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Which defender will step up to fill the USMNT void?

Jimmy Conrad (

We are less than a month away from a pair of U.S. men's national team friendlies against fellow World Cup participants Slovakia and Denmark and it is growing increasingly difficult to project just who will be playing in central defense for the United States when those matches take place.

Oguchi Onyewu is out up to six months after surgery to repair a ruptured patellar tendon, while Jay DeMerit is out for at least a month following corneal replacement surgery. Throw in the fact that highly-regarded MLS defender Chad Marshall has now missed six straight matches with a knee injury and you realize just how tough a job Bob Bradley will have finding a centerback partner for Carlos Bocanegra.

The two defenders most likely to be called on are Jimmy Conrad and Clarence Goodson, who each impressed during the summer's Gold Cup (at least before Goodson's shocker vs. Mexico). Conrad has the experience, and is coming off another strong MLS campaign, while Goodson did show some signs of being capable of playing more in the Gold Cup.

Who else is there? Michael Parkhurst is one possibility, but beyond that the pickings are slim as far as defenders with previous national team experience. Geoff Cameron has impressed in central defense for Houston, but he isn't likely to get a call-up before January.

Who would you like to see get the call in central defense against Denmark and Slovakia? Hoping Conrad gets the nod? Think Parkhurst makes sense for at least one of the matches?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. I’m thinking balloon boy out of Colorado. He can reportedly get up in the air and we know for a fact that he is a presence in the box.

  2. I still think US needs to find a way to get more of the midfielders on the field at the same time by moving some back to defenders (like Spain does), since they seem to be the team’s best players. If they play with 4 in the back, I think Bradley is the only one who could make the transition to centerback, though. If they play with 3 in the back, I think all three need to be relatively tall which probably makes the problem even worse. Does anyone else think moving midfielders back to fullback (I mean ones that can defend, not DB) like Edu, Jones, Bradley, or Holden would help the team (not necessarily centerbacks other than Bradley who has the height)?

  3. I would bet any amount of money that Maurice Edu will not play center back in the November friendlies.

    He’s almost certainly not going to play at all, being injured and all.

  4. YES! It’s weird how composed that kid is. Let him keep the spot warm lest the rest of the back line forget how to play with a 6 1/2′ center back.

  5. All of you guys are forgetting a pretty good player that played at CB and played very well in the olympics, Maurice Edu……knowing Bob, He’ll stick him there playing behind his son and partnering with Boca with either Bornstein/Edgar at LB and Spector/Dolo at RB

  6. Jason Hernandez should be brought in for a look. I’d like to see how he’d do, and at the least, he could be a safety option off the bench. I think he’s got potential – just like to see how he does at the international level.

  7. No matter what you think of the present set of players, it is really unlikely someone new to the squad will see much more than a call into camp and maybe a short run. I think Bradley believes that if the US players do not have a bond of trust and if the do not play together with a common purpose that they will not succeed. He makes a big deal out of saying things like we want to bring players in and get them into the way we do things every time he is asked about the national team training camps. Everyone realizes there can be special rules for exceptional players, but none of the guys we’re talking about are getting calls to shore up Man. U’s defense. Expect to see starters who have already been at least one nat. camp. (Of course, that does include most of the guys mentioned here, barring Castillo and a couple of the younger guys. Those new guys could see their first USMNT camp, but it is unlikely they will jump right into a starting spot.)

  8. Strange timing on the article here.

    Marshall is OK to go this weekend, and is practicing as we speak. So I think he’ll be available for the next USMNT game.

    Marshall and Conrad are the answers.

    Beyond that: Goodson and Cameron.

  9. What about Michael Orozco? He’s been playing regularly for San Luis, and different style of defending to go with Bocanegra’s physicality.

  10. I agree that Goodson is the way to go, and probably what we will see, but it’s ridiculous to write off Parkhurst on the basis of one performance

  11. i think conrad is the most obvious option. Parkhurst from what i’ve seen, and i may certainly be wrong, hasn’t been playing that much lately.

    I do like the idea, as mentioned before, of bringing in some younger untested but promising players like Omar Gonzalez. its a situation where we don’t have too much to lose, we’ll need a contingency plan for the future anyway and it seems we have a handful of players who could step up and be the next gooch. why not experiment a little?

  12. at the risk of sounding like I don’t know what I am talking about – Whatever happened to Cory Gibbs? I know he blew out the knee, came back to MLS(Rapids?) but haven’t really heard much else…is he done and dusted from an international standpoint?

  13. Those of you clamoring for Parkhurst and Califf, did you not their respective performances in the Gold Cup and the WCQ in El Salvador?

    Hopefully Marshall will be healthy soon. If not go with Conrad, Spector or Goodson. Much better options than Califf or Parkhurst.

  14. whatever you do BOB….DONT PUT CONRAD BACK THERE!!

    Goodson is okay, but i dont want him starting either

    i just want to see what orozco, gonzalez, and califf can add to the table while others are out


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