Photo by ISIphotos.com
We're less than a hundred days before the World Cup, meaning the clock is ticking more loudly as U.S. national team head coach Bob Bradley gets closer to picking his squad for the summer tournament in South Africa.
Bradley will announce his 23-man roster around mid-May, before the June 1 FIFA deadline and before the team departs for an East Coast destination for a pre-World Cup training camp.
I wrote a column on my picks for the 23-man roster for FoxSoccer.com. There are a few surprises, at least some picks that might surprise some, but I do think the core group of the squad is pretty easy to identify.
Here are some thoughts on my selections:
Jonathan Bornstein's inclusion will surprise some who want him banned from the team after Wednesday's match, but I still think he's better than given credit for and had some good moments in between the really awful moments. I did include Heath Pearce, but anyone thinking he's a lock to do well must have amnesia blocking anything prior to 2010.
Alejandro Bedoya has just two caps so it's crazy to include him, right? Perhaps, but given the less than stellar form of players such as Robbie Rogers and Sacha Kljestan, as well as the lack of forward options, I can see Clint Dempsey being used solely as a forward in South Africa, leaving room for a wing option. Bedoya is coming off a very promising first season in Sweden and if he can keep up the stellar form for Orebro, he will be in the mix for a roster spot.
Some readers brought up Freddy Adu, and yes, he should have been listed among the fringe midfielders not to make the squad. He's on the radar, and if he can put together a good stretch of solid form and playing time for Aris he would have to be considered.
Would Bob Bradley really only take two pure forwards in Jozy Altidore and Brian Ching? Maybe not, but unless Charlie Davies can recover and take a roster spot I'm not sure who you take at the expense of a good midfielder. Robbie Findley is possibility, but showed little vs. the Dutch.
Does taking five central midfielders make sense? Michael Bradley, Ricardo Clark, Maurice Edu, Jose Torres and Benny Feilhaber all make my squad, and while it might seem like one too many, it should be noted that Feilhaber can help on the wing and Edu could potentially provide some cover at centerback. It also remains to be seen how Feilhaber recovers from his ankle tendon injury.
The Fox Soccer squad I chose was my 23-man roster, not the roster I think Bob Bradley would pick if he chose a team if he had to pick it now. That said, I'm not sure how different a team would be that I thought Bradley would pick. Perhaps another forward in place of Bedoya, and perhaps another centerback in place of Heath Pearce.
What do you think of the 23-man roster I selected? What would be your 23-man roster? (If you list your proposed roster, please, just use commas to separate players).
Share your thoughts, and squads, below.