Camp cupcake invites are supposedly out…tomorrow. We know one guy already gearing up to cascade past the San Fernando Valley into LAX.
Also, we’ll be making the short hop on Virgin down from SFO to take in a practice at some point and talk to the guys. We’ll be at the Chile game as well.
Here’s a revised look–our best stab–at whose name makes tomorrow’s announcement tomorrow:
GOALIES: Kevin Hartman, Nick Rimando, Sean Johnson, Bill Hamid
The skinny: No change from our list below. Sean Johnson was solid over in Europe for Generation Adidas. We still think Bradley takes a look under the hood of Hamid.
Also in contention: Will Hesmer, Matt Pickens.
DEFENDERS: Kevin Alston, Omar Gonzalez, Clarence Goodson, Chad Marshall, Heath Pearce*, Marvell Wynne, Tim Ream, Sean Franklin, Michael Parkhurst
The skinny: Removed Ike Opara who didn’t have a stellar Generation Adidas campaign we’re told. Gale Agbossoumounde is supposed to head out on loan to Sweden I believe.
Don’t see a call-in for Nat Borchers–just can’t see him cracking the central defense. Jay DeMerit…could be call-in.
AJ De La Garza just misses out from our original list and Bobby Convey…flat out, no idea?
I remember watching Jeff Cunningham last year at January camp and with his age and demeanor he really looked like an interloper. I just don’t see Convey going to a Jan Camp…maybe if he continues his form a friendly camp next year.
TWEENERS: Geoff Cameron, Brek Shea
The skinny: Because we can, we introduce a new position here. The Tweener today….only temporary. The following two guys could play pretty much anywhere, but striker and goalie and your guess is as good as mine.
We learned that Geoff Cameron is on the radar of some teams overseas for his size and ability to play across the backline. Coach Bradley played him primarily at right mid last year in camp. Brek Shea just got lauded by Atletico Madrid…for his central defense play.
MIDFIELDERS: Alejandro Bedoya, Benny Feilhaber, Eddie Gaven, Jeff Larentowicz, Dax McCarty, Robbie Rogers, Mikkel Diskerud, Collen Warner
The skinny: Dropped Tristan Bowen as he now deals with a transfer crosstown and I just don’t see. Free Benny Feilhaber plays the midfield quarterback again for Bradley. Remember, Feilhaber attended nearby Northwood High School in Irvine…only makes sense to get him in there.
And even money says the pairing in central midfield against Chile is Feilhaber and Larentowicz. Just smells right there.
Logan Pause may, just may slip in there as Coach Sweats needs a little steel in the middle.
Possible sleeper: Dilly Duka.
FORWARDS: Justin Braun, Juan Agudelo, Teal Bunbury, Chris Wondolowski
The skinny: We drop Jack Mac from Philly…though he may slip in and toss in Chris Wondolowski in his place. I’d like to see Jack Mac get a spot though. Edson Buddle may get the call as well, but I kind of feel that with Bradley not playing him when he was in amazing form for the World Cup, he’s not going to select him in a little lower value January camp.
From December 6th, 2010:
No better time to start pontificating on who should be present at the customary January camp….an invitation is the ultimate stocking stuffer. General managers, get your key club member one while these last. It will do wonders for their confidence.
Expect to see–as we did in 2007–a very different complexion of players than the year before with World Cup aspirations now a little less than four years out instead of right around the corner.
However, what will be important here is nailing some idea of the backline heading into the Gold Cup. Lot of competition there.
Bob Bradley will sprinkle in a lot more youth–we think–and bid adieu to a few perennial camp members. Will the Dale Murphy of US Soccer, Kyle Beckerman, make another camp? Hmm…
Some other quick things we’re looking for:
• That pesky leftback position
It’s time for Coach Sweats to get both creative and aggressive here. Jonathan Bornstein is not the longterm answer here and figures to be residing in Mexico this year as camp opens. Heath Pearce has clearly not distinguished himself from the back, having failed to unseat Bornstein after three years of challenging him and after having not been invited to South Africa despite little depth and a hernia surgery just weeks earlier for US captain and starting leftback Carlos Bocanegra.
Will Bradley opt to–finally–bring back in San Jose leftback Bobby Convey who will be 31 when Brazil 2014 rolls around….or will Convey’s me-first attitude again trump his obvious quality at the position.
How about a run out–seriously–for any number of left midfielder options, including and in no order: Robbie Rogers, Brek Shea (who recently played centerback for the Generation Adidas team in Europe in the beginning of December) or even Houston’s steady Brad Davis. While none of these players would be confused with Michel Bastos, it’s worth the look-see.
• Building striker continuity
Of course, Jozy Altidore is still in the fold, but last year’s starting strikers for the Camp Cupcake wind-down game at HDC. That would be the mercurial Jeff Cunningham and the mis-targeting Robbie Findley. The pair looked downright negligent in their offensive responsibilities in that Honduras game; I don’t blame any fan that saw that display and lives a block from the stadium and doesn’t buy a ticket to the Chile game this year.
This year will likely see South African second half bookends Teal Bunbury–the targetman–and Red Bull sensation Juan Agudelo–the speed–build reps together. Perhaps the most promising combo at Camp Cupcake in awhile.
Oh, and that pair went Generation Adidas Euro-hopping in December and apparently looked good doing it as well.
• Continuing the physical attribute build?
As we’ve pointed out on TSG, Bob Bradley seems to be building a team full of physical attributes save Dax McCarty there (no disrespect Mr. Ninja).
Will Bradley continue his trends of bringing in bid wide middies (Bedoya, Rogers, Shea, Diskerud) and speedy strikers (Agudelo, maybe a Collen Warner runout here).
We now give you 30 possible players that may make the camp: (a * denotes the player was a camp invitee last year)
GOALIES: Kevin Hartman*, Nick Rimando*, Sean Johnson, Bill Hamid
The skinny: Gone from last year’s group is Zach Thornton and the up-and-down Troy Perkins. Sean Johnson and Bill Hamid learn the ropes from Hartman and Rimando.
Also in contention: Will Hesmer.
DEFENDERS: Kevin Alston*, Omar Gonzalez*, Clarence Goodson*, Chad Marshall, Heath Pearce*, Marvell Wynne*, Tim Ream, Ike Opara, Sean Franklin (camp attendee in ’09), AJ De La Garza, (Bobby Convey?)
The skinny: Will–could–the Los Angeles Galaxy get three of their guys training in January? It’s possible and we say probable.
The Bobby Convey question; is it a question? Expect De La Garza if he makes it to be tried out on the left also.
Does Jay DeMerit join the camp as it’s Jimmy Conrad in 2011? Nat Borchers as this year’s Conrad?
MIDFIELDERS: Alejandro Bedoya*, Geoff Cameron*, Benny Feilhaber*, Eddie Gaven*, Jeff Larentowicz* Dax McCarty*, Robbie Rogers*, Logan Pause, Mikkel Diskerud, Collen Warner, Tristan Bowen
The skinny: A pretty healthy group of camp vets. A little light at CDM, especially if Bradley favors a 4-2-3-1–that’s why we’ve got Pause as a veteran in camp taking over for Beckerman.
Might Jose Torres be a wild card here?
FORWARDS: Justin Braun*, Juan Agudelo, Teal Bunbury, Jack McInerney
The skinny: Bruan and Bunbury, targetmen. Agudelo and Mac, speed off players. Others to consider (thanks TSG community) Edson Buddle, Chris Wondolowski, and even Eugene Starikov.