23 TICKETS TO SOUTH AFRICA
EXTRA TIME
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.
charlie c.
Thursday July 2, 2009 5:01 pm
I would make two changes for sure: subtract McBride and Hedjuk; add Cooper and Clark. Very surprised not to see Clark in first 23.

Also, it seems probable that Castillo will replace Pearce by WC 2010 (unless the latter has a great club season, but where?)

Happy to see Bornstein, Kljestan, and Beasley not currently rated highly by YA staff -- but who knows what Coach Bob will do?
Scott
Thursday July 2, 2009 4:56 pm
Right back... so easy a caveman can do it. Not so fast Frankie! After seeing Spector get up and down the right and send in great service (2 assists aint bad for a right back) you can watch with games with Beasley.

I'm a Chivas USA fan and like Sacha at the club but not for the national team. We've got better options (none of which include Mastroeni.)
Kyle
Thursday July 2, 2009 4:36 pm
Can anyone tell me why Paco is not on the Gold Cup roster? Did I miss something? Maybe he is hurt or Bradley forgot to buy him a plane ticket home from SA? Darn it - we forgot Torres - was he on the bench?
Eric
Thursday July 2, 2009 4:35 pm
Hejduk is bellow Wynne in my opinion. He was huge to the American cause, no question, but we need to begin planning for the future. Clark seems way low to me. Just because Edu has excelled at Rangers doesn't mean he should go to SA; he has yet to put in even a decent display for the senior team, while Clark was very consistent through the Confeds.

There is a glaring omission on the wings. No one behind Donovan and Dempsey? Torres maybe on the left, but that is it. How is Castillo a possibility on the left, while Robbie Rogers is completely off this list?! You even have Convey on here somewhere! I think Rogers will eventually claim the left spot and hold it for years. He has an excellent touch and a propensity for getting himself in dangerous positions (i.e. U-20s in Canada).

I agree on Whitbread and Adu.
Lex
Thursday July 2, 2009 4:10 pm
Torres, as a Fairly Safe Bet? I don't think Bradley even knows who he is! Clark should be higher than Moving Up but Casey should not even be on the list!! And McBride? I don't see him coming back...not that he doesn't have "game" left but the "age factor" is against him.

I haven't seen Jones play & don't know anything about him but have heard great things & we could always use another solid DM!! I'd love to see Castillo get the call-in but Bradley doesn't seem to know him, or want to get to know him?!

Otherwise, agree with the roster & looks pretty solid!!
Ed C.
Thursday July 2, 2009 3:58 pm
Kenny - Adu didn't do anything to fall out of favor. The format this time is what the YA staff think should be the team whereas all the other 23 Tix have been what they thought was the team the coach would select. I guess they don't really rate Adu. He's still one of the 23 on the plane!
Arthur Adams
Thursday July 2, 2009 3:53 pm
Hejduk is only an option if we have no better options in my opinion. He is ageless and tireless, but he is wild and erratic. He gets involved in the offense way too much and is a GOD-AWFUL crosser of the ball, often drawing the ball with his speed and then killing the attack with a real stinker.

I'm surprised Rico Clark is ranked so low after this tournament, but I guess I can see why Bradley, J. Jones and Edu are all ranked ahead of him.

Adu has something to offer offensively and probably should have gotten off the bench against Brazil instead of Klejstan who has been just putrid, but I don't think BB wanted to throw a player whose committment to defense is being questioned, even if against brazil, the best defense would have been a good offense when we couldn't get out of our own end in the second half.

I'm disappointed that Torres is not on the Gold Cup roster after not seeing him at all in South Africa.

I'm surprised to see McBride on the list- He'd be an interesting sub late if we need a goal, or even a defensive forward if he's up to it, but he'd need some international work first, IMO.
Michael_D
Thursday July 2, 2009 3:40 pm
I thought Ricardo Clark did more than OK in South Africa. Everyone notes Donovan to Davies to Donovan on that second goal against Brazil, but Clark played an excellent one-touch ball to Donovan to start the sequence -- and he did it directly off a (bad) Brazil pass, not on a ball from a teammate. (That said, Donovan and Davies were then brilliant.)

Im a J.F. Torres backer, I posted the other day Im disappointed hes not playing Gold Cup, but its more about intriguing possibilities at this point. Im surprised you have him on your squad. Seems premature.

Cheers to YA. I bought a T-shirt.
Tom Keene
Thursday July 2, 2009 2:59 pm
Congrats on 5 year anniversary.

Can one of your folks do a report on Eddie Johnson. What has happened? He was Jozy before Jozy. Is it attitude, as in bad? He was going to be the man!!

And when can we expect Jermaine Jones on the field for USA?
Maria
Thursday July 2, 2009 2:54 pm
Not sure I understand how Frankie drops so badly due to missing the tourney because of injury. I'd have him as "in a battle" or "fairly safe bet" -- we saw what happened when his fire wasn't on the field for our last qualifier...........
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