Photo by ISIphotos.com
The U.S. men's national team will play its first match of 2010 on Saturday against Honduras in Carson, California (9pm, Fox Soccer Channel/Telefutura), and while most of the team's top stars won't be playing, the match is still an important one in terms of trying to figure out who are Bob Bradley's best options to fill out the World Cup roster.
There are plenty of new faces in camp, including Chris Pontius, Alejandro Bedoya, Omar Gonzalez and Geoff Cameron, but also some established veterans such as Jimmy Conrad, Jonathan Bornstein and Benny Feilhaber.
Honduras will also be missing all of its European standouts, but should still field a team capable of providing a stiff test to the U.S. team.
So what lineup should we expect on Saturday night? Here is a starting XI we can see taking the field:
PROJECTED USA LINEUP vs. HONDURAS
Alston is probably the surprising name to see here, but he was a better defender than Wynne in the second half of the 2009 MLS season, so if he has carried over that form we ca see him getting the nod. Brad Evans also saw playing time at right back during last summer's Gold Cup so he is also a possibility on the right. Centerback should be set if Conrad and Marshall are healthy, though Conrad and Omar Gonzalez have been used together quite a bit.
Robbie Rogers has seen playing time on the right wing for the U.S. team, so it wouldn't be surprising to see Rogers on the right and someone like Alejandro Bedoya or Brad Davis on the left. That said, I have a feeling we'll see the midfield quartet of Feilhaber, Kljestan, Beckerman and Rogers. Dax McCarty has enjoyed a strong camp as well, which could lead to a four-man midfield of Feilhaber–Beckerman–McCarty–Rogers.
I'm sure many U.S. fans will want to see Robbie Findley over Conor Casey, but Casey should get the nod. Whether Findley can edge out Jeff Cunningham for the other starting spot remains to be seen.
It will also be interesting to see if Geoff Cameron gets playing time, and where he will be used. A central defender last season for Houston, Cameron could lineup on the right flank and even in central midfield.
Here is the roster available for Saturday's match:
Goalkeepers: Zach Thornton (Chivas USA), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake), Troy Perkins (D.C. United), Kevin Hartman (Kansas City Wizards)
Defenders: Kevin Alston (New England Revolution), Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA), Jimmy Conrad (Kansas City Wizards), Omar Gonzalez (Los Angeles Galaxy), Clarence Goodson (IK Start), Chad Marshall (Columbus Crew), Heath Pearce (FC Dallas), Marvell Wynne (Toronto FC), Brandon McDonald (San Jose Earthquakes)
MIDFIELDERS: Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Ã–rebro), Geoff Cameron (Houston Dynamo), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders), Benny Feilhaber (Aarhus), Eddie Gaven (Columbus Crew), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA), Dax McCarty (FC Dallas), Chris Pontius (D.C. United), Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew)
FORWARDS: Justin Braun (Chivas USA), Conor Casey (Colorado Rapids), Jeff Cunningham (FC Dallas), Robbie Findley (Real Salt Lake)
Now it's your turn. What lineup would you like to see the U.S. team start vs. Honduras on Saturday?
Share your thoughts below.