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And So It Begins: Bob Bradley seeks 23 Good Men for South Africa
United States soccer coach Bob Bradley named 30 players who will compete for the 23 tickets to South Africa to represent the United States at the 2010 World Cup.
The U.S. opens its training camp in Princeton, New Jersey next Monday and will play two exhibition matches against the Czech Republic (May 25, East Hartford, Ct.) and Turkey (May 29, Philadelphia), before the final 23 man roster is to be announced on June 1st.
In the end there were few surprises, deserved call-ups based on recent form and one disappointing but appropriate omission.
All of the US’ top players were named including LA Galaxy’s Landon Donovan, captain Rennes defender Carlos Bocanegra, Fulham midfielder Clint Dempsey, Borussia Moenchengladbach’s Michael Bradley and Everton FC’s Tim Howard.
In additional to Howard, several other top Black players are also named to the provisional squad such as projected started Jozy Altidore who spent the past season in the English Premiere League on loan with Hull City, Glasgow Rangers midfielder Maurice Edu who has become an near automatic starter with the Scottish giants and AC Milan’s Oguchi Onyewu who is close to full fitness after suffering a ruptured patellar tendon in the US’ final qualifying match against Costa Rica.
A brilliant season for Rangers means Maurice Edu is a near lock for the World Cup (PA) Several other players though to be on the outside looking in two months ago now have a chance to make the final squad Edson Buddle who appeared once for the National Team seven years ago but is currently on a tear for the Galaxy in MLS has been brought in.
Hercules Gomez who became the first American to lead the Mexican first division in goals scored has also received a deserved call-up based on his form with Puebla. Former starter Eddie Johnson has been given a another chance after finding his game again with Aris Thessalonik.
However it’s the omission of one player that seems to have provided the most reaction; Charlie Davies. The Boston College product whose insertion into the the US’ starting lineup revitalized both its Confederations Cup and World Cup qualification runs and was seriously injured in a fatal single car crash in Northern Virginia back in October was vying for place amongst the final 30 after finishing his rehabilitation way ahead of schedule.
Though he has returned to practice with French side Sochaux FC, he’s yet to take the field. Not match fit and without a medical clearance from his club to participate, Davies was left off to the disappointment of fans and teammates alike. But this is the World Cup.
No room for sentimentality and there are other options.
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Jamie McDonald/Getty Images Europe Davies aside, Bradley has brought into camp the strongest side available, with players from MLS, Mexico and Europe all being included. The next couple of weeks will be key for some old veterans like DaMarcus Beasley and newer players like Aleandro Bedoya (Ã–rebro, Sweden) to make their claim for a trip to S. Africa.
The US has been drawn into Group C along with England (against whom they will begin play on June 12), Slovenia and Algeria.
The Squad so far: Goalkeepers: Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Marcus Hahnemann (Wolverhampton), TIM HOWARD (Everton).
Defenders: Carlos Bocanegra (Rennes), Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover), Jay DeMerit (Watford), Clarence Goodson (IK Start), Chad Marshall (Columbus), OGUCHI ONYEWU (AC Milan), Heath Pearce (Dallas), Jonathan Spector (West Ham).
Midfielders: DAMARCUS BEASLEY (Rangers), Alejandro Bedoya (Orebro), Michael Bradley (Borussia Moenchengladbach), RICARDO CLARK (Eintracht Frankfurt), Clint Dempsey (Fulham), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles), MAURICE EDU (Rangers), Benny Feilhaber (AGF Aarhus), Stuart Holden (Bolton), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA), Robbie Rogers (Columbus), Jose Torres (Pachuca).
Forwards: JOZY ALTIDORE (Hull), EDSON BUDDLE (Los Angeles), Brian Ching (Houston), ROBBIE FINDLEY (Salt Lake), Herculez Gomez (Puebla), EDDIE JOHNSON (Aris Thessalonik).