Argentina’s roster is out, notably missing Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero. Lionel Messi is on it for now, although that is also probably in doubt after he suffered an injury in Barcelona’s 1-1 draw with Sevilla yesterday. Of course, even if those three don’t play Argentina’s roster is still stacked.
But what about the home side? What players will Bob Bradley call in for these two matches. Both are FIFA dates, so anyone will be available, but who will he pull away from their clubs? It’s a particularly tough call in this case because Bradley has to juggle preparations for the Gold Cup— the next international date isn’t until June 1, at which point Gold Cup rosters might need to have been set— while trying to maintain good relationships with MLS clubs whose seasons have just begun. In that regard, I could see a somewhat staggered roster with some of the European veterans being released for the Paraguay match.
Goalkeepers: Tim Howard (Everton, England), Brad Guzan (Hull City, England-2), David Yelldell (MSV Duisburg, Germany-2)
Isn’t it weird to see Brad Guzan getting regular matches? He’s doing pretty well, too. Having previously been the number 2 keeper by default, he’s actually making a pretty good case for himself at the position again. Yelldell has been playing lights out at Duisburg. The Zebras probably aren’t going to get promoted— they’re in 7th, nine points behind VfL Bochum with just eight matches remaining— but they very well might be in Europa League next year, with a DFB-Pokal finale against Schalke 04 looming on May 21. I think Yelldell’s play, combined with Guzan’s potential issues this summer (as I understand it, he’s getting married) make him a strong candidate for the #2 spot in June, and this would be a great spot to start.
Defenders: Steve Cherundolo (Hanover 96, Germany), Carlos Bocanegra (St. Etteiene, France), Oguchi Onyweu (FC Twente, Netherlands), Michael Parkhurst (Nordsjælland, Denmark), Eric Lichaj (Leeds United, England-2), Timothy Chandler (FC Nurnberg- Germany), Tim Ream (New York- MLS), Zach Loyd (FC Dallas, MLS), Zak Whitbread (Norwich City, England-2)
With Clarence Goodson’s injury in Denmark, the door is opened to guys like Whitbread or Parkhurst. I think both make it, although I could see Jonathan Bornstein or the MLS flavor of the week getting a shot instead. Parkhurst has been playing well for some time in Denmark, and in terms of looking at a Gold Cup roster is useful because he can play right back in a pinch. Chandler may have some clearance issues, but I think that Bradley would be crazy to not call him if there weren’t any issues, and I don’t think Bob is crazy. The rest of the group is pretty predictable— Ream’s ball skills make him more useful than George John, Omar Gonzalez, etc. in the immediate; Zach Loyd seems to be the next great hope at LB.
Midfielders: Landon Donovan (Los Angeles, MLS), Michael Bradley (Aston Villa, England), Stuart Holden (Bolton Wanderers, England), Jermaine Jones (Blackburn Rovers, England), Maurice Edu (Rangers, Scotland), Mikkel Diskerud (Stabæk, Norway), Benny Feilhaber (AFG, Denmark-2), Alejandro Bedoya (Örebro, Sweden), Jonathan Spector (West Ham United, England)
The more interesting thing here will be how Bob plays the unit: if he goes with a 4-2-3-1, who is sitting in the AM spot? Does he try the inverted triangle 4-3-3 again (more likely against Paraguay)? Who are the 2 CM in a 4-4-2/4-2-2-2?
Forwards: Clint Dempsey (Fulham, England), Jozy Altidore (Bursaspor, Turkey), Edson Buddle (FC Ingolstadt 04, Germany-2)
A position that isn’t exactly deep for the US goes back to being rather shallow with Teal Bunbury of Sporting Kansas City out with an elbow injury and Juan Agudelo likely with the U-20s for qualifying.
Thoughts? Constructive criticism? Have at it.