With the 30-man preliminary roster for the U.S. World Cup team set to be unveiled on Tuesday we have seen several players step up their bids to be on the team, while some others have faded from the picture.
Two players who have played well in recent weeks to merit consideration are San Jose midfielder Bobby Convey and Aris FC striker Eddie Johnson. They are two players who had been considered long shots (or no shots), but they also happen to have been two of the younger members of the 2006 World Cup team.
All Johnson has done is score three goals during the on-going Greek playoffs, throwing his hat in the ring alongside fellow hot-streakers Edson Buddle and Herculez Gomez. Playing in, and scoring in, important games in Greece has surely increased Johnson's chances of making the 30-man roster, and potentially next week's U.S. pre-World Cup training camp.
Convey's push is probably the less likely of the two to be successful. He has shown the creativity, crossing ability and work rate that once made him one of the most promising young wingers in the U.S. national team pool. Unfortunately for Convey, he has endured a rough past two seasons since returning to MLS and may have waited too long to recapture his old form.
While Convey and Johnson have been on the rise in recent weeks, here is a look at the direction we see some of the other fringe members of the national team pool going as we draw closer to finding out who is being called into training camp.
Edson Buddle. Best goal-scorer in MLS has apparently locked up a camp invite, which is certainly well-deserved.
Eddie Johnson. His performances in the Greek playoffs couldn't have come at a better time.
Herculez Gomez. He's been out of action the past few weeks, but is in Los Angeles preparing for the training camp invite if it comes. He did enough to deserve one.
Bobby Convey. Probably won't be considered, but given the lack of true left wing options, you wonder just how far away he really is.
Heath Pearce. Playing in midfield for FC Dallas may not have helped his candidacy, but he's enjoyed a good season and has played well when deployed in the back.
Freddy Adu. He too has played in some key matches for Aris, but hasn't quite had the impact that Johnson has had.
Sacha Kljestan. One of he keys to Chivas USA's turnaround, Kljestan is showing signs of his old form. The glut of central midfield options works against him though.
Jeff Cunningham. Yes, he's had goals, but he's missed an inordinate amount of chances and is looking more like the bad Cunningham than the good Cunningham.
Chad Marshall. After being sidelined with a hamstring injury, Marshall finally played his first 90 minutes for Columbus in Saturday's 3-2 win vs. New England. Considered a shoe-in to make the World Cup team a year ago, injuries and below-par form have put his chances in jeopardy.
Frankie Hejduk. Has shown his age in recent weeks, getting beaten for pace far too often. With Pearce playing well, Hejduk's chances may have diminished over the past month.
Robbie Findley. A knee injury suffered while with the national team has led to a disappointing start to the MLS season, and has likely cost him serious ground in the race for World Cup roster spots.
Conor Casey. Just hasn't been that impressive for the Rapids this season, at least not in terms of scoring goals in the run of play. He could be in jeopardy of not even making the 30-man roster.
What do you think of this group? Which of the aforementioned players would you like to see getting the invitation to Princeton? Which players do you think it's too late for?
Share your thoughts below.