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The U.S. men's national team hasn't booked its place in the 2010 World Cup just yet, but a pair of recent qualifying wins has the Americans on the doorstep. This means we can keep looking ahead to 2010 and thinking about what the team will look like that heads to South Africa.
Recent qualifiers have helped some players move into prime position to be considered, while some others have seen their World Cup hopes fade even further. There is still plenty of time though so the group that makes sense now, could look very different come next June.
If you missed it, here was our 23 for 2010 for August. There are only a few changes to this month's group, though there is plenty of jockeying for position going on.
Now, here is the group of 23 players we see the U.S. team taking to the 2010 World Cup as of right now:
SBI 23 for 2010 (September 2009 edition)
GOALKEEPERS– Tim Howard, Brad Guzan, Troy Perkins
DEFENDERS– Carlos Bocanegra, Oguchi Onyewu, Jay DeMerit, Jonathan Spector, Steve Cherundolo, Chad Marshall, Clarence Goodson, Jonathan Bornstein
MIDFIELDERS– Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley, Ricardo Clark, Benny Feilhaber, Maurice Edu, Jose Francisco Torres, Stuart Holden, Robbie Rogers
FORWARDS– Landon Donovan, Jozy Altidore, Charlie Davies, Brian Ching,
Here's a closer look at the positions:
GOALKEEPERS– This threesome remains the same, with Marcus Hahnemann continuing to be Perkins' biggest competition for the third goalkeeper spot.
DEFENDERS– Jonathan Bornstein makes the list by virtue of his recent starts, and his solid performance vs. Trinidad & Tobago. Frankie Hejduk has to fight to get his place on the roster back while Heath Pearce may benefit from getting games in MLS.
Jimmy Conrad has become the forgotten man after his Gold Cup concussion, but he deserves to be in the discussion, as does Michael Orozco, who merits a look in the upcoming qualifiers. As for Edgar Castillo, he needs to play for the national team and show what he can do before he can be projected as someone Bob Bradley would take to South Africa. If he gets a look in the upcoming qualifiers, and can impress at left back, he could slide into the 23 for 2010 by October.
MIDFIELDERS– DaMarcus Beasley's inability to secure a transfer or loan for the fall drops him off this list. Robbie Rogers gets the nod this go-round but two names that merit consideration are Mikkel Diskerud and Alejandro Bedoya. Diskerud is part of the U.S. Under-20 national team and doing well in Norway while Bedoya, a left-footed player, has begun to establish himself in Sweden.
Central midfield remains a jam-packed position and continues to await the inclusion of Jermaine Jones, who has now suffered an injury setback. Torres' solidified his place with a quality cameo vs. El Salvador while Feilhaber continues to impress. Maurice Edu is still working his way back from knee surgery but will hold onto his spot for now, and should keep it if he returns to the Rangers starting lineup. Kyle Beckerman is on the fringes, but may not have helped his cause with his showing vs. El Salvador.
If there's a player who improved his stock more than anybody else over the past month it's Holden, who is a lock right now.
FORWARDS– This foursome remains the same for now, but there are players worth considering. Kenny Cooper enjoyed a strong first month in the German Bundesliga 2 with 1860 Munich and will move closer to a roster spot if he can keep it going. Conor Casey remains Ching's biggest competition as a target forward on the roster. Others to watch are Eddie Johnson, who is seeing spot duty with Fulham, and speedy Robbie Findley, who could be called on if anything happened to Davies. Chris Pontius also remains on the radar.
What do you think of this group? Which player do you think should be on the list? Who made the team that you don't think should be on it?
Share your thoughts below.