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Thursday, July 2, 2009
You asked for it, you got.

Today, July 2nd, 2009 is the Five-Year Anniversary of Yanks Abroad's existence. And in celebration, we're releasing our most popular feature.

For this go-around on the visit to the travel office, we are throwing away our normal routine by choosing who we would send to South Africa next summer, instead of trying to figure out Bob Bradley. And let's face it, that's not easy.

Among our changes is veteran DaMarcus Beasley being stopped at the airport by security and not let anywhere near the plane, while Jay DeMerit and Jonathan Spector can now sit back and relax and order the cocktail of their choice.

Sacha Kljestan joins Beasley on the outside looking in while an oldie-but-goodie hops on for his fourth trip to the World Cup.

If you agree, disagree or somewhere in between, use our new comment feature at the end of the page and share your thoughts!

PACK YOUR BAGS, BOYS
Jozy Altidore - F, Sunderland (England)
Still only 19...and he looks and plays like that? My goodness. (BL) Joan Capdevila should have listened to him. (KB)
Carlos Bocanegra - D, Rangers (Scotland) on loan from Racing Santander (Spain)
Keep him on the left for the rest of the qualifiers. (KB) Was a few steps slow in South Africa, hopefully because of the hammy, but either way he'll be there. (GM)
Michael Bradley - M, Roma (Italy)
More important to the team than his father. (MA) I can deal with him being a little petulant as long as he makes plays. (AB)
Clint Dempsey - M/F, Fulham (England)
Floated in a few games, but got his act together - he's a danger in the box. (RF) His big bronze ball says it all. (DS)
Landon Donovan - M/F, Los Angeles Galaxy (USA)
Showed the world he was more than a spot kick taker. (AV) Is becoming Captain America right before our eyes...finally. (GM)
Tim Howard - GK, Everton (England)
I'd take him over anyone else in the world right now. (BMH) When the US couldn't cope, he could. First name on the team sheet. (AV)
Oguchi Onyewu - D, Sheffield Wednesday (England)
Dear Newcastle, enjoy the Championship for me. Sincerely, Gooch. (DS) The reason Spain didn't even try to send in any corner kicks. (AB)

NEARLY A LOCK
Jay DeMerit - D, Watford (England)
Confederations Cup shot his worth up, he can start packing. (RF) Did you watch David Villa get shut down by a guy that plays for Watford? (AV)
Charlie Davies - F, Randers FC (Denmark)
How is it we needed to be almost eliminated for this guy to get a shot? (BL) Make sure you choose your destination wisely. (BMH)

FAIRLY SAFE BET
Jonathan Spector - D, Birmingham City (England)
We've got a new challenger to Cherundolo on the right side. (KB) Stay healthy and play is all he needs to do this upcoming season. (RF)
Brad Guzan - GK, Aston Villa (England)
Solidified his #2 spot against Egypt. (DS) Couldn't ask for a better backup. (GM)
Benny Feilhaber - M, New England Revolution (USA)
Brings a composure that others lack. (AB) Has to have a good season before he's a lock. (GM)
Jermaine Jones - M, Schalke 04 (Germany)
Lots of haters, but also lots of game. (AB) Clark and Kljestan, take a back seat to the starting DMid... (CW)
Jose Francisco Torres - M, Tigres UANL (Mexico)
Paco in a Reyna role would have closed out Brazil. (CW) Does Bradley know he's on the bench? (KB)
Steve Cherundolo - D, Hannover 96 (Germany)
The Gold Cup will be his place to shine as a leader. (RF) Let's not forget this guy is a really good right back. (BL)

IN A BATTLE
Maurice Edu - M, Stoke City (England)
With Jones in the fold, Mo becomes the backup. (CW) ... but he's going regardless. (DS)

