U.S. Coach Bob Bradley is set to announce his provisional 30-man roster for South Africa tomorrow at 2 p.m. (Eastern), which gives me perfect opportunity to speculate which Americans might be on the list.
That’s what blogs are for, yes? Let’s get right to the action.
Goalkeepers: Tim Howard, Brad Guzan, Marcus Hahnemann
And done. Doubt a 4th GK will get called into camp.
Defenders: Steve Cherundolo, Jonathan Spector, Oguchi Onyewu, Jay DeMerit, Carlos Bocanegra, Jonathan Bornstein
Midfielders: Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley, Ricardo Clark, Maurice Edu, Stuart Holden, Jose Francisco Torres, Benny Feilhaber
Forwards: Jozy Altidore
That’s 18. Lotta work still to do.
Heath Pearce, Chad Marshall, Clarence Goodson, Edgar Castillo, Frankie Hejduk
Goodson has shown well in recent call-ups, so he has a leg up. Pearce is playing midfield in MLS, but is a Bradley favorite and and Marshall is just returning from injury. Everybody likes having Frankie around, but he’s showing his age recently and without pace his is nothing. Castillo is a long-shot due to his (lack of) size.
Joe Speaker’s picks: Goodson, Marshall, Castillo
Bob Bradley’s picks: Goodson, Marshall, Pearce
DaMarcus Beasley, Sacha Kljestan, Freddy Adu, Kyle Beckerman, Alejandro Bedoya, Robbie Rogers
A few months ago, as my friend Jorginho and I tried to pick a 23-man roster, I surprised him by including Beckerman. My thinking is this: both Bradley and Clark have shown themselves to be card prone, so if one of them gets a suspension, we’re left without cover in the middle of the park, so Beckerman needs to be included as a “destroyer,” since Coach Bradley is loathe to have a more offensive-minded player in the middle (ie Feilhaber). Beasley would be a useful option off the bench and Kljestan’s ties to Bradley Sr. make him a likely candidate and make me liable to puke in my mouth a little. Adu and Rogers are longshots thanks to poor form and middling results with the national team, but the inclusion of youngster Bedoya might surprise.
Joe Speaker’s picks: Beasley, Beckerman, Bedoya
Bob Bradley’s picks: Beasley, Kljestan, Bedoya
Brian Ching, Conor Casey, Kenny Cooper, Robbie Findley, Eddie Johnson, Edson Buddle, Herculez Gomez, Charlie Davies
Sigh. Not exactly awe-inspiring, is it? I expect a complete handful of these guys to get the call, considering the state of flux at the position. The final roster might include only three true forwards, but it’s a cattle call for now. Naturally, a healthy Charlie Davies is what we all hope for, but I personally believe the odds are pretty stacked against him. I’ll leave out Casey, Findley and Cooper on general principle (that principle being that they aren’t any good) and include the rest of the gang due to their recent goal-scoring form, although the only one about whom I can even generate the slightest excitement is EJ, who has been scoring recently in Greece and has previously shown to be dangerous when in form.
Joe Speaker’s picks: Ching, EJ, Gomez, Buddle, Davies
Bob Bradley’s picks: Ching, Casey, EJ, Buddle, Davies
That’s only 29. I’m sticking there, because there is no way I’m putting Robbie Findley on this roster.
Your team in comments.
(Bonus note: SI’s team of soccer writers, including the above-mentioned Jorginho, select their final 23 for South Africa–not the 30-man like I’m doing above–and it includes some interesting names Brian McBride?)