Thursday, May 13, 2010

USMNT 30-man roster

On Tuesday, Bob Bradley announced the 30-man preliminary USMNT roster for the World Cup. Here it is:

GK: Howard, Guzan, Hahnemann
Def: Bocanegra, Onyewu, Cherundolo, Spector, DeMerit, Goodson, Pearce, Marshall, Bornstein
Mid: Donovan, Dempsey, Bradley, Holden, Kljestan, Rogers, Feilhaber, Torres, Bedoya, Beasley, Clark, Edu
For: Altidore, Buddle, Ching, Johnson, Findley, Gomez

First things first. Charlie Davies isn't on the list, as has been well-publicized. I agree with the general sentiment: this is stupid. There are players on this list who are pretty bad, compared to the international standard, and have zero percent chance of making the 23-- I point to Robbie Rogers. Why call in a guy who has proven he can't cut it with the national team when you can call in Davies and give him as long as possible to prove himself?

Also, it's come out that Davies was not consulted when his club wrote to Bradley saying Davies couldn't go. This is the truly awful part. Sochaux could have at least involved Davies in the conversation, rather than unilaterally deciding he would not be fit in time.

Look at the Bobby Zamora situation in England. After the Europa League final, Zamora told the press that Capello's decision to leave him out of the England 30 was based on a collective conversation. In Zamora's words, "It was a joint decision with their medical team, our medical team, myself, and the management over there" ( video). Guess what? The result was that Zamora didn't use words like "hurt" or "angry" to describe his exclusion the way Davies did. One method was clearly more professional than the other.

To stay on the topic of forwards, I'd like to see Findley and Johnson cut when 30 turns into 23. Findley especially. It's one thing to go with fringe players who are hot at their clubs, but guess how many goals Findley has this MLS season? Zero. Johnson has been hot-- or hotter at least-- for his club, Aris. I still haven't liked him in any international games he's played in recent memory, and I'd just rather see truly hot strikers like Gomez and Buddle go to South Africa over him. Plus, I've seen a few of his goals for Aris, and they weren't that great. One was plain luck on a ball from Adu that he received very very sloppily.

By the way, I really hope Buddle goes. I think he will prove himself in the two May friendlies...because having watched him in MLS, I think he's the best goalscorer, maybe in the 30. Obviously Altidore is ahead of him in the pecking order, but as an out and out goalscorer Buddle is the best option at the moment, in my view.

Gomez should go for the same reason, based on what I've read and heard, but I haven't actually watched him because the only Mexican games I've watched recently are Pachuca games when they're on one of the Spanish channels and ESPN Soccernet tells me Torres is playing.

Other than Johnson and Findley, the other cuts I would make (pending injury or incredible performances in Connecticut and Philadelphia) are Pearce, Marshall, Beasley, Kljestan, and Rogers. Pearce and Marshall are at least competent at filling their positions as 2nd stringers, but there just isn't room. Goodson surpassed Marshall in the last two friendlies when Marshall was injured; I was very comfortable with him in central defense. Pearce has been good lately, but it's too little too late in my opinion. Unlike a lot of other Americans, I'm not a Bornstein hater.

Kljestan and Rogers have had their chances for the MNT and shown they just aren't good enough. Kljestan has had a few shining moments over the past couple years, but overall he just isn't an international midfielder. I don't even think he's that good for Chivas USA, to be honest. He doesn't have the soccer intelligence that I'd prefer a player to have. Also, I just plain don't like Rogers. They say he's fast. Is he? Not in close quarters-- he's not quick. Maybe he's fast in the open field, I don't remember.

The starting 11, and even the substitute bench of choice, is pretty hard to guage, even after those cuts. Hopefully it becomes clearer by June 1, and I think it will.



  1. Very good stuff, John. The whole Davies situation is incredibly perplexing considering that the US have one of the weakest forward pools of any of the 32 countries that will be in South Africa. To include players with little or no upside and leave off a player like Davies who has high risk, but an incredibly high reward is truely baffling. The United States is not a country like Spain or Brazil who has a truckload of world class players waiting in the wings. These "fit" players that would be missing out if Davies was called into camp are not Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, or Bojan Krkic. Findley is a vastly overrated player who cannot even score in the MLS and was horrendous in his time with the national team. Players like rogers and findley have no chance of making an impact in south africa so their inclusion is not justified. There are really only roughly 20 current US internationals capable of competing at the international level. We have seen that making it in the MLS does not mean you can make it on the international level( Connor Casey among many others). So if a country has so few players of a certain class, why leave one of those players who has proved he can score on the biggest stage at home for players who clearly cannot and never will be able to compete at the international level... makes no sense...

    - Also, Buddle and Gomez are good additions to the roster if only because they are two US strikers who have not yet failed on the international stage. For that reason alone, they put themselves in the pecking order behind Altidore and unfortunately Ching.

  2. I fully expect the US to win their group and have an easy time until they run into the BUZZ SAW that is North Korea. When Jin-Soo Quin is lighting it up and the US finds itself down 3-0 after 45 minutes, a Charlie Davies will be missed.

  3. Franck:
    I like to think Casey will be remembered twenty years from now as "Conor Effing Casey!" That sums up his fleeting but valuable contribution to this WC run, and to American soccer in general. It's nothing to be ashamed of.

    That's exactly what will happen. I should have written that instead.


  4. Hey Anonymous, you trying to compare Charlie Davies to Esuebio? You must be on crack haha