WORK TO DO
Freddy Adu - M/F, Philadelphia Union (USA)
Gold Cup is his best chance to show he deserves some time. (BL) Find some playing time anywhere, even if it's the Luxembourg 4th division. (BMH)
Frankie Hejduk - D, Los Angeles Galaxy (USA)
Dude stands up when needed. (MA) His energy and veteran leadership are indispensable. (DS)
Heath Pearce - D/M, CD Chivas (USA)
Is still competing for the left back spot, but has to have a good season first. (GM) Heath's chances are running out in USA colors. (MA)
- F, () on loan from ()
I can't see him starting in front of our new dynamic duo. Maybe he can mentor? (AB) Striker is the weakest position and so he gets it by default. (BMH)
Brian McBride - F, Chicago Fire (USA)
Says he'd reconsider if approached? Ok, Bake, 'Will you play?' (CW) ...but does he still have the legs? (MA)
Danny Califf - D, Philadelphia Union (USA)
Is ready to step in when needed, and is solid as they get. (GM) passed by DeMerit but still on the cusp. (DS)
Marcus Hahnemann - GK, Everton (England)
Playing in the Premiership will help his cause. (AV) If Timmy got hurt, I'd put him in before Guzan. (BMH)
MOVING UP

Conor Casey - The forward spots are completely up for grabs with the exception of Jozy. (GM)

Edgar Castillo - If he says he wants in, let him in! (BL) Could he solve the problem on the left? (KB)

Ricardo Clark - Bradley seems to love playing next to him, and vice versa. (GM) Given the chance due to injury and played okay. (RF)

Zak Whitbread - He's been overlooked too long. (MA) ...by the US. Premiership and Championship clubs are paying attention. (CW)

MOVING DOWN

DaMarcus Beasley - I've about had it with him. Do work on the club level. (AV) ...or he'll be watching the World Cup on ESPN. (RF)

Jonathan Bornstein - This is what happens when you take a forward and try to make him defend. (CW)

Sacha Kljestan - Struggled mightily against quality opponents, his form is failing him. (RF) That hat trick versus Sweden is looking like a fluke. (AB)

OTHER BUBBLE BATTLERS

Bobby Convey, Kenny Cooper, Mikkel Diskerud, Stuart Holden, Eddie Johnson, Kasey Keller, Chad Marshall, Pablo Mastroeni, Michael Parkhurst, Tory Perkins, Santino Quaranta, Luis Robles, Frank Simek, Marvell Wynne

note: Yanks Abroad's Michael Adubato, Arch Bell, Kenya Brown, Rich Fidler, Bri-Mathias Hodge, Brent Latham, George Murphy, David Smith, Andrew Vorce and Chad Winger compiled this feature.
McBalls
Saturday July 4, 2009 12:08 pm
Did you guys actually watch the Confed Cup?!? Ricardo Clark won balls like a man possessed. Go back and count how many times he flew in out of nowhere to block a shot or cross.

Torres and Adu, for all their offensive talent are never going to tackle with anything like Clark's aggression... and this midfield will already start Donovan and Dempsey.

Like it or not, the U.S. is not going to beat the worlds best teams with "Joga Bonita". Physical, fast, and brash is a recipe that could work. While the purists may hate it, its effective and fits the personality of our country perfectly... and is still more fun to watch than, say, Italian diving.

Finally, I am as excited about the Jermaine Jones development as any other U.S. fan. But Jones has never played a minute for this team, and is apparently not good enough to make an only slightly better German midfield. Perhaps we should not start sucking that popsicle just yet.
Yes
Friday July 3, 2009 8:48 pm
I am SO glad that someone other than myself is ready and able to use the comparison between Reyna and Torres. The first two games he played in, he brought calm and composure when there was almost none.

I guess he just doesn't have an American enough name. Wait...

ps. Were we all watching the same Costa Rica game? He seemed to be the only one on the pitch who wasn't standing there, stunned.
TGA
Friday July 3, 2009 2:55 pm
delibelly says BB shouldn't call up a player from the 3rd division. What does he think MLS is.
ChelseaMatt
Friday July 3, 2009 12:48 pm
You guys screwed up not including Ricardo Clark on the plane. After the Confederations Cup, he's our first choice pairing with Michael Bradley. Jones will get a shot, as will Edu when he's healthy. Hopefully, we're retiring Mastroeni -- he still had it two years ago at the Gold Cup, but he's clearly past it now. Klejstan is still in the mix, and Feilhaber has again proved his worth.

