GOLD CUP ROSTER PREDICTION
PREVIEWS
RECAPS
EXTRA TIME
BRIAN SCIARETTA - Monday, May 9, 2011
With the Gold Cup roster expected to be named in just a few weeks, it is becoming clearer what the US National Team will be like now that most European seasons are winding down and the MLS is fully underway.

So now is as good a time as ever to offer up a prediction as to who will make the team and who won't for the 23 coveted roster spots.

1) Tim Howard Just one word: obvious

2) Brad Guzan His loan to Hull City gave him some much needed playing time and preserved his number two status. There were some reports that his upcoming wedding was going to prevent him from playing in the tournament but he should be with the team this summer.

3) David Yelldell As a starting keeper getting valuable minutes in Europe, he has a good chance to be the number 3 keeper this cycle with a shot to maybe take the #2 spot

4) Oguchi Onyewu He struggled in his last few appearances but his presence and experience are needed. His ball distribution remains a weakness but he will continue to see important minutes for the USMNT.

5) Carlos Bocanegra Is the USMNT captain and can be the team's starter at either left back or central defender.

6) Steve Cherundolo Coming off a great season for Hannover and is aging like fine wine. At some point this cycle he may get replaced at right back but it won't be by this summer.

7) Clarence Goodson maybe the best US central defender right now and his move to Brondby has been one of the better moves recently for a USMNT player.

8) Timothy Chandler The newcomer of the year for the USMNT will be a welcome addition but it's unclear if he will be primarily used as a right back or right wing.

9) Tim Ream Will likely be consistently involved with the USMNT for the foreseeable future as the number of young central defenders in the player pool is thin. His play in MLS has been great and his passing out of the back gives the US team more options.

10) Eric Lichaj While the strong seasons of Cherundolo and Chandler in Germany make it tough for Lichaj to get time at right back, his emergence at left back for Leeds makes him an obvious pick. He may also see time on the right as backup to Cherundolo if Chandler moves to the midfield.

11) Jermaine Jones has done very well for Blackburn so far this season and he is likely to start in key games for BobBradley

12) Michael Bradley while his loan to Aston Villa has not worked out well, Michael is still important to the USMNT and his performances in the last two friendlies were solid.

13) Landon Donovan Obviously still a huge part of the team and his play in MLS has improved in recent weeks.

14) Clint Dempsey Is having yet another stellar season for Fulham but it is very interesting to see where Bob Bradley will continue to play him. It is very likely that Dempsey could move to forward thereby reducing the need for four pure forwards on the roster.

15) Maurice Edu While he struggled a little bit in the last two friendlies and his play for the Rangers in recent months has been uneven, Edu is still a very important piece of the puzzle for the USMNT even if he comes off the bench.

16) Benny Feilhaber It will be interesting to see how Feilhaber's move to MLS will help him in the coming months but the level of play is higher than the Danish second division. Feilhaber's career with the USMNT has been wildly inconsistent with extreme ups and downs. Still, he has sometimes brought a great spark when coming off the bench.

17) Alejandro Bedoya Has been off to a very strong start for Orebro and while he was considered a bubble player just a few weeks ago, he has probably done enough to force Bob Bradley's hand be included on the Gold Cup team

18) Sacha Kljestan After many years, Kljestan still remains a mystery to the USMNT. His performances for club and country have been uneven but his coaches still believe in him and he does see important minutes for Anderlecht.

19) Jonathan Spector A move to the midfield for West Ham has seen Spector get more playing time for West Ham but it's tough to standout at club struggling on so many levels. Spector's problem is that he has not put in a good performance for the USMNT since 2009 Confederations Cup but his versatility makes him an important backup option at many different positions.

20) Mix Diskerud Is on the very edge of the bubble but can probably make it as the last player on the team. He will be in midseason and should be at peak fitness in time for the Gold Cup. He can gain valuable experience in the group stages of the Gold Cup but probably won't see the field in the later stages.

21) Jozy Altidore He has not been producing as much for the USMNT has he should be and his play for Bursaspor has been uneven. In the last series of friendlies, he struggled when playing as a lone striker but a partnership with Juan Agudelo or Teal Bunbury is exciting.

22) Juan Agudelo He makes the team and is one of the brightest young American players around. All of his performances for the USMNT so far have been successful.

23) Teal Bunbury It's unfortunate that he missed the last two friendlies with an injury, but Bunbury's first two USMNT caps and his play in MLS make him a safe bet to make the team. His energetic partnership with Agudelo has been very fun to watch.

A few notes on the key omissions

Edson Buddle has never quite found his way for Ingolstadt but he still gets time with the club which has improved ever since his arrival.

Jay DeMerit looked soild at times in the last two friendlies but his presence on the USMNT does not make the team younger. One established central defender willl have to make way for a younger Ream and the best bet is DeMerit.

Charlie Davies is a popular choice to make the team but he is probably best staying with DC and continuing to play. He has done well in his comeback but with Dempsey's ability to move forward, the need to take a fourth striker is unnecessary and Altidore, Bunbury, and Agudelo are ahead of Davies at the moment. Even if Bradley were to take a fourth striker, Davies would be in a battle with Gomez, and Buddle.

Herculez Gomez continues to be one the streakiest players in the USMNT pool and taking him is simply a gamble because you never know if he is going to be hot or cold.

