Bradley’s (Final) Clipboard: Gold Cup Roster Edition

Update: 5/20: his 30s...still going too hard all the time...

New category here at TSG…we’ll call it CRI (Conjecture, Rumor, Innuendo)

Nick Rimando on Twitter late Thursday:

@NickRimandoNick Rimando

@BocaBoca3 good chatting today man, looking forward to hanging.
The second handle of course being that of US captain Carlos Bocanegra…..hmm.

Update 05/19:

• Hans Backe has come out today and said that Juan Agudelo will be traveling for the Gold Cup

• Peter Vermes acknowledged a Teal Bunbury call-in as well.

Revised projection below…

Update 05/18, What We May Have Learned:

Slightly different form for this camp, huh?

• Charlie Davies’s injury closes his Gold Cup campaign in 2011.

• Jay DeMerit is back in the fold now that he’s healthy. Ask yourself this question. You have a choice of Oguchi Onyewu, Jay DeMerit, Clarence Goodson and Tim Ream tracking either Javier Chicharito or Simeon Jackson (Canada) around all night. Who do you want on the backline? Precisely.

• Ricardo Clark is likely out; Maurice Edu and probably Sacha Kljestan are in. The latter two names can be very focused on the Gold Cup run without any club matches to worry about.

• Similarly, Herculez Gomez or Edson Buddle makes it. Teal Bunbury’s been quiet of late and wasn’t able to get into the March camp. Is it possible that Bunbury won’t be called in for matches against Canada and at LIVESTRONG park? I’m still a fence sitter here.

• I’ve noted a column below called “Tweeners” that we’ve used before at TSG. Perhaps the most interesting wrinkle from the last camp series was Bob Bradley generating offense from the back with an overlapping or going-forward Timmy Chandler and Eric Lichaj. Should Bradley like to institute this you may see a striker dropped and Bradley just got 4-2-3-1 on occasion or push Clint Dempsey up as is customary.

Our last guess before we see the roster:

G: (3) Tim Howard, Brad Guzan, Marcus Hahnemann

DEF: (7) Steve Cherundolo, Jay DeMerit, Oguchi Onyewu, Carlos Bocanegra, Tim Ream, Jonathan Bornstein, Clarence Goodson

TWEENERS: (2) Timmy Chandler, Jonathan Spector

MID: (7) Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones, Maurice Edu, Sacha Kljestan, Alejandro Bedoya

FW: (4) Jozy Altidore, Juan Agudelo, Herculez Gomez, Teal Bunbury

BUBBILY: Eric Lichaj, Benny Feilhaber

The skinny: 05/19:

Teal Bunbury and Juan Agudelo are a go.

That leaves Eric Lichaj on the bubble and I’ve now moved Benny Feilhaber there. Feilhaber is coming off some injuries and just getting into the flow with New England. I’m taking a flyer on Feilhaber on the bubble if only because of the history of those injuries. Why not try someone new–now that Stu Holden is out–in the “tucked-in” midfielder role.

Benny as well plays in MLS and he’d be taking away Feilhaber from his team just as he is getting used to his new teammates.

All aboard! Roster cutdowns begin anew in Bob Bradley's 2nd cycle...

Our 3rd entry 4th entry in what is sure be a long-running journal all the way to Brazil 2014.

Here is our first entry in October 2010. January 2011 was our next scribbling.  And our last, post-Argentina, post-Paraguay journal here.

This one, digging Gold…Gold Cup that is. We’ll skip our best eleven (to draw out suspense) and move right to the player position battles that, when I began writing this, I thought were pretty well set.



Obviously a much different situation here than the 2009 Gold Cup. The summer of 2009 perhaps Bradley’s best coaching term after his team’s dreadful bookend performances against Italy and Brazil in the Confederation’s Cup group stage. If you recall, Bradley nearly went Cinderella with “A” team down in South Africa, eventually getting undone by Fabiano and Brazil at the Confederation Cup.

It was Gold Cup 2009, where Maryland product Clarence Goodson starting making his name...

Immediately after that was the Gold Cup where Bradley cobbled together a “B” team that saw Charlie Davies cement his “A” team spot, unearthed Stu Holden as a more than viable midfield option and–through injury to Jimmy Conrad–gave Clarence Goodson the opening to jumpstart his national team career. (Goodson’s 7.5 sub rating appearance revs his US team candidacy)

A 5-0 Finals shelling by Mexico was erroneously poorly received in the press, but had Mexico playing their near best eleven.

Bradley took 7 defenders, 8 middies and 5 forwards to the 2009 tournament, including none other than Freddy Adu, who didn’t last through camp.

This year, a different story and much closer to 2007 when Bob Bradley assumed the helmsman role. 2011’s Gold Cup winner gets important ticket punch to the World Cup dress rehearsal, the Confederation’s Cup in Brazil 2013.

That and the important step of getting the 2014 World Cup journey off on the right foot.

Interesting footnote here is that the 2011 Gold Cup roster could have as many as 12 players on it who made the 2007 roster.

The schedule

June 7, 2011 U.S. Men vs. Canada 8 p.m. ET Ford Field
Detroit, Mich.
June 11, 2011 U.S. Men vs. Panama 8 p.m. ET Raymond James Stadium
Tampa, Fla.
June 14, 2011 U.S. Men vs. Guadeloupe 9 p.m. ET LIVESTRONG Sporting Park
Kansas City, Kan.

The Depth Charts:

Goalie: (1) Tim Howard (S), (2) Marcus Hahnemann (3) Brad Guzan

You're in good hands....with Howard

The skinny: As always, Tim Howard–he of the Everton Toffees not the MLS anywhere in the near term–mans the pipes. Marcus Hahnemann has moved up to primary back-up, even if he likes to a wear a baseball cap sometimes. The third spot is the only that is not inked yet.

Brad Guzan has his nuptials and David Yeldell has been in for one camp. Dominic Cervi’s club status continues to be topsy-turvy.

Wait, does anyone else think that maybe, just maybe, Brad Guzan was sending just a small message to Bob Bradley that he sick of just sitting around on the national team level. I mean, why not schedule your wedding for end of May? Just an idea. Likely way offbase….but conspiracy theorists unite.

Stateside, the Chicago Fire’s Sean Johnson has underwhelmed this year and finds himself off the map while Nick Rimando will likely be needed full term for Real Salt Lake.

Your likely three? Again the triumvirate of Howard, Hahnemann and Guzan. If Guzan can’t make a game or so due to his wedding that may be acceptable. Should Guzan be left out completely, I expect David Yeldell to get the nod.



Starters: Steve Cherundolo, Oguchi Onyewu, Clarence Goodson, Carlos Bocanegra

Bench: Timmy Chandler, Tim Ream, Jonathan Bornstein, Eric Lichaj

Fence sitters: Omar Gonzalez, Chad Marshall

The skinny:  Oguchi Onyewu and Carlos Bocanegra were two of the top five Yanks in minutes played in 2010 World Cup qualifying. They start as does Steve Cherundolo–who free from nagging injuries–and playing at dominant level since mid-2010.

Clarence Goodson makes his return to the Yanks and flip-flops into Jay DeMerit’s spot.

DeMerit’s got a dreaded groin injury–just about the last thing you want a central defender to have. With the image of an Oguchi Onyewu rushed back to early to service in 2010, DeMerit is allowed to recuperate and play for Canada…that is the Vancouver Whitecaps.

Tim Ream is best candidate to supplant any of the starters, but Bob Bradley won’t go with him in Game 1 against Canada (though I could see Ream getting the start against Spain in a “let’s see how you do when we turn up the heat kid” sort of way).

"Hey buddy, it's really nice having you around here"

For the bench, the dynamic Charlie-in-a-bottle Timmy Chandler mans the right with “fan favorite” Jonathan Bornstein on the left.  TSG fave Eric Lichaj sneaks into the final spot in the role of “John Spector O’Shea.” Lichaj can play out on the left or right and my guess is Bradley gave him a little run centrally against Paraguay to see how we could handle that spot. Not a natural, but not terrible either.

With Lichaj’s flexibility so goes Omar Gonzalez who stands as the last player left on the playground. Injuries and the Galaxy’s good fortune as the 2010 MLS season ebbed did in Gonzalez this go around.



Starters: Landon Donovan, Jermaine Jones, Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey

Bench: Maurice Edu, Benny Feilhaber, Jonathan Spector, Alejandro Bedoya

Fence sitters: Ricardo Clark, Sacha Kljestan, Mix Diskerud, Dax McCarty

As for the starters, that’s the easy part here.

We’re going to assume that Bob Bradley goes 4-4-2 (or really 4-2-2-2). Bradley seems to favor the 4-4-2 against CONCACAF opponents.

That puts the regulars in their customary positions, being Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley. The fourth in this case we’ll go with Jermaine Jones as Senior Bradley bets he can dictate the tempo a little more to what-is-tough-to-argue inferior group stage set of opponents.

The Deacon Jones of the US midfield...

On that role of Michael Bradley: Even with Mo Edu, Jonathan Spector, Jermaine Jones and Sacha Kljestan getting more 2011 club minutes in central midfield, Bradley’s role (whether you like it or not) is the lone constant for the Yanks in central midfield. There is something to be said for the consistency that comes with a player never being injured and Junior has at least that going for him (courtesy TSG commenter DTH for that one.)

As for the back-ups and spot starters, that’s the tightest and most interesting discussion of the USMNT Summer 2011.

Coach Sweats extends his trust again to Benny Feilhaber who now flies the flag of MLS with his selection. Mo Edu would otherwise start if it were a 4-5-1. Those two are locks and if you recall the pixels of ESPN, they were also Bob Bradley’s favorite post-halftime crew to create a spark off the bench at World Cup 2010.

A controversial selection perhaps, Jonathan Spector has proven his best fit is the midfield….at least at the club level.

Specs, with a new lease on life at Upton Park...

Ironically, Spector–a former forward who was converted to fullback at the Manchester United academy–is probably the best fit for the advanced role Mo Edu partook in against Argentina. Spector’s strength from his time with West Ham is making advancing runs ahead of the ball for West Ham. In fact he’s excellent at it, making highlights all season for either goals or near-misses after Hammer skipper Avram Grant moved him to the midfield.

