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A look at potential January USMNT camp call-ups

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We are a month away from U.S. men's national team coach Bob Bradley calling the first camp of the year, and the MLS-heavy camp should feature some new faces who have played their way onto the radar.

I touched on the subject in my Friday column this week.  The names I cover are some you would expect to see next month, and some you may not have thought of. Robbie Findley and Geoff Cameron are on most folks radar as two players who should and likely will get looks, but Kevin Alston, Alejandro Bedoya and Marcus Tracy are three players I think merit a look and a chance to train with the team that will convene at Home Depot Center next month.

If you were wondering about some players who weren't listed, here are a few explanations:

Jose Francisco Torres, Edgar Castillo and Michael Orozco will be in training camps with their Mexican teams in January, so they aren't likely to be available.

Jeff Larentowiczis someone who people in MLS circles like, but he's also a free agent and will likely be spending January trying to secure a deal in Europe.

We should expect to see some familiar faces in the camp, such as Brian Ching, Conor Casey, Sacha Kljestan, Robbie Rogers, Chad Marshall and Jimmy Conrad to name a few. Jeff Cunningham, Dax McCarty and Kyle Beckerman are others who we should expect to see. Some we won't see? Landon Donovan, Stuart Holden and Ricardo Clark will all be dealing with European moves and aren't likely to be available.

So here is my question for you: Which MLS players would you like to see called into the January USMNT camp?

Share your thoughts and suggestions below.


  1. Pepe,

    In the greater scheme of things the US doesn’t have a really deep player pool. Bradley may be a lot of things but suicidal isn’t one of them. If Torres, Castillo and Orozco are superstars, no one, not even you, benefits more than Bradley. And he is certainly in a better position than you to evaluate them. So if they are on the fringe of the team, that is probably where they belong, for now.

    Of course, what you may be thinking is Bradley has something against Latinos. Which is funny when you realize that he managed Chivas USA and that he has three latinos now, Feilhaber, Bornstein and Bocanegra who play regularly for him. Latinos constitute about 14% of the US population which means, if you want to apply some kind of racial quota to the USMNT they need 2 starters and 3 players total on the 23 man roster. Which means Bradley is within the acceptable range. Of course, maybe the guys I mentioned aren’t racially “pure” enough for you? In that case I don’t know what to tell you. I’m sure the USMNT player pool is only going to be more and more latino in the next few years.

  2. I think that Torres could be a great asset for the national team. Every game I have seen him in he has impressed me……Yes, even the Costa Rica game in Saprissa. The US needs more technical players in the midfield that are capable of giving our forwards some service……if there is one thing that I cannot stand when watching the Nats is when we go into our shell and just try to force long balls for 30 minutes of a game. These tactics will not work against the best teams in the world. You have to be able to keep possession and have more fluidity between your defense, midfield, and forwards.

    Don’t get me wrong….I think the players that we have at midfield right now (Bradley, Feilhaber, Clark) are very talented and have proven that they can get results, but I think Torres could bring some much needed possession time and smarter distribution to the team. Feilhaber most closely matches the game of Torres, but my problem with Feilhaber is that he will frequently disappear for long stretches of a match. I just think that Torres brings a lot of talent to the national team and has proven that he deserves to be in the mix.

  3. I’m not the biggest Beckerman fan……he played really well in the MLS cup final, but what I have seen from him at the international level has not been impressive.

  4. There will be plenty of time in the future to give Gonzalez national team experience, but now we have to focus on getting ready for the World Cup

  5. I hope that Casey, Ching, Kljestan, and Cunningham do not get camp calls.

    Findley, Rogers and McCarty would be good; maybe even Pontius, Rolfe, Beckerman.

    Outside of MLS I would like to see call ins for Bedoya, Tracy, Hill, Simek, Califf, Goodson, Pearce, Parkhurst, and Diskerud.

    Ives, based on the past what percentage of January camp call ins make the 23 man roster for the WC?

