Poland Roster: New Legends Of The Fall?

It’s out and it’s sort-of, kind-of like we expected.

Jermaine Jones

Snuffleupagus no longer! Welcome Jermaine Jones!

The USMNT kicks off it’s first game of the post-Klinsmann era in a little less than a week as they take to Soldier Field in Chicago to face the White Eagles of Poland.

The message Bob Bradley is sending with his roster today is: “experience” and this camp is sponsored by the letter: J (as in Jermaine Jones no longer U.S. Soccer’s Snuffleupagus!).

G: Tim Howard, Brad Guzan

DEF: Jonathan Spector, Carlos Bocanegra,  Clarence Goodson, Eric Lichaj, Oguchi Onyewu, Michael Parkhurst, Steve Cherundolo, Heath Pearce

MID: Maurice Edu,  Alejandro Bedoya, Stu Holden, Benny Feilhaber, Jermaine Jones, Michael Bradley, Brek Shea, Clint Dempsey

STR: Jozy Altidore, Eddie Johnson

We’ll have follow-up shortly, but didn’t see Shea getting called from playoff-bound Dallas through he merits the call-in.


The TSG Take

• Okay boys, here’s how it’s going down

Interesting roster from Bob Bradley. I’m going to call it the “Set The Tone” Camp Roster.

Thirteen veterans from World Cup 2010 to take on Poland and Colombia?! Seems to me that Bradley wants to start off getting his veterans with him on the same page.

• Defenders on notice (*this is the biggest signal from the roster selection)

Now, if you check the roster you’ll see that only 10 players were chosen for the front 6!

A full 8 players were brought in for the back four.

With Brek Shea as the only middie/attacking player as the only player who didn’t make Bradley’s 30-man roster, one thing is clear:

Bradley is putting together a seasoned front six so that he can evaluate his back four.

It’s hard to evaluate new players if the ones around them don’t have chemistry developed already.

• Jozy or Bust

Not sure why Justin Braun wasn’t rewarded with a camp. I disagree with that.

Or more appropriately, I disagree with only two strikers coming in.

I think you can pretty much put in the book that Bradley will start in some configuration of a 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-2-1 (more on this topic tomorrow).

Another note, Clint Dempsey should not be used as a lone striker. Poor move, hope it doesn’t happen.

• I’m staring at the man in the mirror

Brek Shea meet Ale Bedoya, Ale Bedoya meet Brek Shea. If Robbie Rogers were here, he’d hang out with you both. Diskerud may shortly join that party as well (if he plays wider on the USMNT than he does for his club).

One thing we know about Bradley (from his playing career, player selections, and his son’s game) is that he likes physical players that can take a hit.

From the triumvirate of the aforementioned, Bradley has some big winger/forwards that he’s looking to integrate.

• About that Gold Cup

Many have asked me on Twitter how Gonzo or Donovan don’t get selected.

Two answers: (1) Los Angeles is swooning. Their players either need to recharge (Donovan, Buddle) or focus on the playoffs ahead (Gonzalez, Franklin).

And (2) remember the Gold Cup is coming up next year during MLS’s season. That’s four Galaxy players and Bradley’s probably going to want at least two.

And some minor points:

» A shame that TSG fave Sean Franklin can’t come in and learn from ‘Dolo here. We of course made the viable Los Angeles point above, but that would have been nice for the fan in me.

» No Mix Diskerud. In my mind, his spot went to Shea, similar type players.

Reason 1: Shea has been in a camp already. Diskerud has not. Bradley favors bringing in newbies for long camps if possible before getting their first cap.

» Or…A few weeks ago TSG issued this piece: a tongue in cheek piece on hypothetical trades. In it, we suggested that USSF trade Dallas a friendly in the area for some considerations because of the Pizza Hutters sagging attendance. And…

Very interesting selection Pearce and Shea during the MLS stretch run. The conspiracist in me suggests that may be a little promo work.

I’m not really serious here…but…

» I will not be a happy camp…evaluator if Stu Holden sits again here. He’s earned the right to start…a very long time ago.

34 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by John on 2010/09/30 at 2:51 PM


    I guess he didn’t get enough reps in South Africa.


  2. Posted by bunkel on 2010/09/30 at 3:07 PM

    A pretty good roster, overall…glad to see Lichaj get the call. Too bad these dates fall at bad times for MLS based players, I’m eager to get more of a look at some of the young center back prospects like Gonzalez and Ream. Can’t wait to see what kind of lineups/formations we’ll see.


