U.S. Men's National Team

Projecting the USA Gold Cup roster: March Edition


The CONCACAF Gold Cup is now less than ten weeks away, and with the U.S. men’s national team having its final two friendlies before June, players hoping for spots on the roster have done what they can do on the national team level to impress head coach Bob Bradley and earn a place on the U.S. roster.

Players can still impress or fall behind based on club form, but it’s a safe bet that Bradley has a good idea which players he’s  going to choose from when he selects his 23-man roster in May.

Forward Juan Agudelo and defenders Timmy Chandler and Tim Ream were the big winners in the national team’s most recent camp and set of friendlies, with each of them looking like good bets to make the Gold Cup roster when it wasn’t too long ago that all three were either considered long shots or weren’t even on the radar.

Our Projected Gold Cup roster for the month of March isn't much different from our February Roster Projection, with Timmy Chandler and Jay DeMerit joining the squad, while Stuart Holden and Clarence Goodson were not on this month's projection.

Here is a closer look at the players who look like the best bets to make this summer’s U.S. Gold Cup roster:

PROJECTED 2011 Gold Cup Roster

GOALKEEPERS– Tim Howard, Marcus Hahnemann, Brad Guzan

DEFENDERS– Carlos Bocanegra, Steve Cherundolo, Oguchi Onyewu, Timmy Chandler, Jonathan Spector, Eric Lichaj, Tim Ream, Jay DeMerit

MIDFIELDERS– Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones, Maurice Edu, Sacha Kljestan, Benny Feilhaber, Alejandro Bedoya 

FORWARDS– Jozy Altidore, Juan Agudelo, Edson Buddle, Teal Bunbury


Here are some thoughts on the picks:

GOALKEEPER– As we reported in our last projection, Brad Guzan is getting married this summer, but the word we're getting is that it's not a sure bet that he misses the entire tournament. We can see David Yelldell getting the call if Guzan winds up missing the tournament.

DEFENDERS– The surprising omission from this group is Clarence Goodson, who gets edged out by the emergence of Tim Ream and the return of Jay DeMerit. Goodson could play himself onto the team (he's out with a broken toe), but it could be tough going. As for fullback, we don't have a left back on the squad to back up Carlos Bocanegra, so you could still see someone like Heath Pearce or Zach Loyd edging out a Lichaj, but after another shaky match I can't put Jonathan Bornstein on this list.

MIDFIELDERS– No real surprises here. Alejandro Bedoya gets the call over Mikkel Diskerud, who failed to get a minute despite being called up for the March friendlies. Bedoya helps fill the need for players who can play on the wing, but Bedoya could also provide an attacking option in the middle. The rest of the group seems pretty clear-cut, though you wonder if Ricardo Clark can play his way onto the radar with a good two months with Eintracht Frankfurt.

FORWARDS– The same quartet as last month. Jozy Altidore is slumping but is still a safe bet to make the team. Juan Agudelo solidified his place on the squad. Edson Buddle is a big option while Bunbury remains a good option. Buddle and Bunbury beat out Wondolowski and Eddie Johnson. 


What do you think of the squad? Which players do you think should be on the squad? Which players do you are you surprised to see included in our projection?

Share your thoughts below.

  • Jeremy Mikell

    “Confidence” being his biggest hurdle are CD9’s words. He’s stated he’s pretty much back in his fitness (although I’d say he’s probably got a little more game fitness to go) and that getting his confidence/swagger back is all he has left to do.


  • Louis Z

    Wow! selecting between Goodson and Spector as an alternate for the CB position, talk about not much love for Goodson. Not sure what else this guy can do be regarded higher


  • Tim M.

    ponce will probably be on the mexican u-23 that goes to the copa america. he loves chivas too much and it hurt anyways i think.


  • wilyboy

    Mixx is playing better than Bedoya right now, and call ups seem to do little for the latter’s confidence.


  • Neruda

    I’d love to see Bunbury and Agudelo start together in on or more GC game. These two seem to know each other well and it may serve to motivate Jozy.


  • Dennis

    Actually, I thought Bornstein had a decent game defensively. It was clear he was taking that responsibility more seriously. But he did look a bit rusty, he usually can make some of the plays he tried and failed against Paraguay.

