Photo by John Todd/ISIphotos.com
U.S. men's national team head coach Bob Bradley has some tough decisions to make when he picks his 23-man World Cup roster, but even before he selects that final squad, Bradley will first have to pick 30 players for the U.S. national team's preliminary World Cup roster.
Bradley will name that group of 30 next week and the decisions aren't as easy as you would expect.
Here is my Fox Soccer take on the 30-man group Bradley will call in. The project squad I select has a few surprises, specifically Frankie Hejduk and Freddy Adu. Remember, not all players on the preliminary roster will actually make it to the national team's training camp in Princeton, and there are sure to be at least one or two surprise selections and omissions.
Here are some more thoughts on the 30-man preliminary roster:
Why Frankie Hejduk? Bob Bradley needs to look at fullback options and Hejduk's experience makes him someone Bradley could take a look at. Frank Simek has fallen out of the picture, Marvell Wynne has played well as a centerback but has been awful for the national team and someone like New England fullback Kevin Alston is promising but still too young. I don't see Hejduk making the 23-man roster, but I can see him invited to camp.
Why Freddy Adu? The fact that he is starting for Aris FC in the Greek League playoffs is a significant sign that Aris head coach Hector Cuper likes what he sees in Adu. That coupled with the fact that there aren't many other creative midfield options makes Adu a legitimate candidate. Robbie Rogers is not playing well in MLS play, which also helps Adu's cause.
Why not Robbie Findley? If Findley is finally over the knee injury he was dealing with for a while then he could still be a call-up. If Davies can't make it, then Findley's chances increase significantly. As it stands, Findley hasn't been playing well.
Why not Eddie Johnson? Truth be told, I have a feeling we'll see Johnson, but I couldn't figure out who Bradley would leave out. He's definitely a candidate to replace Davies if Davies can't go, but he could also be brought in over one of the two red-hot forwards, Edson Buddle or Herculez Gomez. Much like Adu, Johnson is playing in the Greek League playoffs, and his two goals in Aris' first playoff games could leave Bradley intrigued enough to bring him in.
Why not Jeff Cunningham? Have you seen him play in MLS lately? All his goals have come via penalty kicks because he's been missing chances in bunches.
Why not Sacha Kljestan? He's shown some good signs the past two weeks, but it may be too little, too late in a pool loaded with central midfield options. He does play on the wing for Chivas USA, but hasn't really been used there with the national team. If Bradley decides Kljestan is a better wing option than an out-of-form Rogers and Adu, Kljestan could head to Princeton.
What do you think of the group? Which of the 30 players do you think won't be making the squad? Who do you think is the most glaring omission from the projected 30-player preliminary roster?
Share your thoughts below.