Thoughts on the U.S. World Cup roster

USAvsNetherlandsSquad (ISIphotos.com)

Photo by John Todd/ISIphotos.com

Now that we have had a few hours to digest the selections made by Bob Bradley for the 23-man World Cup roster, it is time to take a step back and think about what the selections mean, and what the team looks like now.

Here is my piece for Fox Soccer on the selections and the squad the United States will be taking to South Africa.

Here are some more thoughts as I make the trip down to Philadelphia for Saturday's match vs. Turkey (and sit in some brutal New York traffic):

All eleven starters from the U.S. team's friendly loss to the Netherlands made the World Cup team. Perhaps we should have given Findley more credit for being higher up in the pecking order than we thought based on the start in that match.

I'm still surprised about Brian Ching. What's funny is that when Bob Bradley spoke after Tuesday's match and talked about a forward being able to make the transition to the international level, most observers thought his comments were subtly pointed at Edson Buddle. Listening to them now, they sound very much like comments about Ching.

One player who wasn't surprised by the forward selections was Tim Howard, who had talked up the forwards all week. Howard believes the U.S. team is in great position to benefit from two in-form strikes like Buddle and Gomez.

Talking to Robbie Findley about his selection, I noticed a word tattoed on his left hand. The word was humility, and talking to the RSL striker I found a grounded player who was certainly a surprising pick, but who isn't likely to take the selection for granted.

Will Findley make an impact? Based on the past few months it's hard to believe so, but remembering the Findley who helped RSL win the MLS Cup title, it isn't as if he's completely incapable of contributing when healthy.

Alejandro Bedoya did impress in camp, but his relative inexperience proved too much to overcome. I would put good money on him continuing to progress and being a strong candidate in 2014.

Jonathan Bornstein goes as the seventh defender, but at this point I really don't see him getting minutes in the World Cup. He should get a look in the Turkey game as a sub, but at this point it's tough to see him being used much.

As much of a concern as left back is, Beasley's form is promising for the position. Not just because he could offer an option there, but if he starts on the left flank he can provide defensive support for Carlos Bocanegra or Jonathan Spector against England's speedy right wingers. He certainly bailed his teammates out repeatedly by tracking back and


Now that you have had some time to soak in the 23-man roster, what do you think of the group? Still think Ching should have made the 23? Think Findley will surprise?

Share your thoughts below.

  • jayrig5

    You don’t have to pick an 18 for a World Cup game, all 23 are active. It was the same for the Confederation’s Cup last year.


  • Der_Amerikanische_Kaiser

    Having preminitions of France 98 and Germany 2006 all over again. The D scares me. Gooch proved that some white men can, IN FACT, jump, and DeMeritt, although he didn’t play, may need a seeing eye dog.

    I thought the same as many did on Ching – didn’t belong. But after seeing him pairing with his partners and the rest of his mates yesterday, nifty combinations, the chemistry (everything a coach is looking for right? I guess that wasn’t the case in the mind of Bradley. Findley? Are you kidding me?


  • usftublog

    He won’t as long as Bocanegra and DeMerit are healthy and ready to go….Bornstein wasn’t so horrible in the Czech game though compared to Pearce


  • usftublog

    Bradley would never leave Bocanegra off the starting lineup unless he was injured. Also, Spector has never been as comfortable playing left back where as Boca plays out there for his club team.


  • usftublog

    I completely agree with your assessment. Holden has to start, which would push Dempsey up top with Jozy. Then you have two quality striker subs like Gomez and the speedy Buddle. I do prefer Buddle over Findley just because he is the one in better form right now.


  • usftublog

    Yea I completely agree we should try different formations against Turkey. Bradley’s stagnant 4-4-2 isn’t very effective against elite teams. I also agree with a 4-4-1-1, which gives Donovan space to create and run all over the pitch. However, leaving Jozy stranded up top could cause some offensive struggles if the midfield is not doing a good enough job winning the ball.


  • usftublog

    Remember you had Heath Pearce play left back for the 2nd half and Rogers on the left wing, which was a side we were constantly being beaten on and both players didn’t make the world cup roster. Also, the central midfield looked exposed with Kljestan out there, leading to many attacking advantages for the Czechs. Don’t be too worried, unless “Gooch” doesn’t improve against Turkey and Boca gives an injury ridden performance.


  • usftublog

    Bornstein probably won’t start as long as DeMerit and Boca are healthy. Also, as bad as he has looked at times he is really are only serviceable left back at the current time to back-up Boca. I don’t like the idea of Spector at left back because of his poor play there with West Ham.


