A few weeks ago–one month before the USA played Poland in Chicago–TSG took a look at who Bob Bradley might be sending email invites to for October camp.
With a few more weeks under the belt, the MLS playoff picture nearly calibrated, and some more insight on playing time for Americans over in the Old World, here’s an update on that list. (Below is our original piece published three weeks ago.)
That said, not sure how Bob Bradley plays this one. Does he use it as a kickoff to 2014 and bring back in a bulk of the veterans? Or does he realize the opposition (both Poland and Colombia are two of the weaker opponents the US has seen in awhile) and go with more new faces?
Also, will Bob Bradley (like he did last November) go split squad, calling some players in for the 1st game and then calling in others for the 2nd to avoid conflicts with playing days. Highly possible in our minds.
(Any “*” delineation next to a player’s name means they may be in camp for only one game.)
Finally, on the surface, the most important next milestone for Bradley’s troops will be readying the team to play in 2011′s Gold Cup.
Goalies: Brad Guzan, Dominic Cervi
As we wrote on September 13th, arguably the States strongest position–keeper–it’s also the position with the most current flux.
Look for Brad Guzan to be your starter near his hometown. Dominic Cervi will make the trip from across the pond since Bradley likely won’t be able to see him at January’s camp cupcake with Celtic.
Bill Hamid is out, Samr Badr just finished U-20 duty, Cody Cropper just moved to Ipswich and Luis Robles is playing less and less for his Bundesliga II team.
If Bradley goes for a 3rd keeper, it’s anyones guess, from stalwart Tim Howard (who deserves a break), former Gold Cup participant Luis Robles, local Chicago Fire sensation Sean Johnson or reliable walrus Zach Thornton.
Others in consideration: Tim Howard, Luis Robles, Sean Johnson*, Zach Thornton*
Defenders: Jonathan Spector, Oguchi Onyewu, Eric Lichaj, Carlos Bocanegra, Jonathan Bornstein, Clarence Goodson, Hunter Freeman, Kevin Alston*.
As we mentioned yesterday, the time to begin investigating the central defense is now.
Spector should get a chance here in Chicago to play for the first time in over a month as he’s been left out of the 18 for West Ham for over a month now. Hardly the recipe of a central defender.
With L.A. swooning before the playoffs, look for Bradley to think long and hard about bringing in both Omar Gonzalez and Sean Franklin for this one. Both rightfully deserve to be there.
New England’s out of the playoffs so Alston’s into the camp, especially because he was shelved for all of last January’s camp.
Does Jay DeMerit get a near-hometown cameo to showcase his abilities? Probably not in our book.
Others In Consideration: Sean Franklin*, Omar Gonzalez*, Michael Orozco*
Midfielders: Stu Holden, Michael Bradley, Benny Feilhaber, Jermaine Jones, Maurice Edu, Mix Diskerud, Alejandro Bedoya
Big question remains: “Will Michael Bradley get a rest from nattie service?” He should, but history shows Coach Sweats never misses a chance to invite Junior.
Beyond that Mix Diskerud should–and deserves to–be “the new guy” in camp.
Stu Holden–now firmly entrenched at Bolton–replaces Sacha Kljestan who is coming off an injury and should now establish himself again at Anderlecht.
Snuffleupagus gets his first cap and, of course, the “U.S. Ambassador to Brazil” Ale Bedoya gets another rep.
Jose Torres and Pachuca have a game on the 9th, so he’s probably out.
Others In Consideration: Sacha Kljestan, Jared Jeffrey, Clint Dempsey
Forward-Striker: Jozy Altidore, Justin Braun*, Eddie Johnson, Brian McBride*
Jozy Altidore steps out of the shadow of Nilmar and Rossi for a long weekend while red hot Justin Braun should get more service from national team counterparts and has certainly earned his club releasing him for the camp.
Brian McBride a cameo? It’s not Bob Bradley’s style, but it should be done.
The striker position seems to be the lone one that could present a true surprise. Coach Sweats always likes a speed option so unless Bradley unearths a Mike Grella who’s been buried deeper than Jozy at Leeds this year or Chris Rolfe returns to fitness, the most likely speed candidate is Eddie Johnson. Don’t everyone applaud at once.
Kind of highlights the issue, you know?
From September 9th:
From a match in August (USA vs. Brazil) that was dubbed as Bob Bradley’s potential swan song to this….an October 9th friendly now one month away in Chicago where the U.S.S. Bob Bradley II officially sets sail on its journey to Brazil 2014.
Welcome back Bob and we assume you’ll be saying, “Hello” to a few new players.
With MLS in the middle of some critical games around the fixture date and with Bob Bradley and USSF having a track record for respecting club teams’ seasons, expect to see few representatives from the domestic league.
Look for MLSers whose teams have been eliminated from playoff contention (Chivas) or who have a hole in their schedule (Union, Galaxy) to perhaps send a player or two.
In August Bob Bradley called in 18 players to face La Selecao; expect a slightly bigger number this time around as there are two games and, with the Jermaine Jones late recall fiasco, better to have a little more cushion.
Poland should be a good side for Bradley to start mixing in some of the younger class of 2014 hopefuls and begin taking a look at Gold Cup prospects.
The Poles missed out on the World Cup and sit at #56 in the FIFA rankings just below powerhouse Mali.
