USMNT: Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, Tim Howard and 8 More Gold Cup Starters
United States men's national team head coach Bob Bradley announced the 23-man roster for this summer's Gold Cup today and there were a few surprises, including former fan favorite Freddy Adu.
The Americans will take on Spain in an exhibition on June 4 before starting the Gold Cup on June 7 against Canada.
Here is the likely starting 11 for Bradley in an attempt to secure a spot in the 2013 Confederations Cup.
GK: Tim Howard
Club team: Everton (EPL)
Season stats: 38 games, 100 saves, 9 clean sheets
Howard finished his Premier League season with a shutout against Chelsea and heads back to the U.S. in good form heading into the Gold Cup. Howard remains one of the most athletic keepers in the world but hasn't always played up to his abilities with the national team. Howard won't likely be tested until the knockout stage of the tournament, but he is the best goalie in the tournament and will need to play like it for the Americans to prevail.
Reserves: Marcus Hahnemann and Nick Rimando
LB: Carlos Bocanegra
Club team: Saint-Etienne (Ligue 1)
Season stats: 33 games, 2 goals, 1 assist
Although Bocanegra doesn't have ideal speed to play left back, there really aren't any other options on the roster. His experience with the team and consistent playing time in France will earn him the starting nod. The defense could pose a major problem for the U.S. in the later rounds of the tournament, especially in a likely match-up against Mexico in the finals.
Reserve: Jonathan Bornstein
CB: Oguchi Onyewu
Club team: FC Twente (Eredivisie)
Season stats: 8 games, 0 goals, 0 assists
Onyewu has battled injuries and a lack of playing time for FC Twente this season, but will be the anchor of the American back line once again. Onyewu has never been able to find consistent playing time in Europe, but he is still an imposing physical figure that should provide solid play while working on his fitness in the group stage.
Reserve: Eric Lichaj
CB: Clarence Goodson
Club team: Brondby (Danish Superliga)
Season stats: 8 games, 1 goal, 0 assists
Goodson will get the first call to try to secure a starting spot, but the slot alongside Onyewu will likely see several players get a chance to impress the coaching staff. Goodson's playing time in Denmark was limited this season, but he has the most experience among the available players making him Bradley's likely choice, at least in the beginning.
Reserve: Tim Ream
RB: Jonathan Spector
Club team: West Ham United (EPL)
Season stats: 14 games, 1 goal, 0 assists
Spector had an up-and-down season with West Ham, but once again he gets the nod based on a lack of available options. He has flashed the ability to make some good runs followed by the occasional solid cross, but has been shown up on the defensive end too much to be counted on in big moments. Steve Cherundolo will likely get a start during the group stage as well.
Reserve: Steve Cherundolo
LM: Landon Donovan
Club team: Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS)
Season stats: 9 games, 7 goals, 1 assist
The face of American soccer has been playing very well for the Galaxy in recent weeks and appears to have benefited from turning down a chance to return to Everton during the MLS offseason. Donovan will be relied on heavily to control the pace of the game and score timely goals. Unfortunately for American soccer fans, Donovan's days as the main option on the team are nearing an end.
Reserve: Freddy Adu
LCM: Maurice Edu
Club team: Rangers (Scottish Premier League)
Season stats: 33 games, 2 goals, 1 assist
Edu has been solid defensively for Rangers this season and is clearly the best option to start alongside Bradley in the central midfield. He has good ball distribution skills when given time, but has been prone to make mistakes when pressured. Edu should help solidify the midfield, which will be key with the shaky back four as discussed earlier.
Reserve: Jermaine Jones and Sacha Kljestan
RCM: Michael Bradley
Club team: Aston Villa (EPL)
Season stats: 3 games, 0 goals, 0 assists
Bradley hasn't earned much playing time since his move to Aston Villa, but the coach's son will remain in the starting lineup and, like Edu, will be counted on to help out the unstable back line. His steady ascent to becoming one of the faces of the future for U.S. soccer has slowed, but he is a relentless worker on the pitch and should be fine moving forward.
Reserve: Benny Feilhaber
RM: Clint Dempsey
Club team: Fulham (EPL)
Season stats: 37 games, 12 goals, 3 assists
Coming off a solid year in the EPL, Dempsey will likely start the tournament in his usual midfield spot on the national team. If the Americans struggle to score though, Dempsey will move up to the striker role which seems to suit him better anyway.
Reserve: Robbie Rogers
LS: Jozy Altidore
Club team: Bursaspor (Super Lig – Turkey)
Season stats: 11 games, 1 goal, 0 assists
There was a period of time when Altidore teamed up with Charlie Davies to give American soccer fans hope for the future of the striker position. Since Davies' car crash, however, Altidore has struggled to find playing time and could use a return to the MLS much like Davies. He has been getting minutes for Bursapor recently and should be fit for the start of the Gold Cup.
RS: Juan Agudelo
Club team: New York Red Bulls (MLS)
Season stats: 9 games, 2 goals, 0 assists
Agudelo burst onto the scene with his recent national team appearances, but hasn't parlayed that into MLS success. After starting the first two games of the season for the Red Bulls, Agudelo has been a substitute in his last seven appearances making it questionable whether he'll be in Bradley's starting 11 for the Gold Cup. Bradley will likely want to see if Agudelo and Altidore can find the same type of chemistry Altidore and Davies once had, and thus give Agudelo the starting assignment in the group stage.
Reserve: Chris Wondolowski