USA Roster for Slovakia: Dax!

Well, not exactly like TSG thought a few hours ago. But the U.S. roster to face Slovakia is out….and it’s very MLS heavy.


TSG congratulates Dax on his 1st senior team call-up

Wow!: No Edgar Castillo, unless he is going to be added later….or Jose Francisco Torres, his Mexican league brethren. There are Mex games this coming Saturday.

Note, we erred in our first comments on the roster. This, as stated in the release link below, is the roster for Slovakia–thus is can be amended for Denmark.

*Disclaimer, somtimes US Soccer has withheld names before and there *could* be maybe 3 spots left.

Here you go.
G: Brad Guzan, Troy Perkins, Marcus Hahnemann

The Skinny: Big T finally gets his rest–at least against Slovakia. The battle for #3 is on.

DEF: Chad Marshall. Jonathan Bornstein, Jonathan Spector, Carlos Bocanegra, Steve Cherundolo, Jimmy Conrad, Clarence Goodson, Heath Pearce, Frankie Hedjuk

The Skinny: A very veteran class. Marshall will be allowed to make his name. Pearce, no Castillo?

MID: Benny Feilhaber, Michael Bradley,Clint Dempsey, Robbie Rogers, Sacha Kljestan, Dax McCarty

The Skinny: As expected, except for Dax McCarty. Does Dempsey inherit Donovan’s spot for this round of games?

STRIKER: Jozy Altidore, Eddie Johnson, Jeff Cunningham, Conor Casey

The Skinny: Cunningham and EJ make the squad….can you say speed, speed, speed.

Overall skinny:

TSG already put in some time in the comment section. Some of our thoughts:

»  9 defenders,  6 midfielders. How we gonna scrimmage?

» Prove us wrong Jeff Cunningham. Highly excited to see if JC can be magic on the national stage at 33.

»  Probable Slovakia starters? (We’ll have more later in our preview piece)

» Guzan, Spector, Boca, Marshall, Bornstein, Feilhaber, Bradley, Dempsey, Rogers, Altidore, Casey

» Subbing in: Cunningham or EJ, Kljestan

» And from the “maybe we’re reading into it too much” arena. Is Coach USA going for the wins? We think so. With the Denmark friendly next week, Bradley looks like he might be waiting to name some other players for that game. Maybe Timmy back in?


US Soccer official release.

31 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by matthewsf on 2009/11/09 at 5:29 AM

    I look at this roster and I see a few things:

    – BB going with vets as his back-ups in South Africa: Conrad, Hedjuk

    – Cunningham gets a shot — you can’t argue against his recent goal form, but 33 and having feasted on MLS defenses for the past several years — you can mark it down that Cunningham will get into a game for a BB test drive.

    – Eddie Johnson, bit of a surprise. Sort of goes against Coach USA’s steady selection process of choosing players who are playing for their clubs (though Eddie is seeing abundant time in the reserves).

    – Heath Pearce – No Castillo call-up — is he just back-up.

    – With only 6 midfielders, you can be sure that Robbie Rogers will be getting some run and most likely Dempsey occupies Donovan’s vacant spot.


  2. Posted by Matthew N on 2009/11/09 at 5:35 AM

    I’m not really a fan of any of the strikers listed.. I guess I’ll just hold out hope that there will be a striker or two in the “mystery” spots (maybe Cooper?).


  3. Posted by matthewsf on 2009/11/09 at 5:38 AM

    Not so sure that Bradley will name more at this point.

    Many name 25, but not all.

    I think you’ll see Jozy play both full 90’s with Casey at this point and Cunningham definitely get a cameo and probably EJ too.


    • I think an Altidore/Johnson pairing could be quite interesting given both of their athleticism. However, neither of them are possession oriented or target strikers so it would force a midfielder or two to step up and possess and link-up much differently than they have been doing in the past.


      • Posted by matthewsf on 2009/11/09 at 7:58 AM

        Correct, cue Tuesday and his Dempsey up the pitch longings….he should be in the comment section any moment now.

