The US 20: Looking To Do Van Damage

The roster is out.

A fresh observation of Captain Carlos...

Cutting it up on the pitch next Wednesday against the Netherlands for the Yanks:

GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Marcus Hahnemann (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Tim Howard (Everton)

DEFENDERS (7): Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA), Carlos Bocanegra (Rennes), Jay DeMerit (Watford), Clarence Goodson (IK Start), Heath Pearce (FC Dallas), Frank Simek (Sheffield Wednesday), Jonathan Spector (West Ham United)

MIDFIELDERS (7): DaMarcus Beasley (Rangers), Alejandro Bedoya (Orebro), Michael Bradley (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Landon Donovan (Everton), Maurice Edu (Rangers), Stuart Holden (Bolton Wanderers), José Torres (Pachuca)

FORWARDS (3): Jozy Altidore (Hull City), Robbie Findley (Real Salt Lake), Eddie Johnson (Aris Thessaloniki)

TSG bullets:

• Bob Bradley in last night’s post game comments admonished reading too much into this roster, suggesting that those absent are not necessarily out of play for RSA 2010.

• That being said, conspicious by their absence: Freddy Adu….teammates DaMarcus Beasley and Maurice Edu made it…Adu’s teammate Eddie Johnson made it. Adu…nowhere to be found.

• I think you can read into Jeff Cunningham’s absence. Findley makes the trip from MLS so it’s not a league thing. Cunningham didn’t acquit himself all that well on the pitch the past two games against junior competition.

• Eric Lichaj…sorry not to see you up here brother.

• Remember, you heard it here first, we’re fans of Bedoya. He’s a somewhat physical winger who can take it to the hole. Does this say anything about Robbie Rogers USSF staff evaluation? Good question.

• Interesting Kljestan omission. Did he know before last night that he wasn’t going and so made that theatrical goal celebration?


In case you missed it, here is the TSG community discussion from Monday on who merited a look.

Also, in case you missed it, here is the Dutch provisional roster announced last week.

Awaiting our community’s comments.

30 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by matthewsf on 2010/02/25 at 2:40 PM

    Interesting Simek call….with Pearce going as well, to me, it signals the following:

    – 8 defenders for the US. 1 back-up central defender (Goodson?), with the ability to play Boca or Bornstein there in the middle.


    • I think there’s little doubt that Bradley will bring 8 defenders to the WC. I can’t see him risking 7. The only thing I could see him doing would be taking 9 midfielders and 3 forwards, but I don’t think that’ll happen if Charlie Davies makes it.

      Replace Simek with Dolo and add in Onyewu and I think you’re looking at the 8 defenders going to the World Cup. It makes sense to bring the defenders together now so they get as much time training and in match play as possible.

      Midfield is 3 core players (Donovan, Bradley, Holden) with 4 auditioning: Edu, Torres, Bedoya and Beasley. I think you can add in Clark and Dempsey as near certainties when fit, so there are only 3 or 4 spots up for grabs here. The midfield situation is much more fluid, especially in the wide areas. Bedoya and Beasley are competing with Rogers, Davis, Gaven & Cameron for wide spots. Centrally it’s Torres competing with Feilhaber and Klejstan competing for a more creative CM with Edu and Beckerman competing for a second destructive DM slot. If this group of 4 doesn’t show better than the Becklejsterfeck against El Salvador, god help us.

      Up front it’s Altidore and Johnson vs. Findley. One of Ching/Casey is definitely going to SA but I think you could potentially see a WC roster with only 3 forwards if Davies isn’t ready to go.


      • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/02/25 at 3:31 PM

        Agreed on the 8 Tuesday, just interesting to see the continued Pearce inclusion though he showed well last night.

        Agree with most of your observations as well.

        Two more things:

        1) I think you’ll Bornstein used (if possible) in that late game 5 defender situation that Bradley favors from time to time.

        2) I go back and forth on the 3 strikers. The challenge I have is having a speed option off the bench if you have a Findley or EJ going AND starting. Who do you bring in when the other team is tired…I’ll answer that question myself in that I think have Bedoya or Beasley come in on the outside and Deuce slot up top.


      • Posted by Shane on 2010/02/26 at 2:10 PM

        I think if DMB shines than we will definetly see CD or LD up top in SA2010


        • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/02/26 at 2:15 PM

          See I don’t think Bradley is moving Donovan…what wouldn’t be incredulous to me–though it sounds crazy–is slotting Beasley up top. Donovan loves the wing, loves coming in on his right foot, and loves having players to pass to ahead of him. I don’t see him moving from that spot.

          I see EJ up top to start….I think I see either Stu inside or Torres inside to start. If Stu goes inside then I see Beasley outside. If Torres goes inside, I see Stu outside.

          Given his time off I see Edu coming off the bench for Bob.


  2. Posted by Timmy on 2010/02/25 at 2:46 PM

    Donovan was pulled early in the Everton match today. I didn’t see the first 60 minutes. Did he have a sh_ty game?