Jonathan Bornstein continues to get frequent callups to the USMNT despite erratic play for club and country. This speaks largely due to the lack of options that are at left back than it does for Bornstein's positive play. He still remains in contention as a backup left back but Eric Lichaj's recent play on the left for Leeds pushes Bornstein out.

Jose Francisco Torreshas played better in recent months for Pachuca but it's tough to see him cracking into the team at its deepest position.

Marcus Hahnemann Is still a good keeper, but at 38 years old, it's time to break in younger players.
Andy
Friday May 13, 2011 12:06 am
I couldn't agree more with the comments calling for Freddy Adu. I've been finding live streams for a lot of Rizespor's games, and he has looked really sharp. Regardless of the level of play he has a mind for the game and creativity that is severely lacking in every player on the team other than Dempsey, Donovan, Agudelo, and occasionally Feilhaber. He is still young, and I believe that if he hadn't already had such a fiasco the first time around in his early teens, he would definitely be on the squad for this year.

Either way, I doubt Bradley will give him a chance, and we will continue to grind out ugly and often very lucky close results like the one against Argentina, which would have been close 5-1 if it hadn't been for some incredible play from good ol Timmy Howard. I am willing to be patient if I have to, but I just want to see how he has matured and this would be a great way to show it.
macheath
Thursday May 12, 2011 11:19 am
Let's see Zak Whitbread on defense. He's moving up with Norwich to the Premier League next year, and has been a consistent starter all season for his club.
Brent
Thursday May 12, 2011 10:56 am
We should give Freddy Adu a break. He had a rough time and it was not his fault that he was getting on teams that he was just not good enough for.(Bad Agent) Obviously, the kid was not ready for 1st Div Europe(France, Portugal, Greece) when he was 16-20 years of age. Itís not a big deal. Miroslave Klose was playing in the German 7th Division when he was 18. So What. Its not where you start but where you end up. Yes, he should of stayed in the MLS to develop for 4-5 years but maybe in another 3-4 years he will be ready and he will still on be 24-25 years old.

I am expecting him to make waves in 4-5 years and get called up to the national team consistently. Maybe not as a starter but as a backup. I think he has more technical ability than Clark, Edu and Bradley which we need badly, but physically he may be lacking.

There is still boatloads of time for Freddy.
dbridge
Thursday May 12, 2011 9:54 am
I don't think we can call Freddy a bust just yet. He is still young, and has a lot of talent. But...I don't think a decent couple of months is enough to start including him in the Nat team. He was handed chances with the Nats (and European contracts) way too early last time around, and didn't respond well, development wise. Let Freddy keep up the work, and put together a solid year or two to get his career and development back on track. Rushing him didn't work. We need to be patient this time around.
Brian
Thursday May 12, 2011 1:07 am
fellas...unless we do something drastic....the Maxicans have Javier Hernandez who, I must admit, is one of the best strikers right now, he will eat us alive. I envy them for having such a talented striker. And we have Jozy...he can't even put his heart over his hand during the national anthem. Pfft...just cut him
Edouardo
Wednesday May 11, 2011 5:59 pm
no more on adu, please. you must be related to him. i imagine you know his real age then--he's closer to 31 than he is 21.
klo
Wednesday May 11, 2011 4:24 pm
I am not saying that Adu is great or anything but he was never given a fair shake at Benfica or Monaco and last year in Greece he was productive as he is now in Turkey. Yes the US has Donovan and Dempsey in the midfield but what about the rest? They are all defensive mids and US could definitely use some creativity. I still believe Adu would be a wise choice as a late game sub if the team needs a goal.

Unfortunately Bradley has never given him a fair shake either, but still continues to start Altidore every game and he just dosent have a head for the game. He has the physical ability but no brains.....
muchadu
Wednesday May 11, 2011 3:57 pm
Well Edouardo if you honestly think some of our current mids are better than adu... who would you start. At least he had good showing at the under 23 world cup and Benefica would not have signed him if they had not seen talent. As far as baggage, how many kids under 19 would not have had some troubles dealing with playing on the big stage. He has not been given a fair shot at playing on the USMT, but Michael Bradley has never seen the bench? If you have seen Freddy play you would know he has the on the ball skills the USMT really needs. He played well with Altidore when they played together, but is still only 21!! Were you a bust at anything when you were 21?!
Edouardo
Wednesday May 11, 2011 2:31 pm
i can't believe i'm arguing about freddy adu not making the gold cup squad. what has he ever done at the national level before? seems like you got a short memory with beasely. he's been much better than freddy at the national level. Clark plays in bundesliga--one of the top leagues in the world. Dont think Bornstein was ever touted as a world superstar.
as per the MLS, it certainly isnt as good as the leagues in europe... most people with a clue would say its better than the 2nd division of the turkish league. The turkish 1st division is only ranked 10th by the uefa coefficient system.

Re: klejstan and the other players you mentioned, bradley might as well pick them, at least he doesnt have to deal with all the baggage that comes with adu.

Adu couldn't cut it at benefica, monaco, or in greece, and i guess all of those "big" clubs in turkey passed on him....he'd be a good fit on an ivy league team.
muchadu
Wednesday May 11, 2011 2:13 pm
Grady and Big D,
Great comments couldnt agree with you more!
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