  • Brad

    PTI on ESPN? Those two know absolutely nada about soccer. They should have Lalas or a different soccer fan come in every day when the WC is on to analyze the day’s matches for them…


  • Leonardo

    GREAT post!

    Holden – def not 100%. he was lagging and his last 3 crosses were all terrible. his stamina is not 100%. i sure hope he recovers quickly.

    i also think torres showed great control of possession in the game – he is confident and in control – and deserves a move up the roster to sub at least


  • Leonardo

    Gomez the Great! he’s electric! and this team def needs a player like that coming off the bench. im so stoked about Gomez!

    look how stoked he is. this is a video id show kids aspiring to fulfill their dreams.


  • Juan from L.A.

    Ives i hope it was a typo what you said and you have Beasley as a left mid not the leftback. I too agree that he is not ready for that. He will get smoked. I totally agree in maybe taking the left wing or left mid but then what do you with Donovan put him on the right and then waht with Dempsey upfront with Altidore? I guess it would work, only for the England match. The other matches we need to control the mid and both Dempsey and Donovan need to be in it or Holden and move Dempsey upfront.


  • Warren

    Yeah aside from ending world #1 Spain’s 35 game winning streak and almost taking out Brazil the US hasn’t been able to do anything playing 4-4-2.

    Unless you count finishing #1 in CONACAF qualifying….

    So yeah makes a lot of sense to throw out the only formation that has worked of late, given the talent, or limitations thereof.


  • The Imperative Voice

    The midfield selections were obvious but his other choices — including who to bring to camp in the first place — leave a little to be desired. Findley was not even the best speedster we gave time this year, Cunningham was (even scored a goal in a friendly, while Findley looked adrift) and he didn’t even make the camp. Plus, in order to put speed on the roster, he left off the only target man in camp. That’s like picking Oduro over Ching. Altidore, Buddle, Gomez, and Findley are all pretty feckless target players. Altidore is often unable to simply trap a ball. I basically worry he got too cute and left basic holding play that any team needs off the roster. It doesn’t matter if the forwards can run if we prove, like at the last World Cup, to have difficulties securing the ball up top and even advancing it out of our own end. I basically fear it’ll be three games of longballs to no one and if we advance it will be at the expense of the teams other than England, not because we’ve put together a well-oiled machine.

    Plus, I don’t understand the fullback players he brought into camp (some of the problem starts with who he called up in the first place….too many center backs like Marshall and not enough wings). Why, if he’s so experimental at forward, willing to drop Ching for unproven forwards, did he call up the same set of backline messups who’ve been leaking goals all year, including two obviously useless left backs (Bornstein and Pearce), who proved it yet again the other night against the Czechs? When Clarence Goodson is your rock you have a problem. Even more than the forwards, I fear his inability to get a decent backline cobbled together over 4 years may seal our fate (his supposed “ace” in the hole of pushing Edu back is clearly a work in progress I’d not depend on this year, after the other night). If you looked at most of the friendlies and qualifiers going back a ways, we’ve given up a lot of goals and not won a lot recently. I can’t believe he was so passive and status quo about this obvious failing.


  • The Imperative Voice

    Admirably? You realize Edu got turned for a goal that easy by the Czechs?


  • The Imperative Voice

    He completely left holdup play off the roster to add his fast forward. Bluntly, I felt like Buddle offered most of what Findley does, on a hot streak, with more finesse. Findley’s not shown he has the touch at the international level to even be useful.


  • A Guest

    Given our stack of injured back-line players… I kind of agree with this lineup.


  • NC Jeff

    Part of the number of US starters in ’06 was due to red card suspensions. Hopefully, we can avoid Larrionda and red cards in ’10.


  • war

    if Boca is fit, he plays LB. Goodson is good cover for Gooch(esp for dealing with Crouch)so we can put Goodson in with Demerit instead of moving Boca(making JB get some time). I’d take Cherundolo at LB if Boca isn’t fit and keep spector at RB.

    With Findley, he’s going to be a sub, but Gomez has the history of being THE super-sub. He’s the magician. Can’t go wrong with Herculez on your team. Maybe, but better than Findley.

    I also just rewatched the USA-Italy game and BB used 3-3-3.

    Any chance we’d see





    It looks good from the front until you get to the D…


  • war

    that’s not my preferred one. We have too slow of a D to only play three. It could be a 3-5-1, but Jozy doesn’t do well alone, so LD and Decue would go up to support. We all kind of know there are only 2 line ups. It just depends on whether Deuce is up top or not. Then Holden would come in/Beasley. The D is confed cup sans JB. Even ives is saying he wont get time which i believe he thought JB would get.