  6. Rimando would be a third keeper at best. Is Yura M. an American citizen? Wingert, Borchers may be good choices but we’re pretty stacked in depth at defense, same goes for Robbie Russel, although I like him…

  7. HAHA –

    Beckerman has cancelled his yearly Costa Rica trip for the month of January. I wonder if Bob already gave him the call.

    Who we really need is Robbie Russel called in. That dude is fast, has good technical ability, and can defend.

    They should also call in Rimando, Borchers, Wingert, Yura M and Findley from the Cup winning team.

    The Mathis comments was awesome. He actually makes a good center mid, did you see the MLS CUP 2nd half Mathis show?

    Call me a homer.

  8. Well, this should be interesting.

    Some good names mentioned by Ives, but I’d add Sean Franklin.

    He was on the cusp of getting into the team a year ago (I think one cap, but certainly a camp or two) before injuries knocked him out. I think another look is warranted.

    GK: Perkins, Guzan (if not busy)
    Fullback: Pearce, Franklin, Barnes, Freeman
    Centerback: Marshall, Conrad, Cameron, Goodson, Alston
    Gonzalez. (Too many for one camp).
    CM: Feilhaber, Kljestan, McCarthy
    Outside Mid: Rogers, Rolfe, White, Beasley(?)
    Forward: Cunningham, Ching, Casey, Findley

  9. He only played one game (minutes wise) at the U-20 world cup, but has been starting for Stabaek the last few games. I think that his poor showing at the WC was due more to Rongen not wanting to give up on certain players who were playing poorly and to the team as a whole not playing well.

  10. Ives, glad to see you mention Alstons name. I think this kid is a real atacking force on the outside. He has realy come along as a defender under nichol and when I see what we lack in the right back position he seems a good solution. I think Spector at left and Alston at right would allow us to play a 4-3-3 and take more advantage of our glut of tallent in the midfield.

  11. “his robot son”…oh…that kid..the one that gets starting time on a German first division team…oh him.. yeah he must not be worthy…*sigh*

  12. I’m guessing you were addressing my post and I see I didn’t make the point clearly. I do think Torres helps the team, and I believe Bradley thinks so too, else BB wouldn’t have had him on the bench for all those qualifiers.

    Even if the tactical situation didn’t have Torres in every game, Bob wouldn’t waste 1 of his 6 field player bench spots on someone he was never going to play.

    In other words, I think the “Bob hates Paco” rhetoric is a bit overblown.

  13. You don’t think Torres can help the team? I think it’s just that Bradley’s hands are tied. He knows what Torres can do…he can call him in but it’s not his decision as to whether Torres can get there.

  14. Um, they get a winter break just like the all of the other Scandinavian leagues. Read Ives’ ESPN article. There is someone from an Danish team looking to get called in–I believe Tracy?

  15. Just indulging in a small fantasy that Demarcus Beasley has been starting at left back for Ranger all season and is adapting to his new position nicely…

  16. Someone said Jay Heaps!?!? He’s a heaping, steamy pile. He better never have his name on the back of a US shirt unless he buys it at the same place the rest of us get ours at!

  17. Paco Torres has been called in and on the bench for most of the qualifiers. While he didn’t get a lot of minutes between Saprissa and the last qualifier, I don’t see Bradley wasting a bench spot on someone he doesn’t feel can help the team, at least in the right cicumstances.

    As to Orozco, I don’t think he’s as good as the guys ahead of him. The best you can say for him is he’s a CB who has played LB and RB in a pinch, so he’s versatile.

    Finally, the Mexican league schedule makes it difficult to call in players on nonFifa dates, which makes it especially difficult to ask for Castillo since he seems to be important to Tigres.

  18. Trust me he won’t bring in anybody that will threaten his son’s position. Anyone with any flash or creativity wont get a chance against his robot son.

