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Who Will Make the US Roster for the South Africa Friendly?

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - AUGUST 10: Bob Bradley, head coach and assistant coach Lubos Kubic of United States Soccer leave the field after a friendly match at the New Meadowlands on August 10, 2010 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

One week from today, the US Men’s National Team will play South Africa in a friendly in Cape Town, and Bob Bradley has yet to release his squad for the match.  The friendly comes at a bad time for most players – it is right in the middle of the major European leagues’ seasons plus it is the semifinals of the MLS playoffs.  For those two reasons, Bradley will have a limited number of players at his disposal for the match, which is part of the Nelson Mandela Challenge Cup.

Undoubtedly, this will be primarily a B-team but Bradley has to include a few “name” players to give the match some legitimacy, as well as try out some potential future starters.  South Africa announced their names today (which you can see here).

So what will Bob Bradley do?

Keeper: Tim Howard is the number 1, but with his Everton club facing two critical matches against Arsenal and Sunderland this weekend and next, I doubt Bradley will call him up.  Instead, I expect to see Aston Villa’s Brad Guzan to get the call and start in net for the visitors.

Back Line: If Bob Bradley’s smart, I think he will call up Oguchi Onyewu for two reasons – he needs to see if “Gooch” if healthy enough for international play and he knows Milan is probably more than happy to let him get away for a few days.  Jonathan Bornstein and Chad Marshall are both out of the MLS playoffs so their experience internationally would make them good additions to a team that would have less than a week to train together.  Also in the mix could be Clarence Goodson, who has finished his club season and I see as potentially starting over either MLS player.  On the right will probably be Eric Lichaj.

Midfield: I’ll go out on a limb and say Bob Bradley plays a 4-4-2.  In that case, DaMarcus Beasley is my guess to hold down the left side and Scandinavian professional Alejandro Bedoya will hold down the right.  As much as Bob Bradley would probably like to have his son in the middle, I don’t see him taking Michael away from his Bundesliga team.  So my guess is we will see Kyle Beckerman of the recently-defeated Real Salt Lake serving as a holding midfielder with Benny Feilhaber as the fourth midfielder.

Forward: My gut tells me Bob Bradley will want to get Jozy Altiodre some playing time, especially in an international setting, and he will be a starter for this match.  Next to him Bradley could go with fellow professional sub Eddie Johnson and I suspect he may have on his bench an MLSer like Robbie Findley (who may be looking to move abroad) or Brian Ching.

Agree or disagree?  Share your thoughts.

Update – It looks like Bob Bradley could be leaning towards calling up youngsters Juan Agudelo and Mikkel Diskerud, although that may be to lure the latter away from Norway.  We’ll let you know if it becomes official.

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  1. Oppong

    November 11, 2010 at 11:50 am

    Let’s count on Brek Shea for 2014 then! yeah!

  2. Brian

    November 11, 2010 at 9:52 am

    You guys are idiots to assume any of the players you mentioned will get called up. Adu are you serious? Davies still hasn’t recovered Jermaine Jones doesn’t need to play in a meaningless friendly, Castillo isn’t even playing for his club team in Mexico. These are just a few examples but its clear you have no idea when it comes to player selection for games like this. And Bradley is the coach so get over it, who else would you like to be in charge? Klinsmann? Get over it…Bradley is starting to mesh young guys with some solid professionals getting ready for the next 4 years. I have no idea what more you want from any US coach at this point right now. Also its not his fault that we don’t have one single striker that can score consistently on the international level from our country.

  3. Ryan

    November 11, 2010 at 9:50 am

    I can throw Euro players in there too! Parkhurst, Clark, Kenny Cooper, etc. 🙂

    Kind of a joke that all you people were desperate for Klinsmann and then the only other job he could get was as a consultant to a struggling MLS team.

    • Charles

      November 13, 2010 at 1:58 pm

      Thanks Ryan,

      I find myself being overprotective of soccer in the US.
      The Euridiots are getting to me.

  4. Nady

    November 10, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    Forget it. US soccer will go nowhere as long as boring Bob is coach. Who cares about the lineup. Bradley needs to go! Boycott USMNT games until USSF gets rid of him!

  5. Oppong

    November 10, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    If Charlie Davies isn’t allowed to drive or ride in a car… maybe?

  6. Oppong

    November 10, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    Go out on a limb and bring Adu, Marcus Tracy, Zak Whitbread and Jeremiah White and Luis Robles.

    Don’t know where Mexico is in their league season, but let’s get Castillo and Torres in for sure.

    If Ricardo Clark isn’t playing much (club) he may get a look.

    Would love to see more Jermaine Jones and Lichaj.

    Too bad we can’t call in Wondolowski. (and of course all the other “regulars” – Donovan, Dempsey, Holden, etc.) Demerit should be available though. Cherundolo?

  7. Charles

    November 10, 2010 at 2:41 pm

    Ryan, Weird you only picked MLS players in that lineup of fringe players…coincience ?

    I agree though, not saying you should set a line up or anything, but figure out who is going to help you in 4 years and start to lean that way.

    IF a guy was borderline and going to be older in 4 years, move on.
    We are all hoping the US team will progress as fast as the players coming out of college are. They are getting better year after year, class after class.

    A fringe player that will improve if he gets caps, not really my idea of that improvement vision. I would rather see a lot of guys like Agudelo, when some of them pan out, they will already have the caps.

  8. Ryan

    November 10, 2010 at 2:01 pm

    No offense to the kid, but I really don’t want to see Bedoya. He hasn’t looked good his last few times out with the national team and we have tons of young midfield talent all around the same level right now. Give the other kids a chance and let’s see if anyone runs with it.

    Also, if Bob’s going to call in any young guys with no experience rather than a team who is used to playing it system, I’d rather he fully use this game as a chance for young kids to play than call in experienced fringe players. Sorry Marshall, Beckerman, Find­ley, but you’ve had your chances to earn A-team roles, and this isn’t one of them.

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