As the U.S. Men's national team prepares for their Jan. 24 friednly against Sweden, U.S. Coach Bob Bradley has called 25 players into camp to begin on January 4.
The squad is top heavy with MLS players and a quartet of players from Scandanavian clubs who are on winter break. Some very notable names in the squad, which include
GOALKEEPERS: Jon Busch (Chicago Fire), Will Hesmer (Columbus Crew), Troy Perkins (Valerenga IF), Matt Pickens (out of contract). I like the inclusion of Busch and Hesmer along with Perkins, but honestly, I would have loved to see Joe Cannon on this list instead of Pickens. Still these guys are realistically just battling for third back up behind Tim Howard and Brad Guzan. But the U.S. continues to generate quality keepers and this crop is no exception. Keeper is the one position in the U.S. development that I never worry about.
DEFENDERS (8): Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA), Danny Califf (FC Midtjylland), Sean Franklin (Los Angeles Galaxy), Cory Gibbs (Colorado Rapids), Clarence Goodson (IK Start), Chad Marshall (Columbus Crew), Chris Wingert (Real Salt Lake), Marvell Wynne (Toronto FC). Lots of quality, young players here. Of this group, I would expect to see Califf, Goodson, Wynne and Marshall in camp pretty often this year. Franklin has earned a shot, but I think another year of seasoning under Bruce Arena will go a long way to helping him. If the U.S. qualify quickly in the final Hexagonal, I could see Franklin getting some run outs in later matches. My only concern with Marshall is that he doesn't have great speed, but then again neither does Carlos Bocanegra. Boca makes up for it with better position, which I think Marshall lacks. Gibbs, Wingert and Bornstein will have to be impressive to overcome the holds that Steve Cherundolo and Heath Pearce have on the outside backs. Wynne gets included because, let's face it, he is probably the fastest guy on the pitch.
MIDFIELDERS (9): Geoff Cameron (Houston Dynamo), Brian Carroll (Columbus Crew), Ricardo Clark (Houston Dynamo), Eddie Gaven (Columbus Crew), Stuart Holden (Houston Dynamo), Jack Jewsbury (Kansas City Wizards), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA), Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew), John Thorrington (Chicago Fire). Cameron is a surprise here, but other than not, nothing really jumps out at me as a shocker. Carroll is long over due and I think he is a better holding midfilder than Clark. The young wingers Gaven and Rodgers were formidable for Columbus and could be for the U.S.
FORWARDS (4): Brian Ching (Houston Dynamo), Kenny Cooper (FC Dallas), Charlie Davies (Hammarby IF), Chris Rolfe (Chicago Fire). I still don't get Bob Bradley's fascination for Chris Rolfe, but the rest of this group is solid. Ching is a workhorse, but lacks the speed of Cooper and Davies.
Some names that I kind of hoped I would see here, even if for just a look, Jeremiah White (AGF Aarhus), Santino Quaranta (DC United--a personal favorite), the aforementioned Joe Cannon (San Jose).