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Sizing up the USMNT Player Pool

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With a month to go before the U.S. men's national team convenes for its pre-World Cup training camp, we are down to a month to go for players to impress and earn invites to that camp, and a month for players to play themselves off the radar.

My recent Fox Soccer column took a closer look at the national team pool and discusses 20 players who fall into four different categories: those players on the rise, those on the decline, those who have fallen out of the running and those who are still holding on to slight hopes.

Give the piece a read and let me know which selections you agreed and/or disagreed with.

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Hejduk brings alot to the team as far as leadership and energy…(he was one of the few bright spots for the USMNT during the ’98 WC), but the USMNT has a bad habit (or bad luck) when it comes to getting RED cards in the WC, and Hejduk is a red card waiting to happen,

    He’s in my personal USMNT HALL OF FAME, and I’ll always appreciate what he has done for the team… but we can’t afford to go down to 10 men once again in this tourney.

  2. I’m probably in the minority on this site but I always believed players should be trained to be players first and then positional players second.

    Probably an offshoot of being a fan of the great Clockwork Orange Dutch teams. I think most of you make far too much of the difficulty of a midfielder moving to defense, a defender playing in attack and so on. Other than goalkeeper the skills necessary to play WELL anywhere on the field are the same.

    Here in America you have that guy Cameron who seems to be very good no matter where he plays and if you want one example from the EPL Michael Essien moves all over the field for Chelsea.

    Obviously at that level you want one position on a regular basis but an EPL level pro should be able to play another spot quite comfortably for a few games, for example for their national team in the World Cup. Asking Spector, Edu or even Michael Bradley to play CB for a couple of games should not be a big deal, except that it takes away from their regular spots.

    Great players like Cruyff,George Best or Pele were the best players on their team which meant Pele was probably the best left back, the best right mid and the best center forward on his Brazil teams. He may have been the best goalkeeper to never play in goal for Brazil. George Best was the same way and so is Wayne Rooney. Yet I read people arguing here about whether JF Torres is a left winger or a left midfielder. Insane.

    I’ll bet the best left back on the USMNT is Landon Donovan.

  3. I would consider giving another look to Gomez, Buddle, and Adu. The first 2 are scoring goals in bunches now. While it is far from certain they would be reading for WC level game, we are thin at forward and if these guys can continue to be hot, we can use them.

    As for Adu, his playing time certainly does not justify it. But whenever I saw him play, he has shown fleshes of talent on the ball, which few on the U.S. squad possess. May be he picked up enough in Europe to blend those skills with tactical knowledge and better defensive effort.

    And, if Hejduk is healthy, I’d take him, too. The guy works harder than many younger players around him. And since we cannot cap Schelotto, we’d have to settle for this particular Crew veteran:)

  4. If the guy can play one position great, then he’s already on the team and not in the discussion of who is going to fill out the roster. Remember, this conversation is really about the last few spots.

  5. Bedoya? I don’t get it. This kid might turn out to be a decent player for us in the future, but for now he hasn’t done anything special to put him on the map. Bedoya has had more games in than Adu, yet Adu holds better stats and a better overall ratio in 2010. And people here are saying Adu & Beasley have no business in the

  6. “If Bradley would have used Adu and Torres during the Confederation cup, they would have been better prepared but his desire to use his favorite players that do not possess the skills have limited their progress. ”

    Bradley isn’t limiting their progress. They are.

    I wasn’t there in South Africa. Of course neither were you but I have to assume Torres and Adu did not impress Bradley enough during practice to EARN the privilige of playing. You don’t play someone because he is a fan favorite; you play them because they show you in practice they are ready, willing and able to do what you ask them to do.

    Also, you don’t use FIFA sanctioned tournament as garbage time for scrubs. In 2009 there was no guarantee that Torres and Adu would even be in the picture for 2010. The US went to the final with a chance to win their first ever FIFA tournament against freaking Brazil of all people; they advanced by the skin of their teeth; this means every minute was very precious with no room for non performing scrubs. If Torres and Adu had not been performing well in practice I would not have played them either.