For me, Spector is the most interesting selection for Bob Bradley.

It’s clear that while positionally disciplined, Spector does not possess the corner defense speed to adequately, against top level international sides, hold his own on the corner. Will Bradley continue to favor dutiful workers (Robbie Findley  as well) who merely adhere to the game plan but don’t possess the innate physical prowess to thrive at the global level? Will Bradley move Spector to the midfield or continue to shoehorn him in at the back? A few weeks will tell.

Rounding out the midfielder Bradley has a choice between Sacha Kljestan, who is sporting a sharper haircut and sharper defense these days or the lone true winger in Alejandro Bedoya, a big body who can run at people off the corner and make a cross. The very poor man’s Antonio Valencia. (Shh, it was just fun to write).

With Benny Feilhaber back in action, he makes Kljestan redundant. Add in Bedoya’s surging form right now and we think that Bradley chooses Bedoya in a squeaker of a selection.

Ricardo Clark–scouted recently by Bradley–finds himself just on the edge as Mo Edu is younger and, in turn, makes him redundant.

Mix Diskerud is not quite there yet.

The one caveat we’ll put here is Spector. If you believe him a defender alone, then Lichaj could get dropped while Kljestan or Clark added upfield. Entirely possible.



Starters: Jozy Altidore, Herculez Gomez

Bench: Juan Agudelo, Teal Bunbury

Fence sitter: Edson Buddle

Sorry Charlie...

Elephant in the room! Sorry, but no Charlie Davies. No how, no way. First, unless you’re seeing Davies for the first time with DC United, some things are apparent.

First, the speed is not there. Davies isn’t nearly beating his defenders as often as he did with the US national team during World Cup qualifying. Add in that we’re talking about MLS defenders here and that question about his pace grows larger.

Secondly, Davies hasn’t necessarily been reluctant, but he’s hardly encouraged authoring and receiving contact. I’ve seen Davies attempt to gain the corner without engaging the defender’s hip more often now than in 2009 when we would size up his defender and select how he would beat them.

Beyond questions of his production (three of his six goals are from the spot), Davies is just not international caliber yet.

Jozy Altidore of course if first on the depth chart. Bob Bradley will again ask the hulking striker to play target man though Jozy is much more tuned to drift outside than inside. (At some point, Bradley will have to acquiesce that his near four year plan here is not bearing fruit).

A lot to juggle for a teenager...

Juan Agudelo is next up. He of more caps than any other striker over the last 6 months. Amazing but with his current sub role and youth, Bradley keeps him on the bench to start Game 1.

Herculez Gomez then gets the call and the start.

Bob Bradley has always trusted Gomez and knows he’s going to get a hard worker who can occasionally conjure up some magic. Teal Bunbury takes the final spot. Hey Bob, if you’re looking for your best target striker of this list, that would be Bunbury.

Speaking of target men, Edson Buddle once again finds himself not making a big enough statement to make his case.


And there you have it, maybe….

147 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by rusry723 on 2011/05/10 at 12:58 AM

    As president of the Charlie Davies Fanboy Society, I, in all kindness hope you are wrong. As for your description of his play, that’s just not the case. He’s being penalized for his injuries. If he was just another guy trying to regain form and he was playing the same way there wouldn’t even be a thought about it. His speed might not be 100% there but it’s at least 90% there and thus is still faster than any forward in the pool. I’ve watched every minute that Davies has played in MLS. As for the shying away from contact stuff, that is just not accurate. He is the best goal poacher in the pool and will live up to his tag as Charlie-in-a-bottle coming off the bench as our burner late in games.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/05/10 at 6:15 AM

      I disagree here. Hardly penalized for his injuries.

      I’ve yet to see Davies consistently be his defender in any game. You certainly cannot sit that–until maybe last game–he didn’t shy away from contact.

      He’s getting better, but I’ll pose this question to you. Who’s looked better Charlie Davies at Sochaux in early Fall 2009 or Charlie Davies MLS 2011.
      Objectively, there is no question on that one.


      • Posted by mathmatics on 2011/05/10 at 6:22 AM

        MLS 2011 Charlie Davies isn’t competing with 2009 Sochaux Charlie Davies for a spot. He’s competing with 2011 versions of Jozy, Buddle, Agudelo and Bunbury.

        So unless the argument is “we have four forwards, right now, better than davies,” than it would be silly to omit him.


        • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/05/10 at 6:38 AM

          Fair enough. But he still needs to be better than Jeff Cunningham 2009. Terrible comparison point, but production was very similar.


        • Posted by dth on 2011/05/10 at 7:42 AM

          I wouldn’t say the test is whether there are four forwards better than he is, but whether there are four forwards who serve the overall team purpose better than he does. It’s a test of whether you put the best team on the field, with the most appropriate squad backing that team up, rather than just selecting the best players. For me, Davies with his diminished pace doesn’t bring something new and interesting to the table–whereas Gomez’s movement is unique among USMNT forwards. It means if Bradley looks to the bench down a goal, he can bring in someone with a new look rather than same ‘ol same ‘ol.

          That said, I don’t think saying that because Davies’s pace is a question mark against MLS defenders it’s an even bigger question mark against everyone else is quite fair. Athletically, the MLS as a league only has a small gap between it and the big boys. That means, if someone is fast against MLS defenders…chances are he’ll be fast against everyone! (But, yeah, Davies doesn’t look fast.)


          • Posted by Jason B Go Dynamo on 2011/05/10 at 9:53 AM

            Not only is Davies way slower than he used to be….(He would probably admit it himself)…but he lost the trust of Bradley. He broke curfew way too close to an important game. Bradley will not bring him in!


            • Posted by Ufficio on 2011/05/10 at 11:26 AM

              Huh? The game was essentially meaningless – at least for anyone other than Hondurans and Costa Ricans – and Davies was already going to sit out with a minor knock.

            • Posted by John on 2011/05/11 at 8:53 PM

              right, because you haven’t made a mistake in your life.

              Davies paid the ultimate price (the chance to play in the World Cup). It’s time to move on from that and give him a shot based on his fantastic form in the MLS.

    • Posted by Matt on 2011/05/19 at 10:51 AM

      While I will agree that CD isnt 100%, I think the chemistry between him and Jozy is what at least gets him to camp. WC Qualifying was so exciting to finally see two US forwards who can coordinate so well and so effortlessly.


      • Posted by John on 2011/05/19 at 11:17 AM

        Davies AT BEST has a strained hamstring keeping him out around 2 weeks.

        There is almost no chance of him making the squad for the Gold Cup.


  2. I am surprised that Alejandro Bedoya “always” seems to be considered as a winger in the US. In Örebro he plays in a central midfield position in a 4-3-3 set-up. He truly is a very good two-way central midfielder, who gets a lot done in front of both goals.


    • Posted by mathmatics on 2011/05/10 at 6:48 AM

      It’s also surprising that Timmy Chandler isn’t considered as a winger. In the limited time we’ve seen him, he certainly looked capable of rounding the corner and providing good crosses.

      In my make-believe USMNT world, Chandler is so impressive in camp (will there be a 30 man camp prior to the final roster selection?) that Bob has no choice but to start him on the wing and push dempsey up top in place of gomez/altidore/agudelo.


      • Posted by dth on 2011/05/10 at 7:44 AM

        I think Chandler is more suited to fullback to be honest. He’s fast, got great endurance, and has a simple repertoire built around running really fast and serving in crosses. These are classic fullback qualities.


      • I may be wrong, but I believe Chandler has played at both positions with Nurnberg. Mathmatics – I agree that he is well suited to play on the wing, but in his role with the USMNT, I think he fits better as a back. The things that make him a good winger – speed, crossing ability, etc – combined with his defensive abilities, make him that much more valuable as a back given our current roster.


        • Posted by mathmatics on 2011/05/10 at 10:35 AM

          Lot of good points on Chandler’s qualities as a defender. I definitely see him inheriting that spot from Cherundolo.

          But for this competition, since Cherundolo will start, I think Chandler could see time on the wing. The rationale being Chandler into the first XI, Gomez to the bench is a net gain.


          • Posted by Martin on 2011/05/11 at 2:55 PM

            What I think you will see in the near term at some point is Dolo at right back, Chandler at right midfield and Lichaj at left back.

            If Chandler and Dolo can work together the way Lichaj and Chandler did against Paraguay then the US will have it’s much needed width to the attack that has been missing since Davies got hurt.

            I haven’t seen Lichaj play LB but I know he has done so for Leeds. If he can overlap down the left wing like he does for the right then so much the better.


      • Posted by Durant Durant on 2011/05/10 at 9:16 AM

        I support this idea.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/05/10 at 7:29 AM

      Agreed, but for Bradley, Bedoya has always played forward on the winger and is used to attack from a wide position. Plays more inverted for Orebro but Bradley doesn’t really use that system and when he does it’s VERY DEFENSIVE. :>


  3. Posted by oaklandish on 2011/05/10 at 4:38 AM

    On Michael Bradly as automatic starter:

    “There is something to be said for the consistency that comes with a player never being injured and Junior has at least that going for him.”

    Amazing. Really amazing.


    • Posted by SteveM11 on 2011/05/10 at 6:49 AM

      His starting is like we’re still in Youth Soccer. His dad is the coach. I’m not saying he isn’t good, but with any other player, if they aren’t seeing the field at the club level, people don’t think they should make the team, but with MB, he not only is a lock for the team, but to start. If Holden were healthy, this would be criminal. Sorry Central mids, until Daddy B gets a job somewhere else, you will not see the field over Mike, even if you are the starting Central Mid for ManU or Barcelona, and scored 12 goals in league play.


      • Posted by mathmatics on 2011/05/10 at 7:14 AM

        I’ll double check, but I don’t Xavi, Iniesta, Scholes or Carrick are eligible for a one-time nationality switch.

        And Bradley can save his criminal attorney fees because Holden isn’t healthy.

