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Feilhaber among five players dropped from U.S. Olympic qualifying roster

U.S. national team midfielder Benny Feilhaber was one of five training camp invitees to not be included in the U.S. Olympic qualifying roster for the upcoming CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

Feilhaber, goalkeeper Tally Hall, defender Mike Randolph and midfielders Arturo Alvarez and Robbie Rogers did not make the 20-man roster submitted for the qualifying tournament, sources told SBI on Sunday. West Ham defender Jonathan Spector was added to the roster.

Here is the full U.S. 20-man roster for the tournament, as announced by U.S. Soccer:

GOALKEEPERS: Dominic Cervi (unattached), Chris Seitz (Real Salt Lake)

DEFENDERS: Jonathan Spector (West Ham), Hunter Freeman (New York Red Bulls), Kamani Hill (Vfl Wolfsburg), Patrick Ianni (Houston Dynamo), Michael Orozco (San Luis), Nathan Sturgis (Real Salt Lake), Marvell Wynne (Toronto FC)

MIDFIELDERS: Maurice Edu (Toronto FC), Eddie Gaven (Columbus Crew), Stuart Holden (Houston Dynamo), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA), Dax McCarty (FC Dallas), Sal Zizzo (Hannover 96), Freddy Adu (SL Benfica)

FORWARDS: Jozy Altidore (New York Red Bulls), Chad Barrett (Chicago Fire), Charlie Davies (Hammarby IF), Robbie Findley (Real Salt Lake)

So what will the starting lineup look like? Here’s one potential starting XI:






The fact that Alvarez and Rogers were let go will come as a shock to some considering their play on the wings. Given the fact that Zizzo has played well enough to make the Hannover 96 bench for recent matches you wonder if Nowak decided he could get by with Zizzo and Gaven as wingers with Holden and Kljestan both capable of playing there if called upon.

The U.S. Under-23 national team opens Olympic qualifying on Tuesday against Cuba in Tampa before playing Panama on Thursday and Honduras on Sunday.

Share your thoughts on the roster and potential starting lineup below.


  1. Ted – I’m with you re: Holden on the left, his game really came on when he replaced Davis. I keep forgetting he played on the right before that.

    Similar, but not quite as puzzling to me as nobody noticing that Beasley’s best games for Rangers came on the right wing. Moot point now because he’s injured, but…

  2. “why 19 players on the “20-man” roster??

    24 players named – 5 cuts = 19 left. Huh?”

    The idea is that Spector will be called in for the semifinal match, so there needs to be a spot open.

  3. Maybe Feilhaber being cut was a mutual decision and not just Novak. He’s working hard to earn a spot at Derby, he’s made the bench recently, and maybe he feels like missing time with them would only set him back in his development there. This roster is only for Olympic qualifying, not the finals. Perhaps Feilhaber and Novak both agreed that his time would be better spent at Derby. The US will probably qualify with the team it has, and Feilhaber and Bradley can be thrown into the mix when the games become more important. Right now though, it’s more important that they stick with their commitments to their clubs.

  4. Benny might have been the only sub to make an impact vs Mexico a few weeks back. The man has skills. He just needs to lower is asking price and come to MLS where he can get regular game time. That or try to land on a squad in the Netherlands.

  5. Yeah, Feilhaber scored a nice goal in the gold cup, and has great potential. I think he is only a regular on the USNMT because Bob Bradley wants to keep him in the pool, perhaps he sees what he can do in the future. But truth is, he not ready. Even more now taht he has’nt been playing much at all. Benny is only good in the middle, and with Edu,and Adu, there isn’t room for him there. He is useless on the wings, we seen that a couple times this year w USMNT. So I am not totally surprised by Peter decision.

  6. “C’mon let’s not get too worked up on OLYMPIC QUALIFYING games now.”

    Considering we didn’t qualify in 2004, I think there is plenty for people to care about.

  7. Does nobody remember Holden starting on the left when Brad Davis was out last year? Really? Nobody? He’s right footed but he can play well on either side.

