U.S. Men's National Team

Projecting the USA Gold Cup roster: April Edition


One month away.

That's how close we are to finding out which 23 players Bob Bradley will select to represent the United States at the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup. 

While the nucleus of the squad is pretty much set in stone, there are still some positions in a state of flux.

Take the forward position, where you have young sensation Juan Agudelo suddenly not starting for the New York Red Bulls, Charlie Davies off to a great start with D.C. United and Herculez Gomez on another hot streak in Mexico.

Then you have midfield, where Bob Bradley has even more options to choose from. Ricardo Clark is getting good minutes in Germany and may force his way into the mix, while Benny Feilhaber's move to MLS could help him solidify a place on the roster.

We only have two changes in the April roster projection who weren't in last month's squad. Who are they? Check them out in our April edition of the USA Gold Cup projected roster:

PROJECTED 2011 Gold Cup Roster

GOALKEEPERS– Tim Howard, Marcus Hahnemann, Brad Guzan

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

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

FORWARDS– Jozy Altidore, Juan Agudelo, Herculez Gomez, Teal Bunbury


Here are some thoughts on the picks:

GOALKEEPER– No changes, and now with Sean Johnson off to a rough start in MLS, it looks as though David Yelldell is the best option to crack the squad. As for Guzan's availability, he is getting married this summer, but could still potentially be included as the third goalkeeper and be available for the later part of the tournament. If Bradley decides he doesn't want to deal with that, Yelldell could be the pick. If Bradley decides on bringing in an MLS third goalkeeper, Nick Rimando looks like the best bet.

DEFENDERS– Goodson is back in, beating out Jay DeMerit, who has been struggling with injuries. The quest for a viable left back continues, and now Heath Pearce has moved to centerback with Chivas USA, giving Bradley one less option there. Timmy Chandler's foot injury doesn't appear likely to keep him out of the Gold Cup.

MIDFIELDERS– This group remained the same even though Ricardo Clark is really making a case for inclusion. Jose Torres is also seeing regular time with Pachuca again, but he seems unlikely to break through. Alejandro Bedoya was a surprise inclusion to some last month, but he's off to a red-hot start in Sweden, only solidifying his place. Looking at this group you wonder if Bradley wouldn't want one more winger, but the lack of true wing options makes it unlikely.

FORWARDS– Charlie Davies has to be talked about. The speed is there, and while he's still not fully sharp, he's definitely in the conversation now. Knowing Bradley, I'd bet on him leaving Davies to continue progressing with D.C. United rather than pulling him into the squad. That said, if he calls Davies into a camp, and likes what he sees, we just might see the return of CD9 to the national team mix. Herculez Gomez makes the squad over Davies because he's a different kind of forward, so Davies isn't really competing with Gomez, but more so with Agudelo and Bunbury. Gomez edges out Edson Buddle right now.


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.

  • Dr.MonkeyArmy

    I’m guessing that has something to do with the fact that he has been injured leading up to the last 2 major tournaments. I am sure if he was healthy he would be in CM, but alas he is not.


  • Felix

    Some US fans have the “back-up quarterback” syndrome. The next great player at any given position is the young up-and-coming stud we haven’t gotten enough looks at yet.
    Eventually we do see them enough to realize that they have flaws in their game as well, and move on to the next great thing.
    How many Kenny Coopers, Michael Parkhursts, Edgar Castillos, etc do we have see to accept this?
    I still remember all the uproar a few years ago when BB didn’t start Altidore – no we can’t rip that kid enough, so we can fawn all over the next heavily-hyped too young striker.
    It’s almost as if we aren’t interested in the best player for a given position/system, but just who POSSIBLY can be better.


  • Dr.MonkeyArmy

    Warren, by and large I agree with you. I do not think Bradley should be a penciled in starter, but those who say he only makes the squad because of nepotism are crazy. On a different note, I also don’t think people give Jermaine Jones credit for being as skilled as he is.


  • Felix

    Good call. I don’t think Bedoya is as good as some like to believe, but we don’t have that many natural wide players right now who can play even adequately at this level. And he is in good form at the moment.
    Chandler has emerged recently, and Bedoya can put in a solid shift, but there isn’t much else outside of Donovan and Dempsey, who still prefer to squeeze inside.


  • Warren

    Actually, it is about his talent level.

    Some of us rate players earning 90 minutes game in game out in EPL over guys unable to justify their inclusion in a squad. Meaning give keys to cm to Jones, and see who should be his sidekick.

    Bradley is good, for sure, but defects in his game do cause problems as we can’t string passes through the midfield very often. imho.


  • Dr.MonkeyArmy

    Absolutely Felix. Couldn’t agree more. The attack becomes too narrow at times because Dempsey and Donovan cut inside all the time. I don’t blame them for cutting in, that is where they are most effective. However, it becomes a problem if your backs don’t provide the width. Now, Chandler and Dolo can provide that down the right, but there is nobody on the left capable of defending and getting forward.


