An eventful week for the US Men’s National Team saw qualification for next year’s World Cup overshadowed by the terrible news of a deadly car wreck that left promising forward Charlie Davies severely injured and a young woman dead. Much has been written about this, so I won’t add to it; suffice to say that our thoughts go out to the affected families.
So Team America battled to a 2-2 tie against Costa Rica in D.C. Wednesday. It was an emotional and error-plagued performance that really means nothing in the grand scheme other than putting the more-deserving Honduras in the World Cup instead of the Ticos. The U.S. wins the hexagonal for the second straight cycle, which is the rough equivalent of winning your low-major conference tournament by 20 in March: you still know you’re going to get a crappy seed. Also the U.S. lost defender Oguchi Onyewu to a knee injury that will keep him out for several months and puts his Milan career in doubt.
But we’re qualified for real! So let the prognostications begin. It’s The 23 aka the players Beemsville believes should form the US team’s roster for next summer’s World Cup. Note that this is not who I think Coach Bob Bradley will bring along; this is strictly my own opinion, based on exhaustive armchair midfielding, a fair amount of soccer watching, and a decent amount of interwebs research.
Goalkeepers – 3: Tim Howard (Everton, England), Brad Guzan (Aston Villa, England), and Troy Perkins (Valerenga, Norway)
Defenders – 7: Oguchi Onyewu (AC Milan, Italy), Carlos Bocanegra (Rennes, France), Jay DeMerit (Watford, England), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96, Germany), Jonathan Spector (West Ham, England), Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA, MLS), Edgar Castillo (Pumas, Mexico)
Midfielders -9 : Landon Donovan (L.A. Galaxy, MLS), Clint Dempsey (Fulham, England) Michael Bradley (Borussia Moenchengladbach, Germany), Jose Francisco Torres (Pachuca, Mexico), Benny Feilhaber (Aarhus, Denmark), Maurcie Edu (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04, Germany), Stuart Holden (Houston Dynamo, MLS), Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew, MLS)
Forwards – 4: Jozy Altidore (Hull City, England), Conor Casey (Colorado Rapids, MLS), Kenny Cooper (1860 Munich, Germany), Jeff Cunningham (FC Dallas, MLS)
And seriously, anybody could hold down that last forward spot, which firmly belonged to Davies before the accident. I’ll go with Jeff for now because he’s speedy, he’s old, and he’s a little bit insane. It’s also probably a little soon to be knocking Rico Clark off the roster, but I feel that Jones, Edu, and Bradley are the superior options at that position.
A few other guys on the cusp include Clark, Jimmy Conrad, Frankie Hejduk, DaMarcus Beasley, Freddy Adu, Brian Ching, Sasha Kljestan, Chad Marshall, Jon Busch, and lord help me, Eddie the Playa Johnson.
Tune in later as the countdown to Cape Town continues…