  8. I agree I like Holden a lot, he is very good. Technically and is smart. He is also good at taking people on and getting down the right wing. I think he should start on the right side.

    Someone mentioned him playing of the left. To have him on the left over guys like RR or Alvarez is stupid in my opinion. Unless both RR & Alvarez are injured, which might be the case. We will see.

  9. I’m not sure this means much… I don’t think that this roster is THE Final Roster, its just for the initial games, which, I’m not sure there is much chance to lose… Feilhaber made the Derby bench in their last game, so maybe he’s up for some playing time. And Alvarez and Rogers need to be w/ their teams for preseason. I don’t think theres too much too get worked up about, unless they are still off the roster when the semi-final game comes around

  10. Will, using youtube as a reference/basis of opinion doesn’t help your standing. It means little.

    You don’t bring injured players if they can’t help. We have to see how bad the injury is (RR).

    I don’t think much of Sal Z, but if he is healthy and RR isn’t…well.

    Again, Holden is an incredibly well rounded/smart player. Americans don’t seem to like that it seems.

    We want NBA flash and style instead of smart soccer players. Holden is a very smart player and one of our best. Gaven is smart but does he have the drive and confidence? Jose A is such a deliscious prospect because he has physical attributes an dhe is so damn smart already.

    We either don’t like soccer brains, or more likely, we don’t know what they are yet. it’s why our best prospects and players always go to Europe and are called naive initially. They must learn the game, etc, etc, etc…

    It never fails.

    That is not an accident folks.

  11. Feilhaber is one lucky strike against Mexico in a game in which he shouldn’t have be playing away from being a nobody.

    This man-crush for him is ludicrous. He was born in Brazil so he must be good!

  12. The only thing I can think is that Derby has asked for Feilhaber back. Let’s see if he’s on the team at midweek. That would explain a lot.

  13. Jeez, what’s going on with Benny? I don’t get it – it seems inexplicable. Does he have an attitude problem? It seems like he pisses coaches off or something b/c his play on the field always seems solid. What are we missing here, Ives?

  14. Gaven is awful…..Funny because I just took the train from Hamilton to Penn Station and that is something I was thinking on the train

  15. I can’t get over the man-love for Feilhaber. Great Gold Cup. But that was a year ago. He’s clearly rusty and a terrible team that needs help evidently doesn’t rate him (offering him around the globe and all of MLS). Doesn’t mean he’s a bad player. But here in the USA, we annoint saviors so quickly and Feilhaber is one of the latest. But the reality is that he has to improve alot if he’s our starting A-mid for the USNT.

    The midfield actually makes a lot of sense. Nowak is incredibly secretive about positions and roles. Wouldn’t surprise me if Adu is really the A-mid, Edu really the D-mid, Gaven and Holden or maybe Klejstan are the outside mids. At that point, Rogers doesn’t make sense (unless you rate him over Gaven or Holden or Kljestan). I’m not a huge McCarty fan but he brings a couple of things to the table: he’s flexible (can play a bunch of midfield roles) and a high work-rate (which Nowak demands of his mids). Alvarez is skilled but has never impressed me as a player that fits the kind of schemes that Nowak wants to play. And again, if the decision is that Holden and Gaven are the starting outside mids then Alvarez is a limited reserve. As for the criticism of Gaven, he’s had some bad periods the past 3 years. But he was also an MLS XI in the past, has tremedous technical ability and I think the right coach and situation might allow some of that ability to come out. Some players just flourish with a particular coach (for example: Brian Carroll and Peter Nowak).

  16. Holden is a right footed player. He plays on the right for Houston. I’m sure he is strong as well with his left, he’s a professional but… Both Alavarez & Rogers are lefties which is why this is so confusing. I’ve seen them both make some nice driven crosses from the left side and are good at getting down the wing and taking people on. I think we are going to have trouble in the qualifying with this.

