And Then There Is The 30….

A very solid 2010 saw Clarence Goodson stamp his passport...

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.

Hahnemann's name is inked...

• 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,

...and guess who's back?

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.

• Midfield:(12)

It's possible that Ricardo Clark doesn't play one match before his selection...

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

Uh, what is the Soup Du Jour? It's the Soup of the Day. Mmmm. That sounds good, I'll have that.

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.

Your thoughts?

39 responses to this post.

  1. In my opinion you have to take Edson Buddle over Gomez. While Gomez’s scoring streak has been impressive if you are going to pick out of the two Buddle just brings more to the table in terms of physical ability, touch, and raw finishing ability. If you compare the finishes that they both have had this year I have to say that Buddle’s have been more impressive. There is no way that Gomez could hold off his defender and score the type of header that Buddle scored against New England. Brian Ching worked his way on to the 2006 World Cup team based on his MLS form which I believe Buddle has every chance to do.


  2. Posted by Marcos on 2010/04/11 at 4:01 PM

    So in other words Adu is defenetly out matt?


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/04/11 at 4:21 PM

      Not a chance on Adu ….last time we saw him he was not impressing in the junior circuit Gold Cup.

      The US doesn’t use a CAM all the often and has an abundance of them….he’s too slight and not lethal up to strike in the World Cup


      • Posted by yardley on 2010/04/11 at 8:48 PM

        come on, Adu definately makes the 30. you’re telling me rogers and kliejstan get invited over him? i don’t think so. the kid is starting for a top five greek league team…what else does he have to do?


        • Actually, he’s not starting regularly for a Greek league team and just hasn’t made the most of his appearances. I’m pulling for the guy to get it together but I don’t see him as a factor in this cycle.


        • Addendum: hasn’t made the most of his USMNT appearances, to clarify.


        • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/04/11 at 11:04 PM

          @Yardley — welcome to TSG.

          I think Adu basically doesn’t have a shot. He may starting–sporadically–for a Greek side, but Bob Bradley has shown time and time again that he favors: 1) his guys and 2) more physical guys.

          I don’t where Bob would ever play Adu who is at his best as a CAM. He’s got plenty of wing coverage already and he’s got Dempsey and Benny to move up to the CAM role.

          I would be very very surprised if Adu made it…


        • With Edu coming back into form, I’m kind of inclined to drop Kljestan off the 30 in favor of an extra striker or defender. I’d love to hear from someone who thinks he has any chance of contributing this summer. I think it would be of much more value to get to see Gomez and Buddle go head-to-head, because it’s almost apples and oranges trying to compare MLS and Mexican League form.


          • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/04/11 at 11:58 PM


            That’s a strong, strong consideration and frankly one that I wrestled with.

            Very real and perhaps smarter for Bob Bradley to take an extra defender in case of injury or in case Gooch can’t play–we still haven’t heard a timeframe yet for Gooch in the past few weeks.

            I could see Kljestan, Torres or Rogers being dropped….good point.


            • Although I would dread it, if Gooch were to remain injured it would sure be intriguing from a line-up perspective. First off, I’d be intrigued to see just how much Bradley trusts Goodson, whether he thinks he’s starting caliber. It’s also the scenario where I can really see Spector playing left back for the USA. I can stomach a Spector-Boca-Demerit-Dolo backline a whole lot better than one with Bornstein replacing Dolo.

              The more I think about it, out of the three midfielders you just listed, Torres is the only one I think who has a role and the skill to contribute this summer. I would rather Bradley only brings 10 midfielders to camp, your 7 mark it downs, Beasley, Bedoya, and Torres. Really seeming like we need the extra defender and striker competition instead of irrelevant midfielders.

            • Posted by Gino on 2010/04/12 at 3:57 PM

              I’m on board with B-Mac’s notion of including an extra defender (or two) and not just because of Gooch’s uncertainty. I’d say include Marshall and Simek if for no other reason than there might be an injury during camp. It seems there’s always at least one (‘Dolo in ’02 and Hejduk in ’06) and you never want to be thin at defense. Dump Sacha because he’s redundant and doesn’t bring anything vital to the team. I also think 7 forwards is too many because most of them haven’t shown they’re worthy of playing, much less starting. Besides, unless a certain someone regains full fitness AND form, I figure Dempsey is our best option as the second starting forward.

            • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/04/12 at 3:59 PM

              Again Gino…can’t disagree…more than likely I think you’ll see Sacha or Paco dropped and maybe even Brian Ching pending his fitness.

        • I am in complete agreement with B-Mac. Given that our striking options seem to consist of Altidore and um, Altidore, I’d rather see Gomez and Buddle – both of whom could actually play in the big cup – over Klejstan who shouldn’t really have any part in the warm-up friendlies since they are about giving the first team reps and plugging the last few holes. We don’t have a hole in the center of midfield, it’s rather crowded in there.


