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Wednesday Kickoff: Decision Day looms for USMNT

USAvsCzechs (JohnToddISI)

Photo by John Todd/

Today is the day the U.S. men's national team reveals its 23-man World Cup roster and after last night's 4-2 loss to the Czechs, the picture is a bit clearer as we move closer to the announcement (1:20pm, ESPN).

Herculez Gomez helped his case, as did Robbie Rogers, Alejandro Bedoya and Edson Buddle to lesser extents. Eddie Johnson, Sacha Kljestan and Heath Pearce didn't help themselves.

For those of you who missed it, here is my take for Fox Soccer on last night's match (as well as my projected final 23).

As far as non-bubble thoughts from last night, DaMarcus Beasley, Stuart Holden, Maurice Edu, Jose Torres and Clarence Goodson all showed well. Jonathan Bornstein had a shocker and while I still think he makes the team, I'd say the chances of him getting on the field grow smaller by the day. Brad Guzan didn't have a great night and you have to think Marcus Hahnemann is the no. 2 goalkeeper now.

SBI correspondent Franco Panizo and I will be in Bristol, Connecticut for the live announcement of the roster selection, so be sure to check in here and for all your roster announcement coverage.

Who do you see making the squad? Share your thoughts below.


  1. I think this team is still lacking the spark that Charlie Davies provided. Too bad he won’t be going to the WC. He was to me the biggest difference in the confederations cup!

  2. Steve Cherundolo is, for some reason, always the most overlooked player on the team. He was good last night, he was good for the last decade, and he’s the starting RB. I know internet gentlemen prefer blonds (and all things England), but Dolo is our man.

    For all the talk of forwards (Ching and Buddle looked good last night and Herc obviously scored), we are going to win or lose on our backline. If needs be, I think Goodson can step in and be adequate if Gooch can’t go, but if Boca is not in good shape, we will be in serious trouble. He’s slow, but I have absolutely no trust in our other LB options.

  3. This game really did no justice to the fringe players. Being just thrown together with none of the stars. That said, this is what I took from the game.

    Beasley – I think he is back, he may even be fighting for a starting role, which would allow Dempsey to move up top.

    Torres – looked very good on the ball, great vision.

    Edu – looked good for the most part, maybe too many fouls. Needs to be careful at the cup.

    Cherundolo – The Mayor of Hannover may be the starter, depending on Spector’s form.

    Bornstein – I think he’s had enough chances, he should not start.

    Pearce – I don’t know what was happening with him, I had him ahead of Bornstein, but he had a terrible night. Then again Bornstein did have the help of Beasley in front of him.

    Guzan – didn’t get much help from the backline, but maybe Marcus should be No. 2

    Buddle – did okay, not enough service

    Johnson – see above

    Goodson – I like this guy more and more each time I see him. I wouldn’t be surprised if he starts, considering the injuries to the backline.

    Holden – Looked pretty good

    Gomez – Super Sub role, not a starter

    Onyewu – May not be 100%, that scares me

    Rodgers – did okay, but maybe too late

    Bedoya – did well, but may still get cut

    Ching – I think he did really well. He may be fighting for a starting role. I wouldn’t mind seeing him up top as a starter.

    Anyone I forgot, well…they just were invisible.

    I like the home kits, especially the numbers.

  4. Rumor on twitter is that Ching is back on a plane back to Houston from Hartford.

    This would be insane for Bradley to do this. When Ching came on last night the whole game changed because of his maturity and how he created oppty for his teammates.

    I think this is a bad decision but it was a bad decision in 2006 for Bruce to bench Ching.

  5. Speed kills and Rogers showed he has it and can bring something to the team. Holden proved he is a better CM-he is not a wing.

  6. The amount of delusional people on this site is amazing. If you couldn’t tell, except for Findley and Marshal, if you didn’t play its because you ALREADY had a ticket. For those of you not thinking well this a.m. that means Spector, among others.