    As far as Gaven I remember seeing him when he was 16 or 17 and just entered the league. I liked him then and thought he had some nice skill & vision and just needed to add some bulk to his frame and get more cofidence. 4 or 5 years later he seems to be the same player and just never really progressed. His body weight & strength is still the same and doesn’t do anything especially well. He gets pushed off the ball too easily. Comparing him with a guy like Bradley, who I think is around the same age is like night & day. Bradley has gotten bigger physically and mentally and is now known as a ball winner who is an opportunist goal scorer. You can tell he hit the weights.. I think Gaven has just relied on his past and never pushed himself..

  17. Oh yeah, if there is something to bitch about here it’s the lack of quality warm upo matches. Look at what Mexico has doen comapred to us.

    Get ready for a US-Mex semi. One of us is stumbling, and we sure as hell haven’t prepared all that well IMO.

    This is on the USSF/Nowak. They have stated that they don’t want a repeat of 2004…a priority they say.

    With our prep it sure doesn’t look like that to me.

    Note – Gaven, while uneven has shown to be a much more productive MLS player, in the same time than BC ever was. He seems to get that deer in the headlight look in big matches it seems. BC was always aggressive for youth Nats teams. I agree with the poster who talked about confidence issues, but to not see his skill/passing and game reading ability is pure ignorance. Does he have the heart is the question. I say the same for Sasha.

    I can’t wait to hear the story on Benny. Wish we had real reporters who would hound and ask. I saw him play enough at Hamburg to know his limitations, and I don’t judge with fanboy eyes. The kid can help us if playing and fit, both mentally and physically, but I’ll say it again, ad nauseum.

    The fanboys here way over rate his game. He can help, but he is NOT a clear cut above. No way, no how. Maybe when he is on, but he is not some top quality player for all conditions and teams.

    Take the fanboy glasses off, evaluate him as if he wasn’t a US player, and get a clue here. It would hurt less, and cause less frustration for you.

    Now Rogers, that one hurts, and I am wondering about the 5 forwards.

    Thought AA was real poor in China, but with RR out…hmm.

    Barret is a bull. He brings speed, strength and energy. He has clealry improved his runs and positioning, but you can’t hide that he turns into a wreck in fornt of net.


    I am not sure what to expect, but I am guarded, especially with the lack of quality prep time. I don’t get that at all.

  18. Holden is a more well rounded player than Convey. He can play left or right and is a better shooter, tackler and passer. BC is a better crosser and has a bit more speed. BC is one dimensional, and when not healthy, no tthat good. Holden doesn’t have those same limitations. Different player than BC. He just doesn’t have a BA type feeding him caps to get him to Europe and constantly giving him exposure. Just what happened as BA wanted BC to get as much exposure as he could before 2006 as our pool wasn’t as deep.

    As for second hand info that Freddy is out of shape I laugh. Yeah, Benfica would put up with that. Give me a break buddy. Also, the bad tude card with Nowak is an incredibly easy one to play with their history. Stop being such a gull-a-bull.

    The bad camp line is plausible with the travel and new system, but the out of shape, tude stuff is made for reality TV type stuff.

  19. I’d like to echo that Holden is primed for a breakout tournament and season. He will most likely start on the left. He is as two-footed as Robbie Rogers.

  20. Holden is a wonderful left midfield prospect who plays a lot like Convey (preinjury). I’m thrilled he got the nod, I thought BB should have brought him on instead of Eddie Lewis vs Mexico.

    Edu is additional cover for the central midfielder you run the game through.

    I don’t think any of us are qualified to say whether Benny or Sasha Kljestan is in better form, it’s been many months since we saw either in regular game action. At the end of summer, I was as high as anyone on his game, but if you aren’t in camp you can’t say crap about their form. Be fair, we all go nuts when a vet keeps getting called up based solely on rep, and the Gold Cup was what, 8 months ago?

    The midfield was stacked, somebody good had to get cut, and I hope it helps Benny get it together.

  21. TK is right about Benny. Novak was right to send a message that he has to be playing for his club team before he gets time with the Nats, even the U-23s. If that means sucking it up and coming back to MLS, so be it. Tough luck for Benny, but why did he go to Derby in the first place?

