TSG has put its Boarding Series on hiatus so far in April as we seek more and more observations of players in hopes of getting all the tickets right.
One month from now however, you’ll get a pretty good idea on who’s boarding Air Bradley One to RSA when Bob Bradley announces his 30-man roster for RSA.
For about 12 to 15 players, the next 30 days are critical….to return from injuries, to get playing time, to impress with that playing time.
So whose name might be on gym wall come May 11th? Glad you asked.
One thing we don’t know–yet–is how Bob Bradley accounts for injuries. For example, do you put 3 or 4 goalies on the list so you have 3 if one is injured. Great question; no real idea.
Here’s our shot at how the 30-man stands today.
• Goalie (3)
Set in stone: Tim Howard, Marcus Hahnemann, Brad Guzan
Redux: Boy, that was easy. Notice we’ve moved up Hahnemann up just a bit…
Possible surprise player: Troy Perkins as a 4th keeper.
• Defense: (8)
The ticket is already punched: Oguchi Oyewu, Carlos Bocanegra, Jay DeMerit, Jonathan Spector,
Steve Cherundolo, Clarence Goodson, Jonathan Bornstein
Likely has a seat: Heath Pearce
Next in line: Frank Simek
Not making the cut: Chad Marshall, Marvell Wynne
Redux: You’ve got essentially your 8 defenders here. They’re locked in with Heath Pearce probably being the only one above with a chance of it all going south.
Only question? What if there is another injury to the Stars & Stripes. Instead of going Frankie Simek who hasn’t seen anytime on the USMNT pitch since 2008, we throw Robbie Rogers in as the last midfielder below.
Marvell Wynne, a promising player in 2008 and a bench player on the last trip down to Jo-burg falls short.
Possible surprise player(s): Wynne and Edgar Castillo. As for Castillo, TSG has stated ad nauseum that we see Castillo as a midfielder. Could Bradley include him just as that extra defender should a catastrophe happen before June 12th.
Mark it down: Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley, Stu Holden, Maurice Edu, Ricardo Clark, Benny Feilhaber
Should have done enough: Alejandro Bedoya
The 30 yes, but the 23?: DaMarcus Beasley, Robbie Rogers, Sacha Kljestan, Jose Francisco Torres
Redux: Your first seven on the list are there barring injuries. TSG says Bedoya and we’re putting the rest of the bucket in the TBD at a later date.
Possible surprise player: Kyle Beckerman–he’s always around, he’s the Dale Murphy of the USMNT, he knows the system. Jermaine Jones: Reports suggest it’s not going to happen–then again reports also said Wayne Rooney wouldn’t play against Bayern Munich.
• Striker: (7)
Might as well be set in stone: Jozy Altidore
Hard not to at this point: Conor Casey
One month is a long time: Charlie Davies, Brian Ching, Robbie Findley, Eddie Johnson
And then there was one spot: Hector Gomez OR Edson Buddle
Outside looking in: Kenny Cooper, Jeff Cunningham
Redux: One big cluttered mess chock full of injuries, losses and gains in form with more than a sprinkle of uncertainty. Altidore is easily guaranteed while Casey can play either forward spot so he’s there as the utility man at the least.
The rest? A mish-mash of experience versus two potential Charlie-In-A-Bottles (Gomez and Buddle)
Player that could surprise: I think you’ve already got it up there with the Buddle vs. Gomez battle.