    • Eh, it was another situation where he didn’t get much service. Everton just plain didn’t look good today.


      • Posted by kaya on 2010/02/25 at 3:39 PM

        I watched the first half and Donovan touched the ball maybe twice. He just wasn’t involved at all.


  3. Posted by KL on 2010/02/25 at 2:49 PM

    wow I can’t lie, I am very excited about this line up. Love the fact that JD is getting some more looks (especially after his unfortunate freak injury). VERY VERY VERY excited about the possibility of Bedoya. Kinda surprised with the addition of Simek. I think it’s quite telling that we are only taking three true forwards. Obviously Sweatpants is confident Jozy can go the full 90. At the risk of sounding highly ignorant, looking at the pool of midfielders, we could be looking at a 1-2-1 diamond in the middle. I hope I’m wrong, I don’t think that will fair well at all against the Orange. Love the fact that Kljestan is out. Bobo may think that he looked decent last night, but I just don’t see it. Also, completely cool with the fact that RR is out of the line up as well.

    What do you guys think the formation will look like? Will Jozy play up top with a withdrawn forward behind him? If so do you think that would work as it has in Hull.


  4. I know Bradley commented that a choice of Casey/Ching would be made based on their form closer to South Africa, maybe he saw enough last night to not need another look?

    Very glad to see Holden and Torres in there, Stu apparently looked very good in his Bolton debut and Torres has been playing quite well, I hope we at least see Torres as a second half with Holden most likely starting on the wing opposite Donovan.

    I’m a little surprised on Simek and EJ as well, no real other surprises for me other than Findley who I felt looked a bit lost v El Salvador. Guessing we’ll see Findley and/or EJ playing as the speed option opposite Jozy. Good to see Pearce earn another look after his solid play last night.


  5. Hopefully we’ll see something like this at the whistle:
    Spector – Goodson – JayD – Capt. Carlos
    Holden – Bradley – Torres – Donovan
    Johnson – Altidore

    Kind of surprised by Johnson’s inclusion, but I think he’s as good an option as any for the speed guy at this point…

    At the half I’d like to see Simek, Bedoya, Edu, and Findley come in to replace Specs, Holden, Bradley, and Johnson.


    • Posted by Swa on 2010/02/25 at 3:46 PM

      I was thinking a very similar lineup to this, but after Pearce’s flashes of brilliance last night it would be nice to see him get some run with the starters and see if he can complement Donovan well with overlapping runs up the left flank.


      • Good point, but where does that leave Cpt. Carlos? On the Bench? It might be nice to see Bocanegra get a run out against a player like Robben on the flanks.


        • Posted by Swa on 2010/02/25 at 4:31 PM

          That’s very true, but also a DeMerit-Boca pairing could probably use some time together in the middle just in case.


    • Posted by i like tuesday on 2010/02/25 at 5:38 PM

      If you’re looking at Findley & Cunningham how can you not give EJ a look?

      I think Findley can be a good player and he definitely has the physical tools but his running off the ball is dire. He has no idea how to find space in the box and put himself in position to score.


      • Agreed about Findley, he’s got the tools but needs to put it all together and the national team level, and consisntently. He’s still young enough to be in consideration for 2014 and possibly 2018 if he continues to improve. If EJ could just do something in a game so that we know he has a pulse, I’d feel so much better. Remember his performance against Argentina in the 2007 Gold Cup. He looked sharp and somewhat dangerous for about 10-15 minutes and then faded into oblivion again.


      • Posted by Gino on 2010/02/25 at 10:04 PM

        I think Bob picked Findley for one last look as the “speed” forward. I’m guessing that’s why he selected Johnson also. A lot of people feel the need to replace Davies’ speedy pre-accident role. However, Charlie had more than just wheels. He had a nose for the goal and knew how to get it there. Let’s face it, neither Findley nor EJ have shown they have what it takes to replace CD9 at the international level. However, Bob seems inclined to bring someone with pace despite their offensive skills. I’m pessimistic by nature, but I’d like to be surprised and see Davies on the plane come June. Get well SOON Charlie!


        • Agree. The special thing about Charlie was not so much his speed as his intelligent running and quick feet. He knew when to pull wide, or hold his run to open up space or turn on the afterburners. He had the moves to get across a defender, to turn a defender with his back to goal and could find the space in the box to score. In short, Charlie had footballing intelligence that we can’t replace.

          Findley clearly has speed – a similar skill set to the pre-Fulham EJ. Findley ran the channels fairly well against El Sal and seemed a threat to get in behind but I could sense his frustration being partnered with Casey in the first half. Casey was very slow with the ball, consistently failed to turn in acres of space and never once played it to Findley as he made diagonal runs beyond him up top. Altidore loves to receive the ball and turn so making the same diagonal runs, Findley seems like he could present some danger. Seemed more dangerous partnered with Ching to start the second half.