  3. Posted by KMac on 2010/04/11 at 4:05 PM

    Another point in favor of Buddle (all other things equal) is his current play WITH LD10 on the Galaxy.
    CD9’s health and a start or two in April/May will tell all. Ching’s injury certainly has thrown more Casey back up a little higher.

    I agree with your other position assessments, Matthew, we’ve been pretty aligned since the last Jumble I participated in in March.
    KMac (McKee “the capped spectator”)


  4. Posted by scweeb on 2010/04/11 at 4:45 PM

    So were does Bob put Dempsey at? Does he keep him on the outside or is he put more upfront were he has less defensive obligation?


  5. Ill give my 30:

    GK (3): Tim Howard, Marcus Hahnemann, Brad Guzan

    DF (10): Jonathan Spector, Steve Cherundolo, Oguchi Onyewu, Jay DeMerit, Carlos Bocanegra, Clarence Goodson, Chad Marshall, Heath Pearce, Jonathan Bornstein, Edgar Castillo

    MD (10): DaMarcus Beasley, Landon Donovan, Michael Bradley, Maurice Edu, Ricardo Clark, Benny Feilhaber, Jose Torres, Clint Dempsey, Stuart Holden, Alejandro Bedoya

    FW (7): Jozy Altidore, Charlie Davies, Brian Ching, Hurculez Gomez, Edson Buddle, Conor Casey, Eddie Johnson


    • Posted by Bob on 2010/04/11 at 7:47 PM

      I agree here – drop Findley and add BOTH Gomez and Buddle. I am actually becoming a fan of both as they have played great lately. I sure hope they at least get a call to the May camp and given a fair shot to make the team. Both of Buddle’s goals this weekend and Gomez’ goal last weekend were “things of beauty.”


  6. Posted by Hercules3076 on 2010/04/11 at 5:32 PM

    Great idea. I feel that this list is more important than the 23 at this point. The only change that I would make would be Gomez and Buddle to be in the 30 while it is Findley OR Johnson. I guess it will depend more on form for the rest of the season.


  7. Great article, agree with almost all of it. I’m starting to think that we might not be giving Marshall enough credit. We’re putting in a big assumption that Gooch is going to be ready to start. Even if he gets healthy he might not be in-form, so you really have to consider the possibility of Gooch-less center halves. Having Marshall, rather than Pearce, might be better from a depth standpoint if you like Boca at leftback and don’t want Bornstein to have any part of being a centerback.

    You would assume that defense would be Spector-Demerit-Boca-Bornstein, but I personally might be more inclined to go Spector-Demerit-Goodson-Boca. Doesn’t give you a ton going forward, but it gives you height and stability.


  8. Posted by Wilson on 2010/04/11 at 7:43 PM

    so 30 players
    GK: Tim Howard(MVP), Brad Guzan (opposite Howard a rush out GK), Marcus Hahnemann (knows EPL players)
    Defense: Oguchi Oyewu (Big Gooch of Milan), (Captain) Carlos Bocanegra, Jay DeMerit (EPL player), Jonathan Spector (utility backline, starter) Steve Cherundolo (best FB can play midfield), Clarence Goodson (tall and good passer), Jonathan Bornstein (provides dolo ability on left side), Heath Pearce(fast and strong like a certain Barca FB),
    Midfield: Landon Donovan(US Legend), Michael Bradley(Junior), Stu Holden(Iceman got Maradona ability), Maurice Edu (a balance player), , Benny Feilhaber( great first touch,playmaker), Alejandro Bedoya(future star), DaMarcus Beasley(world cup experience), Jose Francisco Torres(plays undersize and plays well) Ricardo Clark (a card earner)
    Forward: Clint Dempsey(winger with a great first stike ability), Jozy Altidore(Amazing Soloist), Charlie Davies(if healthy a Eto’o type scorer), Brian Ching (a setup man), Robbie Findley(too fast for MLS), Eddie Johnson(lazy but talented), Kenny Cooper(a big man)

    4 more spots to reach 30: no Ricardo Clark is a shoe in for lack of defense at midfield. Herculez Gomez or Edson Buddle? yeah right I put Cooper over Casey, these two don’t have athleticism, their skills will not work at world cup level for just 1 min.

    pick four from the following: Brad Fridel, Troy Perkins, *Chad Marshall, *Frank Simek, Marvell Wynne, Edgar Castillo, Robbie Rodgers, Sacha Klejestein, Kyle Beckerman, *Jermaine Jones, *Freddy Adu (no Chicharito <– this guy might be better then Charlie Davies))


  9. Posted by Bob on 2010/04/11 at 7:50 PM

    Is Perkins still our 4th gk? How has he looked in D.C.? Is it his fault for their poor start or do they have a poor backline this year?