    Not sure there is a real option at LB other than Boca and JB. The other suspects who have been tried did not really do any better. Maybe Lloyd will step it up or maybe Convey can do it, but I think both of those are long-shots.

    Spector might have seen his last call-up in some time. He is clearly behind ‘dolo and Chandler and probably Lichaj as well. In the midfield he is pretty far down the pecking order. Too bad, he has been ok, but the others have looked better in recent games.


  • Dennis

    Well, CBs need to defend first and Demerit does that well. I suspect we will continue to see one of Demerit, Onyewu or Boca at CB for some time until younger players in addition to Ream actually look ready to handle the 90 minutes of attention CBs must bring to the task.

    There is nothing harder for a team to recover from than defensive errors made by CBs, especially if that CB is young and untested, it can shake the confidence of the entire team.


  • JR

    Did we really see the emergence of Tim Ream? Paraguay was hardly doing a great deal of attacking in that game. Ream was ok, the speed of what the U.S. wanted to do didn’t leave him behind. I wouldn’t mind seeing more, but the Paraguay game didn’t establish him.


  • Dennis

    Really, in the GC the US will play teams who defend and pack the PA and Mexico. I suspect we need to utilize attacking minded backs and more attack-minded midfielders for all games but Mexico. The non-Mexican teams will try to defend and counter, our CBs better be able to handle that and the outside backs better not both get forward at the same time or we might be 1 down and facing 10 players in the Penalty area. Players who can break-down a packed defense, will be needed. Bite my tongue, but an Adu could be useful to dribble in the box.

    Against Mexico, who, I think likes to attack up the wings and cross, we better have outside backs with some speed who have the discipline to stay home most of the time. I think that against Mexico, it will be more of an open game with chances for both teams to possess the ball and score rather than one team bunkering down. Also, against Mexico, there will be some very physical play and the US better keep its composure.


  • Jason B

    I think that was his April Fool’s prank on his Twitter followers since I have seen nothing about it from an independent source.


  • Hush

    Here is my wish list. If Chuck is having a great season in the MLS in two months, no question he needs to be called in. The whole point of the National Team is to get players that are in rhythm and on FFIIIRREE!

    Here is my players I’m going to be pulling for.

    Charlie Davies & Freddy Adu. Two great technical players that could do some serious damage up front.

    Buddle & Sasha seem like a waste of roster spots. I’m hoping Chuck & Adu take these two guys spots. Hate it or love it!


  • Warren

    He was deer in headlights at Cup; and before that, fall guy for goals MB miscues caused.

    So…it’s a long road back for him.


  • Bryan

    Bedoya has done nothing to earn the spot. The only time I ever hear anyone mention the guys name is on this site


  • Ben

    Yes, his own words, and therefore, unfortunately, there is some reason to doubt them. He still doesn’t look anywhere close to the player who scored in Azteca, and I’m not sure he will ever get that speed and quickness back.


  • B Foley

    I am just curious how much longer we will continue to ignore the development at left back. I think Bornstein’s defensive abilities are comparable to Lloyd/Convey, but his inability to contribute to the attack leave Landon on an island. He often left with no support/ overlapping runs. If we want to compete with the top teams on a consistent basis we can not be a one sided attacking team. I feel like we missed an opportunity to give Lloyd a run with the first team. At least we would know what he can do with the top talent.


  • Ben

    I completely agree with number 1. Whether it is Lyod or not, we need to expand the leftback we are looking at because while the ones we have might pass in CONCACAF, they are liable to be toasted by good teams, like Argentina tormenting Boca. As for 2, I think so, because it would allow you to bring in some younger players if you can have a guy as cover for several positions. As for 4, really? Maybe Starikov, maybe Torres, perhaps Pearce, but Jeffrey and Peterlin? Just no.


  • Ben

    Yeah, I don’t know how Kljestan keeps getting calls. It seems obvious he just isn’t going to contribute in a meaningful way, so why not use that roster spot to bring in a young guy with promise?


  • Ben

    That is an interesting question and I’ve been wondering about it as well. Compared to much of Europe, I think it is at that point. So, I’d take an inform MLS player over someone sitting or struggling in any of the smaller leagues, even the Dutch. I would tip the scale in the other direction for the big leagues, England, Germany, Spain, and so on, but that the question doesn’t make me convulse with laughter is a good sign. Hooray MLS!