  22. This is second hand but word is that Freddy had a bad camp, is in poor game shape and attitude is not great. This has to be a concern. Also word is that the best keeper in the last camp was cut which surprised many. I guess playing well is not a concern. Why in the name of all soccer God’s would you cut Rogers? A fast two footed player that has been on his game since the U-20’s.

  23. I’m puzzled by the hate for Gaven. To me, he looks like a kid who has skill, but terrible problems with confidence. He’s the kind of player the US hasn’t produced a ton of – crafty, good in combination and two-footed. If Nowak didn’t see anything from him, he wouldn’t have kept him. You think Peter Nowak gives one dried-up little turd about US player-pool politics?

    As for Feilhaber – if I’m Benny, it’s 911 time. To go from pushing for a starting spot on a good Bundesliga team – and helping the USMNT to the Gold Cup – to getting shopped everywhere by maybe the worst team in Premiership history … and now dropped from the Olympic team … ouch. Benny, m’man, it’s time to take a safety pin to that ego and get some games somewhere. San Jose, Houston, Israel, whatever. Your career is taking a turn for the tragic.

  24. Some of those drops must be due to fitness. I want Benny to be playing regularly as much as the next guy, but the fact remains that Benny not playing regularly is still a class above most of these players. He must have picked up an injury in training, or pissed off Novak.

    Assuming he comes in, Spector, along with Adu, Edu, Klejstan and Altidore will be the core of this team. It’s the supporting cast I don’t like.

    Chad Barrett is a joke.

  25. I totally forgot about Gaven. The guy is terrible. They yanked him last summer at the U-20’s b/c he is so bad. Plus he was shipped out of Columbus. I watched him several times in MLS last year when he actually played. Sorry not impressed, he looks so uncomfortable on the ball and is prone to give aways in his own end. The only thing he’s got going is his height. I though finally US soccer was seeing the light with tactically better players, but I don’t know. I think Nowak has his favorites. The games will speak for themselves. If the US doesn’t qualify Nowak should be fired. I said my piece.

  26. I got mocked when I said Benny’s Nats career was in trouble when he signed for Derby.

    Where are all of you now?

    Benny has barely played in 2 years. When he did play at Hamburg he was the cause of several big goals scored against. Thus being relegated back to the reserves and made surplus.

    He has played well/OK against poor C’CAF comp, and of course he has the goal versus Mexico which clouds the judgement and reality of so many fanboys. He was lucky to be out there as he was easily the worst player on the field in half one for us, and without the goal it was a good 2nd half performance, not great. Reality folks, it’s a bitch. It’s the same fantasy, fanboy, give a pass for all his shortcomings that people gace to Bruce from 2002-2006. The obvious flaws are there but I will ignore and hope becuase I am a fan…and I want ot, no I am going to believe!

    Too bad Rogers was hurt. He and Holden will be bigger players for the US at 2010 than Benny. Find a team, take a step down, swallow your pride and ego and go freaking play somewhere Benny. Hopefully, this is the type of kick in the rear he needs.

    Can be a decent player if he works hard and plays regularly versus C’CAF type teams. Againsy Euros and better SA sides he is a small piece. That’s it.

  27. Oh my goonies…

    I made a stink about Feilhaber/Alvarez being dropped for Barrett and I didnt’ even see McCarty on the list. Wow. Dax sucks. And his name always reminds me of Jax from Mortal Kombat. Who also sucked, so they apparently have more in common than their names rhyming.

  28. I am in shocked that Rogers and Alvarez would be dumped off the team. Rogers was clearly the best of the group bunch in China and had several strong camps from what I gather. He had a strong preseason with the Crew as well scoring the game winner against Chivas. What is more troublesome that the “first team” got stomped 5-0 in the final team scrimmage before these players were scrapped. You would think the USA would want to play its best team regardless of the politics.

  29. He’s got no left midfielder. I have a feeling he’s going to play Adu out there similar to his day’s at DC United. Stupid if you ask me. I thought Alvarez & Rogers were at least in the top 4 midfielders. What do I know.