  • GW

    Bradley is not as skilled or talented a player as Jones. But talented players are often outplayed by lesser talented players.

    When in a US shirt, Bradley has outplayed Jones as recently as the last two games. This very disappointing as I had expected Jones to come in and immediately dominate the midfield but it hasn’t happened.

    This even though Jones is game fit and Bradley isn’t. And by the time the Gold Cup rolls around the season will be over for both guys. Now if the next season rolls around and Bradley isn’t playing for his club (wherever that is) then that is something else.

    But for now Bradley should play in the Spain game. He will start in the Gold Cup and needs the practice.

    It doesn’t matter what you do for your club what matters is how you play for the US.


  • GW

    What is it about major injuries that you do not understand?

    Holden is a mirage. Great club player,but manages to get himself crocked every time he is about to make a breakthrough with the US. And don’t think this last injury isn’t very serious. He might not come back as good. You can only take so many major injuires and he isn’t getting any younger.


  • GW

    “my problems with Bradley come from comparing him to the best midfielders on the best 8 teams in the world.”

    Do me a favor.

    Take what you think is our very best starting 11 and compare them man for man to their counterparts in the “best 8 teams in the world”.

    Let me know how it turns out.



  • GW

    Supposedly, he is being slated for the Olympic team and that is one of Mix’s great ambitions.


  • AdamFromMich

    Wow. If Bradley is going to start in the Gold Cup, I’m not sure he should play in the Spain game. If he starts against Spain he’ll go 90. If he plays 90 minutes against Spain, how is he going to play against Canada 3 days later? Maybe he could come off the bench against Spain, but not start.

    Actually, I’m a little annoyed with the USSF for scheduling a high-profile game so close to the start of the Gold Cup. Especially considering that we’re playing our most challenging group stage opponent in the first game.


  • GW

    Findley’s career indicates steady improvement until he hit 2010, when he hit a speed bump.

    Most of the negativity I’ve seen here has to do with that one bad year.

    He is now in what appears to be a much more positive situation where he seems to be very much wanted. If he has a good run there, there is no reason why 2010 might not be considered just a bad memory and Findley could be back in contention for a USMNT slot.

    As bad as time as Findley had in 2010 it pales in comparison to what Davies went through. While he has looked good it is still way too early to say “the real thing” is back or that he will ever be back. People expect too much, too soon.


  • GW

    “You need to discard the “favorites” and the “comfortable old shoes” and bring in the new but talented, hungry but inexperienced players that will make an impact in WCQ, Confed Cup, and WC.”

    How do you know these new guys will make an impact?


  • GW

    Where have you been?

    Since 2007 Dempsey has spent something like a quarter to a third of his time for the USMNT up top, often in the second half.


  • GW

    One of these games you will probably see:

    Dolo, Goodson, Ream, Lichaj

    Spector (Chandler), Dempsey, Bradley, Donovan

    Jozy( Agudelo), Bunbury


  • GW

    He has had many chances to do just that for the US and, so far , has never been totally convincing.


  • GW

    “Torres has so many more intangibles than Sasha but for some reason Bob loves Sasha…just doesn’t add up.”

    Care to explain what you mean?

    When I add up the US careers of both neither one has really done much. One reason why you might shade to Sascha is that he is bigger, more used to the kind of physical, speedy game you run into in international football.

    Torres himself has said he has had problems with the speed of the international game.

    You saw that against Holland and Slovenia


  • GW

    Your proposed line up would lose or at best draw most every Gold Cup game, culminating in a 5-0 beating by Mexico. With a little more time to gel, they might make WC qualifying but only in the last possible spot.

    Szetela may be incarcerated so he isn’t available.


  • GW

    Dempsey and Jozy don’t play the same position and don’t do the same things. Two different types of players.

    Jozy is a better option than the rest having more experience at it and having done a good job with it in the World Cup.

    I can’t comment on your grandmother as I haven’t seen her play yet. How is her speed, is she good inthe air, making runs off the ball, and hows her strength?

    Is she left footed or right footed?


  • mormonsaltlakefan

    here’s a list of players who I would not want to see in a US uniform again for their impact has been minimal to negative whenever given the opportunity:



  • Sergio Giannoni

    If Bradley and Altidore start, i am going to slap myself silly, I mean come on, those guys are not even getting playing time….


  • GW

    “Not getting quality minutes has been used as a reason for excluding other players from the team in the past, yet it doesn’t seem to affect Bradley.”

    “The problem is that other players not getting minutes with their club teams could make similar contributions to the national team, but might not be given a chance. So when, for example, Torres doesn’t get picked because he isn’t picking up enough minutes, fans of his will become skeptical of the reasons.”