        That leaves two of Jones, Bradley, and Edu as the viable center midfield tandem. Is it so far-fetched to think that Bradley beats out one of those options, regardless of club playing time?


      • Man, the MB “Daddy’s boy” argument is so 2009.

        At this point, Bradley has proven that he deserves a starting spot with the USMNT, even if he hasn’t found much playing time with his club recently. That’s doubly true given his role in Bob’s favored 4-4-2. Great point by mathmatics above on who his competition for a starting spot is.


        • Posted by Durant Durant on 2011/05/10 at 9:20 AM

          This argument will be so 2011 if Holden comes back in form and Bradley remains the starter. Over the past two years, when healthy, Holden has out-performed Bradley.


          • Posted by rick on 2011/05/11 at 10:41 AM

            If Holden is healthy we play 5 mids so its a moot point anyway


          • Posted by Martin on 2011/05/11 at 3:01 PM

            Holden has out-performed Bradley, yes, but on the club level. And only for one season.

            In terms of what has happened in a US shirt,which frankly is all I care about, there is no contest, MB has out performed Holden by miles and guess who is two years younger?

            I like Holden and hope he can stay healthy long enough to actually do something meaningful in a US shirt but until then this is like Pac Man vs. Floyd Maywhether, a big,fat, useless mirage.


        • Posted by SteveM11 on 2011/05/10 at 9:28 AM

          Note: I didn’t say, “He shouldn’t be on the team, or he was talentless.” I said a guaranteed starting slot is nepotism. And DaddyB has given him that. And yes, I think jones, edu, and Holden (when healthy) are better.

          Mb90’s greatest achievement might be the incredible loyalty he receives from supporters no matter what.

          I guess I’m saying that if Edu and Jones outplay him in camp and against Spain they will still not displace him and it’s wrong.


          • Posted by dth on 2011/05/10 at 9:31 AM

            In what universe does Bradley receive incredible loyalty from supporters?


            • Posted by SteveM11 on 2011/05/10 at 9:38 AM

              My bad, dth, I wasn’t clear. He has mb90 supporters who support him as a starter 90 min man no matter what.

          • Posted by mathmatics on 2011/05/10 at 10:45 AM

            So at best the nepotism angle is a premature criticism based on the hypothetical scenario of Bob starting MB over a drastically improved Edu or a healthy Holden.

            For the record, I thought Holden and Jones would emerge as our Gold Cup central midfield in a 442. Then Johnny Evans went and added himself to the list of people I will punch in the stomach at my first opportunity.


          • Posted by Kevin on 2011/05/19 at 7:30 PM

            In my opinion, our only players of the same caliber as Bradley for the same role are Holden Jones. Edu has gotten even more praise since the world cup and the whole Rico fiasco, but in all honesty he is not of the same caliber. He can fill in and he is a valuable player for the team, but he is not better than Bradley. And as much as people complain about nepotism, Bradley is a 23 year old that already has world cup appearances, Bundesliga years, and an unsuccessful loan at Aston Villa. Nobody complains about Donovan or Dempsey having an automatic spot because they’ve proved it, but what has MB done wrong with the nats since WCQ.

            Also the Holden debate in general is a bad one because although he can play in the same role, and do fine, he really thrives with the ball at his feet and people to pass to.


      • Posted by Jason B Go Dynamo on 2011/05/10 at 9:56 AM

        If Holden were healthy he would replace Jones not Bradley. Not the same kind of midfielder.


      • Posted by FulhamPete on 2011/05/10 at 12:02 PM

        Holden being healthy changes the ENTIRE equation.

        If THAT’s the case, then you’ve got Donovan, (Jones/Edu), Bradley, Holden across the midfield and Jozy/Dempsey up top.

        I STILL feel that Dempsey is the second best striker (AND second best Middie) in the talent pool.

        But MB90/24/7 still keeps his spot…because he’s our best player at that position.

        How scary is that team?



        • Posted by Tux on 2011/05/10 at 10:09 PM

          Stu out wide? He’s not exactly gifted with pace. Dude’s not slow, but he’s also not likely to beat a leftback to the corner.


  4. Posted by Sean on 2011/05/10 at 5:30 AM

    Like this post a lot. I’d really like to see spector get some time, especially in the 4-5-1. He plays really well going forward for West Ham.


  5. Posted by Jared on 2011/05/10 at 5:47 AM

    It will be very interesting to see how MB90 plays during the Gold Cup considering he’s barely played at Villa. One of the reasons given was that he gave the ball away too much. That’s not a good sign if a player is rusty and is giving the ball away too much in practice.

    I know I’m not the only one hoping that Chicharito tweaks his groin in the CL final and misses the Gold Cup. He will absolutely abuse that defense. There is no way that Gooch can follow his runs.

    Please no more Jozy as a target man. It just doesn’t work. He’s not good at it and by his body language on the field you can tell he doesn’t particularly care to play that way.


    • Posted by SteveM11 on 2011/05/10 at 6:53 AM

      Jozy is Bradley’s secret love child. He starts no matter what just like M-Bradley.


    • On Chichartio – he’s definitely a huge threat to the USA, but he’s not going to get the same sort of service from his teammates on the Mexican squad as he gets from Man U. Not trying to take anything away from how worried the USA defense should be – they should be focused on stopping him. Just saying I’m expecting to see 2010 World Cup Chicharito (still extremely dangerous), not 20-goals-in-a-season Man U Chicharito.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/05/10 at 10:19 PM

      I think Gooch is definitely wanting for speed, but Onyewu does do a very solid job on tracking runs. He did a very good job on Messi coming through against Argentina and he’s done a very good job against CONCACAF opponents.

      Where Onyewu seems to have trouble is falling or stepping up to take an opposing attacker who is left alone or just lost their mark.

      That said, I think Bradley will employ a much more regressed line against Mexico (who do play a little like Argentina) and concentrate on shutting down that service to Chicharito.


    • Posted by Martin on 2011/05/11 at 3:43 PM

      “It will be very interesting to see how MB90 plays during the Gold Cup considering he’s barely played at Villa. One of the reasons given was that he gave the ball away too much. That’s not a good sign if a player is rusty and is giving the ball away too much in practice.”

      Look at it another way, Edu and Jones were completely game fit and MB wasn’t but he outplayed them during the Argentina/Paraguay games. At the Gold Cup the seasons will be over for everyoneand MB may or may not have gotten a game or two by then.

      As for him not playing at Villa, here’s what Gary McAllister said. Granted he may be trying to be diplomatic but if they are just going to cut him loose becuase he’s useless,why bother saying anything and all? Pay close attention to the comments as well.

      “FORGOTTEN man Michael Bradley still has a chance to convince Villa he deserves a permanent deal at the club, according to caretaker boss Gary McAllister.
      Bradley has just 88 minutes’ action to his name since arriving on loan in January with a 17-minute sub cameo at Blackpool and 71 minutes in his only start at Manchester City.
      The American midfielder has not even made it into Villa’s matchday squad of 18 in the past four games since being an unused substitute in the defeats to Bolton and Wolves.
      But McAllister, in temporary charge of team affairs during Gerard Houllier’s sick leave, has offered the on-loan Borussia Monchengladbach player a glimmer of hope of staying at Villa.
      Villa have first refusal on the 23-year-old USA international, having agreed an undisclosed fee with his German Bundesliga club as part of his five-month loan agreement.

      McAllister revealed that Bradley has impressed sufficiently in reserve games and on the practice pitches to potentially keep the move alive and could be involved during Villa’s final four games.
      “We are aware of these things,” said McAllister. “If we had got ourselves into a better position earlier in the season, then certain people would have got more game time.
      “But we’re still very much aware that we need to keep this run going and when a team does well you don’t want to be making big changes, or changing things for the sake of it.
      “With four games to go it is something that Gerard and I will be speaking about because there are two or three guys in the same boat as Michael.”

      “It’s true that it has been hard to play him in the situation we have been in at a time when we have had senior experienced players available.
      “That is purely all that has held him back, nothing else, because his attitude has been top drawer.
      “He is a fantastic professional for such a young guy – he is captain of his country, don’t forget, and he is a top player.
      “He has done enough on the training ground to suggest there might be something come the end of the season because he is an honest, hard-working guy as well as a good player.”
      McAllister believes Bradley still has the potential to be a goalscoring midfield hero at Villa depending on how the other summer midfield business pans out.
      Villa must also resolve the future of Nigel Reo-Coker, who is out of contract at the end of the season, and Robert Pires, whose short-term deal expires at the end of next month.
      “Michael has definitely got a goal in him and is someone who can take responsibility of shooting from distance,” added McAllister.
      “I think Stiliyan Petrov was a player who did that during his seasons at Celtic and we’ve seen it a little bit here at Villa that he is capable of scoring from distance.
      “Before Stiliyan the last guy who could do it was probably Thomas Hitzlsperger.
      “But Michael is not shy about taking responsibility of having a pop from 20 or 25 yards out.”


  6. Posted by Johninho on 2011/05/10 at 6:45 AM

    I think it at least bears mentioning why Stu Holden isn’t anywhere near this list. I’d have him in front of Jermaine Jones, especially after what I saw of Jones in the last Blackburn match.


    • Posted by SteveM11 on 2011/05/10 at 6:52 AM

      You know he is injured and can’t play, right?


      • Posted by Johninho on 2011/05/10 at 7:02 AM

        Yes. For how long, though?


        • Posted by John on 2011/05/10 at 7:07 AM

          Definitely won’t be available for the gold cup. I think they are talking about getting ready for the start of next season.


        • Posted by Cornfield___No, Seriously on 2011/05/10 at 7:23 AM

          Earliest date i’ve seen and best case scenario is september.


        • Posted by Martin on 2011/05/11 at 3:30 PM

          This is second serious injury in less than a year and a half. It has to do with his knee. So you shouldn’t be so certain he will return to his previous form.

          Knee injuries are very tricky especially for a player whose game revolves around the fact that he is usually the fittest guy on the team. Donovan and Holden usually ranked one and two on the fitness scale for the US team.


