DAVID SMITH - Friday, July 17, 2009
Bob Bradley's squad faces testy Panama on Saturday night short three of its key players, as Steve Cherundolo, Michael Parkhurst and Charlie Davies have all returned to their respective clubs earlier in the week.
Dolo trains in Austria
Cherundolo, who saw his first action in the Gold Cup at right back after missing all but three games of the spring, joined his team Hannover 96 on Monday afternoon. The team is currently in their pre-season training camp in Bad Kleinkirchheim in Austria's alps, where they will remain until July 21. He started the Nats' first two games of the Gold Cup at his natural right back position acting as team captain before being rested for Saturday's game against Haiti, in a game which saw coach Bob Bradley calling largely on backups to make up the numbers. Cherundolo's departure leaves no natural right-sided defenders in Bradley's remaining squad, meaning that Seattle midfielder Brad Evans, who took over the position against Haiti, could get the nod for the remainder of the tournament.
More frequent flyer miles for Parkhurst?
Parkhurst joined his club FC Nordsjælland in Denmark on Tuesday for their final days of preseason training before the team's season begins on Saturday with a derby against reigning Superliga champions FC Copenhagen. The Wake Forest grad played in all three games of the group stage, starting the final two in central defense. His departure still leaves Bradley with three center backs; Jimmy Conrad, Chad Marshall and Clarence Goodson. Should the remaining players navigate their way through the knockout round, Nordsjælland has agreed to allow Parkhurst to return to the US for the July 26 final if Bradley deems his presence necessary.
No rest for Davies
The team also confirmed that Charlie Davies was on his way to France on Tuesday night to join his new team FC Sochaux of Ligue 1 for the remainder of their preseason. Davies has had an unusually long summer with the Nats, having trained with the team since late-May. His long-rumored transfer to Sochaux was officially announced last Friday, and last season's relegation strugglers still have several weeks of training left until they begin their season against Auxerre on August 8. Veteran Brian Ching and the relatively untested Kenny Cooper and Santino Quaranta still remain as options at forward presently with the team, with utility midfielder Davy Arnaud also able to fill in up top if needed.
The departures leave goalkeepers Luis Robles and Troy Perkins as well as central defender Goodson as the only remaining European-based players presently with the team.