U.S. men’s national team coach Bob Bradley has named his 20-man roster for the upcoming games against Cuba and Trinidad & Tobago.
Here it is:
- GOALKEEPERS : Brad Guzan (Aston Villa: 2/2 SO), Tim Howard (Everton FC: 4/3 SO)
- DEFENDERS: Carlos Bocanegra (Rennes: 14/2), Danny Califf (FC Midtjylland: 2/0), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96: 16/0), Frankie Hejduk (Columbus Crew: 12/1), Oguchi Onyewu (Standard de Liege: 9/0), Michael Orozco (San Luis: 0/0), Heath Pearce (Hansa Rostock: 3/0), Marvell Wynne (Toronto FC: 0/0)
- MIDFIELDERS: DaMarcus Beasley (Glasgow Rangers: 17/4), Michael Bradley (SC Heerenveen: 3/1), Ricardo Clark (Houston Dynamo: 1/0), Maurice Edu (Glasgow Rangers: 2/0), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA: 1/0), Eddie Lewis (Los Angeles Galaxy: 20/3)
- FORWARDS: Brian Ching (Houston Dynamo: 8/4), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy: 22/8), Clint Dempsey (Fulham FC: 9/2), Eddie Johnson (Cardiff City: 8/8)
*numbers indicate all-time World Cup Qualifying caps/goals
Michael Orozco and Marvell Wynne are the new faces, earning call-ups after their performances at the Olympics while Ricardo Clark replaces injured central midfielder Pablo Mastroeni. The other 17 players are the same group that made up the squad that beat Guatemala, 1-0, last week. You might be surprised to see Steve Cherundolo on the list but he is just suspended for the Cuba match, meaning he should be in the lineup vs. Trinidad & Tobago.
As for the absences most likely to cause a stir among fans, Kenny Cooper, Freddy Adu and Jozy Altidore are not on the roster, which is probably causing some U.S. national team supporters to go crazy.
Here’s a closer look at the squad:
So why no Altidore, Adu and Cooper? Bob Bradley has decided to go with veteran options in attack while giving newcomers Orozco and Wynne look in the back-line, where Cherundolo’s red card suspension from the Cuba matc has opened the door for one of them to possibly get some playing time.
So why no Cooper? I offered this explanation as to why we haven’t seen the FC Dallas striker in a Q&A this morning:
It boils down to this. Bradley has had Cooper in camp, had him in camp in January of 2007. At that time Cooper was not impressive and didn’t play that well in the camp. Even before he could work his way back into serious consideration he suffered an injury last year. Fast forward to now, while Cooper has emerged as a great goal-scoring threat in MLS, you could argue that he was also scoring goals in MLS in 2006, which is right before he went into that 2007 camp and failed to impress. Now, I think Bradley would want to be able to bring Cooper into another camp and have a long look at him in training, playing against fellow national team players to see how much he has really progressed.
I think this still applies. I’m sure part of the angst from fans over Cooper is the fact that Eddie Johnson is getting call-ups even though he has struggled mightily with the national team. While this is true, Johnson does have a track record of playing well against lower-level CONCACAF teams (eight goals in eight World Cup qualifiers) so these games could theoretically be the type of games that help Johnson get going on the national team.
So why no Altidore and Adu? Perhaps Bradley wasn’t impressed with Adu at the Olympics, where he played well against the Dutch but struggled mightily against Japan. He did have that quality half against Spain and showed some glimpses late in the England game, but there must be something. Could it be a desire to led Adu settle at Monaco? The French club is off for two weeks so that doesn’t seem to be the reason.
As for Altidore, there may be more to his exclusion than meets the eye. The story coming out of the Olympics was that he was slowed by an ankle injury, but the injury doesn’t seem to be affecting his transition to Villarreal. (Not getting anywhere on the story I heard regarding the real reason behind Altidore’s lack of playing time at the Olympics, but let’s just say don’t be surprised if Altidore isn’t seen on the national team any time soon.)
What do you think of the roster? Happy to see Wynne included? Surprised to see Orozco included? Angry as heck that Cooper/Adu/Altidore were left off?
Share your thoughts below.