Open Tryout For South Africa?

Hey Brek, I hear Europe is nice this time of year.

Hey Brek, I hear Europe is nice this time of year.

Typically eight months from the World Cup wouldn’t be the best time for Bob Bradley to give fringe players a chance and add to the number of capped players on his watch. But perhaps that is exactly what Bob should do later this month versus Slovakia and Denmark.

With injuries and MLS playoffs conspiring against any line-up even approximating the one that will hopefully take the field in South Africa in June, why not bring 20+ mostly end-of-the-roster-type players?

The US is not growing as a team in Bratislava or Aarhus later this month. All the coaches and fans can hope for is that they see some great individual performances, specifically at striker.

Gooch, DeMerit, Edu, Jones and Davies are unfit. Bradley knows what he has in guys like Howard, Cherundolo, Spector, Bocanegra, Feilhaber, Donovan, Junior, Clark, Holden, Altidore, Ching, Casey and Dempsey (for the most part), not to mention some of them will be in the middle of or just coming off a MLS playoff campaign. So wouldn’t the probability of finding a diamond-in-the-rough (or has-been heap) eight months out of SA be increased if Bradley could evaluate more players over a training camp and two friendlies?

Sure it is against Bob-O’s nature, but I say…

…open the striker floodgates (Cunningham/E.Johnson/Cooper/Arnaud/Findley*/Rolfe*/Adu???)

…give some run to players who may be a Gooch or DeMerit set-back away from serious playing time in South Africa (Marshall*/Conrad)

…continue the healing process for the those thrashed in the finals of the Gold Cup (Goodson/Pearce/Cronin/Pause*/Beckerman*)

…hand out some fresh chances (Orozco/Beasley/Kljestan*)

…hit up some locals (Califf/Parkhurst/White)

…throw in a young’un (Shea)

…find out if some 20-minute CR stand-outs can sustain the effort (Torres/Rogers*)

…look for a spark from another defender (Simek)

…give the ironman (Howard) a rest (Guzan/Perkins/Robles)

…and perhaps throw-in The King of Honduras who is still trying to find his way at LB (Bornstein*)

The * is for the MLSers who are still in or just coming off a playoff campaign.  With Bradley being a former MLS coach and not wanting to burn out players, it is doubtful he’ll take over guys who are still playing for the title or who just got knocked out this weekend. And that’s okay. Guys like Findley and Rolfe are on the radar for the ’10 WC regardless with Davies going down while Pause, Beckerman and Kljestan would need a Herculean effort to break into a crowded mid-field for the national team.

Bradley may not be this crazy? stupid? brilliant?, but I’d stand-up and applaud him if were.

We’ll find out soon.

20 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by matthewsf on 2009/11/07 at 12:58 PM

    Not sure I agree here Mark.

    Slovakia and Denmark are two very quality opponents. Having a strong US team there only makes sense out of respect for the teams we are playing as well as a measuring stick (which we failed to do in 2005-6) before the Cup finals.

    I also think Bradley will have no problem bringing players like Rogers and Marshall as they are in shape as the MLS season has not been extremely arduous during the playoff series.

    I would like to see more striker options–I think you would have seen Findley and Cooper at least. Now you might see Cunningham and Cooper. I am completely *not* in the Cunningham camp–while he was quite prolific against MLS defending I just don’t see that translating.

    Concluding — I think the US would probably have scheduled less quality friendlies if they weren’t going to bring some semblance of an A team, but your points above are valid.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2009/11/07 at 1:23 PM

      Oh, and I agree with your point that Findley and Rolfe are on the radar regardless of a call-up this time.
      ESPN suggested that Robbie Findley was hurting his nattie team chances by going on a goal scoring run in the playoff….

      …Say What?!


      • Posted by Antonio H. on 2009/11/07 at 1:57 PM

        explain please?


        • Posted by Kevin on 2009/11/07 at 7:21 PM

          The longer he’s in the playoffs, the longer BB will want to hold back on calling him up and right now is when he can make his mark. I disagree with the comment because if he continues to score goals in MLS at his young age (and don’t forget the speed) then BB will definately want him in camp asap.

          Some of my thoughts about Findley after some observing are that he definetly has the speed and right mentallity in his attack, but he lacks the strength Davies had and just sheer determination. I would give him a shot, but I would probably tell him to work on using his strength a bit more when approaching/controling the ball. ex: Altidore’s goal against Spain. I feel like strength is the wrong word for this though.


        • I don’t know that anyone can match Davies strength. He was a wrestler in high school which teaches even the lightest of fly weights how to use their weight properly. That kind of instinct can’t be taught in a mere 8 months. While he may lack some of Davies qualities, speed, confidence, and goal scoring form are what we really need in the very least to start replacing CD9.