    I think Adu and Torres did not get to play against Brazil because Bradley felt they would have cleat marks all over their backs from the Brazilians running all over them. Freddy is puny and easily pushed around and you saw how the Dutch just blew by Torres and had their way with him. The Brazilians are skilled yes, but they are also big, fast, strong and very, very physical.

  7. “But I love how there is such a sense of entitlement with players who are young playing overseas. Look at our core of players. They all started here and played solid for the MLS before going to their Euro clubs. These things will all work themselves out soon enough, but it’s always better to have healthy competition with ANY and ALL players who are playing at a quality level. Honestly, who knows who the backups are and could be right now? Speculation.”

    I’m not sure I get your point but I’m assuming you are saying that American players who go abroad shouldn’t be presumed to be better than those who stayed here just because they went abroad and other’s didn’t.

    Well, I don’t think that’s happening but in the case of Bedoya he has worked very hard and established himself as a regular over a year and a half,in the same league that gave you Charlie Davies. So we know that he is capable of consistency over time and is presumably capable of repeating a good performance.

    Someone like Tim Ream, whose entire career is 3 pro games for the Red Bull, well, even if they were games where he shut Leo Messi and Barcelona down cold; it’s still just 3 games. Before a coach can trust him they will need a much bigger sample size. Jonathan Bornstein once played Leo Messi very well in a Copa America game. If you went off of that game you would have thought Bornstein a certified all star defender and he, of course, is not.

    Bedoya deserves to go to SA because of one thing only; how he plays. He looks very dangerous out there and is, courageous, direct and aggressive, something very few US players are. He’s not araid to attack. Compare his performace in Holland to Robbie Findley’s, who looked like a high school senior out there.He was afraid and Bedoya wasn’t. There is your difference.

  8. Why?

    Does it have someting to do with a traumatic event in your childhood? Something repressed?

    If the DUDE is called up you can assume there is probably a really good reason. Unlike many, I suspect it would be because he is playing well and is better than the alternatives.

    If so then , I’d be very happy to see one of my all time favorite USMNT players ever go to SA. I’d be sure then that the US has at least one guy with huge cojones.

  9. Versatility is great but you can go overboard with it.

    Would you rather have a guy who can play three positions okay or a guy who can play one position great?

  10. Is he eligible for the US? After all US fans are willing to wait for Adu to develop. Obviously your uncle is a late bloomer. How are his passing skills?

    Josh D Castillo will want to call him up for the USMNT.

  11. Right, then watch the US plummet as they fail to qualify for the 2014 World Cup.

    Of course Spain and Brazil do not rely on physical prowess at all, which is why Senna a tough guy defensive mid (Jones type)is often cited as the reason why Spain recently went from pretenders to European Champions and why Brazil is just keeps getting,bigger stronger and tougher under Dunga( and before him actually). Have you ever seen C Ronaldo in person? The guy is a monster, big tough and fast. So go ahead and rely on pretty boys like Adu who has all the passing skills in the world and see how far that takes you.

    You can make a case for a number of players being an upgrade from Bornstein but Castillo ain’t one of them. I’ve watched him a number of times lately and overall, he’s no big upgrade. And he plays for an awful team.

    There’s a reason Mexico didn’t call him up.

  12. he’s not good enough to be a starter and is also wayyyy too streaky. He’ll look good, then drift out of the game for long spells. Maybe for 2014 if he can keep consistent form but right now he’s not there. I like his skills and his aggression but he needs to harness it a bit more and learn to stay more consistent.

  13. Frankly I am surprised there is no mention about Robbie Rogers. His versatility helps him. He plays left, he plays right, he can play left back in a pinch. We know he can make a late game impact as he did against Costa Rica which is what Bradley is no doubt looking for as he fills his last roster spots.

  14. Adu can give you something in the last 10-15 minutes? Did you watch last year’s Gold Cup? Just because he has talent doesn’t mean he is ready to contribute. When he gets consistent playing time, then we’ll talk. His World Cup dreams are over for this cycle.

  15. I’m really excited with the youth and prospects we have currently. Great potential for 2014.

    As for 2010 …. anything can happen, right?!?!


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