    This is a misconception on your part. BB never said club PT is the ONLY determining factor for US playing time. He said it was a big consideration but not the only one.

    If this PT gauge were really true then managing the US would simply be a matter of lining up the 11 guys with the most PT and letting them go.

    Going back to when Benny was having trouble getting any games with Derby County for what seemed like mostly a personality clash with management,(very similar to what MB is now going thru at Villa) BB kept him in the US team picture and gave him the odd game or two. Why? My guess is because he already knew what Benny could do and felt he was an important player for the US.

    If you are a new or unknown guy to the US setup not just getting PT but doing well with that PT is important. That is how Chandler made his splash. Lichaj, who was well known to the US staff, got his first cap even though he had never played a league game for Villa. He did play in a bunch of Cup matches.

    It’s different for every player and position plays a role as well. Chandler is an instant “must find room for this guy” after one game. He plays two positions that this team needs now, speedy overlapping back and speedy attacking winger. Torres on the other hand, plays a position that doesn’t really exist on this team. BB likes him and keeps him around because he keeps trying to find a way to integrate him into the team.

    Fans love to take the fantasy football approach to lineups, “this guy has better stats( or talent) than that guy” and fail to take into account this is a team made up of real people and real people have to be blended together to get the best results. It is not always about obvious talents and club playing time.


  • GW

    Obviously you don’t take the Gold Cup seriously but the USSF has as much as said we have to win it ( dress rehearsal tournament for Brazil 2014 and all that).

    You say the US would be okay with :

    Howard, Yeldell and Mcmath.

    In the 2010 World Cup Heskey nearly broke Howard’s ribs in the first game. Let’s say Howard breaks an arm or a couple of ribs in is first Gold Cup game, not impossible.

    Now you are down to a guy who has 30 minutes of international experience and a very raw rookie.

    You are right, “Hahneman is not a terribly forward looking callup” but it could be a game changing one. If you are down to your third keeper in the Gold Cup then you want it to be a guy like Marcus who you can count on.


  • sciroccer

    No leave the Real guys out of it! I love the NATS, but I didnt get to watch Beckerman last summer due to injury, would like see him with RSL all year! Although I do believe he (along with Borchers and Rimando) deserve to be there.


  • sciroccer

    I think Bradley should be dumped, and a new coach comes now before the WC gets any closer. As long as Bradley is there it will be the same group, and his Chivas boys. That fact that he calls up Borstein, and Kljeston is proof that Bob needs to go!


  • MicahK

    Thank you all for seeing what I see. Bedoya does not belong on the team he needs to show more. Call up some one else. And leave Bedoya in Sweden.


  • Brian

    All I’m saying is I don’t think it’s necessary to have more than one of them. I’d go with Feilhaber


  • bryan

    idk, i didn’t like the way that looked against argentina. granted, it was the first time we tried it and it was against argentina, but still.


  • Rob P


    GK Howard

    D Cherundolo-Bocanegra-Lichaj-Goodson

    M Donnovan-Bradley-Jones-Edu

    F Agudelo-Dempsey


    GK Guzan-Robles

    D Onyewu-Ream-Chandler(Gonzales for Chandler if injured)

    M Spector-Failhauber-Kljestan-Clarke-Diskerud

    F Altidore-Davies

    Luis Robles has been playing and needs a shot (Hahnemann needs to retire for USMNT)

    Onyewu isn’t ready (and may never be), Cherundolo is pretty much done after the 2011-12 seasons (get us there man… then move over for the up and comers)

    Spector is a midfielder not a defender… makes too many critical mistakes on the back line to trust. Failhauber and Kljestan need to show that they belong (their last chances in 2011-12 to make 2014 roster), Torres needs more playing time, so let the guys playing have a chance this summer (Clarke, Jones, Spector and Diskerud). When does Freddy Adu get back into the conversation? He is finally getting some work at Rizespor in Turkey (4 goals in 10 games)

    Altidore needs to be benched to make sure he knows that he is no longer automatic. Dempsey and Agedelo need time together… Davies and Buddle need chances too (this can only happen if the midfield holds up and we stop the early goals and defensive yellow cards).

    Good news: Gold cup teams at the Group Stage always sit back and counter (does our midfield control the game and get the ball to the strikers). We need to keep the streak with Mexico alive (H Hernandez will be a bear to deal with)

    Bad news: the Latin American refs hate the US and always puts us on our heels with penalties and yellow cards… expect a yellow card accumulation or red card in the last game during the group stage for a defensive or midfield starter to make our first quarterfinal interesting.

    Bob Bradley is the right guy, he just needs to think that he will be fired if he loses Gold Cup (unless it is Mexico in the final) and then has a bad fall 2011 during a tough friendly schedule (which US Soccer Association needs to arrainge… CONCACAF qualifying does not test either the US or Mexico.


  • Matthew

    No mention of Bornstein — how could this have happened? Did I miss something?


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