  19. one Lee’s skills trumph’s everyone in MLS believe that and if he does come back you will see it first hand and two he was the best player at FCD when he was training there I saw him with my own eyes by far. So please don’t talk down on a player b/c he’s in a different league that you’ve never seen and trust me they play prettier football than half of the MLS teams that I have seen. The kid is dangerous on the ball more so than any of the names listed above.

  20. Too be perfectly honest, I don’t see the huge deal with bringing in Adu. If by then he hasn’t gotten consistent or semi-consistent playing time with Belenenses then it would seem somewhat ideal to bring him into a game so that he could have a chance to showcase himself to his manager, albeit against unideal competition.

  21. I love how people are willing to say that players whose caps combined don’t even accumulate to ten are important to the team.

    I feel where you’re coming from and I agree it sucks that these guys have to stay off the roster when the USA gets it’s best chance to test it’s players.

    However, these guys aren’t important to the team, at least not at the moment. They could be, considering the injury bug that’s been going through this national team, but Bradley doesn’t necessarily need to risk anything by testing any of these players.

    Davies’ situation was a bit different; There were no other proficient available options to the squad at forward. I’ll say that Bradley might want to be a bit less reluctant to give a player a chance at that position and I’ll admit that Bradley might have wanted to give more minutes to Torres, but I don’t think any games would have been decided by his inclusion.

    We need to be patient with these guys. They’re almost like fine wine. They get better with time. Time with their clubs anyways.

  22. With a limited amount of dates between now and the WC, I don’t see this camp as a net-casting opportunity in which we try a bunch of new guys. That’s what the last three years of friendlies was for. I think this camp is for starting the build up to the WC, both in terms of team cohesion and strategic preparation. Sure, the last few spots are still up for grabs, and there are perhaps a half “new” players worth a look, but I don’t think this should be a cattle call. There’s always a couple of late adds, in past years that’s been guys like David Regis or youngsters like the year we took Beasley and Donovan, but those are more exceptions than the norm. For the most part, we should go with the date that brought us to the dance.

  23. is Bunbury Canadian or an American? I know his dad was on the Canadian national team, but he lived in MN for his post-career life.. anyone know where his son is from?

  24. I want to see this too. Vietnam plays a more technical style than MLS. Plus, Lee was usually double-teamed over there. He surely improved.

    If he wants to, he can sign with FCD easily. He’s still weighing other options though (Europe).

  25. I agree, he’ll be available, I believe, and now is as good a time as any to find out if he can handle USMNT duties. I really wasn’t that impressed with him at the WC earlier this year, but hopefully being around older players with more experience and can provide him better opportunities will bring out the best in him. Time to see what Disk can do, and cap him…

  26. Rodney Wallace from DCU could be an answer at left back, if he gets his citizenship (right now he holds a green card). Last season, he played at left back and in midfield for DC United and did very well at both positions. He is fast, skilled, athletic, has a much greater upside than the picks by Bradley.

  27. Really? And you think good play in the Vietnamese league trumphs good play in the MLS?

    Nguyen was at one point an interesting talent but he didn’t have the technical ability to mostly compensate for his physical shortcomings. I like the kid, I really do, and I wish we could see him again, but he’ll need to elevate him self to a better level than the Vietnamese league.

  28. I think folks are forgetting that teams have to agree to release their players. MLS and the Scandavian teams are not in season. The Mexican teams, however, are in training so its neither the players nor the coaches decision if they get released or not. And while Denmark may be a scandanavian country and definitely has some linguistic and historic ties the the a far northern European countries, I don’t think they play the same football schedule as Norway, Sweden and Finland. But I could be wrong about that. The latter three don’t play a winter schedule because of the cold. Denmark is farther south. With all that said, it would be nice for Bradly to bring in some of the scananavian based players and not just MLSers, as many of the folks on this blog are suggesting.

  29. Diskerud had a great seasonin the Norwegian top division. He definitely should get a look. I hope Hertha plays Arguez or any of the many yanks they have since they have assured themselves relegation.


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