US National Team coach Bob Bradley will be expecting influential performances from Fulham travelers Carlos Bocanegra and Clint Dempsey when a relatively young squad takes on arch rivals Mexico Wednesday in Phoenix.
Bocanegra has experienced some rough patches since arriving at Craven Cottage in 2004, but is enjoying a plum season; of all Fulham players with at least eight games, only Brian McBride carries a higher Sky Sports rating.
"I think that every player that's gone to Europe has (struggled a little) and in almost all cases and has grown from that," Bradley said during a Monday afternoon teleconference.
"Carlos has had a very good run lately and he certainly feels he's in a position where he can contribute most of all."
"I can see a level of maturity in terms of his play and the way he conducts himself. I've always enjoyed working with him, he's a great competitor, someone who takes his role with the National Team very seriously."
Dempsey, meanwhile, has shown the ability to make an instant impact in his three substitute appearances for Fulham.
"We're excited to see his aggressiveness going forward and getting in the box," offered Bradley. "He scored a great goal in the World Cup, and throughout his MLS career, he showed creativity in taking certain plays and helping create goal scoring situations."
"I had a discussion with him last night and I know he feels good about his first few weeks in England. As he continues to mature and play in big games, I think he's going to get better for the National Team."
"The most important thing is to find a way for him to get the ball and let his attacking skills come into play."
[note]YA's Sara DeWitt also contributed to this report[/note]