Unless we see something from Adu in the Gold Cup or he has some breakthrough performances in the fall, I just don't see him entering into the mix. The same can be said for Torres -- he was our lone bright spot in Costa Rica, but he hasn't figured into things since then.

Heath Pearce may not make it onto the plane unless he shows something this fall, either -- Bornstein has shown better lately and is currently on Bradley's good side -- he's our number two left back behind Bocanegra when DeMerit's healthy and in form, and our number one when Boca's slotted in the middle -- this is why Edgar Castillo's coming into the fold is so intriguing.

Usually you guys do a pretty good job of picking the 23, but y'all missed the boat a little bit this time.

I think you should have put the entire starting lineup against Spain as locks, because they certainly are at this point. You just can't predict the future.
victor
Friday July 3, 2009 11:38 am
Agree for the most part. Just if you're going to bring Califf, might as well choose a younger defender to learn a bit as he probably won't see the field (Spector or Edu might be emergency options) and as our central backs will be old in 2014 (Gooch will be 32, Califf, Boca, Demerit all 35). Maybe Marshall? Too bad for Clark that Jones is on his way, he's been tremendous. Castillo-Pearce is a dead heat. How cool would it be if a true winder like Zizzo or Diskerud made the squad?
braun
Friday July 3, 2009 10:14 am
We have two forwards playing midfield. Perhaps Donovan or Dempsey will be paired with Altidore. Meaning not only do we take 3 Dmids but Torres, Feilhaber and Adu (could play on top). Don't think McBride needs to come back but God BB'd be smart to take him instead of Casey or even Cooper.
BB is going to have to change his habit of late and never subbing spent players. An especially bad move if you're in a tournament and are hoping to play (well) another day. Then again he did take the team very far in the Confed Cup (despite his/not subbing).
Alex
Friday July 3, 2009 4:01 am
McBride being on the list is wishful thinking at best, no way he goes to South Africa.

Hedjuk is a bubble battler at best, he doesn't belong in the 23. He can bring all the "energy" and "leadership" in the world, those things don't make up for his complete lack of touch, inability to distribute and horrible 1 v 1 defending skills. With Cherundolo and Spector, who are miles ahead of Hejduk, we don't need him. Why put 3 right backs on the squad?

Replace McBride and Hejduk with Castillo and Clark and I think you're top 23 is a pretty solid roster.
jim
Thursday July 2, 2009 8:59 pm
Great switch from trying to read the coach's mind to just putting your own opinions on (virtual) paper. And fwiw, I think you guys completely nailed all the 'new' Americans: Jones, Castillo & Diskerud. I even think McBride's still the best option at TF, so I'm stoked to see you guys stick him up on the list. This wouldn't be a bad first 11 in a 4-4-2...

--------------McBride--------Altidore-----------
------------Donovan--------Dempsey---------
-------------Jones-----------Bradley-----------
---Boca----Demerit------Oneywu----Dolo---
DeliBelly
Thursday July 2, 2009 8:32 pm
Nice roster, although the guys on the last few spots are a bit long in the tooth -- Hahneman, Hejduk, McBride -- I won't be surprised if none of those guys make it to South Africa.

The biggest "huh?" on the list has got to be Zak Whitbread. I don't believe Bradley has called up a player from any third division league in Europe at any time during the past 2 years. And nor should he. If we're scraping the bottom of the barrel for players to fill up the last few roster spots, I'd rather pluck a few guys from MLS than have to rely on third division players.
Dan
Thursday July 2, 2009 5:09 pm
Ricardo is in - he was an animal in SA. Hard to Jermaine is in when he hasn't even been cap'd.
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