  7. Posted by chuck on 2011/05/10 at 6:56 AM

    Bradley has a lot of interesting options available. Sadly, he will probably make the least interesting choices, as is his custom.

    Why not stick one in the hole? Jermaine Jones can handle it. So 4-1 . . . what? I’d go a 4-1-3-2, with Duece wide right, Fielhaber on the left as an inverted winger, and Bradley (Edu) in the center and pushed farther up than usual. LD as the second striker, and I’m up for seeing anyone new in Altidore’s spot. Let’s kill this silly notion that we need a ‘target man’ up top. Silly British fettish that gets you nowhere (unless you have Ibrah or some really fantastic big guy. We don’t.).

    Gooch’s minutes were unimpressive at the World Cup and he has been injured most of 2011 (and 2010, and . . . ), playing in only 8 matches for Twenty. So for the back: Boca left, Ream center, Cherundolo center, and Chandler far right and pushing up the field.


    • Posted by Gino on 2011/05/10 at 12:42 PM

      I like your thinking outside the box mentality on the 4-1-3-2 formation. We’re talking about the Gold Cup after all , not the World Cup. I’d rather see Dempsey as the second striker though. However, I gotta disagree with you on Cherundolo as a CB. Steve is what, 5’6 & 150 pounds? If Ream were to see starting time at CB, then we’d want somebody with experience partnering in the center.


      • Posted by Tux on 2011/05/10 at 10:15 PM

        Putting Steve Cherundolo at CB is like putting Mike Bibby at the five for the Miami Heat.

        I know that FIFA video games aren’t anywhere near gospel (for some reason, the game thought that Clark was better than Stu in the ’10 version), but whenever my roomie and I play as the USA, I have to remind him to not take one of the CBs past the left edge of the penalty box, because then Dolo wanders into the middle to cover the empty space. If there’s any player in the box who’s an aerial threat, he’ll put his body on Dolo and wait for the cross, then sky him and beat Timmy on the far post. It’s one of the leading causes of profanity when I play FIFA.


        • Posted by Martin on 2011/05/11 at 3:46 PM

          The difference is Dolo is a real player not a video creation..

          There is a difference you know.


  8. Posted by chad on 2011/05/10 at 7:18 AM

    During TSG’s coverage of the WC, I remember some comments on the running speed of certain players…was tracked by computer or something. Is there any way to objectively track Davies’s speed and compare 2009 to 2011[can’t we stick an Iphone into his boots or something]? I’ll admit I can’t be objective about Davies, but Coach Sweats took the “hot” striker to S. Africa and he may do the same and take Davies for the Gold Cup. And remember that the defenders Davies will go against in Gold Cup are not unlike the defenders he finds in MLS. To switch sports for a second, the Red Sox (hey, they’re into soccer now!) have consistently taken a flier on players that have achieved a high level of performance and then were injured. Why? Seems to me that they think it is easier to get back to the top level in your sport once you’ve been there than to get to the top level for the first time. Things in Davies favor:
    1. Started in France (even if for a short time). No other striker (Jozy sorta?) has reached that level.
    2. Leads MLS in goals (yes, I know about the penalties).
    3. DEMONSTRATED!!! finishing skills (i.e. we’re not hoping he has or will develop them)
    4. I think Coach Sweats has a sense of what Davies’ return means to him and to the soccer community.
    5. Herc must be getting way too many points from TSG for good tweets. Bob sees him more as a last minute sub.

    Completely agree as to everything written about Spector. But thought Clark was playing in back 4 not in midfield for his club. If he’s getting some starts in the back for a Bundesliga side, why isn’t he a candidate for US back 4?


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/05/10 at 7:26 AM

      Not a fair criticism on Gomez.

      Question: When Findley was out, who started in the World Cup for the Yanks….Herculez Gomez.

      Same situation here. I think by game two or three either Bunbury or Agudelo will be starting but Game 1 Bob Bradley goes with:

      A) experience, B) A player that will conform to the offense and not get in the way and C) a player who knows and has bought in before to Bradley’s defense strategy.

      That’s the real thing on the strikers that we’ve see with Bradley. Which players buy-in to Bob Bradley’s defensive scheme. Hence Jeff Cunningham coming nowhere close to a roster spot on the Yanks and a player like Herculez Gomez being valuable.


      • Posted by chad on 2011/05/10 at 7:52 AM

        Matt, I know it (tweeting) wasn’t a fair criticism of Gomez (and by implication, not a fair criticism of you). But I just thought it was kinda funny. Good point about strikers buying into Bob’s defensive system. Not sure I agree with your point as to the WC. I might re-phrase the question as, When Speed was out, who started in the WC? But when Speed comes back to town, I just don’t see Gomez starting. Personally, my favorite striker in the pool plays midfield (Deuce). And I know you (and BB) disagree with that.


        • Posted by Martin on 2011/05/11 at 4:00 PM

          Have you watched Davies play for DC?

          I’ve seen all his games except for the last NE game.

          Davies brought speed to the USMNT and the resulting stretching of the field(Chandler now can give you that).

          But it was more than that. Charlie brought attitude,aggression and a tough attacking mentality. It was clear to me that he was saying to the defense “here I come you can’t stop me”. It was the kind of the “balls to wall F-you” attiude I haven’t seen since Clint Mathis was halfway sane.

          In his DC games Charlie actually seems more skilled with a little better touch. He also stil seems to have that indefineable “nose for goal”. However, I don’t see that outsize, attitude, that sheer presence that defined him at his best. And frankly his goals from the run of play have been pretty so-so, built off of horrific defender mistakes, agianst some very shoddy defenses. I don’t see him frightening international defenses.

          If I were BB I’d wait a while and let Davies go through the more of the season. Right now this edition (not the one you all know and love) of Davies is pretty mediocre. I’d rather develop Juan And Teal and when Gomez is hot he scores on anyone. And Jozy is a better target man than Davies right now.


  9. […] Shin Guardian brings back Bradley’s Clipboard for peek at the US team’s plans for the Gold […]


  10. Posted by Paddy on 2011/05/10 at 7:31 AM

    The “elephant in the room” is Bornstein. Maybe Davies isn’t at full potential yet, so I can see that he might get that, but… give me Chandler, Ream or Lichaj or even Spector (or Marvell Wynne?) before Bornstein. My heart can’t take it when he’s on the field.


    • Posted by dth on 2011/05/10 at 7:48 AM

      I think you’re being unfair to Bornstein. Chandler is right-footed and hasn’t played on the left. The reason Ream lasted into the second round was specifically because the MLS thought he was a too-slow left back. Lichaj is a possibility. But Spector and Marvell Wynne, really?

      Look, Bornstein is in no way a good player, but his deficiencies have been exaggerated way out of proportion. He can do a job and the past few times he’s played, he’s done it pretty well. This is the U.S.–holes in the starting lineup are inevitable.


      • Posted by John on 2011/05/10 at 8:07 AM

        Careful DTH, you will engage the anger of the Bornstein hate crowd with this.


      • Posted by Paddy on 2011/05/10 at 10:00 AM

        Fair enough on Bornstein. I think he’s average, but I really don’t feel well when he’s on the pitch. I guess I expected some pressure to have filtered up on Bornstein’s place in the squad. I want to say I’ve been impressed with appearances, but I can’t recall them.

        And, let’s not be unfair to Spector – not speedy but getting loads of first-team time in England. By the way, hasn’t Bradley shoved Bocanegra out to LB or RB when he wanted bigger guys in the middle (DeMrit, Gooch)? Not ideal or permanent, given his speed, but a thought.


        • Posted by dth on 2011/05/10 at 10:19 AM

          I don’t think it’s unfair to suggest that Spector is an awful fullback. He’s getting first-team time as a central midfielder, where his lack of athleticism is less of a problem. But you stick him out there against a good team, they’ll target him and beat him over and over again. Against Brazil and Argentina, the vast majority of their attacks started by some winger crushing Spector–and usually, also, Spector’s winger partner had to babysit him continually, which had knock-on effects for the offense.

          Some of this might be compensated if Spector had good foot skills, but he really doesn’t. There’s really not much to recommend Jonathan Spector as fullback, and it’s a testament to inertia that he’s still thought of as such. Like an NFL cornerback, if you don’t have athleticism at fullback, chances are you’re darn near useless.


  11. Posted by Johninho on 2011/05/10 at 7:46 AM

    I’m fixated on, “But CD9 was the guy who stuck it to Mexico in their house!” I want that guy in a USA shirt. I know he’ll be ready.


  12. Posted by dth on 2011/05/10 at 7:51 AM

    I bump Spector for Diskerud in my lineup. Spector is far too limited athletically for my taste, and given that there’s no way he’s playing right back (right?), I’m not sure he’s any more versatile than Diskerud, who can play any attacking midfield position.

    I also wish Bradley would’ve played an actual 4-2-3-1, you know, with an attacker in the hole, but sometimes I really don’t understand what the heck goes through his head.


    • Posted by pino on 2011/05/10 at 7:27 PM

      lay off specs man, he aint that bad. The guys has scored twice on manchester united this season. You can give the guy a little credit.


      • Posted by dth on 2011/05/10 at 7:58 PM

        Specs is OK as a midfielder but awful as a fullback. Unfortunately for Spector, we’re better than OK at midfielder and better than awful as a fullback. Spector is a good soccer player–you don’t make the number of appearances as he has in the EPL, under the diversity of coaches that he has, unless you’re a pretty good soccer player. However, within the context of the USMNT, which is what we’re discussing, I don’t believe Spector is good enough and wouldn’t put him in the top 23.

        I wouldn’t use those two goals as much of a credential: it was the League Cup, and Manchester United fielded a reserve side, and you could tell one team cared quite a bit more than the other.


    • Posted by Martin on 2011/05/11 at 5:01 PM


      How many US games do you watch? For years people blasted Bradley for his devotion to the 4-4-2. Then when he goes away from it, they blast him again. Now the pendulum has swung the other way and he’s still getting heat.