  3. Posted by Alex on 2010/09/30 at 3:10 PM

    glad jones finally is gonna get his cap!!!

    overall, I’m really excited about the roster.

    there are a few things I would have done differently, though. Clint, Tim, Boca, Dolo, and baby sweats don’t NEED to play. They get enough reps in Europe and their spots are solidified. I would have rather seen some more unexperienced YOUNG players.

    that being said though, I understand why he included these players, I can’t complain!

    real excited about these games. I’ll be up at the absurd times of 4-6 watching the games from across the pond!


  4. Posted by njndirish on 2010/09/30 at 3:23 PM

    This roster lacks one Brian McBride, Clint could have taken a break for BMB


    • Posted by Alex on 2010/09/30 at 3:37 PM

      Brian McBride? who’s that?


    • I think McLegend will be honored before the game. His response to TSG’s man on the street in Chicago was an indication that he doesn’t want to take up a spot on the roster that could go to younger players needing to be assimilated into the US Setup. As much as I would’ve loved to have seen him wearing the shirt one more time, I think it’s the right things to do. Let’s honor him with banners, songs, chants, and everything else we can think of.


      • Posted by John on 2010/09/30 at 3:40 PM

        “he doesn’t want to take up a spot on the roster that could go to younger players needing to be assimilated into the US Setup.”

        Well that third striker spot went to duece… so…er….Brian….?


  5. “Experience” brought to you by the letter: C for Consistently, Circumspect, Cautious, Conservative, Coachsweats.

    Besides the obvious inclusions (and non-inclusions) that make us pause. I am frustrated by this lineup for one reason:
    I have an eerie feeling that we are not going to see the players that we want to see on this roster either a) get enough quantity of minutes or b) in the locations/partnerships to make the experiments worthwhile. I understand the benefit of mixing experience players with young players to foster their development but there needed to be more young blood. If you can’t test more new players now then when can you? A little less cautious would be appreciated. Not asking for a revolution just some quicker turn-over.

    Situations we are unlikely to see happen:
    1) Holden in the middle with Jermaine Jones
    2) Jermaine Jones getting lots of time playing with someone other than MB. Though I could be wrong on this one.
    3) MB on the bench for significant time. Could be wrong but why bring him if he isn’t starting? This is the biggest mistake. I think we need to trial out too many players in the center. MB should not have been there.
    4) Any new blood at striker. EJ? what? Might see Dempsey up top some but some other strikers should have been brought in. TSG’s suggestions were good ones.

    1) Could Lichaj be the starting LB? Seems that BB might start with Dolo at right and try Lichaj out at both positions?
    2) BB isn’t entirely in-flexible. Kjestjan, JB, and Rico are not on the list.

    I will enjoy the match and BB is doing an ok job.


    • On second thought….
      I get the maintaining player chemistry to make it easier to try out new players idea. So, if in a 4-2-3-1 you see the holding mids being MB and Holden, with Feilhaber above them, then I will back off of my MB should not be here comment, but MB should give way to Jermaine Jones at some point. I would love to see a Jones, Holden, Feilhaber CM setup.
      It seems more likely we see consistently 2 holding mids with MB and Jones(Edu). Feilhaber and Holden seem to be sharing time.

      Who pairs at CB? Goodson & Boca with Spector, or Onyewu subbing in?


      • Posted by Kevin on 2010/10/01 at 8:40 PM

        You have to look towards 2014 though there’s two ways to look at it. Jones may be good enough to go in 2014… or Jones will be too old in 2014. Not starting MB in 2014 will probably sound ridiculous in 2014. Consider that going into the world cup (I think) he was 22. Haven’t checked my stats but he play like a regular 22 year old in that position? Holden can be played in any role in the 4-2-3-1 as long as it is in midfield. Jones and Bradley with Holden above = smart for now. Looking into the future maybe not as much. You might see Bradley Edu Holden or Bradley Holden Feilhaber, but it makes no sense not to play Bradley. His play will be complimented perfectly in my point of view as time goes on.


  6. Posted by Ryan R. on 2010/09/30 at 3:54 PM

    You have to wonder if Bradley is ceding to MLS teams a bit too much. These matches do fall on an international date and with the Gold Cup a year away with a complete retooling of the back line necessary this cycle you have to wonder if Bradley should pull rank and call in someone like Omar Gonzalez for these matches. He could get some valuable experience in these matches and develop the important rapport with the rest of the US back line that the team has been missing for several years now. I get that the Galaxy would like some rest for Gonzalez and even Franklin with their recent swoon, and I say this as a Galaxy fan, but Bradley has a major challenge in remaking this backline and that needs to take precedence here. Some may say it’s not a big deal and Gonzalez can get a call in November and again in January, but the November matches fall during the MLS playoffs so if the Galaxy are still playing there is no way Gonzalez gets a look then either. That means if you want Gonzalez to start at the 2011 Gold Cup, he’ll be doing it with a maximum of five caps.


