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USMNT training camp kicks off in Princeton

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The U.S. men's national team began its pre-World Cup training camp today in Princeton, New Jersey today and the mood was a happy and confident one as the squad prepares to begin work on building the team that will represent the United States at the World Cup next month.

SBI will have a series of stories from training camp throughout the week so stay tuned for those. For now, here are some tidbits from the first day of training:

Tim Howard (quad), Chad Marshall (hamstring) and Jay DeMerit (ab strain) were held out of practice rest some slight knocks. Howard said the injury wasn't anything to worry about. Eddie Johnson was also sidelined with the hamstring injury he suffered last week, while Carlos Bocanegra was nursing an ab strain of his own.

Bradley addressed the decision not to call in Charlie Davies, saying that both Sochaux and U.S. national team evaluations were involved in the process that led to him not being called in.

Bob Bradley is hoping to have the squad for the World Cup picked by the Turkey match on May 29th. The team departs for South Africa the next day, so there's a good chance the final 23 will be chosen before the second of two home friendlies. That means the friendly vs. the Czech Republic on May 25th could make the difference in some roster battles.

When asked what his preferred position was, Clint Dempsey revealed that he likes playing on the left wing, so he can cut in on his right foot and take shots. As for playing forward, Dempsey said he likes playing there if the team he's playing for is struggling to move the ball, but that if the team is moving the ball well then he'd rather be in midfield.

I will be back with some updates on Stuart Holden, Marcus Hahnemann and Carlos Bocanegra so stay tuned for those. In the meantime, you can read my Fox Soccer story on the position battles to watch for in training camp.

Which position battle are you most interested in? Which player are you looking forward to seeing play in the upcoming friendlies?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. I think Donovan would be better on the wing and Holden in the center of this formation. Also, Torres or Felli could come in the second half. Bedoya could also come in.

  2. What central backs are not suspect when they have to compete against speed?

    This why Davies was important for the USMNT before the injury and why I thought he was the one player the US did not want to lose. Yes, I am saying he is the most important player on the USMNT.

  3. Whoa, fellers. I didn’t say he was useless. But he has always specialized in one-touch, getting the ball off his feet as quickly as possible. And I don’t like french pastry for its own sake, but there are times when there is no substitute for it. And Landon clearly lacks it.

    WRT his stint in Everton, it’s true he played more manly and less scared than he has historically. But the point is that to develop an inside game you have to not be afraid to get planted on your butt, repeatedly. (Ever notice how Dempsey is the most fouled guy on the pitch?) When Landon was younger and fundamentally still developing his game, he opted out of all that, in favor of outside speed and one-touch play.

  4. Dude….. Feilhaber is better than Torres why are people so stuck on Torres…… he’s good but simply not better than Feilhaber

    Did you see what Feilhaber did to spain when he came on as a sub?

    Torres as good as we may want to believe he is has not shown on the INTERNATIONAL stage that he is better than Feilhaber.

    I watch Torres every weekend and he disappears from games all the time and does the same with the national team…. for a guy that is suppose to be this great distributor of the ball he coughs the ball up a lot in Mexico and those dudes can’t defend a house from an ant invasion

  5. Clint up top w/ Jozy, Stuart on the right flank working with Spector, Landon on the left. Barring injury, there it is.

    Landon gets up and down the line better than Clint, is more fit, and is our best counter attacking player; as teams load up to push up our left and attack that perceived weakness, Landon will find space going back at them the other way…and if opponents overcompensate there to take him away, Clint will be alone on the other side

  6. I’d like to see Donovan up top with Jozy against England, with Dempsey on the left wing against Glen Johnson (who will allow so much space behind him because he can’t stay home). Terry and Ferdinand are very slow compared to Donovan. Donovan can strech them with his speed. The problem will be the England holding midfielder, who will be either Carrick or Milner, or both. They will shut down the middle in front of the backline.

    Anyways, Terry and Ferdinand are suspect when they have to mark speedy players. For this reason I think Donovan should partner Jozy.

  7. Yeah, Ching couldn’t make the trip over to England so Jozy has been tieing his own shoes… hopefully now with Ching back in the mix, Jozy will start scoring again.

  8. Or maybe we just need to worry about the Refs… they always seem to see red whenever we are playing in big games!!

  9. Exactly. Someone clearly didn’t watch the Liverpool match where he stole Carragher’s lunch money in the box… or any Everton match to make that comment. I was a consummate trash talker about Landycakes. He sold me at Everton.

  10. I watched almost every single game Jozy played. He played fine with Hull. So did Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink. It’s really hard to do anything when you’re only getting the ball with your back to the goal at the halfway mark. The other games he played where they could actually involve him he was getting fouls, drawing yellows, drawing pk’s, etc.

