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.