Bob surprised a number of people with his 23 man roster today:
Jozy Altidore, DaMarcus Beasley, Carlos Bocanegra, Jonathan Bornstein, Michael Bradley, Edson Buddle, Steve Cherundolo, Ricardo Clark, Jay DeMerit, Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan, Maurice Edu, Benny Feilhaber, Robbie Findley, Herculez Gomez, Clarence Goodson, Brad Guzan, Marcus Hahnemann, Stuart Holden, Tim Howard, Oguchi Oneyewu, Jonathan Spector, and Jose Torres
You can read more about each of the players on the US Soccer roster site
I actually like our lineup, bringing in 3 fairly unknown players up top is a bit of a concern but all three have the potential to catch everyone at the World Cup by surprise, the speed of Findley is something we know that Bradley likes and while many thought his not playing last night meant he was out of the picture. I believed that it meant just the opposite, that he had a spot and that it would take an incredible performance by several players to knock him out. Robbie had proven in recent weeks that he is one of the most fit guys out there and he can keep his incredible speed for an entire match, I don't think playing at elevation hurt his cause either.
Buddle has simply been on fire and when he is provided with quality service he has shown that he can finish, simply look at his numbers over the last 3 seasons: 15 goals and 3 assists in 2008 with 2,000 minutes played, only 5 goals in 2009 an injury plagued year with just 1,255 minutes, and this year he already has 9 goals and 2 assists in under 800 minutes of playing time. That combined with the fact that he plays with Landon Donovan on a daily basis for LA was enough for me to give him serious consideration.
Gomez will provide the US team with strength this year, not just because of his name, but he showed last night that while he isn't the biggest guy he can still get up in the air and play bigger than his 5'10" frame. I think he brings something unique as most of the teams the US will be facing are now looking online for any tape of Herculez, so they can figure out what he is all about.
I do think that while the 4 guys up top could pose real threats for other teams because of Bob's desire to push forward and want to play a very upbeat and aggressive style, I also think it is clear that the US lacks real finishers of the Brian McBride mold. I can't wait to see the battles and performances on Saturday, as players now are secure in their spots and now will start to fight for minutes and starting spots. Well done Mr. Bradley.
Over the next few days, I will offer up my thoughts on the players in other positions, as well as other World Cup thoughts.
OFF MY SOAPBOX