|Jermaine Jones will finally make his USMNT debut|
Bob's first act as newly re-signed US National Team head coach was calling in a 20-man roster for the upcoming friendlies against Poland (Chicago - October 9th) and Colombia (Philadelphia - October 12th). The number of fliers taken by Bradley was fairly small, though there are a few interesting inclusions, and omissions, on the list.
U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION
GOALKEEPERS (2): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton)
DEFENDERS (8): Carlos Bocanegra (Saint-Étienne), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover), Clarence Goodson (IK Start), Eric Lichaj (Aston Villa), Oguchi Onyewu (AC Milan), Michael Parkhurst (FC Nordsjaelland), Heath Pearce (FC Dallas), Jonathan Spector (West Ham United)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Alejandro Bedoya (Örebro), Michael Bradley (Borussia Moenchengladbach), Maurice Edu (Rangers), Benny Feilhaber (Aarhus), Stuart Holden (Bolton Wanderers), Jermaine Jones (FC Schalke), Brek Shea (FC Dallas)
FORWARDS (3): Jozy Altidore (Villarreal), Clint Dempsey (Fulham), Eddie Johnson (Fulham)
Much of the fan base is anxious to finally see Jermaine Jones in the lineup; it should actually happen this time, provided he doesn't suddenly pull out at the last minute.
The limited number of MLS players in the squad (2, both from FC Dallas) is a concession to the league schedule. Brek Shea, the only player in the team without a senior cap other than Jones (ed - Oops, forgot about Lichaj), and Heath Pearce will join the rest of the squad after their match against Colorado on October 9th. That means they won't be with the team for the Poland game in Chicago.
Bradley on leaving out MLS players like Landon Donovan, Omar Gonzalez and others:
“We understand this is a critical point in the season for teams in MLS,” said Bradley. “Given the circumstances, we felt it was important that the MLS players be given as much opportunity as possible to remain with their clubs and continue to make important contributions as the playoffs approach.”
Thoughts on the team by position:
Goalkeepers - The only possible bone to pick is whether this would have been a good time to give Tim Howard a rest. Other than that, standard choices at a position that doesn't need an injection of youth.
Defenders - Spector is having a difficult time at West Ham, Onyewu can't make the bench at Milan, and Lichaj has never played a league match for Aston Villa. Options are somewhat limited here, in part because bringing in younger MLSers like Gonzalez and Ream wasn't an option (or wasn't preferable). It doesn't appear that Bradley made allowances for the playoff positions/possibilities of MLS teams either; if he had, we might have seen Kevin Alston and Pearce would not have been called. Onyewu is still, unfortunately considering his situation in Italy, a major part of the team. He needs a game, so Bradley will likely give him one. Parkhurst is a bit of a surprise, but again, the decision to pass on MLS players in central defense makes it understandable. Notice who else is missing? No Jonathan Bornstein.
Midfielders - A very solid group, and the inclusion of Shea is a nod to his maturing play for Dallas this year. Jones is the headline grabber, but all of the rest are playing well for their club sides. The glut of midfield options, and the number of strikers (which we'll get to below) indicates Bradley may have a shift of formation in mind (4-5-1?). Mikkel Diskerud gets passed over, a mild disappointment.
Strikers - Only three, another indication that Bradley will only run out one forward. Dempsey is the star of the group, and it's notable that he's listed at forward; in a team with the number of quality midfielders, Clint's attacking prowess is more needed at a thin striker position. Jozy is practically a mainstay at this point, and Eddie Johnson gets the call, perhaps in acknowledgment of his actually getting time with Fulham. Johnson's inclusions will cause some consternation, and it's clear that some of the fan base are ready to throw in the towel on him. Chris Wondolowski has been mentioned as an alternative due to his torrid form for San Jose, and Justin Braun is another young striker that might deserve a spot more than Johnson. Again, the only explanation for Johnson over either of those is the decision to leave out MLS (noting that the FC Dallas players are a pesky exception, though it might have saved us from more of Robbie Findley). I would have preferred to see Braun.
"This is a fantastic opportunity to gather many of our players based in Europe and continue to build on the foundation we established during the last four years," said U.S. head coach Bob Bradley. "We believe we have a strong nucleus of talented players, many of whom we are going to challenge to assume greater leadership roles during the next four-year cycle. We certainly have ideas on how we want to move forward, and these games will be the start of that process."
Share your thoughts on the roster below. Bradley's overhaul isn't as complete as some may have liked, but this is still an interesting roster with a few intriguing possibilities.