      Comments from last year’s Poland game:

      “U.S. head coach Bob Bradley used a 4-2-3-1 formation to start the match, placing Maurice Edu – normally used as a central
      midfielder – in central defense alongside Oguchi Onyewu who earned his first start since the World Cup. Jermaine Jones, who earned his first cap for the U.S. after recovering from a shin injury that delayed him from joining the team for more than a year, started in central midfield along with Michael Bradley. In front of them were Stuart Holden, Clint Dempsey and Benny Feilhaber, while Altidore started alone up top. “


  13. Posted by jack on 2011/05/10 at 9:03 AM

    what about…

    1) Heath Pearce at LB. He’s actually playing games in MLS, as opposed to Bornstein who’s been relegated to the bench in Mexico. I’ve always been a Pearce fan, and I always believed he would be a better LB than Bornstein, especially coming off the bench.

    2) Kenny Cooper at striker. I think it’s a toss-up between him, Gomez and Bunbury for those final two slots. Cooper has proven he can find the net, and is leading a very strong Portland expansion side. He also has Gold Cup experience, unlike either Bunbury or Gomez. Don’t rule him out.

    3) Zac Whitbread – How is this guy left out? Likely to be starting for a premiership side next season, and can’t crack the Gold Cup squad? I’d bring him ahead of Ream to be honest. He’s our fourth best CB after Onyewu, Bocanegra and Goodson. Let Ream continue to develop playing for the Red Bulls, and get Whitbread involved in the national team. Ream will still be there for the qualifiers.


    • Posted by John on 2011/05/10 at 9:20 AM

      Kenny is great, really, as a Timbers fan I love watching him play.


      Portland needs him more than the USMNT. He is slower than he was before his injuries and I would rather try to develop Bunbury than Cooper. Also… Portland needs him more than the USMNT.


    • Posted by JW on 2011/05/10 at 9:45 AM

      Would like to see Zak in camp, at least to give him a checkup after his U20 work at LB.


    • Posted by Alex on 2011/05/10 at 9:55 AM

      I highly doubt 2 out. Zak just hasn’t been with the team for too long, therefore him even getting a call is very doubtful. If he had come to the Arg Par friendlies then maybe his chances increase but right now he’s a big longshot. Also I don’t think Cooper has done quite enough to be called up into camp. Not when a we have a physical monster speciman at CF like Bunbury is. Now, Pearce may get a chance. How many friendlies are before the Cup? Because I highly doubt we only bring in one LB in Boca. Bornstein or someone, maybe Pearce, has to get the call.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/05/11 at 5:06 PM

      Unfortunately for Kenny Cooper his really only position on the Yanks (since he doesn’t possess international speed) is coming off the corner in a 4-3-3 (in my opinion). Other than that, he’s not going to play post up with his frame and he’s not going to drag a defense at the interntaional level.

      He could be a good spot sub when the team needs offensive, but Bradley will use younger, faster guys for that.


  14. Posted by John on 2011/05/10 at 9:34 AM

    Er… Michael (second to Bornstein) is absolutely one of the most criticized players that plays for the USMNT. I don’t believe that the supporters are blind on this. I tend to think that they fall into three camps.

    #1 Passionately dislike him, his starting spot and the fact that his dad is coach <– Extremely vocal
    #2 Love him, his hustle, his work rate <– Mostly vocal
    #3 In the middle, would like to see other people trying out for the position but also recognize that Bradley has been very good at times. Mostly realize that staying healthy and "showing up" is part of the game. Remember both his fantastic performances and his disappointing performances but don't get especially worked up about either because it isn't like we have Sneijder waiting in the wings right now. <— Less vocal


    • Posted by John on 2011/05/10 at 9:34 AM

      I screwed this up, supposed to be a reply to the MB90 discussion.


    • Posted by SteveM11 on 2011/05/10 at 9:49 AM

      I’ll be in-between one and two. If we had another coach I might buy into him being indispensable a bit more.


    • Posted by LarryMontanez on 2011/05/10 at 10:31 AM

      MB has had great games, but the last couple times I’ve seen him, he hasn’t. And while he still works hard, you can argue he’s actually had bad games, especially when we had the ball. If you watched the Argentina game, you know what i mean. The best way to get someone to play better is to not play them for a spell. This is the USMNT, no one should get a free pass if they aren’t playing well because they played great in the past. and that goes for Jozy, too. Creating a little fear to increase competition in practice is a good thing. If BB really wants to get MB back to top form — and we need him in top form — then sit him and make him fight his way back in.


      • Posted by John on 2011/05/10 at 11:06 AM

        Here is something interesting to think about…

        The US currently has more up and coming forwards than we do DMF right now.

        With the forward position we have… Agudelo, Bunbury, Davies (to a certain extent), Altidore.

        At the DMF we have… er… uh.. er…

        Edu and Bradley? 24 and 23 respectively..
        Clark is 28 and… well… Clark.
        Holden is 25 and… unable (through no fault of his own) to get on the field for us yet. When he does Bob tends to play him in an attacking role.
        Jones is 29 and at best around for one world cup cycle.

        I think people tend to forget that Bradley is only 23 because he has played so much for the US.


        • Posted by LarryMontanez on 2011/05/10 at 11:18 AM

          Good point. But keep in mind that Spector is only 25, and someone fighting for dear life to stay in the EPL seems to think he can play that DFM role for them, so maybe his name should be thrown into that hat over here, too. creating competition at that spot can only be a positive for everyone


          • Posted by Gino on 2011/05/10 at 1:10 PM

            Agree. We can’t affored to dial it in and just throw the same stuffed animals onto the field.


        • Posted by dth on 2011/05/10 at 1:13 PM

          Amobi Okugo is 20. Don’t want to overhype, but I think he’ll be a Camp Cupcake player January 2012.


  15. Posted by SteveM11 on 2011/05/10 at 9:34 AM

    I guess what I really want is a coach who isn’t BB. I know, I’m not going to get it, but that’s what I want. Discussion for post Gold Cup.


  16. Posted by jmanking05 on 2011/05/10 at 10:04 AM

    Why is so little being said about Zak Whitbread? The man is going to be playing CB in the EPL next season. He has great distribution out of the back from what I’ve seen watching the Norwich games… just as good if not better than ream at this time. I know he has not played much on the national level but I don’t think there is another CB who plays every game who is in better form than him. I’m not saying he has to start but he should be in the conversation to be on the squad.

    I think he gets on the roster over Bornstien because Boca, Lichaj, and Spector can all play LB. Maybe he’s too similar to Goodson to get a place, but I think looking from the club level perspective he has earned it.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/05/10 at 10:10 AM

      Whitebread recently re-injured himself. Bradley hasn’t had a chance to watch him in camp either because of an injury during his last call-in.

      With the Gold Cup roster being almost more difficult than the World Cup roster — (Teams are less willing to be sympathetic towards national team player needs) it’s perhaps more difficult to include a player who is not fully fit (#1) and #2 you’re not sure how they will act, perform, behave in a new environment.

      Whitbread will get his chance, but his injuries do him in for this summer.

      If there is any “wildcard” at CB it’s likely Chad Marshall. In fact, I’m going to add him above.


      • Posted by John on 2011/05/10 at 10:13 AM

        The injury thing is funny, weird, sad and… well just weird.

        As Woody Allen said before he started making awful movies…

        80 percent of success is just showing up.

        And say what you want to about… Holden, Whitebread, or any others.. the fact is that there is a serious benefit to just being healthy.


      • Posted by jmanking05 on 2011/05/10 at 10:38 AM

        i just think it’s funny that he’s too injured to play nats game but then he goes 90 for his club the same week…. just seems fishy


        • Posted by Freegle on 2011/05/10 at 11:02 AM

          Promotion to the EPL is more important than a March friendly.


        • Posted by jmanking05 on 2011/05/10 at 12:43 PM

          I agree… but the canaries should have just not released him, instead of him turning it down because of injury


      • Posted by Freegle on 2011/05/10 at 11:01 AM

        Do you have a link for the Whitbread injury news? He’s played 90 min in every Norwich match except one since March 18th, including 5/2 and 5/7.

        Also, the “not sure how they will act, perform, behave” is somewhere between overstated and irrelevent. Whitbread is a professional and a starter on a team that just battled to promotion. He’s not going to suddenly start acting up or mouthing off or trying to dribble out of his own penalty area into traffic because he got his first cap.

        What’s more, the Gold Cup vs the likes of Panama and Guad. is the perfect time to bring in a player that has pedigree but not familiarity. This position is your 8th defender so he doesnt figure into the knockout rounds anyway. We would be better served bringing in and rewarding (deservedly) the season Whitbread has had with a tryout/cap(s) than stealing Chad Marshall from MLS, mid season for a month, to rehash what we already know about him.


        • Posted by Grant on 2011/05/10 at 3:33 PM

          Yes I completely agree


        • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/05/10 at 7:48 PM

          Any coach (or any CEO for that matter) will tell you, you don’t know someone until you work with them.

          It’s naive to think that “acting up” or “mouthing of” is implied with “act, perform, etc.”

          When you’re with the same players day after day, you want to have a very good idea of who they are?

          Are they an energy guy that needs reps to be good?
          Can they come in off the bench and make a difference?
          Will they fit into the team ethos?
          Can they play multiple positions?
          How they bounce back from a poor performance?
          Do they need consistent coaching?

          Many more questions that I don’t have.

          Bob Bradley went on record last year and said that DaMarcus Beasley actually brought a certain aloof, no-care-in-the-world personality that was good to balance the team. Too many Beasley wouldn’t be good, but Beasley with his experience was able to take the World Cup in stride and kind of not make it a big deal.

          Team complexion is a huge thing.

          And to continue. That’s my thought on Conor Casey. I saw him practice multiple times with the national team. He would get down on himself on a bad play or have poor body language if he didn’t get a rep or run with the A team.

          You don’t think coach’s see those things. I do as a business exec and they mean a lot in non-athletic environment.


          • Posted by Freegle on 2011/05/11 at 5:20 AM

            I don’t mean to sound like team chemistry is unimportant. But how are you supposed to get answers to any of those questions without bringing the guy in?

