The 7 To Be Cut From the USMNT: Predictions

May 24, 2010 § Leave a comment

USMNT coach Bob Bradley invited 30 players to the pre-World Cup training camp, and will be forced to pare off 7 to reach the World Cup-mandated roster limit of 23. My predictions as to who it’ll be (please note I’m not saying who I would take off the team, but rather who Bradley’s going to drop):

Alejandro Bedoya – This is good camp experience for the guy, but there’s no way we’re keeping  amongst our bevy of midfield talent. He would be at least 5th on the depth chart, and he’s had all of like 5 appearances with the national team. (Checks stats) Okay, revision: he’s only had 2 appearances with the team. So he’s not going to happen.

Jonathan Bornstein or Spector – I’m going to go out on a limb here and give Bob Bradley a little credit for being more flexible than the US soccer blogosphere typically thinks. I really don’t have any evidence to suggest said flexibility, but Bradley seems pretty bright. Okay, this is much more a “hope” point than a “predict” point I guess. Hell, I’m hoping “both” don’t make the squad. I’d be okay with Spector, but Bornstein is a weak defender who’d I’d rather not be around to tempt/guilt Bradley into putting into the game at half time.

Heath Pearce – allow me to call some shenanigans on the defensive injuries. This kind of post is just frenetic and full of over-worrying. I have to believe that this is just camp-talk. If Bocanegra, Onyewu, and DeMerit aren’t 3 of the back 4, I’ll go out and buy a homeless guy a hamburger. I’ll take Goodson, too, and Pearce wasn’t impressive in any of his last couple of appearances.

Robbie Findley – I’d love to see him make the team, since I think his style and physical aggressiveness would work well in a back up role in the forward spot. But I just don’t see there being room. Let’s make no mistake: Brian Ching should be in this spot, but clearly Bradley gave up on objectivity about Ching a while back.

Robbie Rogers – More Robbie snark! Rogers is a great guy, but this is just good experience for the guy, the training camp. If I’m ranking the USMNT midfield, we’d go Donovan, Bradley, Holden, Edu, Clark, Torres, Beasley, Feilhaber, Kljestan.  Unless Bradley’s going to unleash a 3-5-2 Dunga style (which would be totally wicked, btw), I don’t see the team needing more than 7 mids.

Edson Buddle – I know I just gave Bob Bradley some credit for some flexibility above, but if  he takes both Herculez Gomez and Edson Buddle, I’m gonna claim the man was kidnapped and replaced. Of the two strikers, I think Gomez would fit a bit better with Bradley’s ideas for the team. Buddle’s a little more opportunistic than Gomez, and I’m going to wager that Gomez has a bit of the grit that Bradley so cherishes (Brian Ching SAYWHAT). Again, if I can reiterate, I would not kick Buddle off the team, but I bet Bradley does.

Sacha Kljestan – Thank God. The long national nightmare will be over. I love Sacha, but he is not made for this level of competition at the moment. He’s been struggling at Chivas, IMO, and he’s not going to be able to crack through to the roster, even with Bradley’s favor at his back.

UPDATE: Grant Wahl deviates a little from my predictions, but not much.  Basically switch out Chad Marshall for Heath Pearce and keep both Spector and Bornstein (noooo!) and we’re identical. God damn it, I was trying to be overly cynical, and Wahl was just reporting. Oh well.

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