    With that said, Rio, Terry, and Cole are no slouches… and neither is/was Capdevilla.

    I also watched plenty of Fulham games this season. Dempsey is not fast by top flight standards. I’m a fan of his, but speed isn’t a trait he possesses. Putting him up front takes away from his ability to get into a little space and shoot from distance in the mid, which he can definitely do.

    What I want is someone who is capable of burning it up top with Jozy. Does Gomez have legs?

  11. it’s just the name I’ve always use here. Often when I reply it’s apropos to my response, but not always. I’m too lazy to go changing my name every time I respond.

  12. Agree 100%. People are making Donovan out better than he is. He is a very good player but he is not Franck Ribery. Adu and Davies can provide that spark/magic/bit of fantasy, but they are not on the team so you already know we are going to be lacking in ideas. Only other hope is Dempsey so we are very limited in creative players. I like Bedoya too but he is inexperienced at this level.

  13. More than 6 weeks, really, but I couldn’t remember just how long the loan was for, and I didn’t want to look it up.

  14. I couldn’t reply to both, but my post above details some of my response here. But I’ll repeat, he broke Ashley Cole’s ankle. He was sick during the Netherlands game. He played extremely well for 6 weeks in the most physical league in the world. Physicality won’t be a problem.

  15. That’s weak criticism, after his showing at Everton. I mean, he broke Ashley Cole’s ankle, first of all. Second, just because he’s not out there dancing over the ball (and therefore not giving it away stupidly half the time) doesn’t mean he’s not crafty. He pulled off many beautiful turns when receiving passes, made some great flicks, and sent some very nice through balls in for Everton. But his turns alone are worth the price of admission. I’m not sure what other “moves” you want. I’ll take his smart, productive flair over flash that works 1 out of 10 times. (Steve Nash vs. Stephon Marbury, if you want to frame it that way.)

    I’ll be honest, I never bought into Donovan much either, and I’m not sure I was wrong. I think he turned a corner when he realized going to Europe was a key for his development. He’s almost a different player now.

  16. We need a forward with the prospect of scoring. Has anyone noticed that whenever fans mention Ching they never tout his scoring prowess at forward? If a player is being picked at forward, he needs to be a scoring threat and even ching’s biggest fans acknowledge that he is not a threat to score in a big game. It’s time to put the Ching experiment to rest. It’s a waste of a position. And on Donovan.. he just doesn’t like to mix it up. No tight spaces, no physical play. the Dutch pushed him around a bit in the friendly and Landon disappeared. He s the only Nats player who can get away with being physically intimidated and doesn’t get called on it.
    Do I sound negative about this team? I am not. I have more confidence than I did four years ago and I cannot forget the pain of watching that game against the Czech Republic. It was my longest lunch hour. But someone on this team is going to have to create some magic otherwise it’s gonna be another three and out.

  17. I go to Princeton and I just showed up today and it was pretty relaxed. The security are high school soccer players, they told me they didn’t care if I watched as long as I kept moving, then I just found a place to lean and watched the whole scrimmage. (Holden had a sweet goal from no angle, Rogers slotted one in and Guzan stuffed a couple point blank shots from Gomez). They make the media people sit behind a building so they can’t see the scrimmage, just training, and a couple reporters asked what I had seen. Later a few players (Holden, Beasley, Dempsey, Howard, Gomez, Boca) came up for their media availability and took a couple of pictures and signed a jersey for the 5 or 6 people who had wandered by. It’s a pretty open facility, they can’t really close it down.

  18. My 23

    GK: Howard, Hahnemann, Guzan

    DEF: Spector, DeMerit, Onyewu, Bocanegra, Cherundolo, Goodson, Pearce

    MID: Donovan, Bradley, Holden, Edu, Toress, Feilhaber, Clark, Bedoya, Beasley

    FWRD: Dempsey, Altidore, Gomez, Buddle

  19. Beas is a high-risk, high-reward player. If he plays great, he’ll help tremendously. If he lays an egg, he’s the worst player on the field.

  20. Landon Donovan goes to great lengths to avoid exposing his knees or ankles (never mind his head) to the opponents. That, in a nutshell, is why he never developed any real moves. It’s just too scary to work in close like that, I guess.

    Unfortunately, he gets away with this preciousness because he has been anointed with oil by successive MNT coaches. Pity.

  21. I agree. There’s a reason he hasn’t played at Rangers more than ten games for 3 straight years.

    If I don’t do myself a dozen times a year i forget how.


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