The Roster Is Unveiled
Bob Bradley just announced the final cuts for the US’ World Cup squad. I have to say that I’m pleasantly surprised that Bradley took the comparatively unheralded Edson Buddle and Herculez Gomez over Brian Ching and Eddie Johnson. Without Charlie Davies, Bradley’s options at striker were generally uninspiring, but I think he made a wise decision in abandoning any loyalty to Ching and going with the upstarts, who at least have the potential to surprise. Ching, on the other hand, has been around the USMNT long enough for us to know his vast limitations all too well. He would have been the safe choice because of his lengthy experience; but he also would have been the wrong one. I’m also thrilled to see DaMarcus Beasley back on the roster.
But after last night’s 4-2 loss to the Czechs in Connecticut (admittedly with 8 starters watching from the sky box), it’s pretty clear that the US has a lot of question marks that leave me very nervous about the chances of moving out of the group stage. That Oguchi Onyewu is clearly not mentally recovered from his knee injury is cause for alarm, as evidenced by the first Czech goal last night, in which the usually aggressive and physical Onyewu made only a passing attempt to beat the Czech player in the air. If Onyewu isn’t able to be his typical domineering presence, then the once-reliable defense becomes a huge question mark, especially after Jonathan Bornstein’s performance last night made clear that the team will not be able to expect much help in the back coming off the bench.
Moreover, while I expect at least one of Gomez, Buddle, or Robbie Findley to emerge as a respectable pairing with Jozy Altidore up front, it’s impossible to ignore that none of them has much experience working with Altidore, although that problem will presumably be partially remedied in the last pre-Cup friendlies.