USMNT: Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, Tim Howard and 8 More Gold Cup Starters

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMay 23, 2011

USMNT: Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, Tim Howard and 8 More Gold Cup Starters

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    CARSON, CA - JANUARY 22:  Bob Bradley coach of the United States follows during the friendly soccer match against Chile at The Home Depot Center on January 22, 2011 in Carson, California.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    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

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    MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 23:  Goalkeeper Tim Howard of Everton kicks from the hand during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Everton at Old Trafford on April 23, 2011 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty
    Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

    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

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    RUSTENBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 26:  Carlos Bocanegra of the United States ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Round of Sixteen match between USA and Ghana at Royal Bafokeng Stadium on June 26, 2010 in Rustenburg, South Africa.  (Photo by Kevork
    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    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

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    JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 18:  Oguchi Onyewu of the United States wins the header under pressure from Zlatan Ljubijankic of Slovenia during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group C match between Slovenia and USA at Ellis Park Stadium on June 1
    Christof Koepsel/Getty Images

    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

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    ROODEPOORT, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 05: Clarence Goodson of USA prior to the start of the 2010 FIFA World Cup Pre-Tournament match against  Australia at Ruimsig Stadium on June 5, 2010 in Roodepoort, South Africa. USA won, 3-1.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Ge
    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    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

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    LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 30:  Jonathan Spector of West Ham United in action during the Carling Cup Quarter Final match between West Ham United and Manchester United at the Boleyn Ground on November 30, 2010 in London, England.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/G
    Mark Thompson/Getty Images

    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

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    CARSON, CA - MAY 14:  Landon Donovan #10 of the Los Angeles Galaxy attacks with the ball against Sporting Kansas City at The Home Depot Center on May 14, 2011 in Carson, California.  The Galaxy won 4-1.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    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

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    GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - MAY 07:  Maurice Edu of Rangers in action during the Clydesdale Bank Premier League match between Rangers and Hearts at Ibrox Stadium salutes his supporters on May 7, 2011 in Glasgow, Scotland.  (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
    Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

    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

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - MARCH 26:  Michael Bradley #4 of the United States plays during the first half of a friendly match with Argentina at New Meadowlands Stadium on March 26, 2011 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
    Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

    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

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    LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 09:  Clint Dempsey of Fulham on the ball  during the Barclays Premier League match between Fulham and Liverpool at Craven Cottage on May 9, 2011 in London, England.  (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)
    Scott Heavey/Getty Images

    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

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    KAYSERI, TURKEY - MAY 01:  Jozy Altidore of Bursaspor in action during the Spor Toto Super League match between Kayserispor and Bursaspor at the Kadir Has Stadium on May 1, 2011 in Kayseri, Turkey. Kayserispor  won the match 1-0. (Photo by Bulent Kilic/Eu
    EuroFootball/Getty Images

    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

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    HARRISON, NJ - MAY 15:  Juan Agudelo #17 of the New York Red Bulls of the New York Red Bulls carries the ball against Chivas USA on May 15, 2011 at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey.  Chivas USA defeated the New York Red Bulls 3-2.  (Photo by Mike St
    Mike Stobe/Getty Images

    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