The United States national team is in desperate need of a goal in the waning minutes. After a foul in the area, the referee points to the spot. Penalty! One problem. For whatever reason, Landon Donovan isn't on the matchday roster. Somebody else has to step up and take the kick.
In light of Clint Dempsey's penalty against Chelsea yesterday, it got us to thinking: Who in the U.S. player pool would be the best non-Donovan option should the situation arise?
Given Donovan's command of penalty-taking duties and his penchant for being a part of every crucial U.S. match, this is likely to be nothing more than a hypothetical situation; however, it's always good to be prepared for a surprise scenario.
So who are some of the top options?
For starters, there's Dempsey. Had Petr Cech guessed incorrectly, Dempsey would be lauded as a hero for winning yet another match for Fulham. Granted, penalties haven't been his strongsuit over time, but he represents perhaps the strongest overall offensive weapon available for coach Bob Bradley.
As for the strikers, World Cup participants Jozy Altidore, Herculez Gomez and Edson Buddle are all viable options, though not one of them has converted a penalty kick for the United States as recently as Teal Bunbury, whose PK against Chile rescued a draw in last month's friendly.
What about some of the other midfielders? Michael Bradley and Stuart Holden come to mind as two confident, skillful options who would have no problem overcoming the mental hurdle of the penalty situation.
Then there's the captain: Carlos Bocanegra. Who better to shoulder the pressure of an intense moment than the team's leader?
Those are just some of the possibilities. Who would you want to see step to the spot if Donovan were not available? Cast your vote here: