23 TICKETS TO BRAZIL
RECAPS
PREVIEWS
EXTRA TIME
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
After the World Cup in Germany 2006, we wasted no time in putting out our first version of 23 Tickets for South Africa. This go-around, we've waited several months before unveiling, this, our first post-Ghana list because, well, we just weren't motivated...and wanted to see how the initial pool evolved.

With the Gold Cup looming this summer, we should get a strong gauge as to how World Cup qualifiying will shape up, and we've mixed in some youngsters to go along with the usual suspects to reflect this changing of the gaurd.

In the past, we at YA prognosticated who we believed that the US head coach would call up to his final roster, not who we thought should go. From here on out, we're reversing this, as A) ... frankly, we think we know better than Bradley, and B) ...we hope that our choices are a little bolder and elicit more discussion from you our readers.

If you agree, disagree or somewhere in between, use our comment feature at the bottom of the page to share your thoughts with us and your fellow YA readers.

PACK YOUR BAGS, BOYS
Clint Dempsey - M/F, Fulham (England)
If only he played with the US the way he plays with Fulham (EZ) Okay Clint, pretend the USMNT is in the Europa League (AV)
Landon Donovan - M/F, Los Angeles Galaxy (USA)
Returns for his fourth - and likely final - World Cup (TT) I'm actually fine with Landon in MLS now. He's got nothing left to prove (CW)
Michael Bradley - M, Roma (Italy)
Needs to head to a club where he actually gets to play (RF) Moving to Villa was the dumbest USMNT move since Gooch to Newcastle (CW)
Tim Howard - GK, Everton (England)
Would anyone blink twice if Manchester United brought him back? (AV) The undisputed number one for 2014 (KB)
Stuart Holden - M, Bolton Wanderers (England)
If he can stay healthy, he can become a superstar (EZ) Hopefully can fit Brazil into his injury schedule (DS)

NEARLY A LOCK
Jermaine Jones - M, Schalke 04 (Germany)
Wish the USSF found this guy earlier, but better late than never (KB) Theoretically a lock with his skill and beastmode qualities, but penchant for yellow cards could neutralize him (CM)
Maurice Edu - M, Stoke City (England)
Needs to get out of Scotland to continue improving (BS) Quietly becoming a indispensable player in midfield (KB)
Brad Guzan - GK, Aston Villa (England)
Is he forever destined to be the *next* great American goalkeeper? (DS) Looks like he might just get his shot next season in England (RF)

FAIRLY SAFE BET
Timothy Chandler - D/M, FC Nürnberg (Germany)
Gott sei dank für die Deutschen! (DS) Blitzkreig can describe both his play on the field and his rapid progression from reserve player to Bundesliga sensation (JH)
Clarence Goodson - D, Brøndby (Denmark)
Impressed by what I've seen so far (AV) Very underrated player that will start all during qualifying (BS)
Juan Agudelo - F, FC Utrecht (Holland)
Talented and confident young player with the ability to score goals (TT) A couple years training alongside Thierry Henry would even land Danny Devito on the plane (DS)
Oguchi Onyewu - D, Sheffield Wednesday (England)
A weak pool of prospects could leave him still standing in 2014 (JH) Bob Bradley is jumping the shark here. Horrible World Cup, Milan doesn't want him and Twente gave up after a few games. Gooch is done. (CW)
Tim Ream - D, Bolton Wanderers (England)
His distribution is a very welcome addition to the team, but he needs to toughen up and to use his height properly (JH) His distribution and composure are worth any growing pains along the way (TT)
David Yelldell - GK, Bayer Leverkusen (Germany)
Experienced but unproven on the international stage (TT) The third 'keeper taken, unless someone us steps up (RF)
Teal Bunbury - F, Sporting Kansas City (USA)
Could he possibly relegate Altidore to the bench? (KB) His chemistry with Agudelo will be pivotal to the young core of the team (CM)
Jozy Altidore - F, Sunderland (England)
Jozy is slowly going the way of Freddy Adu (EZ) Better turn on his jets with the young guns coming behind him. You can only be a "prodigy" for so long (AV)
Charlie Davies - F, Randers FC (Denmark)
Missing South Africa will be the impetus for something special (CM) We're witnessing an incredible comeback, considering the circumstances (EZ)

IN A BATTLE
Eric Lichaj - D, Nottingham Forest (England)
Will take over left back (BS) Has the ability to make the squad but has some work to do (EZ)
Jonathan Spector - D, Birmingham City (England)
He's young, he's slowly refining his game, and best of all he's versatile (DS) Dude, haven't we been waiting for like a decade for him to "develop"? (CW)
Alejandro Bedoya - M, Nantes (France)
His next few years are key. Where will he develop after Orebro? (BS) Brings some flair to bunker ball (AV)
Benny Feilhaber - M, New England Revolution (USA)
Providing MLS doesn't kill his game, will provide smart distribution (CM) 2014 without our Brazilian-born yank would be a travesty (DS)

WORK TO DO
Mikkel Diskerud - M, Rosenborg (Norway)
Youngster should improve, and could be Donovan's heir apparent (RF) Bright future ahead, will benefit from the experience (TT)
Omar Gonzalez - D, Los Angeles Galaxy (USA)
Will get to shine through WCQ as he adjusts to playing at a higher level (CM) Needs work but he has some raw talent (BS)
MOVING UP

Joseph Gyau - It's been a while since we've had a true winger good enough for the USMNT; the wait should be over soon (JH)

Zak Whitbread - Will be a starter next season in the Premiership. If he can have a strong season or two he'll be going to Brazil (CW)

Bobby Wood - He will emerge nicely in Germany the next few years (BS) Wood stands near the top of the prospect list (JH)

MOVING DOWN

Carlos Bocanegra - Obviously part of the 23 in the near future, but clearly not part of the 23 in 2014. Will stick around on merit, but will he be dislodged?