  30. I’m guessing there was just a lot that went on at camp that may have even surprised Nowak. Never thought Dax would be out Benny, but it must have happened. we’ll see how this pans out. My only major complaint is if Adu goes down injured, benny would be the only one who could run the attack like Freddy. Sascha would be a big drop-off at attacking mid from freddy and benny.

  31. athan, that goal was electric but it was a 1-in-1,000 strike. Feilhaber might spend another twelve years as a regular in the Premiership and for the Nats and never hit another one like that. so it’s silly to keep him in the lineup expecting another one to come.

    Nowak must feel like this roster gives him the best team. Bradley has called in a wide variety of players, so who’s a “regular” is pretty up in the air. considering Nowak was handpicked by Bradley, i’m guessing they’re at least partially on the same page.

    we can’t just keep expecting Feilhaber to hit that goal again. we’ve got to start taking a realistic look at what he brings on the field. for what it’s worth, i think he’s going to be damn good, but the fact that he’s not seeing any time for Derby makes a difference.

  32. Lets see how Gaven does before we berate his skill. I know he is looked inconsistent but he has been in the MLS league since he was 16 and has proven that he has more positives then negatives. I think he will raise some eyebrows in the qualifiers if he plays his game. Lets not forget he has been playing with one of the greatest Argentines of all time in Schelotto! He has probably picked something up from him…

  33. I have never been impressed by Nowak’s decision-making and this roster just reinforces that. He’s a bleepin idiot. He’s trying to claim that Chad Barrett is more useful on this roster than Benny?? Give me a break! Bradley would do well to rid our MNT system of Nowak.

  34. Well my respect for Nowak just dropped considerably! There is no doubt Feilhaber has struggled at Derby, but he is a regular on the National Team! How could a guy score a winning goal in the Gold Cup Final and not be good enough to beat out Eddie Gaven and Sal Zizzo for an U23 spot?!! Also, Alvarez is by far the best left winger in the pool. He can breakdown his defender, play a great cross, and has a great left footed shot!

    And Chad Barrett? This guy is horrible on the ball and misses sitters left and right. I don’t get it, I am hoping this roster is just a rumor.

  35. Guys, don’t forget that Gaven is still on the team too. In fact, the pickings are so slim at midfield that Ives was forced to put him as a projected starting winger. Columbus isn’t even willing to commit to that sometimes. I don’t know what Nowak was thinking but maybe he’s going to go with an all striker line-up.

  36. Re: Bradley…

    He’s scoring for Heerenveen, and they’re in the title race in Holland. I’m sure they’re hesitant about letting him go to the Olympics.

  37. Here’s my theory:

    Michael Orozco’s experience in the Mexican league make him a good fit for the backline. That plus Spector being pulled in eliminates the need for Mo Edu to play in the backline.

    Edu locks down a central midfield spot and with his range can free up Freddy to play an attacking midfield role. Klejstan is too versatile to be left off, so that means that basically Benny was beaten out of a spot by Dax McCarty.

    Kamani Hill’s conversion to fullback must have been a revelation or there would be no reason to keep him around. Hunter Freeman can play both fullback spots, so that explains Randolph being cut.

    Robbie Rogers was apparently injured, otherwise I can’t see how he’d be left off this team. Arturo Alvarez must have straight up been beaten out by Eddie Gaven for a spot, which puzzles me, as I’ve never been impressed by Gaven.

    Hall was clearly beaten out by Cervi, who’s stock is rising as fast as any goalkeeper in recent memory.

  38. BK, that’s exactly what I was going to say. Carrying 5 strikers seems unnecessary as it is, but when one of them is Chad Barrett? That’s got to be a joke.

  39. So what you’re saying is that Nowak decided to keep Chad Barrett over Arturo Alvarez and Feilhaber. You sure that’s not a misprint?

    Oh wait! Chad Barrett looks like Wayne Rooney, but plays like my 7-year old niece. Nevermind, that makes complete sense.


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