            Here’s what we know… There is a talented, experienced, professional central defender that is interested in playing for our team. He has just succeeded in a difficult, season-long battle for one of the most prized rewards in the sport (promotion to the highest league in his country; also arguably the best league in the world). That’s a lot of upside. All of your downsides are just “maybes.” We are not deep enough to ignore potentially helpful talent because of unknown/unconfirmed chemistry issues.

            To further your business parallel: You have an Ivy League MBA (Whitbread) who you have seen be successful with another similar company (Norwich) and could, potentially, be a significant difference maker in acheiving success with your second biggest client (Gold Cup). You have 2-3 smaller projects (camp, Canada, Panama, Guad) with low risk that you can use to familiarize him to your system and gague his usefulness before deciding whether or not to use him for the most important project (knockout rounds). And, if he doesnt fall in line or tries to torpedo your team chemistry you can simply cut ties with him without consequence. Where’s the risk?

            You would rather have a guy with a state school (no offense anyone) Bachealor degree who you have worked with before and is just ok (Chad Marshall), but you have to steal him away from an ally who you will need to work closely with in the future, when he is vital to their success (Crew). All becuase you know he won’t rock the boat.

            My point is that ZW could help a lot and I think this is a good (read: low risk, high reward) time to find out the answers to all of your questions posed above. What’s more, the bottom line is he’s earned it.


          • Posted by Grant on 2011/05/11 at 12:44 PM

            Very irrelevant argument. There is no way you don’t bring in a guy with very high potential in an a position that is definitely not our strongest. Not to mention we won’t exactly be playing the stiffest competition. The whole chemistry thing is crazy not to invite someone who has no track record of problems. Besides its not like the USMNT is always together. Players who have been together before and gelled may not gel this time. You never know. So to say you don’t invite a guy because you don’t know him every well (even though he is very qualified) is just plain dumb. I’m disappointed in your rationale.


      • Posted by jmanking05 on 2011/05/12 at 6:24 PM

        cool interview here with whitbread…. i understand your perspective but it will be a shame if he is not in the line up. I think he is in way better form right now than gooch or demerit and maybe even ream, albeit unproven on the international stage…..


  17. Posted by jmanking05 on 2011/05/10 at 10:06 AM

    Why is so little being said about Whitbread? The man is going to be playing CB in the EPL next season. He has great distribution out of the back from what I’ve seen watching the Norwich games… just as good if not better than ream at this time. I know he has not played much on the national level but I don’t think there is another CB who plays every game who is in better form than him. I’m not saying he has to start but he should be in the conversation to be on the squad.

    I think he gets on the roster over Bornstien because Boca, Lichaj, and Spector can all play LB. Maybe he’s too similar to Goodson to get a place, but I think looking from the club level perspective he has earned it.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/05/10 at 11:28 AM

      I can’t remember the last time in an important match or series of matches, Bob Bradley didn’t at least have two left-footed defenders available…not including injury or card accumulation.

      That last time had to be….still thinking..


      • Posted by Steve Trittschuh on 2011/05/19 at 12:03 PM

        Agree completely with jmanking05 and his comments on Whitbread. He’s definitely a player that is good and that could be very useful at a weak position. Gooch is fading and Ream has been somewhat shaky at times this season.


  18. Posted by euroman on 2011/05/10 at 10:12 AM

    Whitbread is injured AGAIN!


  19. Posted by jmanking05 on 2011/05/10 at 10:26 AM

    I don’t think gomez will start, I think he’ll be on the bench, but I’d rather see dempsey as the withdrawn forward. Now that we have 3 excellent wingers/ attacking midfielders in Bedoya (who is in great form now), Feilhaber, and now Chandler. Didn’t we score like 90% percent of our goals in the WC with dempsey inside like that?

    I hope lichaj makes the squad. It was just so delicious to watch at the end of the paraguay game when he overlapped chandler playing on the wing and there was just so much speed down that side in the attack. We shouldn’t start the game like that, but it could be quite a weapon in the last 30 mins of the match.


    • Posted by chris on 2011/05/11 at 10:10 AM

      I completely agree. Lichaj has speed and tenacity and can make our side more dynamic.


  20. Posted by Music on 2011/05/10 at 11:18 AM

    Adu left after the second match to return to Europe after starting the first two matches. It was planned before the tournament. Saying he “didn’t last through camp” is erroneous.


  21. Posted by wixson on 2011/05/10 at 12:10 PM

    – based on watching b’burn the last 2 months, Jones will be our rockstar this summer, and that will continue thru the WCQ next 2 years. 2014 remains to be seen, but we need him now to run the show.
    – bradley was undoubtedly our top 2-3 players in south africa, he belongs on the field in my opinion. villa bench/reserves hasn’t helped for sure, but he’s still a needed workhorse for us. and please stop with the dad stuff.
    – bummer for holden, just a bummer. but he’ll be leading the charge when WCQ comes around.
    – davies just isn’t ready right now. his seat will be ready for him next year when he’s back on top, it’s just too soon right now.
    – i’m committed to not pre-judging bornstein this summer. i find myself micro-critiquing his every touch and cursing loudly at him, need to step back a bit on him for a few more games.
    – was confused why u didn’t have chandler/lichaj starting but Bob sticks with vets during big games and youth during friendlies, i’m ok with that for now.

    Finally, can’t stress enough how important this GC is for us:
    1) props to sunil/bob for only scheduling top notch opponents the past 2 years, but this will be nice to dominate against some chumps in the opening round. i think it will be a big confidence booster to put up a 5-0 on the ‘lupe. arguably it’s been since late ’08 since our A team has played a much much lower level opponent.
    2) we have to…repeat…have to win this GC. not getting to the Confed Cup in ’13 will be very disappointing, in my opinion.

    2014 starts today. (or something deep like that).


    • Posted by Gino on 2011/05/10 at 1:02 PM

      If we beat anybody 5-0, I doubt it will be Guadeloupe. They’re a lot more talented than many give them credit for. I can’t quote any of the top of my head, but I seem to recall they’ve had some pretty positive results these past two years. In fact, if I remember right, France has plucked a few players from this island in the not too distant past. Otherwise, I agree with all your other points, especially Bradley Jr.


    • Posted by SteveM11 on 2011/05/10 at 1:30 PM

      Forget the dad stuff. He hasn’t been playing. Heck, he hasn’t even been on the bench for the most part. Edu and Jones start. Edu is his daddy. He’s a better player starting on a better squad.

      Enough with the he’s a workhorse stuff. He isn’t as talented. My 11 year-old can run up and down the field. I want the best skill player to do it for the nats.


  22. Posted by SteveM11 on 2011/05/10 at 2:11 PM

    I’ll make this pledge to the MB90 faithful. I have tickets to Spain v. USA. If your boy looks good I will be sure to come back and give him full credit. If he is in his Argentina form (or worse).

    Willing to eat my words, crow, or whatever. Really just want some US wins. I’m happy for Mike to be a huge success and prove me all kinds of wrong.


    • Posted by SteveM11 on 2011/05/10 at 2:14 PM

      Got cut off: I meant to say: if he plays like he did Argentina game, he should sit on the bench.


  23. Posted by Carlos on 2011/05/10 at 3:10 PM

    For me, a key question is who is the better mid central combo. Edu-Jones, Edu-Bradley or Jones-Bradley. While I think Jones-Bradley play too similar causing spacing problems, I’m not sold on Edu. His attacking qualities are nil, gives up the ball cheaply & runs out of offensive ideas way to frequently.

    I think given enough time together to work out the spacing issues Jones-Bradley is the best combo.


    • Posted by Scott on 2011/05/11 at 4:15 AM

      I also agree that this is the real question. Despite those who wave it aside as Coach hating or nepotism conspirators, this is the primary issue that I, and many others, have with the automatic starting berth that Mikey has been handed since age 20 or so.

      What is the best COMBINATION of midfielders is the question that needs to be answered but when you continue to perform an experiment with the same input it never truly gets answered.

      The reason I think that Jones-Bradley is a stronger partnership is that, since Mikey is an autoinclusion, he needs a strong personality behind him that will force him to play higher up the pitch and play to his strengths as a trailing attacker. For all the work rate and defending discussions that go on, if you watch him for club and country, he is a below avg “man” defender and not a great distributor from the back. Facing the goal from the 50 in he’s an aggressive attacker with strong tendency to find the ball in big spots. Not a #10 by any means but could really help this team as an extra attacker and use his “work rate” to disrupt distribution from the middle third. But only if he is forced to play a disciplined attacking MF role.


  24. Posted by Really? on 2011/05/10 at 7:44 PM

    Bradley told Davies to come to mls. Irrespective of the form of 2009 Davies, 2011 Davies is producing more goals than any of our strikers. He deserves the roster spot.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/05/10 at 7:52 PM

      No he does not. Charlie Davies has not practiced with the national team in almost 18 months.

      Nobody deserves a roster spot. Did Jeff Cunningham deserve a national team spot, a World Cup spot in 2010 because he led MLS in goals in 2009? No he did not.

      Goals are great, but there are a handful of players that you can count on to produce consistently year in and year out in the striker position worldwide.

      There’s much more than goals. If you’re talking about goals as well you need to rule out penalty kicks, because Davies *won’t be taking them on the national team. That’s Landon’s job and then maybe Clint’s.

      So Davies has three goals in the run of play and one game against a stumbling defender. So Davies not has two goals in MLS.

      This is not to say goals don’t count, but unless the player consistently produces them which *no* US striker (save Conor Casey ironically enough) has done, it’s not the lone determinant.


      • Posted by John on 2011/05/11 at 9:02 PM

        he’s also done a lot more than score goals…look @ assists, attacking runs, etc…the guy deserves a shot, I’m sorry Matt I love TSN but I simply cannot get with you guys on this one.


        • Posted by dth on 2011/05/11 at 9:28 PM

          Davies is credited with one assist by MLS. He’s done a surprisingly good job of holding the ball up; on the other hand, the backlines of MLS don’t really respect his pace all that much any more–sometimes they play high, sometimes they play low, but that would never happen when Davies was at his peak. Davies isn’t a great presser by any means; his movement in terms of clearing out space for others is above average but not awesome.