  7. Posted by dth on 2010/09/30 at 3:59 PM

    Like the roster. Would’ve liked to see Mix Diskerud in there and would’ve liked to see Clint get some rest, but overall, a very good roster that shows Bradley wants to take a look at some new guys. Shocked Brek Shea got called in, but there you have it.


  8. Posted by Cameron on 2010/09/30 at 4:26 PM

    I think that this is a very good roster and definitely a smart move. Our biggest problem right now is the back four, and I think that our most obvious gap there is left back. I wonder if Bradley might consider following West Ham and sticking Specs there? It might do the kid some good to actually consistently play one position for awhile.

    I’m guessing that at some point BB will be trying out defensive midfield pairings too. MB is an automatic start (as he well should be), but I’d like to see someone who can keep up and also cover for him when he goes up the field. Maybe Jones will be that person.

    Whatever happens, I’m really excited for this game.


    • Posted by dth on 2010/09/30 at 6:17 PM

      West Ham played Spector at LB last year and became a Bornstein-level object of hate for them. Now he can’t make the 18 for them (and when he does play, plays RB). I’d suggest not playing Spector there.

      I’d like to see Heath Pearce get the try there.


  9. Posted by Hercules on 2010/09/30 at 4:33 PM

    Nice roster. I’m glad that some guys are getting rest. I understand Dolo/Boca getting called in, we need some leadership/experience on that backline. I think that maybe Howard should have gotten a rest, but maybe BB didn’t like the choice for 3rd Keeper (2nd for this game).

    I’m glad that we finally get to see Jones get to come in for a game. And surprised that Shea got called, but who knows.

    Meanwhile…no one has done it yet…but I’ll get it started…LINEUP!


    Unused: Pearce, Shea

    Other option: Spector goes in as CB instead of Boca, and Pearce goes in as LB, with Lichaj as RB, though that seems like a very inexperienced back 4.

    Hope I didn’t jump the gun on this one.


    • From your link, is that starting line-up what you think Bradley will choose or your ideal? Is it more of a 4-3-2-1?
      I’ll copy it here (below). I am guessing that Jones is to assume a more forward position on attack (or maybe MB) to make it the 4-2-3-1? I am not sure how easy it will be to coordinate who goes forward at which times, with MB, Jones and Edu all on the same line. It just seems that it might be difficult to center the game around Jones as the lynchpin if these guys haven’t played much together (not that this isn’t a good idea just maybe not in this first game?) This is a solid line-up. Probably one of the best lineups we could have to go for a big win, but is winning the primary goal of this match? Shouldn’t some of the young guys get a start?:






      What are your thoughts on this lineup:







      • Posted by bunkelUSA on 2010/09/30 at 8:02 PM

        I kinda like your second lineup here. It will require a more limited role for MB, who will need to reign in his tendency to bomb forward, but I like Holden in the central role, pulling the strings a bit more.


      • Posted by JW on 2010/09/30 at 9:47 PM

        On the second lineup: Benny in the center and Holden on the flank. Based on form, that sounds about right. Either that or Dempsey in the middle and Benny out left. If nothing else, Benny has been scoring from free kicks lately, and Altidore loves to draw them.


      • Posted by tnnelson on 2010/09/30 at 10:31 PM

        much prefer the second lineup, i’ve been wanting to see that with holden in the middle for a long time now


  10. Posted by jwrandolph on 2010/09/30 at 9:57 PM

    Its interesting that the formation is in just as much question, and just as much flux as any of the potential individual players at this point. That strikes me as a good thing. Its exciting that BB is either looking to do new things tactically, and I don’t even really care if that is A) becoming more flexible and/or B) establishing an American “system.”


  11. Posted by Bob on 2010/10/01 at 2:36 AM

    A few thoughts:
    -Does this mean that the Robbie Findley experiment is finally over? I hope so.
    -Is it bc of their current form that JFT and Gomez were left off?
    -I thought Parkhurst should have been given a better look last year so I’m glad to see him get the call.
    -I am very excited to see Jones start, which to me will be the highlight of this friendly.
    -I am also interested in seeing how Lichaj and Shea fit in.
    -I guess we will have to wait for Camp Cupcake to see Ream and Opara and the other young guns from the MLS, but it would have been nice to see some of them (and yes I know that MLS is hitting its final leg but that did not stop them from bringing in Shea). Maybe for the Colombia friendly?


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/10/01 at 5:37 AM

      A few things for some of the last comments:

      Line-up: Bob will go with seasoned players against Poland to show the new call-ups the ropes…I wouldn’t expect a Lichaj start. More than likely it will be something like (though not exactly):

      Spector/Dolo – Goodson – Boca – Pearce/Spector

      Just a pie in the sky guess right now.