  • john godfrey

    A lot of people are saying that Findley is the 23rd guy on the roster and he won’t get a sniff of the field in South Africa, but I’m not sure that’s true. The fact that he wrapped up a spot on the team before the Czech game suggests he might be the 11th guy on the roster — a starter. If he starts this Saturday, I’m guessing that’s BB’s plan for June 12th too.


  • beachbum

    wow, am I bored with this commentary…what should have been done? you say Cunningham instead of Findley, for example? whoa Nellie

    also, does not appear you watched Jozy play at Hull this season, or you’d have a different perspective on the current state of his game.

    and at left back, exactly who should it be? we all know it’s a weakness…duh.


  • Lost in Space

    I’ve often thought that a 3-5-2 might be someting to explore with the USMNT. However, the US is more defensive/counter attacking with its stratagies. So if we were to use 3-5-2, I believe it’d be more along a 3-2-3-2 formation like this….






    Requires a stay at Home approach to the defense with Edu & Clark supporting both an attack and defense.


  • D

    LD can take the set pieces. With our mids faced off against the likes of Lampard, Gerrard, Barry, or whoever else they throw in the middle, we’re gonna need better coverage than Holden (and I’m not a fan of BB’s 2 DMid system, but it’s a must for game 1).

    I would also love to see some speed at forward to take advantage of their two slow CBs who have been poor at the end of the season. But, I don’t see it being a possibility unless it’s LD up top. Dempsey doesn’t track back on the wings…


  • The Imperative Voice

    Why would you take Findley over Cunningham when Cunningham has the superior professional goalscoring plus at least some history of NT scoring? We don’t have the slightest clue if Findley is up to the task, and he didn’t show me anything when he played.

    Plus, I understand the “speed” argument but no one seems to be understanding that it’s coming at the expense of a holding forward. We’ve traded away any holding ability for speed. Anyone who’s seen Dom Oduro can tell you speed alone does not a forward make.

    I’ve seen Jozy play and all due respect but he’s a bit of a donkey. If that’s who you are depending on running off of it may not work. You really want to depend on Jozy to set up Landon et al?

    And my point re left back was that not only did Bradley choose Bornstein and consider Pearce — both of whom have played bad for the Nats a lot — he didn’t give them any competition in the camp. Having seen left back stink it up, why call in the same set of people to the camp from which you pick the 23? It’s no wonder the defense looks hopeless. There has been no real competition or accountability for performance. Which is odd because Bradley at the same time was very flip and risky with his forwards…..Gomez, Buddle, Findley? If you’d mentioned them in January people would have thought you were nuts…..so why didn’t you call in a left back to push or replace the awful ones? It’s kind of like Arena’s dithering at the same spot only to try Eddie Lewis at Germany. With 4 years I don’t understand how you have a position not figured out, especially when you give Bornstein 9 lives.


  • beachbum

    we don’t have a deep talent pool at left back yet…get used to it. and as usual with this line of griping, you don’t mention a player that should have been tried there at left back instead.

    and I am not defending the Findley choice, would have picked Brian myself, just find the Cunningham idea laughable

    your analysis of Jozy reveals you did not watch his season develop at Hull, and your assessment ability needs a serious upgrade in information…you called him a donkey. and i can’t wait to see him link with Landon, Clint and the rest!

    Hee Haw!


  • JuniorDosSantos

    that lineup would be great except you gotta take out beasley from LB and replace with Spector.

    OH HOW I WISH WE PLAYED A 4-5-1, donavon and dempsey would score so many goals. Maybe switch Edu and bradley or put torres in for Edu.


  • Life of

    “Gomez, the Magic Man, because he’s our best forward option not named Jozy or Dempsey. Plus everyone knows he’ll work his tail off.”

    What makes you think any one of these players won’t work their tail off? You think it was easy getting into the final 23? You Bob’s boys like Sacha and Ching can take it easy?

    Oh. that’s right their not here!


  • VictoriaTX

    I think your basic assumption is a crock.

    The US might not qualify for 2014.

    Findley may not be around for 2014.

    Bradley may not be around for 2014.

    The World Cup is a once in a lifetime thing. Many fantastic players have never played in one ( George Best, Ryan Giggs) and if you think Bradley or any of these guys is thinking about 2014 you’re smoking or consuming a lot of probably illegal substances( unless you have a medical waiver).


  • RamiroCorrales

    I’d put him on the right so he can cut in and shoot( see Robben, Champions Cup final)


  • bf

    yes… crazy… Findley choked against Holland. He cannot take on players, but then maybe Bob sees something the rest of us haven’t.


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