Monday, May 23, 2011

2011 US Gold Cup Roster

Announced today:

Tim Howard, Marcus Hahnemann, Nick Rimando

- No problem with the GKs.  Howard is our #1 through Brazil 2014.  Brad Guzan is taking the summer off for his wedding, while the elder statesman, Hahnemann, was brought in again as the experienced backup.

Carlos Bocanegra, Steve Cherundolo, Tim Ream, Oguchi Onyewu, Clarence Goodson, Jonathan Spector, Eric Lichaj, Jonathan Bornstein

- The biggest omission on the entire roster is the German-based youngster, Timothy Chandler.  He looked to be the RB of our future and his recent performances were superior to anything we've seen at fullback in the last few years.  The initial report is that Chandler declined the call-up, but no injury was disclosed. (His explanation about needing rest after a long season seems fishy - he better not be trying to jump back to Deutschland).  For a young player who should be trying to make a name for himself at the international level, he should be jumping at the opportunity, especially since Dolo will probably get most of the minutes anyway and Chandler could just rest and learn on the bench.

- The fact that Bornstein keeps getting called in is just astounding.  Even if he was starting at his club in Mexico (which he isn't), I wouldn't call him.  He is clearly a coach's favorite.

Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones, Maurice Edu, Benny Feilhaber (replaced by Alejandro Bedoya 5/29), Robbie Rogers, Sacha Kljestan, Freddy Adu

- Welcome back Freddy.  While he's laboring away in some lower level league in Turkey and not starring for a world class club that the US hype machine assumed he would be by now, at least he's laboring - ie PLAYING.  I'm not sure if he'll see much of the field this June, but as long as he's learned some humility (and team defense) the past few years, its good to see him back in the fold.

- A little surprised to see a consistently underwhelming Rogers here and not the in-form Bedoya.  (Feilhaber's ankle injury in the closing minutes of the Galaxy-Revs match last weekend made room for the snubbed Bedoya.  It seems that he's played much of his club minutes at CM where's he's scored 5 goals for top level Swedish club, Orebro.  So in retrospect, perhaps Bradley's surprising decision was Freddy over Bedoya.)  And my preference is to bring in Diskerud instead of Kljestan.

- The first six names will probably see all the game time - which is fine by me.  Holden would likely be a starter but unfortunately, a major leg injury keeps him off the field for the 2nd straight international tournament.

Jozy Altidore, Juan Agudelo, Chris Wondolowski

- Only calling 3 forwards seems to indicate that Bradley may not be over his 5 midfielder experiment - 4-5-1 - as it were, even though the US seemed much more comfortable in its traditional 4-4-2 in the most recent friendlies vs Argentina and Paraguay.

- That said, perhaps he has plans to use Dempsey up top, or maybe even Adu is certain situations.  A Jozy - Adu combination may still be a possibility in the future!

- Wondolowski?  Who?  Why is he on the squad for such an important tourney?  I'll probably look back at this in July after he's been our top goal-scorer and laugh.

Possible Starting Line-up

Bocanegra-Ream-Gooch -Cherundolo

- Truth is, our main starters will probably look a lot like the 2010 World Cup lineup.  We can expect much more turnover, especially defensively, by 2014 due to age, but the importance of this Gold Cup dictates that Bradley deploys the same core.

- Defensively, Gooch seems to still be a Bradley stalwart while Boca will still get slotted in at LB in the absence of any other option.  I think Ream has shown enough to warrant a start but the experienced Goodson might edge him out.

- Michael Bradley's an automatic starter so its really between Jones and Edu for the other central midfield spot.  I hope Bradley's experiment with all 3 guys in the middle of a 4-5-1 is completely over.  Again, an attack-minded playmaker/scorer should be the 3rd CM (ideally Holden, but could be Adu, Dempsey, Feilhaber, Kljestan, Diskerud or even Donovan) if this formation is used.

- I slotted in Agudelo, but he could be deployed as a 2nd half sub.  That could mean the 5th starting midfielder or it could mean that Dempsey starts as forward.  Man, having Holden would've solved everything.

June 25th, Gold Cup Final at the Rose Bowl - I'll be there if we make it.  Hopefully Mexico won't.  I'm not looking forward to being outnumbered 70K to 5K.

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