      Bob — answering your questions:

      Findley – much like the galaxy players, Bradley respected RSL’s title drive.
      JFT – Gomez – PAchuca has a game October 9th
      Jones will not start game 1…maybe game 2
      Opara is likely a Jan invite if he is healed from his ankle, Ream and Gonzo if their teams are out of playoff contention will likely make November.


      • I’m not sure about Lichaj and Jones not starting. This is purely speculation and there is no way to tell.
        From BB’s choices in the past there have been times where BB had players earn their first caps as substitutes. I understand that MO but it seems like in situations like this one where the pressure is the lowest BB goes in with a gameplan of starting with his favorite experiment first (i.e. Lichaj and Jones start) and then having prepared contingency plans for different situations.

        BB seems to respect the idea that to give a player a full opportunity you have to give him ample time in the right situation (read before the score changes the tactics of the game). As much as sometimes I do not agree with some of his experiments or player camp selection choices, I think BB does not like to waste early game opportunities to test players.

        Just my opinion. It seems that Lichaj could learn a lot more actually playing and getting instant feedback from Boca on the field than sitting on the pine.

        As a side note: would be interesting if sometime during the game the backline was Dolo, Goodson, Boca, Lichaj. Hmmm could this have been a possible lineup for the WC 2010?


        • Posted by cosmosredux on 2010/10/01 at 7:19 AM

          I’m pretty sure neither starts the Poland game was my comment.

          Name the last US player that started in their first cap under Bob Bradley? I can’t; I’ll research but…

          Jermaine Jones may be different if only because–if fully healed–he’s one of the top 11 players on the team.

          Wouldn’t be funny if he puts Jones at leftback since Jones played left mid for Schalke last year and this year. (Can’t see it, but stranger things have happened.)

          While you and I would love to see new players, in fairness, like a first round quarterback apprentice learning from the average veteran, the best thing to do is watch from the bench at how Bob Bradley and the players manage the game so that proper expectations happen when a player does start in a following game.

          It’s a good practice.


        • Cosmo – Interesting analogy. There is a lot to be learned from watching on the sidelines (in fact, I implored the kids I used to coach to watch every game they could); however, given the propensity for the US’s game plan to get tossed out the window after conceding in the first 15, how much game management are the newbies going to learn.

          Sorry for the doomsday talk…..

          I would love to be a fly on the wall and hear the directives that Sweats gives the players before kick-off and on the bench. Wonder if during the WC they planned for conceding early goals in the Ghana game since it happened twice in the first three games?


        • Posted by mbw on 2010/10/01 at 1:52 PM

          Last US player to start in his first cap under Bob Bradley = Omar Gonzalez, Aug. 2010, no?


        • Reasons I was thinking Lichaj and JJ would start.

          Lichaj: BB selections to me read “I am going to try the most promising fringe/new players available thoroughly instead of trialing lots of new players”. I could see BB bringing Lichaj and not Franklin etc all because he thinks he is ready and wants to try him at LB and RB. BB is approaching these games preparing for the Gold cup. He knows he needs to solve the LB situation and wants other options in case Boca or JB are injured, or whatever. BB may start him at LB in the first game to see if that is a viable option. Later in the game he could either pull him or swap him to RB. Then in the 2nd game he could give him more time at RB/LB. I think Pierce will get some time at LB as reserve, BB knows what he brings. I do not see BB playing Spector there, he hasn’t done that in dire situations. So then it is Boca or Lichaj. (of course BB could be thinking of not even trying Lichaj at LB at all, you never know).

          Jones: BB seems to think highly of Jones. I don’t know what his formation will be but he knows Jones can play at this level. I think the first game he will want to setup whatever his ideal player set will be. Again if he thinks Jones will feature prominently at the Gold cup then he might start him with Edu as a backup.

          I do agree that it is likely one of these players will not start. I just have a feeling BB wants to get an early assessment on all of his options. If partnerships are not working out (MB/Jones) then he can devise new plans in the second game. There are only so many opportunities.


      • Posted by bunkel on 2010/10/01 at 7:59 AM

        Good point, I agree we’ll probably see a more experienced lineup for Poland…I keep forgetting that Bob has 2 games to work with this roster, so the new guys will probably eased into the system, starting on the bench and maybe making a 2nd half sub appearance for Poland, then potentially starting against Colombia.


  12. Posted by LarryMontanez on 2010/10/01 at 1:41 PM

    I think Holden should start in the middle of the field. He’s leading the EPL in tackles, and we could use that kind of pressure up high.


  13. Posted by Bob on 2010/10/02 at 2:33 AM

    One thought that just popped out at me: Is Clark hurt, or is he done as a USMNT call-up?


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