Photo by John Dorton/ISIphotos.com
By AVI CREDITOR
As surprising as the inclusions of Robbie Rogers, Freddy Adu and Chris Wondolowski on the United States Gold Cup roster might be, what is perhaps more eye-opening is the list of omissions.
Timmy Chandler, Teal Bunbury and Alejandro Bedoya were all left off of the U.S. team for this summer's tournament, opening coach Bob Bradley up for more criticism should he not succeed with the outside-the-box players he elected to chose.
Chandler's meteoric rise on the national team scene figured to make him a shoo-in for this summer. His attacking prowess from the back and speed up the right side added a new dimension to the U.S. national team, and he impressed mightily in friendlies against Argentina and Paraguay.
Bradley insisted on a conference call with the media that the 21-year-old Chandler was physically and mentally drained from his first season of top-flight soccer; however, reports from Germany seem to point in the direction of his club, FC Nuremberg, not wanting Chandler to spend his summer playing internationally as opposed to resting up for the club's preseason.
"We had a number of different discussions with him and the club," Bradley said. "When we added them all up, at the end of his first real season playing at this level, we felt that it didn't make sense at this time for him. He's carried a few little injuries as of late. He's told us that physically and mentally this season has been a hard one."
Bradley alluded to the notion that Chandler jumping ship to play for his native Germany is not really a concern. With Chandler only appearing in friendlies for the United States, that technically is still a possibility.
"The simple matter is the way things work, until a player plays in an official match, you don't know for sure," Bradley said. "In all of our conversations with Timmy he's always expressed how excited he is to have played for the U.S. We feel that there's been a very good level of discussion and follow up with him, and it's all in the idea that he's going to play a role for us."
Bradley didn't address Bedoya's situation in much detail, but it did not seem to be a club-vs.-country situation based on Bradley's comments. Bedoya's exclusion at the benefit of Rogers is a bit puzzling considering Bedoya's current form for Orebro and Rogers' stable-but-not-stellar form for the Columbus Crew.
Bedoya just scored his fourth goal of the young season over the weekend and has put in time in attacking and defensive central midfield roles as well as out wide.
As for Bunbury, who Sporting Kansas City coach Peter Vermes said last week would be on the U.S. roster, Bradley overlooked him in favor of Chris Wondolowski. Bradley praised Wondolowski's current form and said that "he has scored some very good goals" and "seems to be a player that gets a couple of chances every game."
Bunbury has struggled in his last few MLS outings, but he has provided a spark when given the opportunity in past national team friendlies.
"Teal is a young striker that we certainly see a lot of potential," Bradley said. "We've had a good opportunity to work with him in some camps and just felt that this time, in terms of our whole roster, I didn't think it was the right time for him. I don't think hes been as sharp as we would like so far in the season, and I think that's a sign of him continuing to mature and grow."
To a lesser extent than the aforemnetioned trio, the exclusions of Charlie Davies, Herculez Gomez, Jay DeMerit and Edson Buddle also turned some heads.
Bradley didn't make it seem like Davies would have been selected even if he was at full fitness, which he currently is not. He injured his hamstring in D.C. United's May 14 game against Colorado and is doubtful for this Sunday's match at Portland.
"We've certainly seen a lot of progress from the start of the MLS season until now, and we're excited about that," Bradley said of Davies, whose six goals are second-most in MLS. "You look at strikers, and you want to see goals, and obviously he's done well to convert in some goal-scoring situations, but in terms of his all-around contribution to the team, I think he's still working his way back."
Which omission surprised you the most? Who do you think should be on the squad that isn't?
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