          That said, I think EJ should probably get about 60 minutes in partnership with Altidore to show what he can do but also so we can see how Findley does coming on as a substitute. Let’s see what EJ’s time in the wilderness has taught him – he just might be a better player than he was.


    • Posted by Kevin on 2010/02/25 at 11:26 PM


      At the half..
      Formation change
      Simek for Specs
      Bedoya for Holden
      Torres for Donovan
      Beasley for Edu.

      I wanted to point out formation change because I don’t know what they would play but torres is not a central mid. At the very least he would be an attacking mid but not holding mid.


  6. Posted by Swa on 2010/02/25 at 4:33 PM

    Or just bring Pearce in for Boca on the left at the half so he still gets ample time combining with Lando.


  7. Posted by Joe on 2010/02/25 at 6:25 PM

    What are the chances we see Sweatpants deploy a 4-5-1???

    I can see this…

    Spector-Demerit-Boca- Pearce

    Holden-Torres-Bradley-Edu- Donovan



    • Posted by Gino on 2010/02/25 at 9:16 PM

      I can also see this although I’d prefer to think of it as more of a 4-2-3-1. Not sure why I keep seeing Guzan as the starter other than to give him some good experience. But if that’s the case, then why bring Howard along? I am super disappointed that Cooper wasn’t included on this roster. Unless there’s another reason for his exclusion that I missed, it seems like his WC hopes are done for.


    • Posted by Antonio H. on 2010/02/25 at 11:53 PM

      Smells like a 4-3-3 no?


  8. Posted by KL on 2010/02/25 at 6:35 PM

    Why is everyone assuming Guzan? Am I missing something? Why bring Timmy if we’re not going to play him? Lord knows Everton needs him as well.


    • Bringing Timmy! and not playing him would be different, but Guzan could use the PT just in case something were to happen.


      • Posted by Joe on 2010/02/25 at 8:24 PM

        I’d like to see Timmy! take a seat for this one because he is being overworked at Everton… The more days off this guy has the better in my opinion
        Plus Guzan could use the reps


  9. My instinct is that we’ll see Bob go with the “2 destroyers” he prefers against better sides with Bradley and Edu slotting into the center of midfield. Donovan will be on the pitch of course, but I don’t think Holden is guaranteed a starting spot at this point. Beasley on the left would give us a counterattacking 4-2-2-2 system.

    Spector, DeMerit, Bocanegra, Bornstein
    Bradley Edu
    Donovan Beasley
    Altidore Johnson

    As for the Dutch tactics, I expect they’ll drop deeper, invite us to try to break them down and then launch counterattacks up the flanks. This might call for a more solid 4-4-2 with an organizing presence in midfield. I would love to see Torres & Bradley paired in central midfield. Perhaps we’ll see a midfield 4 of Holden, Torres, Bradley, Donovan but I don’t think Bob trusts Torres much on the defensive side and may not be inclined to be so adventurous against a top side.

    Here’s the dutch roster:
    Goalkeepers: Maarten Stekelenburg (Ajax), Piet Velthuizen (Vitesse), Michel Vorm (FC Utrecht) Defence: Edson Braafheid (Celtic), Giovanni van Bronckhorst (Feyenoord), John Heitinga (Everton), Joris Mathijsen (Hamburger SV), André Ooijer (PSV), Ron Vlaar (Feyenoord), Gregory van der Wiel (Ajax) Midfield: Ibrahim Afellay (PSV), Mark van Bommel (Bayern München), Orlando Engelaar (PSV), Nigel de Jong (Manchester City), Stijn Schaars (AZ), Wesley Sneijder (Internazionale), Rafael van der Vaart (Real Madrid), Demy de Zeeuw (Ajax) Attack: Ryan Babel (Liverpool), Eljero Elia (Hamburger SV), Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (AC Milan), Dirk Kuyt (Liverpool) en Arjen Robben (Bayern München).

    And we’ll probably see a 4-3-3 along these lines:

    Heitinga, Ooijer, Mathijsen, Van Bronckhorst
    De Zeeuw, Sneijder, De Jong
    Kuyt, Huntelaar, Robben


  10. Posted by Joe on 2010/02/26 at 12:27 PM

    Adu hurt his hammy which is most likely why he was kept off.


  11. Posted by Shane on 2010/02/26 at 2:29 PM

    Hopefully this is how we look in SA
    Spector– JD–Onyewu–CB

    Now I understand how most people feel about DMB.. However, if he can get minutes at Rangers I think he still has game

    RB is now a question for me as well as LB if Spector is not getting minutes..

    I think Edu is in a battle with Feilahber for that midfield..

    Holden should not get a spot if he hasnt been playing.. Thats goes for anyone..

    Our strikeforce looks like England’s Goalie pool..😦 Maybe even worst..

    I hope and pray CD9 makes a full recovery but lets be real here, he wont be CD9 come june 12..

    I would rather see Mike Grella called up than most of the FWD’s on BB’s radar..

    Freddy needs minutes as does EJ..


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