Worse, Poland doesn’t look to be improving in their past few games losing at home to Australia and drawing against Ukraine. Continually, the States and Poland share more common recent opponents than just Australia: Poland lost to Slovenia 3-0 and 2-0 to the Czech Republic earlier this year.
Again, a good friendly to trot out new faces.
Here’s a very early stab at selecting some of the “approximate 18 or so” right now:
G: Brad Guzan, Bill Hamid, Dominic Cervi
(Update: Hamid is set to have surgery…looks like he’ll miss out)
The skinny: It’s time to give Tim Howard an early season break. Howard’s not needed for this match or the upcoming Colombian one.
Brad Guzan is your starter. He grew up twenty minutes from Soldier Field.
Get Guzan going and let’s see early competition for the Gold Cup back-up or possible starter.
Will D.C. United be eliminated from playoff contention and see Hamid instead of Troy Perkins go?
With Samir Badr playing the U-20′s, he out for this one.
Other possibilities: Chris Seitz, Cody Cropper
Cropper just signed with Ipswich Town so he may not make the journey back. (His hometown is somewhat nearby: Maple Grove, Minnesota)
Sean Johnson would be an excellent addition (those who say he doesn’t merit some consideration for MLS rookie of the year–I’m not sure what they’re watching), alas he’s got a key game the night before for the Fire.
DEF: Clarence Goodson, Carlos Bocanegra, Eric Lichaj, Jonathan Spector, Jonathan Bornstein, Hunter Freeman, Michael Orozco
The skinny: Ruling out some MLS players here. Out will likely be Heath Pearce and teacher’s pet Chad Marshall. As TSG is a champion of trying out Spector in central defense, we’re hoping Bob plays that card this time around.
That said, does former Fire-man Captain Bocanegra–whose last visit to Chicago yielded a diving game-winning header–come into camp as the able veteran voice?
Expect to see Eric Lichaj here for sure. He’s getting spot duty on his club team and is from Chicago suburb Downer’s Grove…that’s less than a 1/4 tank to the pitch.
Hunter Freeman, starting opposite Clarence Goodson at IK Start, we’ll take a shot at him here too. Haven’t seen much of him, but he was “near” (as oppose to “in”) the picture last year before an injury.
Other possibilities: Big question on whether Omar Gonzalez, Sean Franklin or both get a trip to Chicago on USSF’s credit card. Do either? Too much risk of injury?
I don’t see a Tim Ream call-in just yet because I think Bob Bradley will hold off calling in a rookie in his first MLS campaign who is focused on a deep playoff run.
Who plays leftback? Big question…TSG still suggests Edgar Castillo is a midfielder posturing as a defender. As a note: Castillo is on loan at San Luis this year in Mexico. He’s not a starter and has been primarily used as a mid-to-late game replacement…in the midfield.
Does Michael Orozco get another–in our opinion–undeserved shot with the Union possibly on the outside-looking-in?
Kevin Alston is a wildcard here depending on what New England does over the course of the next few weeks.
Like I mentioned, Bobby Convey is another deserving selection, but he could be MLS playoff-bound as well.
Wildcard: Danny Williams. He’s played only 45 minutes off the bench in Freiburg’s start to the Bundesliga. Does USSF reach out?
MID: Alejandro Bedoya, Sacha Kljestan, Stu Holden, Jermaine Jones, Maurice Edu, Benny Feilhaber, Jose Torres, Mix Diskerud
The skinny: I think Landon Donovan‘s done enough. The Galaxy have been stumbling and please give that man a rest.
Stu Holden should start. Period. End of question. I don’t even care if he’s not there. A travesty at Holden’s lack of playing time this June. Oops, I wrote that same sentiment for the Brazil game. Same goes here.
Does Jermaine Jones accept the invite? Does he then return it? Schalke 04 has been having an unerwhelming season thus far; however, German reviews have Jones near his ability pre-shin injury.
Will Sacha Kljestan‘s mustache represent mustaches everywhere since Heath Pearce figures not to be in attendance?
One niggling point: Kljestan, Jones and Maurice Edu all have three games in 8 days following the international break, though that likely won’t play into Coach Sweats’ decision-making.
TSG would love to see Mix Diskerud get a run-out and this could be the one. Two things in his favor: 1) Bradley loves physical wingers (Mix goes about 6’1”), and 2) Diskerud been playing off-center for Staebek this year (I could see Bradley trying him out in his system as a wide player).
And of course, we expect the U.S. Ambassador to Brazil, Alejandro Bedoya, to get another run out.
Other possibilities: Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan, Ricardo Clark
Wildcard: Jarred Jeffrey. Quick rant here. Raise your hand if you’ve seen him play. Nothing infuriates me more than those that expound on Jarred Jeffrey’s (or Jeremiah White’s) abilities without watching them play. Don’t know much about Jeffrey so we will put him here.
STR: Hercules Gomez, Jozy Altidore, Justin Braun, Brian McBride
The skinny: Gosh, that striking core looks a little meager, no? Gomez is in, Altidore is likely going to be a spot starter at Villarreal this year, so he’s in too.
Marcus Tracy is still battling knee problems so he’s out.
Justin Braun, whose Chivas side should be out of the playoffs for a bit, gets the call-in to be the “Nate Jaqua Coach Bob Never Had.”
How about a national team call-in for retiring Brian McBride? Seems more than well earned in front of his hometown fans.
Too early for Conor Doyle.