    The dropping Guzan comment is just foolish. Everyone takes 3 keepers for a reason!

    What so many of you seem unwilling to admit is that BB actually sees the players enough that he can make better decisions than you possibly can. Try to have just a BIT of faith that we can accomplish something. Last night had its purpose and is done. Let’s move on.

    Go USA!!!

  7. I like the way Torres plays and the observation about him not being on the same page is spot on. That is why I wish he got more playing time in the qualifiers. Torres brings a different style and can break down a defense with his passing. The problem is that his teammates need to make runs for him and sometimes, gasp, to just run in straight lines. I would like to see how he would fit playing with Barca’s midfield.

  8. I couldn’t agree more with the point that Bornstein was terrible last night, outpaced only by Pearce. However, I would still take him in the final 23 as someone that can be subbed in at minute 70 to 75 in replace of a FW / MF to be active in the midfield and disrupt the build up. Maybe that could be Beasley as well, but if Beasley is going to start than we may need another type of these guys.

    I would take Hercules and Edson and drop Ching. Buddle is athletic enough to serve as a target forward and brings more to the table in terms of pace. Plus, we have enough big guys crashing the goal on set pieces that we don’t need Ching for that purpose. Granted he had a couple good passes last night, but for most of the evening he was a ghost.

    In terms of the comment regarding our lack of speed at the backs, I think that can be partially nullified with speedy / active wing players tracking back (Holden / Beasley).

    Anyway, I am not placing too much emphasis on the result of the game, but if Turkey is anywhere near the same we will be in dire circumstances.

  9. I can see Oguchi Onyewu being cut. I’m a huge fan of Gooch from day one at the Academy. Gooch was not rusty last night, he was still injured (physically or mentally). He played like a wounded warrior, someone injured who had to be in there because all the subs were used up. Does Bradley feel Gooch can once again turn, pivot, and jump, in just two weeks? If not he should cut him. Bradley gave a hint that Gooch was not up to snuff in his last interview. I don’t know why reporters didn’t see these extreme physical limitations at training. What were they watching?

  10. I second that. Then again, Bornstein had the luxury of playing with Beasley in front of him. Pearce had Rodgers.

  11. yeah, LD would work up top too, which would allow Dempsey to play on his preferred left. i honestly could see DeMerit starting for Gooch, Goodson in the middle and then Boca on the left. I think the CB situation is up in the air.

  12. I think we have to take Rogers and DMB. Torres, though good…not sure…him or Feilhaber…tough one there.
    D…PROBLEMS galore! Gooch is seriously still hurt, Boca is hurt but who knows how badly, Demerit can’t see straight!!! Gonna have to choose Bornstein; he has to go just because of injuries. Gooch goes because we have to pray he’ll heal up in time. I bet Marshall goes just because of the injuries.
    Gomez goes, Johnson does not. Buddle? Not sure if he’ll go over Ching.
    Can Clark play left back?
    Leave home: Pearce, Sasha, Johnson, Findley.

  13. Did BB really have to wait until the Czech game to evaluate who the 7 were going to be? The opponent could have been the Red Bulls for all that mattered.

    The fact of the matter is, tactically, the US still plays the same from day 1 when BB took over and this isn’t going to change whether you have Donovan or __you_fill_in_the_players_name___ in the game.

    I guess the clueless public will wait until we lose to England and Slovenia, and end up with only 3 pts from Algeria, and they will start asking questions. Too late by then and USSF, if Gulati is still at the helm, hire another useless coach. If we go out of the 1st round, Gulati and BB should resign with immediate effect.

  14. Last night thoughts:

    Gooch looked out of shape. Every once in a while you get out jumped, it happens, but that is his strong suit! The play that really did it for me was a small one where he was running to the corner to get a loose ball. Man did he look slow! Crouch will eat him for lunch. I think BB will go Demerit and Boca in the middle but that leaves us with Spector on the left, in the West Ham games that I saw, showed a LB Spector that was not very good. I think Goodsen’s height to try and stop Crouch and Demerit in the middle with Boca on left makes more sense.

