Davies Out

An apparent disappointing end to Charlie Davies quest to return from a horrific car accident in time for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. He was not named to Coach Bob Bradley’s provisional 30-man roster that will convene for training camp next week in Princeton, N.J.

Said Bradley, “He (Davies) hadn’t been given full medical clearance and therefore was not given a full release to join the camp.”

Bummer. Feel bad for the kid.

In-form strikers Edson Buddle, Eddie Johnson and Herculez Gomez were preferred to Davies, who has resumed full training but has not played a competitive match since the October accident which left one person dead and Davies with severe injuries. Considering that group, as well as surprise inclusion Robbie Findley, the competition appears wide-open for the slot along-side automatic selection Jozy Altidore.

No other shocking names on the roster (Kljestan might shock some, but not anyone who is aware of his long association with Bradley) and those left out, aside from Davies, were only peripheral names like Frankie Hejduk, Edgar Castillo, Freddy Adu and Conor Casey.

Coach Bradley has until June 1 to cut the roster to the final 23 and the U.S. will play two friendlies prior to that, May 25 v. Czech Republic in East Hartford, CT and May 29 v. Turkey in Philadelphia.

The full squad:

Goalkeepers- Tim Howard, Marcus Hahnemann, Brad Guzan

Defenders- Carlos Bocanegra, Oguchi Onyewu, Steve Cherundolo, Jonathan Spector, Jay DeMerit, Clarence Goodson, Jonathan Bornstein, Heath Pearce, Chad Marshall

Midfielders- Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley, Stuart Holden, Ricardo Clark, Maurice Edu, Benny Feilhaber, Jose Francisco Torres, Alejandro Bedoya, DaMarcus Beasley, Sacha Kljestan, Robbie Rogers

Forwards- Jozy Altidore, Robbie Findley, Brian Ching, Edson Buddle, Eddie Johnson, Herculez Gomez

Countdown Begins

Five weeks until World Cup 2010 kicks off with Mexico against host South Africa in Johannesburg and the 32 nations are in the process of naming provisional rosters for their respective pre-tournament training camps.

The U.S. is set to announce its initial 30-man roster on Tuesday, with camp opening in Princeton, N.J. on Monday May 17th. There remains some intrigue regarding which players will be named. The primary question is the health of striker Charlie Davies, who is participating in full training for his French club Sochaux, but will not have seen game action since his horrific car accident in October. Davies’ availability, or lack thereof, stands to alter Coach Bob Bradley’s selections considerably.

Most expect either Landon Donovan or Clint Dempsey to fill a striker slot if Davies is unable to go, which would open up another place for a midfielder, an area where the U.S. is considered deep. Stuart Holden, recovered from a broken tibia sustained in a friendly with Netherlands, is a favorite to replace those two in starting midfield, while others, such as Benny Feilhaber, Jose Francisco Torres and DaMarcus Beasley provide cover.

The back line seems set, though centreback Oguchi Onyewu is also just recently recovered from injury, so the other main question will be who joins shoe-in Jozy Altidore on the front line. Brian Ching, also in a fitness race (wow, this is getting redundant), is a Bradley favorite and the team’s best hold-up striker, so he’s likely in. After that, the pool is in such disarray that calls might go out for the likes of Edson Buddle (currently scoring at will for the LA Galaxy) and Herculez Gomez, who lit up the Mexican League with 10 goals for Puebla in the recently-completed Clausura. Neither figured in qualifying nor have they been involved in a National Team set-up in eons (three years for Gomez; seven! for Buddle).

The Nats’ first opponent, England, doesn’t have nearly as many injury worries, though Coach Fabio Capello’s preferred defensive midfielder, Gareth Barry, injured ankle ligaments this week and is now doubtful. And there’s still time for a Three Lions player to break a metatarsal bone, as is their custom every four years (Beckham in ’02; Rooney in ’06).

The world’s greatest sporting spectacle is just around the corner. Better start stretching.

The Weekly Dump – February 1st

Wayne Rooney

Wayne Rooney scored all four goals versus Hull City

Great news, it’s not broken! – Just a nasty hamstring injury that will limit Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen. You know your side is in desperate shape with injuries when the headline reads “Avoids Leg Break”. The injury occurred during the match with Aston Villa where the Gooners did their titles hopes no favors with a draw. Then on Sunday they let Manchester United walk all over them 3-1.

In a match shown in wonderous 3D – As if having your EPL title hopes squashed wasn’t bad enough, the feat was shown with the magic of 3D technology. Naturally someone had to throw in an Avatar reference.  We can blame Sky for bringing us Wayne Rooney’s ugly mug in glorious 3D.

Wayne Rooney insists he’s staying with ManU – Any time a player is rolling along like Rooney there is always speculation he’ll be lured away by dreams of magical paydays and the streets of London/Milan/etc. Rooney is shooting down those thoughts.

“There’s always speculation, and when other big teams are talking about you, it’s nice that you’re talked about,” Rooney told Manchester United’s official website. “But as I’ve said many times before, I’m a United player and I’m very happy here.”

Meanwhile, Rooney’s current and former agents are sniping – There seems to be a little £4.3 Million dispute between his agents he was but a young las at Proactive and his current agent, generally about fees on the massive sponsorship deals Rooney has accrued. This little tiff doesn’t seem to be affecting the league goal leader on the pitch as he just might crack the 30-goal barrier for the first time in his career.

Bottom dwelling Hull City draw with Chelsea – And we will speak of this no more. Although the tying goal from Drogba was quite nice.

Charlie Davies setting amazing recovery pace – As Dan mentioned earlier in the week, Charlie Davies was seen playing a little poker around Las Vegas this week. This comes on the heels of a great piece on ESPN about his recovery. After receiving horrific injuries in a car accident just a few months ago, the entire soccer world assumed there was a very slim chance he would be even close to stepping on a pitch let along compete for a spot. He suffered through a broken right femur and tibia, broken left elbow, a lacerated bladder, and facial fractures that required doctors to literally peel his face off to repair. The accident occurred on October 13th and he is already jogging and looking to be back on the field with FC Sochaux by April. If you read just one link this week, this should be your choice.

If Davies can complete his recovery on its new timetable, it will be some welcome good news for a U.S. team that just recently had midfielder Clint Dempsey sidelined by a PCL injury that threatened to jeopardize his World Cup. The U.S. team’s top striker before the accident, Davies brings a combination of speed, strength and finishing ability that no other player in the national team pool can provide, and a healthy Davies would provide a significant boost, both on and off the field.

Togo rewarded for losing members in an attack with expulsion – The most insane news of the week comes out of the bizarre world of African soccer. You would think ahead of the World Cup they would show a little common sense. Everyone knows by now the Togolese bus was ambushed ahead of their appearance in the African Nations Cup losing team members and staff. Understandably the team felt it necessary to return home and forfeit their matches after such a horrible ordeal. The Confederation of African Football responded by banning them from the next two African Nation Cup competitions and fined them $50,000US. I try to leave the punditry to others, but that’s $%^#@#$ insanity.

Charlie Davies Apparently Getting Better

The US striker had a major car accident in October, but he’s up and about these days, and says he should be ready to suit up for the South Africa squad.

He was seen recently playing $5/$10 no-limit hold’em at Bellagio in Las Vegas. No report on how well he wielded his stack.

davies-poker

[via BluffMagazine.com]