          Basically, Davies brings a lot of extras along with him, but I don’t think those extras are so overwhelming that they deserve mentioning. His goalscoring in terms of numbers have been good, but they’re kind of deceptive–the PK issue’s already been mentioned, but the reality that many of his goals haven’t been created so much as happened.

          Look: I can’t speak for everyone, but for me the Davies debate–like most of the debates over the final few players in the team–is always kind of funny. If Bob Bradley calls up Charlie Davies, it’s not unjustifiable. I don’t mind. I prefer Herc Gomez, but you know, whatevs. Chances are Davies or Whitbread or whomever won’t play much, if any, of a role and so I don’t really care all that much whether they’re called up or not. Since the top 15 or 18 or whatever is pretty easier, tactics become much more interesting and much more worthwhile to argue about than who’s should be the 23rd player invited.


        • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/05/11 at 10:32 PM

          Fair opinions all around on this one. Beyond those emotionally invested in Davies (those that are somewhat irksome (and no disrespect) with the “no one is as motivated” line) there are plenty of good reasons to bring Davies. I just think Bradley is more methodical here.

          As TSG does as well (and we’ll do for the Spain game), if I were choosing the 23, Davies would not be there. Reason being? I’ve seen him already. I’ve probably scouted him again and I know I have three more years to figure out how valuable he is vis-a-vis the others in the pool.

          Just a note that two years from now we could see anyone: Joseph Gyau, Omar Salgado, Adrian Ruelas as players.

          Of that lot I would say Salgado has a real shot as a striker.


  25. Posted by Really? on 2011/05/10 at 8:09 PM

    You’re acting as if Charlie Davies is a stranger to the nt…He has an established relationship with the players and the coach. He is just as deserving as a player like bunbury, who had one hot game with skc and a penalty at camp cupcake…


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/05/10 at 8:18 PM

      That’s a better contention. My issue was with the take that Charlie Davies deserves a shot because of goal haul which I think is a good leading indicator but ultimately a statistically insignificant number.

      If Davies didn’t have his successful pedigree and track record, he would be viewed as an Edson Buddle or Herculez Gomez or Robbie Findley. All players who ultimately got a shot, but by no means were locks.

      Given Davies history (which cannot be divorced from his candidacy) and that he’s just now settling into a positive club situation after over a year, I just don’t think he’s in the discussion.

      I can see where those are coming from pushing for Davies. But I think it’s almost important to look at it from the perspective of the Gold Cup being just one tournament. Davies will get his shot again. It will likely come in January camp and then in qualifiers.


    • Posted by Martin on 2011/05/12 at 4:55 PM

      I’ve always had a problem with saying this player or that player is more “deserving” than another. It’s as if they were entitled to a place. Such entitlement is only for an elite few and the US have only one guy, Dempsey, who fits that role for me.

      I’ve always believed player selection was about how well they fit into the plans the manager has for the team.

      Charlie and Teal may both have played as well as they can and in that sense are deserving but if what they do doesn’t fit into the plan or if the manager has someone else who he thinks fits that role better, then this “deserving” notion goes by the wayside.

      Teal may prove to eventually be a better target man than Jozy but right now it’s clear Bradley thinks Jozy is doing a good enough job. And he knows Jozy knows exactly what Bradley wants.

      Davies salad days for the USMNT had him sparking the team by stretching the defense and injecting a large dose of aggression and physicality into the attack. While he’s played well at DC, the USMNT has moved on since Charlie was last around and it seems now like the US maybe getting that attacking spark in a slightly different way from Chandler and Agudelo.

      Can Charlie play with those two? Perhaps but I think it’s important to realize the old Charlie is gone forever and it’s not the Confederations Cup anymore. Shocking as it may be to some Bradley is building a new team and it remains to be seen if or where Davies can fit in.


  26. Posted by Ufficio on 2011/05/10 at 10:00 PM

    Another factor – maybe or maybe not worth consideration – on the Davies selection: he’s likely to be most motivated man on the pitch if he plays in the Gold Cup. He has stated that getting back with the Nats is his ultimate goal, and trite as it may sound, a man who has stared death in the face isn’t likely to take this opportunity for granted. Some of that inspiration might rub off on his teammates as well; I’m thinking in particular of Altidore who put forth the effort of his life in the “Charlie Davies Game” against Costa Rica.

    I understand those who would discount this line of argument. But from my point of view, only Altidore is a lock for this roster. He is the only one young enough to be part of the future, and also internationally experienced and proven against CONCACAF competition at least. The same could have been said about Davies pre-accident, but of course he needs to prove himself again. But if you look at the candidates minus Altidore – Agudelo, Buddle, Bunbury, Davies and Gomez – you can almost make a case for any one of them over any of the others. If Davies were included, I wouldn’t feel that he was bumping someone who clearly deserved a spot ahead of him.

    He’s playing well in the MLS now, even if his goal total is inflated. This could be a great moment to catch the electricity of his first stint back for the NATS in a meaningful competition, rather than a neglected January friendly.


  27. Posted by Brian on 2011/05/11 at 2:19 AM

    TSG, any word on if Bob will call up a 30 man camp and then cut it down to 23? The rest of CONCACAF seems to be doing that


  28. Agudelo will start over Gomez.

    The kid will get a start and experience against Spain and will be ready. No way BB puts him on the bench. He is already gaining reps and the GC is all about getting the team ready to beat Mexico in the final. Agudelo and Bunbury need as many reps as they can get to become comfortable in the system before the final match.

    Altidore will probably start against Canada, but by game 2 of GC expect Bunbury & Agudelo pairing to get a trial (or Demps withdrawn).

    Agree on Davies. Though he may make camp. Since the accident his mind may still be tricking him into thinking he is back to his old form. Camp may give him a chance to honestly evaluate where he is at right now and see where he needs to improve (physical aggression, etc.) Not saying he’s earned camp but could probably be in a group of 30.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/05/11 at 8:53 AM

      I’m pretty certain that if Agudelo — who’s going about 25 mins a game right now for NYRB — starts against Spain (and he’ll likely go 90 if he does that), that he doesn’t start 3 days later vs. Canada.

      I do think Agudelo *should start against Spain with the specific edict from Bob Bradley: Run your ass of down the line and pull their defensive shape out of whack — do not check back to the midfield more than 3 times per half.


      • Posted by jmanking05 on 2011/05/11 at 10:12 AM

        i like this. i just looked it up and agudelo has never gone more than 60 in a match for the nats. I think it would be a good idea to send him 90 for a game that is just a warm up. I would say put him with boon-boon-ree and altidore/gomez for 45 min each.

        We shouldn’t put an untested lineup in against Canada. They are too good. I expect to see something like our line-up against algeria in the WC. The USA better be ready for SIMEON JACKSON, who plays for Norwich City at forward. He’s scored 9 goals since the beginning of april and 6 of those consisted of 2 hat tricks… he reminds me of a charlie davis in his prime. i don’t know if this prediction is much of a stretch, but he’ll be in the running for “break out youngster” in the gold cup (if an award like that even exists)


  29. These line ups are terrible…starting with the defense, all your starters are old or sucks, none of them should be on this roster, esspecailly gooch for the simple fact that in his last fixture he got out jump by messi..boca maybe but licjah and Chandler are very capable of taking him spot, Steve…questionable also, but Goodson is the right choice, he is america’s best CB right. but ream should be starting out Gooch. if he is not then let him play with the redbulls(my team) dont waste him time. Two defensive Mids may work against lower North America team but against good teams like Mexico, it will not work, we’ll be caught defending all day long. We need to partner MB with a more attacking minded player, that player should be Dempsey, put demps infront bradley in the middle. that way we have balance with two diffrent players in the middle. put donovan and chris wondo on the flanks, then charlie davis and altordore up to…Charlie Davis is the top 2 forwards in our country regardless if he’s back or not…… dream line up although i know it wont happen 4-4-2 diamond mid

    wondo donovan

    davis altordore

    with agudelo and bunbury coming off the bench to replace davis and altordore, and edu to replace bradley if need


    • Posted by Ufficio on 2011/05/11 at 8:37 AM

      This is parody, right? If so, well played.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/05/11 at 8:49 AM

      Congratulations, your team is about to lose 8-2 to Canada.


    • Posted by Alex on 2011/05/11 at 9:57 AM

      I puked a little in my mouth. But it kept coming so now it’s all over my keyboard…

      When did Wondo even begin to be in discussion?? Referencing back to something matthew said, its analogous to say, Cunningham going to the world cup, and that our forward line should have been Findley-Cunningham.


  30. Posted by Damon on 2011/05/11 at 9:51 AM

    My preferred lineup is a 4-3-1-2 (or a 4-1-3-2 depending how you look at it.) And I’ll just start straight up and admit this is a “Fifa 2011” kind of lineup and there very well may be great reasons why I am wrong.

    First of all I would put Donovan into the center of the pitch and drop him into the hole. He can take on the Fabregas role and be the central distributor of the ball, looking to unlock the defense with the key pass. SO put Donovan at CAM where he can have the flexibility to float where he would be most useful.

    Up top I’d go with Altidore and Dempsey. We have other options at midfield so I’ll take Dempsey up top. He can drop back situationally to free up another midfielder to take a run upfield and load up a zone.

    At Midfield I’d have bradley as the Central Defensive midfielder. On the right midfield I’d go with Chandler. Not only can he press upfield with pace but he can definitely fall back and be a strong defender. At left midfield its a tough call for me between Jones and Spector. Spector probably would probably protect the LB a bit more and has shown good ability to move forward when the situation calls for it. Jones seems like the better passer though I’m not sure how well he would slide out to LM and play inverted.

    Anyway- like I said this is a Videogame kind of lineup but thats at least where I would start to try and put people in position to succeed.


