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The U.S. men's national team finally named its 20-man roster for the upcoming World Cup qualifier vs. Mexico on Wednesday and the group had no real surprises.
U.S. stars Tim Howard, Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley and Oguchi Onyewu lead the way.Here is the squad:
Goalkeepers– Tim Howard (Everton), Brad Guzan (Aston Villa)
Defenders– Oguchi Onyewu (AC Milan), Carlos Bocanegra (Rennes), Jay DeMerit (Watford), Jonathan Spector (West Ham United), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96), Chad Marshall (Columbus Crew), Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA)
Midfielders– Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Clint Dempsey (Fulham), Michael Bradley (Borussia Moenchengladbach), Ricardo Clark (Houston Dynamo), Benny Feilhaber (AGF Aarhus), Jose Francisco Torres (Pachuca), Stuart Holden (Houston Dynamo)
Forwards– Jozy Altidore (Hull City), Charlie Davies (Sochaux), Brian Ching (Houston Dynamo), Conor Casey (Colorado Rapids)
It's a pretty experienced group with only one player who hasn't appeared in a qualifier before (Holden).
Here are some thoughts on the group:
If there is a surprise (and it isn't much of one), it is Conor Casey getting the nod ahead of Kenny Cooper, but again, Casey is more a target forward than Cooper and the squad already has the likes of Davies, Altidore, Donovan and Dempsey who can play a similar forward role to Cooper. And before you get too crazy about Casey's inclusion, only 18 players dress, so he's as much Ching insurance as anything. If Ching is healthy enough to play on Wednesday, I doubt we'll see Casey in uniform on Wednesday.
Jonathan Bornstein gets the nod ahead of DaMarcus Beasley, who is officially on the outside looking in as far as World Cup aspirations. I thought Bornstein showed enough in the Confederations Cup to be considerable a viable back-up at left back to Bocanegra.
The rest of the group is pretty easy to predict. The fact that Torres is in the group should help ease concerns about his status in the pool.
So what is the starting lineup vs. Mexico? There's a very good chance it will look like this:
The two decisions to be made are at forward and right back. Will Bob Bradley go with the veteran Ching, or Jozy Altidore (or might he play them together)? Altidore and Davies showed good flashes together in the Confederations Cup, but Ching works well with the group and can help create chances for the likes of Donovan and Dempsey, as well as whoever he is partnered with up top.
At right back you have Spector, coming off a great Confederations Cup, against a healthy Cherundolo There is also some question about whether you go with Clark or Feilhaber but something tells me we see Clark and Bradley together vs. Mexico, with Feilhaber a second-half substitute.
Now it's your turn. What do you think of the group? Feeling confident about the U.S. team's chances?
Share your thoughts below.