  • Ben

    Ah, so true. Ives goes about with a picture of Bedoya in his wallet, when he is with his wife, he is really thinking about Alejandro, and at night, before he goes to sleep, Ives listening to Gaga’s Alejandro on repeat, then drifts to the realm of the unconscious, dreaming of running his fingers through Alejandro’s luscious hair.

    (It’s a joke Ives, don’t hate me!)

    (SBI-Don’t call my name.)


  • Robert Daniels

    What medical school did you go to Dr.? I don’t think any of us are qualified to make that statement.


  • Rex

    Say what you want about Clark, but look at his history in CONCACAF. He is great at disrupting teams in this part of the world.


  • DC Josh

    I hope we never see Bornstein again. He is shocking. You could make an argument for Charlie Davies to make a comeback. If he starts getting 90 minutes and scores goals, there is no way he doesn’t get a call-up to the camp, at the very least.


  • Ben

    I love when people throw that out there, as if you needed to go to medical school to know about devastating injuries in the past from which players never wholly recovered. I’m basing my opinion on things like Chris Webber, Bo Jackson, and I dont know, lots and lots of other athletes. I’m not diagnosing the injury, nor am I operating on it, so I don’t need a medical degree.


  • Simon says

    Amazing how you can tell “soccer” is new to Americans. In the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s most pre-game team pictures had the players putting their hands on the legs of the player next to him. Did not matter if it was Germany or Brazil or whomever. Just google any team and check out the photos!


  • Robert Daniels

    The point is Ben, that its way to early to say that he’s done. Charile Davies isn’t Bo Jackson or Chris Webber, and he’s looked pretty good so far. I would wait at least 20 more seconds into his next match to write him off again.


  • ChrisTheLSUTiger

    I don’t want to see Clark in the midfield either, but maybe he can keep playing well at CB and help us there.


  • Murph


    If “Jozy Altidore is slumping but is still a safe bet to make the team.” How many m,ore chances does he get before he’s replaced with a gaol producer?

    Diskerud seems a talent that has been missing from the US squad. If he doesn’t make the team, who’s the creative player in the middle?


  • EAscott

    yeah, why do we need Spector, Lichaj, Cherundolo, and Chandler. I would say we need Loyd or Pearce over Spector or Lichaj…


  • PanchoMiguelMoralesdeConejo

    He’s played in two for the Gal’s, Seattle on First Kick Tuesday, then against NE Revolution.
    and he did not look sharp in either game, nor against Argentina or Paraguay. I wouldn’t call it a ‘loss of speed’, but rather a loss of form.


  • Poor Richard

    I agree with this roster in terms of a projection about who will make and who won’t. But I have to say that we need to allow (much) younger players the chance to assert themselves while keeping veterans around.

    So I would add Zach Loyd in for sure at left back. He has tremendous potential and seems to be growing as a player very quickly. He reminds me of a 1998 Frankie. Then we cut Spector. His Confederations Cup performance is beginning to feel like a fluke. He is a versatile player, though. Also, I take Goodson over Onyewu if he’s fit. Onyewu doesn’t even look like a soccer player when he has the ball at his feet anymore.

    Bob Bradley should do the obvious and push Dempsey up top. He won’t do it, but he ought to consider adding Convey to play an outside left mid. Convey was just great last year for the Quakes and help turn that team around. Alternatively he has Wondolowski sub as an outside mid. This means Burnburry or whoever ends up as the 4th striker is left off. I am a Buddle fan. We need poachers badly. Especially against weaker teams when we create a lot of chances. Altidore has not poaching ability because his off the ball work rate is so low.


  • Poor Richard

    I kind of agree with this. We don’t have anyone like him on the roster right now, so it might be worth a try again.


  • Raghu

    I was bummed that Benny was hurt. If BB is gonna play with the 4-5-1 a bit more – would be interesting to see Benny play in front of Bradley and Jones or Bradley and Edu.

    Also wonder if the Edu at centerback option is over. I was one of the few who thought it wasn’t a terrible idea.

    Bornstein on the left – I don’t see how he won’t play. There’s a chance we may need Boca at centerback and bornstein is the only other real option currently. Also – I’m sure bornstein’s leash is long after handling the job in the last two WC matches last year.


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