        I agree with Matthew N — I saw that striker announcement and felt a bit deflated. Maybe it’s not fair, but unless Altidore develops consider that we had Ching (a young Casey), EJ, and McBride in 2006 and now we have Altidore (oh please, oh please), EJ and Casey (a younger Ching).


        • Posted by Matthew N on 2009/11/09 at 8:44 AM

          I just think that guys who make their money in the States are going to struggle at the international level. Look, I’m not trying to bash the MLS, but the game is noticeably less physical and the caliber of defenders is not as high. Our strikers need be physically strong, used to using their body to their advantage, and able to put a shot on frame nearly every time they get quality service. Altidore has shown glimpses of this type of ability. I think he still needs to get bigger and stronger physically and needs to improve that first touch. His goal against Spain in the Confed Cup really shows us what he is capable of, and I think consistency will come with experience. At this point, I don’t really know if we should (though we may be forced to) rely on him as a striking option. Johnson has been rotting on Fulham’s bench for ages. though I will say I am glad to see him getting a shot (esp since Davies is hurt). If Cunningham can still cut it, I guess I am glad to see him get a shot too, though it leaves a very bad taste in my mouth to compliment anyone playing for FC Dallas. Casey is okay. I mean… he has scored some at the international level so I guess I can’t bash him too hard, but he just isn’t that impressive. He works hard and gets results, but I just think he is an overachiever and at some point, his luck is simply going to run out.

          I guess the main reason I am so clueless is because Kenny Cooper is just a stone’s throw away in Germany, yet he didn’t get a call up??? What the f*** Bob? I think it is safe to say that, up to this point, Cooper has been mostly a fringe player. I think he has been on most/maybe all of the roster selections, but he has seen very limited playing time. I’m not as familiar with how he is playing right now as I’d like to be (Setanta/FSC don’t cover as much Bundesliga as I’d like), but god… his size and experience would be such a huge asset to any squad, especially one lacking in quality strikers like our own. I would have loved to see what he could have done against these European clubs, because it would be really nice to have a big guy like that up front.


        • No, no, no. If we’re playing 4-4-2, I really don’t think Dempsey should play up front. He’s a first class outside midfielder who can get into the box to score goals, not a striker. He hasn’t played up front for Fulham for over a year and is a fixture in their midfield. He could play as one of the 2 in a 4-3-2-1 but according to my experiments with that formation on FIFA 10, he tends to disappear from the game up there. In conclusion, let’s all say it together “Clint Dempsey is an outside midfielder”.


  4. Posted by matthewsf on 2009/11/09 at 5:40 AM

    More notes (as I am riffing real time).

    You’ve got 9 defenders and 6 midfielders. Midfielders run more as we know.

    You’ve got two on-trial strikers in EJ and Cunningham. Not sure why Kenny Coops wasn’t added in the absence of one of the defenders. Is there something we are missing here?


  5. Posted by matthewsf on 2009/11/09 at 8:03 AM


    I think you’ll see Torres and Castillo recalled after their game this Saturday.

    And I’m sure the Interwebs are alive with the sound of Bob Bradley hating, but Coach Steady-As-He-Goes has capably steered the USMNT selection ship, including plucking Holden from the Gold Cup, Davies from Sweden (and playing his in the Confed Cup), and bringing a fit Benny back in.

    He might just strike some magic this time with EJ or Kljestan or even his faith in Rogers.


  6. Posted by Matthew N on 2009/11/09 at 10:14 AM

    Highlights of Edgar Castillo’s goal this past weekend:

    He causes a PK for the second goal when his cross strikes the defenders hand, and he dribbles through 4 guys and fired one past the keeper for the 4th goal (his goal is around 1:00 into the video). Wow. This guy needs to be on our squad.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2009/11/09 at 10:18 AM

      Two comments on the video and Castillo.

      – That is by far the worst defending I’ve ever seen. I’m mean that’s horrific. Those guys are getting paid?

