By Evan Ream

USA’s 2011 Gold Cup roster, along with the roster for the game against Spain, was announced today. All the usual faces such as Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey are on the list, but there were a few surprises. Here is the Roster in numerical order:

No.          Player                              Club                                                    Caps     Goals

1             Tim Howard                      Everton (England)                                 58       0

2             Jonathan Spector              West Ham United (England)                    30       0

3             Carlos Bocanegra               Saint-Etienne (France)                            87       12

4             Michael Bradley                  Aston Villa (England)                              52       8

5             Oguchi Onyewu                FC Twente (Holland)                              59       6

6             Steve Cherundolo              Hannover 96 (Germany)                         65       2

7             Maurice Edu                      Rangers (Scotland)                                21       1

8             Clint Dempsey                   Fulham FC (England)                              70       19

9             Juan Agudelo                    New York Red Bulls                               4         2

10           Landon Donovan                LA Galaxy                                            130      45

11           Chris Wondolowski              San Jose Earthquakes                           1          0

12           Jonathan Bornstein             UANL Tigres (Mexico)                           37        2

13           Jermaine Jones                   Blackburn Rovers (England)                  4          0

14           Eric Lichaj                          Aston Villa (England)                            3          0

15           Tim Ream                          New York Red Bulls                             3           0

16           Sacha Kljestan                    Anderlecht (Belgium)                          26         4

17           Jozy Altidore                      Bursaspor (Turkey)                              34        10

18           Nick Rimando                     Real Salt Lake                                      5         0

19           Robbie Rogers                    Columbus Crew                                   13       0

20           Freddy Adu                       Caykur Rizespor (Turkey 2nd)                 15       2

21           Clarence Goodson              Bronby (Denmark)                                17       2

22           Benny Feilhaber                 New England Revolution                       38        2

23           Marcus Hahnemann            Wolverhampton Wanderers (England)     9         0

General Outlook:

That adds up to 796 Caps and 113 Goals for this current USMNT Team. This is definitely an experienced team for the most part, with a few newcomers that figure to make big contributions in the next World Cup cycle, sprinkled in. There are only five proven goal scorers on this team… and one of them is a defender. If USA are to win this tournament, one player (probably either Wondolowski or Agudelo) will have to emerge as a proven goal scorer. Bob Bradley will likely play the first team against Canada and Panama, then give most of the players a rest, and trot out an experimental lineup for the final game against Guadeloupe. Freddy Adu will start in that game.

Goalkeepers:

No Surprises Here. Brad Guzan is getting married. Nick Rimando won’t be called on unless Hahnemann or Howard gets injured.

Defenders:

The only shocking omission (apparently, I’m still feeling the effects from Relay For Life because I originally typed emission) is Timmy Chandler. Bob Bradley explained that he needs rest after playing in his first full top division season, making the decision understandable.

Midfielders:

Freddy Adu and Robbie Rogers are the surprise inclusions here. I understand the Freddy Adu inclusion (he can provide a late game spark off the bench and will probably be given the keys against Guadeloupe when we already have six points) but Robbie Rogers? Alejandro Bedoya has been tearing it up in Sweden, why leave him off? Rogers has had many chances and failed mostly; he hasn’t even been playing well in MLS. If Rogers can regain his 2009 MLS Best XI form, then Bob will have made the right choice, but for now I can’t really agree with Rogers over Bedoya; maybe another left back experiment is in the works.

Forwards:

I hate Chris Wondolowski. I think he is garbage and the only reason he scores goals is because MLS has terrible left backs that don’t guard his back post runs. Teal Bunbury, though not in the greatest form, or Herculez Gomez seems like the better choice here. I really hope Bob knows what he’s doing.

Projected First XI:

Jozy Altidore          Juan Agudelo

Clint Dempsey          Maurice Edu          Michael Bradley          Landon Donovan

Carlos Bocanegra          Tim Ream          Clarence Goodson         Steve Cherundolo

Tim Howard

Most of these players seem to be locks assuming Bradley goes with a 4-4-2 formation. Maurice Edu and Jermaine Jones seem pretty interchangeable and will probably split playing time. With the amount of center backs that Bradley has taken, it seems very unlikely that Bocanegra will play in the center. The competition for playing time in the center seems to be between Ream, Goodson and Onyewu for two spots. Bradley will likely experiment in the group stage, only using this lineup in the Canada game and in the knock out stages.

Predictions:

Without going into detail about whom I think USA will beat and by how much (I’m saving a whole tournament preview for another post), here are some predictions that I believe will come true:

  • USA will score 16 goals. In the last two Gold Cups that USA have had their first choice roster (2005 and 2007), they have scored an average of 12 goals. I believe with the form and quality of these players, USA will do four better. My predicted breakdown goes like this:
  1. Clint Dempsey will be USA’s joint top scorer with four goals. He is in very good form right now and it should transfer over to the Gold Cup.
  2. Jozy Altidore will score a hat trick on a random Central American or Caribbean opponent and end up with four goals.
  3. Landon Donovan will get his usual penalty chances and score one from open play as well. I have a feeling that Landon will be more of a provider in this tournament, but he will still end up with three goals.
  4. Juan Agudelo will show both flashes of brilliance and inconsistency; he will manage to score two goals, a spectacular one, and an easy one.
  5. Michael Bradley will get his trademark garbage goal.
  6. Chris Wondolowski will make a back post run and no one will guard him. He will score one goal.
  7. Lastly, a random tall defender, either Bocanegra, Onyewu, or Goodson will score on a header from a Donovan free kick and end up with 1 goal.freddy-adu
  • Freddy Adu, Robbie Rogers, Chris Wondolowski, Eric Lichaj, and Sacha Kljestan will all start against Guadeloupe.
  • Freddy Adu will make a difference in at least one game.
  • In his third senior national team tournament, Jozy Altidore will have his best one yet and make the all-tournament team.
  • Tim Ream will emerge as a first choice starter.

Moving on to MLS:

As I mentioned, I was at Relay For Life this weekend and thus unable to watch any MLS games on Saturday so I watched RSL-FCD on Sunday. That was a mistake. I really only have one observation this week. As I mentioned on Twitter, I think that Steven Lenhart has been the key to San Jose’s success. The man isn’t a great finisher, but he is great off the ball and great at holding the ball up. I would gladly start Steven Lenhart on any MLS team that I was coaching. Lenhart is one of the most underrated players in the league. If you don’t believe me, watch how he took two defenders with him on a near post run in San Jose’s last game or watch how he was involved in all three San Jose goals two weeks ago.

Golden Boot Standings (At this point I have given up on Alvaro Saborio):

Player                                             GP     G     A

1. Landon Donovan                          9        7     1

2. Charlie Davies                               9        6     1

3. Chris Wondolowski                        10      5     2

4. Thierry Henry                               8        5     3

5. Shalrie Joseph                              10      4     1

Goal Tracker 2011: Wondo vs Barrett

Wondo           Barrett

5                    3

Supporter’s Shield Watch:

1. Real Salt Lake 2.12 PPG

2. LA Galaxy 1.77 PPG

3. Portland Timbers 1.70 PPG

Philadelphia Union 1.70 PPG

5. FC Dallas 1.64 PPG

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Comments
  1. Justin says:

    I was trying to find something to disagree with you on… it’s obvious you are a true follower because you pretty much NAILED this… from the Donovan PKs to the Agudelo prediction. Well done sir, well done.

  2. Thank you! Though I’m sure the USMNT will find some way to prove me wrong.

    -Evan

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