>Monday Lunch: Previewing the Gold Cup Roster

Posted: December 27, 2010 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , ,

>By Evan Ream

The CONCACAF Gold Cup may not start for another six months, but it is never too early to discuss who will make the team. With a 2013 Confederations’ Cup berth on the line, USA will send their best 23 players to this tournament in hopes of qualifying for the same tournament that made them famous just two summers ago. Right now, USA’s first choice starting lineup seems pretty obvious. It seems like Bob Bradley will go with a 4-2-3-1 that looks like this:

Jozy Altidore
 
Landon Donovan Clint Dempsey Stuart Holden
 
Michael Bradley Jermaine Jones
 
Carlos Bocanegra Maurice Edu Oguchi Onyewu Steve Cherundolo
 
Tim Howard
 

Obviously this can change, but if it does it will only be due to injury; these are the best 11 players available at the time being and thus the ones that will get to play in a must win game. With this being established, and I don’t really think anyone can argue with this lineup, I am going to be looking at the 12 other players that should be on the squad, those that have a chance to win a starting spot. If Bob Bradley goes with three keepers, eight defenders, nine midfielders, and three forwards like I expect him to, the roster will have two keepers, five defenders, three midfielders (Maurice Edu would be classified as a midfielder), and two forwards in addition to the 11 players above. Here is who I expect to fill out those 12 additional spots.
 
Goalkeepers:
 
Brad Guzan (Aston Villa) still looks to be the backup here. This is another no-brainer pick that likely won’t change anytime soon.
 
Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire) could make this team as well. USA managers have typically gone with MLS players as their third keepers in the Gold Cup. The third keeper is generally allowed to play games with their club team and called upon only in case of emergency. Sean Johnson seems to be the most promising of the young MLS keepers and could use the experience of being called into camp without missing any club games.
 
On the outside looking in:
Bill Hamid, Matt Pickens, Nick Rimando, Troy Perkins
 
Defenders:
Jonathan Bornstein (Tigres) seems to be the backup left back, or the first choice left back if Bob Bradley decides to use Carlos Bocanegra in the center. Bornstein is a solid player, but still needs a lot of improvement to be considered first choice.
 
Clarence Goodson (Bronby IF) who is often the odd man out when it comes to starting lineups, is still the first choice backup. His move to a bigger club in Bronby could see him secure a starting job if Oguchi Onyewu can’t get playing time for his club or if the Maurice Edu experiment is scrapped.
 
Tim Ream (New York Red Bulls) is clearly a favorite of Bob Bradley due to the fact that Bradley actually spoke about a player in the media, and it was him. I think Bradley is very intrigued by Ream’s distribution skills and will look to give him a few starts at least in the group stage.
 
Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy) will likely be the last choice center back to make the team. Gonzalez may further developed than Tim Ream at the moment, but I think Bradley just likes the type of player that Ream is better. That being said, if Gonzalez works on his distribution more, he could push for a starting spot.
 
5021e944-ea7b-3d32-bc27ff0743805fbaEric Lichaj (Aston Villa) is the heir apparent to Steve Cherundolo at right back. Lichaj will push Cherundolo if he can come up with some strong performances for Villa, but for now Cherundolo is the starter.
 
On the outside looking in:
Heath Pearce, Ike Opara, Gale Agbossoumonde, Sean Franklin, Kevin Alston, Jay DeMerit, Jonathan Spector
 
Midfielders:
Benny Feilhaber (Aarhus) seems to be the midfield super sub. Feilhaber is always inserted when a calming presence or more possession is needed. Despite Feilhaber’s current 2nd division status for his club team, Bradley sees him as an integral part of the team. Who can leave Feilhaber off the roster after this?
 
Dax McCarty (DC United) is a player who I expect to have a big January camp and take the place of one Ricardo Clark as the backup defensive midfielder. McCarty is a smart player who makes up for his lack of size with intelligent yet scrappy play. McCarty is just the type of player that Bradley loves.
 
6a00e54ef2975b88330133ecb6772a970b-450wiAlejandro Bedoya (Orebro) is another Bradley favorite whose attacking prowess will likely make him the late game midfield substitute. Bedoya is the most capped player in the January Camp and one who Bradley seemingly would love to phase in to the first team.
 
On the outside looking in
Ricardo Clark, Jose Torres, Mikkel Diskerud, Brek Shea
 
Forwards:
Edson Buddle (LA Galaxy) is probably the player most similar to Jozy in the player pool. Bradley will like to have a direct replacement in case Jozy goes down. Buddle isn’t getting any younger, but his play in MLS is too good to overlook.
 
Juan Agudelo (New York Red Bulls) is the new kid everyone is excited about. I think Bradley trusts Agudelo enough to give him a spot on the team. Look for him to have a big year next year in MLS playing next to Thierry Henry. This spot could easily go to another player though if Agudelo struggles next year in MLS (which I doubt he will).
Juan-Agudelo
On the outside looking in:
Herculez Gomez, Robbie Findley, Teal Bunbury
 
Well there you have it. You may not agree with all of my decisions, but these are the players that I see Bradley calling in. Obviously, a lot can happen in six months, but I will be extremely surprised if we see something very different from this.

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