      – Secondly — is there any doubt the guy has the chops to play midfield. I’m telling you, from the little game time (not highlight time) I’ve seen, the guys is more midfielder.


      • Posted by Matthew N on 2009/11/09 at 10:22 AM

        haha, yeah, they were just standing there like it was FIFA10 or something, but yeah the kid certainly looks like he has the goods. I watched a few other highlight videos and I can’t wait to see him!!


      • Posted by Kevin on 2009/11/12 at 7:52 PM

        Castillo definitenly looked more like a midfielder there, but due to my lack of faith in anyone who currently plays left back for us, I still want to see him in defense. If he doesn’t work out in defense I might have a look in midfield, but it is already cluttered as is.


  7. Posted by michaelneis on 2009/11/09 at 11:17 AM

    it’s really too bad we couldn’t see robbie findley in these lineups….his ability certainly excites me more than johnson (when’s the last time he’s seen consistent time?) and cunningham. i think one of the bigger points of interest for me will be the play of rogers and eventually torres (assuming he gets called in for game 2). Before costa rica, I would have said torres was clearly higher in bradley’s pecking order – but rogers really looked good swinging the ball in – a skill I thought he was lacking. Torres was a spark plug too – and I have a feeling at least one of them will emerge to see some serious playing time in SA


  8. Posted by Mark T on 2009/11/09 at 11:30 AM

    Is anyone else getting the feeling that these friendlies are going to be a waste in terms of team development on the offensive end?

    No Donovan and Holden mean…

    …no Dempsey up top (most likely)
    …no consistent (good) crosses or counters
    …poor set pieces with the top two takers out

    The defense and goalie should be tested a fair amount, so we’ll see how that goes at least.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2009/11/09 at 11:33 AM

      Dear Bro, I disagree.

      You and I differ on Rogers, but I think we’ll see some quality crosses out of both Rogers and Spector who looked sharp in the second half for West Ham Sunday morning.

      Set pieces, I’d like to Dempsey and possibly Altidore to take these.
      – Dempsey’s free kick was laser like yesterday.
      – Altidore has scored on one already for Hull–by having Altidore take a free kick it will get the kid more involved.

      The more difficult of the two matches is Denmark; I think the US will perform admirably against Slovakia–especially if MB can shut down Hamsik at all.


      • Posted by Matthew N on 2009/11/09 at 12:24 PM

        Are you talking about a reserve match? Jozy has yet to put one in the net for Hull, unless you mean someone headed in his service from a set piece. I would like to see Dempsey kick those, mostly just because he has the most experience. Does he currently take free kicks for FFC at all? I’m kind a Robbie Rogers homer since I’m (kind of) a Crew fan, but I think he definitely has potential. The game versus Costa Rica showed what he is capable of, he just needs to bring it all the time.


        • Posted by matthewsf on 2009/11/09 at 12:26 PM

          @MatthewN — I believe Jozy put a free kick in during the Carling Cup rounds for Hull — I swear I remember seeing that….no?


        • Posted by Matthew N on 2009/11/09 at 6:01 PM

          you’re right.. A few searches revealed it. I forgot that they don’t really include Cup goals in the stats.


  9. Posted by Shane on 2009/11/09 at 12:15 PM

    Im interested in seeing EJ and JC.. In fact im excited about it..
    I’m not a casey fan but he could change my mind if he chases the ball a bit on D.

    I would have liked to seen Cooper called as well.. But for the most part I think BB has the right idea.. Looking for speed up front and testing some who he has instilled confidence in..

    Well done in my opinion..


