Speculation Station: 2011 Gold Cup edition
[UPDATE 5/19/11 ]
I built my roster below on the assumption that the USA would be taking four forwards to the Gold Cup. A recent post over at The Shin Guardian (americanfutbol favorite, by the way) made me realize that, given Dempsey’s nose for goal and Bob Bradley’s propensity to use him as a striker, it is very likely that the USA will bring three forwards, opening up an extra midfield spot. If that’s the case, I’d expect one of Gomez/Buddle to be dropped (probably Edson) to open up a midfield slot, filled by either Ricardo Clark or Sacha Klestjan (my money’s on Klestjan).
Let the waiting begin, er, continue.
According to US Soccer, Bob Bradley will announce the 2011 Gold Cup roster on or before May 23 – a mere 6 days away. Speculations on who will be included run rampant across soccer blogs before big tournaments like this – so I thought I’d throw my hat in the ring too, mostly to see how well I know Bob Bradley. So, with no further Adu (literally, he won’t be there), here is my predicted 2011 Gold Cup roster, along with the roster I’d like to see instead:
G: Tim Howard, Brad Guzan, Brad Friedel
D: Steve Cherundolo, Carlos Bocanegra, Tim Ream, Jay DeMerit, Oguchi Onyewu, Jonathan Bornstein, Clarence Goodson, Timothy Chandler
M: Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones, Maurice Edu, Jonathan Spector, Benny Feilhaber, Alejandro Bedoya
F: Jozy Altidore, Juan Agudelo, Edson Buddle, Herculez Gomez
Not too many surprises in my predicted roster. At keeper, I could see Marcus Hanhemman slipping in to replace either Brad, but I still see those three as Bradley’s favorites. At defense, Bradley will be looking to bring veterans with lots of international appearances – thus not too many new faces here, with the exceptions of Ream and Chandler, who had great debuts earlier this year with the USA and are continuing to play well with their clubs. At midfield, another crop of mostly veterans – perennial fringe player Alejandro Bedoya makes the squad on account of his hot start with Obrero and to give the USA depth on the wings. Up top, Agudelo is the only new face – Charlie Davies may have pushed either Buddle or Gomez out, if he hadn’t sustained a hamstring injury over the weekend.
Now the fun part – my dream roster! Don’t think the actual roster will look like this, but we can all dream, right?
G: Howard, Guzan, Friedel
D: Cherundolo, Bocanegra, Ream, DeMerit, Chandler, Omar Gonzalez, Eric Lichaj, Zach Loyd
M: Donovan, Dempsey, Bradley, Jones, Edu, Feilhaber, Bedoya, Mikkel Diskerud
F: Altidore, Agudelo, Teal Bunbury, Omar Salgado
My dream roster doesn’t look that much different than my predicted actual roster – which I’m sort of surprised at, to be honest.
No changes in goal. At defense, Gooch is swapped out and Omar Gonzalez, who brings a similar physical presence minus the injury history, comes in for him. Eric Lichaj has played at left back for Leeds and comes instead of Bornstein, with Zach Loyd coming as backup at that position as well. At midfield, Spector, who won’t be playing much anyways, goes out to be replaced by the much more exciting Mikkel Diskerud. Up top, Teal Bunbury replaces one of Buddle/Gomez as the target man/Altidore sub, while Omar Salgado complements the much-needed creativity and finishing that Agudelo brings.
Man, now I feel boring. How is my roster so close to what I think Bob will bring? I’ll mull this over the next day or two and see if I need to make some changes, but at first glance, I’d say the USA squad isn’t up in the air much right now.