    • Posted by Mark T on 2009/11/07 at 1:31 PM

      Matt, I think the Columbus guys will be there which is why I wrote that he’d leave MLSers “who just got knocked out this weekend.”

      On the “respect” issue, I disagree. The purpose of these games for the is to prepare for the World Cup. Right now the biggest priority is to find some players who can fill in up top and in the back line. That’s what should take precedent in this round of friendlies.

      By the way, Kylene (our cousin) agrees with me.


      • Posted by matthewsf on 2009/11/07 at 1:39 PM

        I’m not sure the Alaskan air hasn’t got to your head. If you weren’t going to bring your A team than why not schedule a friendly against Luxembourg or something.

        I’m betting you’ll see 2/3 of the regulars there.

        I think if you schedule a game against Denmark who has a great defense and is a solid team, you should see how your *team stacks up.

        Secondly, if you throw a bunch of potential B-teamers out there, you are not going to even get the service to the strikers to see what they can do.


        • Posted by Mark T on 2009/11/08 at 1:35 AM

          Matt, I was not attempting to predict what the USSF is going to do with this piece. Rather, I was articulating what I thought would be best for the team in the long run.

          I fully expect the USSF to take over a team that is 2/3 comprised of guys who were called in over the past three months.

          If I had to predict:

          GK: Howard / Guzan

          DEF: Marshall / Conrad / Goodson / Spector / Bocanegra / Cherundolo / Castillo / Califf

          MID: Dempsey / Holden / Torres / Feilhaber / Clark / Rogers / Junior

          ST: Altidore / Casey / Ching / Cooper / Cunningham


  2. Posted by Mrizza on 2009/11/07 at 1:03 PM

    I love the idea of bringing in Simek into the mix.. Sheffield Owl baby


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2009/11/07 at 1:40 PM

      If Simek can stay healthy, he should get a look.So should Eric Lichaj now that he’s been suspended for 2 games…I’m betting you have a better chance of seeing him at this point.


  3. Posted by kaya on 2009/11/07 at 1:45 PM

    Huh. I just click on the comment link to say something along the lines of what matthew(sf) said. But more than out of respect to Slovakia and Denmark, you really can’t miss one of not many opportunities to test your best possible team against quality european opponents. I think the condescension of europeans towards CONCACAF is BS, but the consistency of the euros is hard to deny and we just don’t compete against that often enough to use it to test out new players.


  4. Posted by matthewsf on 2009/11/07 at 11:51 PM

    I know I’m a broken record, but I’m super interested in the next striker ability to build chemistry with Donovan.

    Look, I’ve never been a huge LD fan — and to be succinct he started realizing his potential when Davies threatened the defense in front of him and teams couldn’t collapse defenders on him.

    Donovan has been our best offensive weapon, arguably, ourside of maybe Altidore?

    To Nick and Kevin’s comment, we’re not getting a CD9 replacement so let’s get a guy who can “threaten” the defense ahead of LD and get some.

    And let’s be honest with respect to Findley, he certainly can knock some headers in…a weakness in Chucktown’s game.


    • Posted by Kevin on 2009/11/08 at 10:28 AM

      I never meant an acutal replacement, but really more like you described. As for Findley, he may be able to head, but he has to have the strength and sheer determination to get to the ball. If headers were the only weaness in Chuck’s game I’ll take it, but he’s still recovering.


  5. Posted by kaya on 2009/11/08 at 12:25 AM

    Anyone know if Jermaine Jones is going to travel to spend some time with the US squad? Of course I know he can’t play… but I’m just thinking if he really intends to try and mesh with the team, being in some way part of it when they’re in europe would be a good start. He probably won’t be able to travel for any stateside friendlies once he does get healthy (until March, anyway.)


    • Posted by Kevin on 2009/11/08 at 10:30 AM

      That’s a good question, but does he even know english? He’s lived in Germany for so long and I don’t think he lived here that long. That’s a question I’ve meant to ask for a while now.


      • Posted by Berg on 2009/11/08 at 2:19 PM

        I’ve heard Jones’ English is in the “passable” range. Actually, most of the Germans I’ve had contact with have at least a decent handle on the language.


    • Posted by kaya on 2009/11/08 at 11:36 AM

      Btw, I meant to ask if he intends to travel and meet up with the US squad for their Slovakia and Denmark games.


  6. Posted by Antonio H. on 2009/11/08 at 11:45 AM

    Jozy got the start and went 83 in the 2-1 win over Stoke


  7. […] the spirit of fun and our column on Saturday, we’ll take a half court shot at the roster invites being sent  for the USMNT friendlies […]


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