    Forwards – Only Gomez looked like a forward. You cannot win games if you do not score goals and none of the forwards except Gomez looked remotely like scoring goals!!!!

    Nothing about last nights game made me feel good about our chances. If BB had pretty much made up his mind on who the 23 are, and I think he had, what we really needed was our starting 11 playing together. As the Confed cup showed the longer the starting 11 play together the better we get. WE DID NOT NEED A GAME THAT MEANT NOTHING EXCEPT WHO THE LAST 2 OR 3 PLAYERS ArE. PLAYERS THAT PROBABLY WON’T SEE THE FIELD IN SA!!

  15. I don’t know. That is a toss up. I am not so sure. The servers might crash if Bornstein is left on.

    It’s kind of like having to pick between lethal injection or the gas chamber. Sort of makes you wish that the firing squad was still an option so that you could just get it over with sooner. If both are on final roster–there are going to be a chorus of “oh H@ll, No! Bob Bradley has done lost his d@mn mind!” launched.

  16. I hope that I am wrong and that the guys that I think should be cut will be cut. But I have a funny feeling in the bottom of my stomach that Bradley is going to take either Bornstein or Kljest and I would not be shocked if he manages to take both.

    If he takes both, I want to file Freedom of Information Act requesting their birth records… HIPPA be d@mned.

  17. Giving Patrick the benefit of the doubt… …he did say, “if I could I would.” Praps he knows he can’t. 😉

  18. “They [Czech] brought a side of up and coming players that were hungry to prove they belonged.” My point exactly Nate, why didn’t the fringe players play with that SAME intensity? If Czech players not going to the World Cup can play like that, then why not guys who are playing for a spot on the team to South Africa? I just cannot understand why…

  19. I would take Spec over Bornstien any day of the week. But my name is not Bob Bradley.

    If I were Rico or JT, I would still be sweating bullets until it is conformed that I am going. One of them might be getting tossed out of the lifeboat…

  20. Well we’ll know the roster in about an hour and a half.

    Who would cause the biggest uproar if in the final 23? I assume JB makes it and people will moan but it’s expected. My vote goes with Sacha, even though it wouldn’t be a surprise with BB.

  21. Nice observation about Torres. On a number of touches I would start to say “nice ball” or good thought” but it would be a turnover because his teammantes were not on the same page.

  22. “Rogers has his faults, but he’s pretty much the only true wide player in the talent pool.”

    Uhhh…. so… we, like, have this fella named “Holden”. Praps you hearda him?

  23. comment on 3)..Seemed to me Ching was late on making the pass on that run Rogers made..Rogers made a good run and didnt get the ball on time

  24. Rogers looked like a player trying to impress.

    After the Bornstein and Pearce debacle, explain to me why Edgar Castillo never got a more serious look. We are kind of at the point where we just need someone with a pulse to play LB.

  25. Ives, for the most part I like your 23 and see their merits. For what its worth here are my impressions from last night that might be different from yours.

    Buddle: made a strong case for inclusion with his up tempo play, ability to track back and help on the defensive side. Even with his partner Johnson doing a disappearing act up front he put together several strong runs that died due to lack of support

    Bornstein: looked overmatched athletically all night and tried to make up for it through holding and fouling. Looks to be a foul liability in dangerous positions. Not sure if BB urged him to get forward as much and as deep as he did but DMB ended up saving the wing defensive breakdowns entirely too much

    Torres: an absolutely talented individual who seems to never be on the same page as his teamates. The impression I have of him throughout the qualifying campaign was reaffirmed last night: his playmaking ability is top notch but lacks chemistry with the team causing must of his creation to end up as turn overs or pace stallers on the attack. It always seems to be that way with him, for whatever reason his playstyle doesn’t connect with the rest of the team.