  31. Posted by Brian on 2011/05/11 at 9:40 PM

    “Wait, does anyone else think that maybe, just maybe, Brad Guzan was sending just a small message to Bob Bradley that he sick of just sitting around on the national team level. I mean, why not schedule your wedding for end of May? Just an idea. Likely way offbase….but conspiracy theorists unite.”
    Uhh…on what grounds would Brad Guzan have to “send a message” to Bob because he’s sick of “sitting around on the national team level”? Besides his short stint at Hull City, the guy has been a backup goalkeeper for 3 seasons.


  32. Posted by Alex Song on 2011/05/12 at 12:27 AM

    I think we can start the vets on D for this Gold Cup, but after that it’s time to start thinking 2014. Boca does not have the speed to play against elite teams. Dolo won’t last forever. I want to see Lichaj at LB and Chandler at RB. They appear to be our future, and I’m excited about that. Centrally, I still think Gooch is our #1. He’s a first-choice starter for a very respectable club. I’m starting to buy the Tim Ream hype. Long term, I think Gale and Ream are our top two. Boss needs a lot of work though. If he doesn’t pan out, maybe Gonzo is the solution. Thing about Gonzo is that he’s got a bit of that big, lumbering thing going on. I’d rather have someone with some agility.

    Landon and Dempsey are Landon and Dempsey. Until they show clear signs of declining, they’re our starters. Long term I think Gyau shows the potential to be a good wing player. He’s quick and crafty. Sometimes a bit too selfish though and I don’t know anything about his passing skills.

    Our central midfield worries me. For now we’ll be fine with Jermaine Jones and Michael Bradley. Jones is the better player in every way. As I have been saying for a while, I think Bradley is a CDM masquerading as a box-to-box player. He offers nothing offensively. I feel similarly about Edu. Edu has scored some nice goals this year. Very nice, actually, but he is a total non-factor in terms of creating offense off the dribble/distributing. I’d be curious to see Spector get some run because, while I loathe him as a defender, he has a shown a knack for making dangerous runs and creating opportunities. We need that. Speaking of West Ham, if they get relegated, does Lletget get minutes and eventually a cap? I think he and Holden might be our two most complete midfielders for 2014. Obviously there is a long way to go though.

    Forward…I don’t have the answers here. Jozy will start by default even though his form has been erratic and his confidence is in the toilet. We just don’t have anyone better. Bunbury has looked very ordinary since that 2 goal explosion. I think Davies might be our best player here, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him called up. I think Agudelo is overhyped, but he has shown a knack for the spectacular. Forget the goal against DC. Did anyone see his goal from the Milk Cup final last year? That was a fantastic strike. In time he might be our most versatile and effective striker. I would like to see him paired with Altidore in our A team, with Davies possibly figuring into the equation pending form and fitness. Finally, I think a case could be made for Edson Buddle based on 2009-2010 merit. He might be better in the target role than Jozy, making him a better partner for Agudelo/Davies. Bob doesn’t seem to rate him much though, and will probably just opt for the younger guys.


  33. […] Gold Cup roster predictions from Tuesday, here. LikeBe the first to like this […]


  34. […] Bradley’s Clipboard: Gold Cup Roster Addition LikeBe the first to like this […]


  35. Posted by Brian on 2011/05/18 at 10:41 PM

    I’m really hoping Lichaj gets a shot at LB against Spain. He played LB for Leeds quite a bit this season once their normal RB (the one Lichaj was covering for) came back from injury. If he is have decent we can leave someone like Bornstein off the roster. Bornstein had a pretty good World Cup, but he hardly played for Tigres.
    TSG, I mostly agree with your roster selections, like you started to hint at, I feel like Onyewu, DeMerit, Ream and Goodson is a bit much at CB, especially considering Bocanegra and Spector are more than adequate fill ins there as well. I can see Ream or Goodson being left off. Hell if it was up to me I’d probably leave off Onyewu.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/05/18 at 11:23 PM

      Brian: I watched a few games for Lichaj at Leeds and I have to say, he’s quite rough as a leftback.

      The biggest issue he had was relying on his more dominant right foot for clearances that sometimes were turnover right in the center of the pitch.

      I can say I don’t think he’s quite there yet for LB on the US….

      CB will be interesting. My reasoning on an extra CB is: a) DeMerit and Onyewu have both battle injuries and b) There is adequate cover (Spector and Chandler at RB, Bornstein at LB.


  36. […] my roster below on the assumption that the USA would be taking four forwards to the Gold Cup. A recent post over at The Shin Guardian (americanfutbol favorite, by the way) made me realize that, given […]


  37. Posted by Brian on 2011/05/19 at 1:55 PM

    Well speaking of Gold Cup roster projections, anyone see Steve Davis’s projections? Brek Shea? Jeff Larentowicz? How clueless can an American soccer writer be?


    • Posted by dth on 2011/05/19 at 2:22 PM

      I’m not sure if this exonerates Davis, but that’s what he thought the Gold Cup roster SHOULD be. (This makes him look worse, actually.) What he thought Bradley would do was much more reasonable, though I very much doubt Nick Rimando is the third GK.

      Anyway, I see Jonathan Spector on so many rosters and I ask, what’s the point? Yeah, he’s versatile, but in Spector’s case that means we get subpar play at multiple positions. No thanks.


      • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/05/19 at 2:43 PM

        Admittedly I am every bit the critic as you are on Jonathan Spector, but I will say this. He’s a very smart player who almost never gets beat from a mental mistake.

        Physical mistakes, sure all the time. With Spector, you can plug him in anywhere. And consider this, he’s probably a little bit like a Juwan Howard or someone. He can play and play well in a pinch, but he’s not going to be sitting their begging for playing time.

        Players like Steve Cherundolo and Clint Dempsey have taken issue with formation, playing time here and there. Can’t see Specs doing that. Also with Spector, he really is fantastic moving off the ball–don’t think we’ll ever get to see that though.

        I think with Bradley and what the roster will show is that Bob is going to be a business-like as always with this Gold Cup and what I mean by that is to bring along the youngsters, Agudelo, Chandler, Ream… he’s going to have all veterans in camp showing a smaller group of youngsters the ropes.

        The more I think about it, the more I think you’ll see but 3, maybe 4 true *youngsters* on the roster. The three above + 1. Other than that, all others will be disciples of the Bob Bradley way.


        • Posted by dth on 2011/05/19 at 2:58 PM

          The general approach makes perfect sense to me. I’m just wondering: why not bring, say, Ricardo Clark instead of Jonathan Spector? Clark, like Spector, can play multiple positions–destroyer and CB–but unlike Spector has actually played well recently in meaningful games.

          Jonathan Spector will make an excellent youth coach someday, should he be so inclined.


      • Posted by KickinNames... on 2011/05/19 at 2:59 PM

        Spot on with Spector. There is a love affair with his “upside” but you know what they say about love…


      • Posted by Brian on 2011/05/19 at 10:33 PM

        Yeahh…not really lol. Why the hell does he think Shea and Larentowicz are anywhere close to deserving call ups? FC Dallas hasn’t really figured out what Shea’s best position is yet and Larentowicz isn’t even the best American CM/DM in MLS.


    • Posted by Ufficio on 2011/05/19 at 2:39 PM

      He also seems to think it’s possible that the US will play seven games at this tournament. Clueless, indeed.


    • Posted by Jared on 2011/05/20 at 5:17 AM

      I got a good laugh out of Steve Davis’ choices. There are quite a few arguments to be made but most US fans aren’t arguing that those guys should be included. Isn’t he there MLS writer though? It seems that some of these guys that cover MLS feel like it’s their job to bang the MLS drum whenever they can. Which of course makes me less likely to read their articles or watch the league.


  38. Posted by Brian on 2011/05/19 at 11:46 PM

    Kinda funny how MLS coaches are bursting US Soccer’s bubble, but with that news (Agudelo and Bunbury being selected) and your most recent projection update, I have to say Feilhaber over Kljestan, all day every day.

    I know Bob is generally respectful to the wishes of MLS clubs and coaches but the mission is to win here and he’ll select MLS players if he thinks they’ll get significant playing time and contribute to the Gold Cup effort.

    Feilhaber (as well as LD, Teal, Juan and Jay, but not Rimando) qualifies as that type of MLS player given his important contributions during the World Cup. He’s been playing well for the Revs. He’s had a couple assists and he’s been pretty unlucky to not get a goal yet (he had a few really close ones). I’m not really sure what injuries you’re speaking of. He’s not on the MLS injury report.

    I like Kljestan and I’d like to see him make it as well because I’d like how he’d do in the super sub role (that Benny played during the World Cup), but if we’re gonna take 4 forwards, 4 center backs (not counting Boca), Bedoya (I think we have to, need a backup left winger), Bornstein (I’d rather not take him, but Bob isn’t gonna go w/o a backup left footed LB) and Spector, then I think Kljestan draws the short straw. Right now I just have more confidence in Benny playing that super sub, attacking midfielder role.

    If Bob drops the 4th center back (possibly likely), Bornstein (not likely, unless someone else shows they can play LB), Bedoya (again not likely, given lack of backup left winger), Spector (somewhat likely), or the 4th forward (probably not likely, I think bringing a veteran FW like Gomez or Buddle is a good idea), then I could see Kljestan making it, but I’m not sure so why we would need two super sub attacking midfielders since they can’t really play at the same time.


  39. Posted by Brian on 2011/05/19 at 11:51 PM

    Also, I kinda agree with some of the sentiment about Spector. I wouldn’t necessarily say that we’d get “sub par play at multiple positions”, I’d call it serviceable play or decent play.

    He probably won’t see any playing time since he’s 3rd on the RB depth chart (behind Dolo & Chandler), 3rd on the LB depth chart (behind Boca & Johnny B), and 6th on the CB depth chart (behind all the CBs plus Boca), but still given the fact that he can fill in at 5 or 6 positions (RB, CB, LB, RM, CM, AM) I think he’s the perfect person to take with the last roster spot because someone like Kljestan or Lichaj probably won’t play either and they can really only fill in at 2 positions.

    I’m kinda intrigued to see how he would do as a late game CM/AM sub. I think he brings more offensive and attacking play than Edu, and if Bob only brings Kljestan or Feilhaber, and not the other, then I think he could get shot there if Kljestan/Feilhaber aren’t playing well.


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