Tuesday, May 02, 2006

US National Team Selections

Bruce Arena announced his team today -

Goalkeepers: Marcus Hahnemann (Reading, England), Tim Howard (Manchester United, England), Kasey Keller (Borussia Moenchengladbach, Germany)

Defenders: Carlos Bocanegra (Fulham, England), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96, Germany), Jimmy Conrad (Kansas City), Cory Gibbs (ADO Den Haag, Netherlands), Frankie Hejduk (Columbus), Eddie Lewis (Leeds United, England), Oguchi Onyewu (Standard Liege, Belgium), Eddie Pope (Real Salt Lake)

Midfielders: DaMarcus Beasley (PSV Eindhoven, Netherlands), Bobby Convey (Reading, England), Clint Dempsey (New England), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles), Pablo Mastroeni (Colorado), John O'Brien (Chivas USA), Ben Olsen (D.C. United), Claudio Reyna (Manchester City, England)

Forwards: Brian Ching (Houston), Eddie Johnson (Kansas City), Brian McBride (Fulham, England), Josh Wolff (Kansas City)

I have to say that I was not entirely suprised by these choices. Jimmy Conrad and Brian Ching were the only players that gave me the whole, "Huh?" feeling. I guess looking at it, Conrad is not a bad choice and in my opinion, he beat out Berhalter for the spot. I figured that even with the dreadful match against Germany, which no one really had a good match at all in, Berhalter would have been given the nod due to his international match experiance, which in this tournament, is such a large intangable that it cannot be understated.

Brian Ching over Twellman is one that I am still not sure about. Sure, Twellman had only been able to score goals when he played against Japan and Norway. Sure, Twellman was only just this last Saturday able to score his first goal in the MLS season, while Brian Ching has 6 goals and leads the league. Finally, sure, Twellman has looked lost when he has not had good service.

My biggest reasons for feeling that Twellman would be picked over Ching is that in every international match that Twellman has played in, he has been able to get involved. He scored against Japan and had a Hat Trick against Norway. More importantly, he was a menace in both matches for those sides defense. In his US MNT matches, Twellman had always been a strong player, he would run back into the US half of the field and win tackles to regain the ball when it looked like other US players were napping. He did more than just score 4 goals in 4 matches; he setup two goals against Japan and against Poland in the blizzard, Twellman setup Dempsy's goal. Ching scored in his match against Guatamala, but was completely lost in the match against World Cup hosts Germany.

I guess what I am trying to say is that I felt that when Twellman was on the squad, the US side looked more dangerous. I felt that he would have been a better addition to the side as a natural sub for Brian McBride, as they play very much alike. Brian Ching just didn't show me that he could get involved in the matches as well as Twellman did.

Goalkeepers: Tony Meola (New York), Matt Reis (New England)

Defenders: Chris Albright (Los Angeles), Gregg Berhalter (Energie Cottbus, Germany), Todd Dunivant (Los Angeles)

Midfielders: Chris Armas (Chicago), Chris Klein (Salt Lake), Pat Noonan (New England), Steve Ralston (New England), Kerry Zavagnin (Kansas City)

Forwards: Conor Casey (FSV Mainz 05, Germany), Chris Rolfe (Chicago), Taylor Twellman (New England)

The alternates, with the exception of Twellman, I have no problem with, as anyone of these guys given a chance, should be able to provide supporting roles.

As a DC United fan, I am thrilled to lose Ben Olsen for the World Cup. He deserves to go over to Germany and play, he is one of the best defensive midfielders this country has. Also as a DC United fan, I hope that I do not come across as a Talyor Twellman nutcase, as I hate the Revolution and am not too fond of their players. I am however and American and I feel having Twellman on the USA squad would have given us the strongest attacking team that we could produce.

In the end of the day, Bruce Almighty, our Lord and Saviour is the Head Coach of the USA World Cup team for 2006, so it is his decision. I hope he is right, just like he was right in 2002.


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