World Cup Soccer: U.S. Men's National Team Gets Injection of Youth

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World Cup Soccer: U.S. Men's National Team Gets Injection of Youth
(Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

The head coach of the U.S. Men's National Team, Bob Bradley, recently named his 24-man squad for the two upcoming World Cup qualifiers.

Some familiar faces will be going up against Costa Rica and Honduras, but Bradley has thankfully decided to inject the old guard with some fresh blood.

Players with only a handful of caps are going to be playing alongside veterans like Landon Donovan and Pablo Mastroeni. This promises to be hugely beneficial for the U.S. MNT as they continue their march toward South Africa 2009.

 

Freddy Adu

As great as Sacha Kljestan was in Beijing for the U.S., Adu was even better. Against the vaunted Netherlands squad, Adu was arguably the best player on the pitch until he was substituted late in the match.

When given the freedom to roam around and create, Adu is a remarkably effective playmaker. He's very confident with the ball at his feet and has the vision to set up the U.S. for success.

But, will Bradley give him the freedom he needs to be effective?

The reason Adu flamed out in MLS was that his coaches tried to pigeonhole him into roles that didn't suit his considerable talents.

If Bradley gives Adu a proper chance, then it's very exciting to see him back in the fold.

 

Benny Feilhaber

Remember him? He's the creative midfielder who brings a little bit of Brazilian flair to the U.S. side.

Well, he did until he began suffering from a severe lack of confidence, thanks to some poor club form. But let's be honest, anybody would have had a breakdown playing for Derby County during their most recent stint in the Premier League.

Feilhaber has donned the red, white, and blue in the past with great success. He was the hero of the 2007 Gold Cup, scoring the game-winning goal against Mexico in the final.

And this was no run-of-the-mill goal, it was one of the finest strikes you could ever hope to see.

If Feilhaber can return to his 2007 form, he's a great addition to the squad.

 

Charlie Davies

Out of college, Davies was originally expected to be a very high draft pick in MLS. He decided to forego a Generation Adidas contract and try his luck in Europe instead.

This has proved to be a shrewd move, as he has been one of the most potent forwards in the Allsvenskan, turning out for Hammarby IF since 2007.

He's still a young guy, so don't expect him to start against either Costa Rica or Honduras. He might make a substitute appearance, but this call-up is likely just to get him into camp and give him some experience training with the rest of the U.S. squad.

A few years down the road, Davies should be an exciting prospect. His speed, coupled with Kenny Cooper's size and strength, would give the U.S. an excellent pair of forwards to lead its attack.

 

Marvel Wynne

Wynne is without question the fastest player in MLS. If Bradley continues to experiment with DaMarcus Beasley in the back line, he and Wynne could provide a dangerous pair of backs capable of steaming down the wings with a lot of speed.

Even if Wynne doesn't get forward in the attack as often as Beasley does, his speed means that he is never out of the play. This will be a great asset should he get a call-up for the Confederations Cup.

His speed will be very helpful in dealing with the tough wingers in the U.S. group.

 

Jonathan Spector

The mere fact that Spector is being called up at all should be cause for celebration among U.S. fans.

He has long been considered one of the finest defenders the country has ever produced, but hasn't been able to stay healthy during the past few seasons.

Spector offers the U.S. a very versatile defender, able to play anywhere on the back line or in the defensive midfield. He could conceivably be the heir to Pablo Mastroeni's place on the squad in a few years.

 

The Disappointments

There were some glaring omissions from this squad, as well as a few selections that just don't make a ton of sense.

What, exactly, must Conor Casey do to get himself a spot on Bob Bradley's squad? He's lighting MLS on fire with his offensive contributions this season, and still can't break into the squad.

Kenny Cooper is also a notable absentee, but this is much easier to explain. He hasn't been having the best of seasons with FC Dallas in 2009. But, much of that could be due to the ineptness of his teammates rather than any faults of his own.

Cooper is 6'3" and strong as an ox. I think the U.S. could use somebody like that up front.

It's a little strange to see Sacha Kljestan in this squad, based on his club performances this season. He did net a hat trick against Sweden back in January, but his form has dipped considerably since then.

I'd love to see an on-form young midfielder get the call-up instead, somebody like Stuart Holden.

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