Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Bradley’s 29

So Bob Bradley, USSF Interim Head Coach has named 29 current MLS players for his training camp that will open on January 4th, 2007. Most of the names on the list are MLS based USMNT regulars, as Donovan, Conrad, Albright, Twellman, Mastroeni, & Dempsey. Some of the names on the list are surprises and then you get to the names that just didn’t make the list.

Here is the roster that will setup camp in LA on the 4th.

Goalkeepers (4) – Joe Cannon (Los Angeles Galaxy), Brad Guzan (Chivas USA), Troy Perkins (D.C. United), Matt Reis (New England Revolution)

Defenders (9) – Chris Albright (Los Angeles Galaxy), Bobby Boswell (D.C. United), Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA), Jimmy Conrad (Kansas City Wizards), Bryan Namoff (D.C. United), Michael Parkhurst (New England Revolution), Heath Pearce (FC Nordsjælland), Dasan Robinson (Chicago Fire) Eddie Robinson (Houston Dynamo)

Midfielders (10) – Kyle Beckerman (Colorado Rapids), Brian Carroll (D.C. United), Ricardo Clark (Houston Dynamo), Clint Dempsey (New England Revolution), Joshua Gros (D.C. United), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA), Justin Mapp (Chicago Fire), Pablo Mastroeni (Colorado Rapids), Brian Mullan (Houston Dynamo), Pat Noonan (New England Revolution)

Forwards (6) –Kenny Cooper (FC Dallas), Alecko Eskandarian (D.C. United), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy), Nate Jaqua (Los Angeles Galaxy), Chris Rolfe (Chicago Fire), Taylor Twellman (New England Revolution)

The ones that are a little surprising are Beckerman, Namoff, Carroll, Gros, & Eskandarian. For some reason I haven’t seen that much of recent MLS play to give me the feeling that these guys are ready for the international stage, even one where they will be facing a Danish domestic side. Carroll is a really good defensive midfielder, but when I look at the squad, I see Clark and Mastroeni filling that role, and with Bradley not really being expected to run out a 3-5-2 formation, Carroll seems to be the odd man out. Gros is a great MLS winger and has tons of heart and energy, but even with DC United, I haven’t seen him produce the kind of finishing that is required in international play. I expect both of these two guys to be released back to DC United before the match on the 20th, as well as Eskandarian and Namoff. Beckerman had a great year for the Rapids and he might be the one on the list that surprised me because I didn’t expect him to make the invite.

The real mystery here is not who Bradley invites, but who he didn’t invite. Shockingly enough, Eddie Johnson didn’t make the roster. The wonder kid of 2006 qualifying has made a sudden exit off stage. I understand that he is having difficulties dealing with his current situation in Kansas City and he has been getting turf toe a lot lately, but the boy could score and once he gets his swing back, he should be able to rebound. Hopefully, he will get that swing back.

When ESPN aired the live unveiling of the 2006 USMNT World Cup roster, we saw Brian Ching selected over Taylor Twellman, (because of his 4 goal explosion on the opening day of MLS, in my opinion). Now we see Bradley leaving Ching off of his roster and adding Twellman. I don’t know if Bradley had contacted Ching and Brian requested a longer holiday, but one has got to figure that if Brian doesn’t want to get involved now, why should Bradley even come calling later?

So a guy goes out and scores 16 goals in MLS and leads the league in scoring. Does he get called up for a national team camp? Not if you are Jeff Cunningham. Cunningham has been called into a USMNT camp before, being called into the 08/17 WCQ vs. Trinidad & Tobago. I understand that being 30 might scare some people off, but the guy can score some goals and is a big and powerful forward. You put him up front with Twellman or Cooper and you would see them over power some defenses. I expected to see Jeff in the camp before I saw Jaqua.

Bradley does have some selections that might not be available, namely Jaqua and Dempsey. As Jaqua is currently trying to secure a job in Europe and Dempsey is all but moved to the EPL, those two slots will need to get filled. Whatever happens, I am excited to see that the USMNT is returning to action. I can’t wait to watch them against Demark and Mexico and I hope that the match against Ecuador is signed and is played at Giants Stadium, so I can attend.


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