U.S. Men's National Team Bob Bradley has named a 22 man roster for the November friendlies against Slovakia and Denmark. Interesting stat--the U.S. is one of only six teams to play its last two 2009 fixtures against other World Cup bound sides. This will be the U.S. first match ever against Slovakia and the first time to play Denmark in Denmark.
Here is the roster (and comments):
GOALKEEPERS: Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Marcus Hahnemann (Wolverhampton), Troy Perkins (Valerenga).
I am not surprised to see Tim Howard getting a break here. Guzan is likely to get the nod in both games in order to keep him sharp, although his apprenticeship with Brad Friedel is apparently going well given his Carling Cup performance a couple of weeks ago (saving four penalties in the match). Hahnemann and Perkins are battling it out for the third spot on the World Cup roster. Right now I would give Hahnemann the nod given his experience and locker room presence, but he is not getting a lot of playing time for Wolves.
DEFENDERS: Carlos Bocanegra (Rennes), Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover), Jimmy Conrad (Kansas City Wizards), Clarence Goodson (IK Start), Frankie Hejduk (Columbus Crew), Chad Marshall (Columbus Crew), Heath Pearce (FC Dallas), Jonathan Spector (West Ham).
With Oguchi Onyewu and Jay DeMerit down with injuries for a few more months, Bob Bradley has got to be worried about his centerbacks. Bocanegra is present for centerback. Bradley must feel a little lucky here given that with Columbus getting booted from the MLS playoffs, Chad Marshall will probably get a good look assuming his knee is in good enough shape. Clarence Goodson will also see time. I wouldn't be suprised to Spector in the middle either, he has good size. Conrad and Hejduk are there for leadership and I would be surprised to see them get a lot of playing time. Pearce and Bornstein are going to battle for the left back position. Bornstein has been playing well of late and Pearce is trying to win the spot again. Cherundolo and Spector are the current right back options.
Defenders must be the biggest concern for Bob Bradley heading into a World Cup year. Injuries are killing the central defense and left back has been a problem for the entire qualification process and still a little suspect.
I am suprised to see that Edgar Castillo didn't get a call-up for left back. But then again, I think Bradley has enough evaluation problems right now to add another.
MIDFIELDERS: Michael Bradley (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Clint Dempsey (Fulham), Benny Feilhaber (AGF Aarhus), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA), Dax McCarty (FC Dallas), Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew)
The MLS playoffs have decimated the midfield for Bradley with Landon Donovan, Stuart Holden, Rico Clark and Kyle Beckerman all still playing. Mo Edu and Jermaine Jones are still a little iffy with his knee injury. I think all of these players will see significant time in the next two matches, and I wouldn't be surprised to see Bradley and Dempsey getting less time than the others. I would like to see if Kljestan has regained some form on the international level, which has been missing for almost a year since his hattrick against Sweden in January. Robbie Rogers will certainly spend a lot of time on the left wing.
FORWARDS: Jozy Altidore (Hull City), Conor Casey (Colorado Rapids), Jeff Cunningham (FC Dallas), Eddie Johnson (Fulham).
With Charlie Davies' injuries and Brian Ching in the MLS playoffs, this was going to be an interesting selection. Conor Casey was pretty much a lock along with Altidore.
I am surprised to see that Jeremiah White, Feilhaber's Aarhus teammate, didn't get a call, I would have thought that an easy one. Likewise, I am surprised that Kenny Cooper didn't get a call either.
I am very, very happy to see Jeff Cunningham on this list. His form in the MLS over the past three months is one of hte most important reasons why FC Dallas almost qualified for the MLS playoffs. Cunningham's biggest knock is that he is very inconsistent. Certainly he is on fire right now and if he keeps that form next year, he could continue to get calls into to camp.