  10. Posted by MattE on 2009/11/09 at 12:37 PM

    I’m looking forward to these friendlies. It will be a good test for our squad. With Davies out, we need to have our front guys playing some games together. However I don’t think that these pairings will be what we see in SA. I always liked Eddie Johnson but he hasn’t been playing much and I’m not sure he is a good match with Altidore considering their similar styles. We need a player to hold the ball a bit up front and have some runs through our midfield. That is when I feel we are most dangerous. I also like that Pearce is being called up. He plays very solid, doesn’t make many mistakes and gets forward nicely. I think he is much better than Bornstien. Remember his beautiful assist to Davies in the Gold Cup…


  11. Posted by Evan on 2009/11/09 at 1:59 PM

    Regarding on weather or not Sacha deserves a call up based on his behavior, I’m not saying he should or shouldn’t, only that Michael Bradley has had numerous incidents equal to this or possibly worse yet his place has never been in question. I know that Sacha is no where near the player Bradley is, but if everyone were to be treated fairly then Sacha deserves a shot.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2009/11/09 at 2:02 PM

      Your Bradley point is good one Evan and MB has certainly been raked over the coals on the TSG web site.

      He has matured a bit, but needs to mature more — good for him he’s seeing regular time in Germany and has already logged as many minutes as he has.


  12. On the number of MLS players: This is Bob’s last chance to see these players while the have match fitness. Not sure what the international schedule looks like in the spring but the MLS guys are going into their off season or in preseason – not exactly the best time to audition for the national side. Meanwhile, European players will be in mid-season fitness. Timing has mattered more than geography.

    I like the injection of speed up top. If we’re picking in form goal-scorers, Jeff Cunningham seems worthy of a shot. I think Eddie Johnson would be on the pitch more at some other goal-shy premiership sides and Bob’s maybe giving him a chance to audition for a loan move and some playing time. With Davies very unlikely to feature in S.A., Eddie finding some playing time and form would be a huge plus. If what Hodgson has done for Dempsey is anything to go by, EJ will be an improved player capable of reaching a higher level than anyone in MLS has to offer despite being unable to break into a side full of strikers, none of whom truly stand out. I know Ching’s still in the playoffs but I’m really hoping one of these guys puts him out of the running. Robbie Findley is also still involved in the playoffs, so not included in the side.

    With so few midfielders, I have no doubt that a couple midfielders will be added to this squad at some point. Might their names names Torres and Castillo? Even if Castillo isn’t a defender, he’s a true left-sided players and it’s not like we have a surplus of those hanging around the side. It looks like there’s some space built into the roster to allow that.


  13. Posted by Antonio H. on 2009/11/09 at 10:57 PM

    Dax who? No Dilly Duka? Rubbish!


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2009/11/10 at 12:17 AM

      C’mon Antonio, you used to be so much more interesting. :>


      • Posted by Antonio H. on 2009/11/10 at 6:39 PM

        Honestly I’ve never heard of Dax McCarty before this post. And I guess the Dilly Duka jokes are getting kind of old. I’ll start up the Charlie Renken chants any time soon


        • Posted by matthewsf on 2009/11/10 at 6:51 PM

          Wow, I’ll tease a future post and say some good friends created a beer named, “The Dax McCarty.”

          Anywho, yes your Dilly Duka jokes are approaching the same nadir as my Bellamy’s gold club jokes.


        • Posted by Antonio H. on 2009/11/10 at 9:01 PM

          Deal: you hault the Bellamy allusions and I’ll cease with the jingoistic calls for Duke


  14. Posted by Kevin on 2009/11/12 at 8:09 PM

    If there is one thing I think is being overlooked is the way Cunningham plays. While I don’t quite want to see any formation with a lone striker, Cunningham is useless with a partner uptop. If anyone remembers, Cunningham went on a scoring rampage after Cooper left to Germany and moved up top all alone. People say he is so unpredictable and thats why he doesn’t do well with a strike partner, but I don’t think it matters why. If he can’t play with a striker partner I personally don’t want him on the squad period. I would much rather have his former team mate in Cooper audition.

    If I had to pick my line-up it wouldn’t be out there to have the best team, so here it is. Let it be known that if Cunningham is a failure at his first attempt don’t even bother again.

    Spector-Marshall-Goodson-Bornstein Def
    Bradley Mid
    Rogers-Dempsey (Kljestian) Mid
    Feilhaber Mid
    Altidore-JC (sub EJ in at the half) FWD


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