  26. I’d rather the jersey have a red stripe. I think that Guzan was at fault for the first where he let the ball go across his body and the last when he got beaten at the near post. Timmy is better, and Hahnemann would have been more vocal with his backline, instead of waving his hands around and putting his head down like Guzan.

    Timmy, Hahnemann, Guzan#3




  27. +1. Rogers has shown speed, can serve a ball, and can shoot from long range. Bedoya is a project for next cycle.

    Onyewu is miles away from being ready. Given DeMerit’s vision issues and the fact that Bocanegra may be needed out left, it only makes sense to bring Marshall, even if only as cover.

    Sad to say, but Goodson may have secured a starting spot last night. Mostly competent defending and purely dominant in the air defensively and on set pieces.

  28. OMG. Bornstein and Pearce were horrible. Spector or Boca will need to play on the left. Gooch looked like a man just hanging on. He is not fit to mow my lawn. The bottom line is that our defense is in major trouble.

    Pearce and Bornstein need to stay home.

    Gooch is a pity pick to go to SA.

    EJ showed nothing.

    Kljest looked asleep.

    Guzan was timid.

    Now the good news: Holden looked interested; Gomez and Buddle both deserve to go; Rogers looked dangerous, when not out of position.

    Good luck BB putting this team together.

  29. Couple ramdom thoughts…

    It seems that in every game Rogers comes in, looks dynamic, does something good…then more or less vanishes. I think that his initial burst of speed catches the defense off guard, but after that they adjust to his tatical limitations. Anyone else think the same things?

    Good god, I wish Beasley was a left back…

  30. I like this lineup. LD and Deuce could swap if need be. And DeMerit could slot in for Gooch. Gomez, Ching, Feilhaber, Torres off the bench.

  31. You make a great point, but once again, how can anyone call this meaningless when players on the fringe SHOULD have used that game to solidify (make a statement) their spot to South Africa? This is my thinking, I don’t want to train or practice with players who will bring down my level of play and some of the guys I saw last night do not deserve to be going to SA. Brad Guzan looked really bad and I am a huge fan…

  32. Your reasoning throughout is not bad but your conclusion is flawed.

    “…if we can’t even beat 2nd rate Czech team.”

    The purpose of the game was not to put our best 18 on the field…it was to cut the bottom 7. If you exected a crisp win you are not paying attention.

  33. I’ve figured on these guys certainly packing their bags and heading back home:

    1. Kjlestian
    2. Findley
    3. Marshall
    4. Johnson
    5. Pearce

    The last two will come from Bedoya, Rogers and Buddle.

  34. No new information was gained. Beasley looked good in Amsterdam and had by all accounts a great camp – he was back before this game. Gomez was a hot goal poacher before the game and still is now. Goodsen has always looked decent in the air. Torres and Edu can play center mid? Hold the presses … Sacha still a turn over machine? Check. Johnson still runs back to recieve the ball and play it back to where it came from? Check. Pearce still getting beaten like a rented mule? Check. Bornstein still hasn’t learned that his arm tackles will get called every time (in last few US games 2 PKs and tonight a dangerous free kick in the corner)? Check. Bedoya running around a lot without making much impact on the game? Check. There were only two bubble players that should have gotten a look last night: Gomez and Buddle, because they were unknown qualities. (I’ll backtrack and agree with you on Gomez).

  35. Ives I think you’re the only one left outside of ESPN that’s “shock[ed]” when Bornstein doesn’t play well. Sometimes I wonder, are you Peruvian or Honduran??

  36. My impression of the game and the result is we had lot of decent players vying for spots that hadn’t had much game time together so didn’t have the needed chemistry. Lots of passes went to space where there wasn’t a runner or were a bit off on their delivery and often the defense didn’t seem to know what each player was doing in relation to the other.
    I wouldn’t discredit Czech too much since they aren’t in the WC. They intentionally brought a side of up and coming players that were hungry to prove they belonged and mixed it with a few staples.


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