the potential forward combinations which is why I’m pulling Dempsey up.

I will be interested to see Bradley’s lineup come Saturday against Turkey.  We have a solid team and could become dangerous as long as we’re healthy and can score goals.  I can’t wait until June 12th.

One Response

  1. […] likely to see in South Africa, the United States beat Turkey 2-1 in Philadelphia.  Two days ago I outlined the team that I wanted to see take the field today.  As it turns out, that was very close to the team we saw this afternoon.  Bob Bradley’s […]

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