Photo by ISIphotos.com
By ADAM SERRANO
CARSON, Calif.–The U.S. Men's National Team is set to head to Florida for its upcoming match against El Salvador, where the focus will be on reviewing the domestic players who expect to be contenders for World Cup roster slots in June. With the club traveling to Central Florida on Sunday,those who find themselves on the bubble are looking to make their case known to Head Coach Bob Bradley.
"Anybody who comes into a January of February camp during a World Cup year understands the importance of doing well. It's never an easy camp," said Bradley. "The last camp when we looked at everything, we weren't satisfied because we didn't play well enough against Honduras so now we'll see if this time will be different "
One player fighting for a spot is Columbus Crew winger Robbie Rogers, who is eager to play in his first World Cup. Rogers started and played 90 minutes against Honduras in January, but he played a majority of the match out of position, moving to left back after an early red card forced a move from midfield. He is fully aware that Wednesday's match could be his last chance to showcase himself for a full match.
"When you're on the bubble, you still have to keep working hard," Rogers said. "This is going to be an important game for me and our team and we want to get our first win of 2010 to get that momentum going into the World Cup.
"It's a chance for me to prove to the coaches that I should be considered for a spot and that I deserve that spot."
In recent weeks, the impressive play of a number of the European based players like the resurgence of Freddy Adu has signaled an increased pressure for the Columbus Crew winger. Despite the increased competition, Rogers remains undeterred at continuing to look for improve as he pushes for a place on the roster.
"I think I need to be consistent and score some goals for the team and work on the defensive part of the game. You have to have the whole package and prove that you're hungry to get on the squad," said Rogers.
Another big story on the final day of the team's LA based camp was the continued rehabilitation of defender Oguchi Onyewu. The AC Milan center back participated in light training for a third day even taking part in a number of small training scrimmages with the rest of the squad.
Onyewu who is preparing for a return to Italy has looked impressive by all accounts during training seeming very active while participating in drills. Head Coach Bob Bradley was vocal in his approval of Onyewu's continued development.
"He's starting to do a lot of individual ball work and he's just starting to get on the field in small team exercises where he has that opportunity to take that next step and that's what has happened," said Bradley. "It's a sign of progress and a reward that the work has paid off to get back to this point and hopefully he'll keep pushing. He has worked incredibly hard."
Coach Bradley also made a point to praise the recent play of Landon Donovan who shined today in Everton's 3-1 victory over Manchester United this morning.
"(Everton) has played well in this stretch and he has been a big part in the effort of every game. It's great for (Landon) and his confidence," said Bradley. "It says a lot for what we're all about."
The national team released its travel roster on Saturday and three players were sent back home. Philadelphia Union defender Michael Orozco and Los Angeles Galaxy centerback Omar Gonzalez were each sent back to rejoin their respective club's preseason program while currently out of contract goalkeeper Kevin Hartman also left camp.