Steve Cherundolo - Will Brazil be the swan song on his fantastic career? (DS) How much longer can the man hang on? (RF)

Jonathan Bornstein - There's a reason he's not playing in Mexico. (CW)

OTHER BUBBLE BATTLERS

Freddy Adu, Gale Agbossoumonde, Anthony Brooks, Ricardo Clark, Jay DeMerit, Robbie Findley, Sean Johnson, Perry Kitchen, Sacha Kljestan, Chad Marshall, Heath Pearce, Luis Robles, Robbie Rogers, Adrian Ruelas, Jose Francisco Torres, Chris Wondolowski

note: Yanks Abroad's Kenya Brown, Rich Fidler, Jamie Hill, Christopher McCollum, Brian Sciaretta, David Smith, Taharka Taylor, Andrew Vorce, Chad Winger and Edgar Zuniga compiled this feature.
braun
Sunday May 22, 2011 8:23 am
Mike's 5/18th comments ring true, but he expects too much from a development system that is totally different from anywhere else.
Bob Bradley will not be fired even if he loses the Gold Cup.
Lichaj is now the only two-footed defender that IS playing LB professionally.
He fills the spot but is probably more comfortable at RB.
A playmaker, after he recovers from his unfortunate injury is Holden, since Dempsey and Donovan really aren't. No one else in sight.
Formation is 4-4-2 until we have a frontman who can play in a 4-5-1.
A 4-3-3 is not coach Bob's or the USMNT's forte, judging from it's use in Costa Rica, for instance. "Third-rate status" could include Davies (after injury), Buddle, Gomez, Bunbury, Gooch (after injury), Demerit (after injury), Spector,
and so on.
TheTruth
Thursday May 19, 2011 10:52 am
You guys are smokin' a little crack. Most of your "In a Battles" are better than most of your "Fairly Safe Bets."
Creige
Thursday May 19, 2011 10:44 am
By my count we have 10 midfielders with Clint and Donovan. Personally Onyewu, Davies, Feilhaber should be on the bubble. Jermaine Jones is by no means a near lock. You don't even mention Zach Lloyd, not surprising since this site has always had a dim view of the MLS. I think Gomez and Buddle should be on the "work to do" list.

Still this list bores me and I'm really hoping in a years time that we have 7 new names on this list.
Duggan
Thursday May 19, 2011 8:36 am
Wingers - I would put Gatt ahead of Gyau. He is getting first division minutes.
$herman Maje$ty
Wednesday May 18, 2011 10:48 pm
WHAT ABOUT KENNY COOPER??????
plmedici
Wednesday May 18, 2011 10:14 pm
So Chris Pontius (D.C. United) isn't in this discussion?
Jordan
Wednesday May 18, 2011 9:30 pm
Opinions on Danny Mwanga? A couple crucial developmental years ahead of him...
Alex Lozano
Wednesday May 18, 2011 6:50 pm
Not real complaints with the roster...except for taking Junior out & putting Jose Francisco Torres in. Junior's game has gone downhill & I like the flair Torres brings.

Other than that, I'd be much more optimistic if we didn't have BB still at the helm.
Paul
Wednesday May 18, 2011 5:52 pm
I've been following the MNT since '94...went to Germany in '06...big fan still but we still don't have any semblance of a possession game, which I believe in all the years I've been watching, is the key difference between our level of play and that of your European and South American traditional powerhouses...we just don't have it and no coach seems to call it out as an improvement area.

Big props however to coach Bradley for casting a very wide net in terms of finding US youth abroad.
mmee
Wednesday May 18, 2011 4:38 pm
2014 is a long way out, but our hopes should be for:
-Coach Bradley to get fired
-A left back
-A playmaker/#10/trequartista, since I expect we'll have to play with a style that needs one.
-A formation that fits our shallow talent pool, and less nonsense like WC2010 when third-rate players [Altidore, Bornstein, Clark, Findley] got tons of minutes. This is not a comment on what those 4 might be like in 2014, only a wish that our starting XI fits our best 15 or so players, come what may. Of course we lost to Ghana, we started all 4 of those guys, which brings me back to my first hope.

I really expect these 4 problems to be worse than finding two forwards, or wondering which center backs will mature. Then again, I don't know what I'm talking about.
Thanks for the article, YA staff. DS, you hush your mouth about Holden.
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A big question for U.S. fans heading into the World Cup is surely on Jozy Altidore and just what is plaguing the young striker at Sunderland.
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