  10. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/04/12 at 6:06 AM

    Please forgive my *perceived* arrogance, but looking at this list of 30 players (and the probable 23-man squad), outside of the offensive players for the First XI, I cannot see too much that England have to worry about. I am definitely not being over confident – I am feeling comfortable and not waking up in a sweat during the night.

    Maybe if Bradley keeps Davies on the bench and introduces him around the 60-minute mark, that would concern me. But one would have thought if he’s fit, he would start.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/04/12 at 6:10 AM

      GeorgeCross — that’s lack of attention to detail GeorgeCross — these are the same 30 players we’ve been talking about for the past 6 months!


      • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/04/12 at 6:22 AM

        True – but 6 months ago, we didn’t even know the WC draw, so I had no reason to think of the USA as possible opponents!

        It’s too hard to think of scenarios when there is 66% of the season left – look at all of the ups and downs we’ve had?! Plus, with the (European) season winding down, we pretty much know which players are available and which are not. I still maintain my ‘comfort level’…


  11. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/04/12 at 6:15 AM

    I strongly agree with the notion that Hahnemann is the No.2 goalkeeper. He’s had a decent season at Wolverhampton, and I cannot see how Guzan who has very limited playing time at Villa could even complain. But I guess nobody will find out because goalkeeping injuries and subs are rare.


  12. GeorgeCross, I can think of several reasons for England to be concerned with the US, but the biggest one would be the tendency of the US to play well when they’re not on European soil. The US had strong finishes in 1994 and 2002, and then weak finishes in 1998 and 2006. The run in the Confederations Cup in 2009 seems to back up that belief. The US will be a handful in 2010.

    Other reasons to be concerned: Altidore gave Wayne Bridge fits back on Feb 6 when Jozy scored and played well against Man City. You could make a case that Landon Donovan was the best player on Everton during his loan there. He showed creativity that no one else on the team was able to display and was able to walk right in and take the corner kicks and many of the free kicks. You already know that Dempsey has a knack for scoring big goals (the latest of which being the Fulham/Wolfsburg match). Maurice Edu is coming into his own for Rangers. Howard speaks for himself as one of the 5 best goalkeepers in the world. I mean, you may not be scared of every play on the team, but you have to admit that there are some good pieces in the US squad and that England can’t take them for granted… if Hull City can tie Chelsea (another game where an English defender, Terry, had a hard time handling Altidore), then the US can certainly beat England on the right day.


    • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/04/12 at 1:46 PM

      All I am saying is that if England play to their maximum, we will win comfortably. I acknowledge that we won’t have it all our way and that you will fight, and we rarely play to our maximum, so realistically it will be a tough opening game.

      Regarding “the tendency of the US to play well when they’re not on European soil”, what about the first two group games last year? Lose your first two games again and see if you progress from the group stage…


      • I agree with most of what you said, I think you know your stuff, but you need to remember that the US got hit with harsh/questionable red card penalties in both games, giving a straight red card for hard tackles that were cleats-down, from the front/side, and weren’t stopping breakaways. Things could easily have gone differently if the referee had issued a yellow instead keeping the US squad at full strength.


        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/04/13 at 7:09 AM

          It is unfortunate to be on the end of bad refereeing decisions, but it happens. If Bradley is such a master tactician as some TSG comments suggest, then he would have done a better job shuffling his pack.


        • Right. So basically, I am playing one “what if things had gone differently” scenario against another. In the end, the results are the results.


      • It should also be noted that the first two games were against nearly full strength Italy and Brazil, which are arguably better teams than full strength England and Slovenia (actually, the “arguably” only goes for England… they were both easily better than a full strength Slovenia).


  13. Posted by Sinn Fein on 2010/04/12 at 10:14 AM

    I don’t know where the right place for this is, but I thought it was cool.

    Co-worker of mine bought a Chivas jersey for her little brother. A friend of hers knew Bornstein from high school and offered to ask him to sign it. Bornstein agreed and they sent him the jersey. He returned it a few weeks later (today) signed by the entire team. He also had the equipment manager put the young man’s name and favorite number on the back–unprompted. My co-worker is understandably thrilled. I am sure her brother will be as well.

    Anyway, kudos to Bornstein and Chivas USA for going above and beyond for a young fan. Things like this deserve recognition. Plus, they help build future fans. Also, I am as tough on Bornstein as anyone, but sometimes it is important to remember that just like the rest of us, he is man trying to do his job well. In this case, he succeeded and I think we should recognize that just as we recognize a success or failure on the pitch.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/04/12 at 10:21 AM


      Thanks for sending that along — I’m going to tweet it — I’ll find on the place for people to tell stories like this…


  14. Posted by pino on 2010/04/12 at 9:39 PM

    Highlights of Bedoya from his game today. It looked like he had a pretty decent game, however he has a terrible miss that could have leveled the score. Still i liked what i saw.


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