Team USA Soccer: Evaluating the Gold Cup Roster
On May 23, Bob Bradley and his coaching staff announced the 23-man roster for the United States national team for the upcoming Gold Cup in June.
In this Gold Cup, the US were expected to go with a more conservative approach with choosing their players because the US wants to win the tournament to ensure a spot in the 2013 Confederations Cup.
Altogether, this roster does have some big surprises, and here is my evaluation on all the 23 players who were selected to play in this tournament.
Club: Everton (England)
The No. 1 goalkeeper for the United States, Tim Howard was going to be one of the first people selected for this Gold Cup roster.
Howard has starred for the United States since he took over the job as first-choice goalkeeper in 2007, and he's shown it for the United States in the 2009 Confederations Cup and in the 2010 World Cup.
Club: Wolverhampton (England)
He may have lost his starting job with Wolves this year during their stretch to ensure Premier League survival, but Marcus Hahnemann still is good enough to remain on the United States Gold Cup roster.
Hahnemann will probably back up Howard for the US and will look to add to his nine career caps in this Gold Cup.
Club: Real Salt Lake (United States)
Nick Rimando probably wouldn't have made this Gold Cup roster, but with normal American backup Brad Guzan getting married this summer, he was called into camp to be a backup on the US roster.
Rimando has been stellar for Real Salt Lake for the last several seasons, and he does deserve a call-up for the United States for this Gold Cup, but some people still expected to see David Yelldell of MSV Duisburg to make the roster as the third-string keeper.
Club: Hannover 96 (Germany)
The starting right back for the United States in South Africa, Steve Cherundolo might be starting in his final tournament during this Gold Cup.
Cherundolo certainly will be one of the most important players for the United States in this tournament, and his leadership will be key for the US as they look to reclaim the Gold Cup.
One of the starting centerbacks for the US during World Cup qualification, Oguchi Onyewu has continued to battle back after tearing his patellar tendon during a match with Costa Rica in October 2009.
In the World Cup, Onyewu played two matches, and his poor performance against Slovenia cost him another chance to play in the tournament.
Onyewu will probably start for the Americans in this Gold Cup after a strong performance for FC Twente this season while on loan from AC Milan.
Club: AS Saint-Etienne (France)
The captain of the national team, Carlos Bocanegra's time looks like it is almost up in international football. However, Bocanegra still is a key component of the national team, and he deserves to have his spot in the starting XI.
After the Gold Cup, no one knows exactly what Bocanegra will do, but winning the Gold Cup certainly would be a great accomplishment on his resume.
Club: West Ham (England)
A former youth player of Manchester United, Jonathan Spector has already accomplished a large amount during his young career including a great performance in the 2009 Confederations Cup.
Spector was able to earn a lot of playing time for recently relegated West Ham in the Premier League this season, and he does deserve his spot on this roster.
Club: New York Red Bulls (United States)
One of the best young players in Major League Soccer, Tim Ream has impressed many fans of MLS since he started playing last year, and he looks to be a fixture on the national team for many years to come.
Ream has earned recent call-ups at South Africa and against Paraguay, and he has continued to impress on the national team during these call-ups.
Club: Brøndby IF (Norway)
One of the more forgotten players to play for the United States, Clarence Goodson continues to play solid football in Norway (and now in Denmark).
Goodson was able to make the US roster in last year's World Cup even though he did not feature, but he did put together a great performance for the US in the 2009 Gold Cup (scoring in the semifinal against Honduras) and can be a great player for the US in this Gold Cup as well should he get a chance to play.
Another defender who has a bright future with the United States national team, Eric Lichaj continues to impress in England and has earned a call up to the national team for this Gold Cup.
Lichaj has not had much experience with Aston Villa, but he has impressed whenever he has gotten a chance to play. Lichaj probably will not get much playing time in this Gold Cup but still being part of this American squad will be huge in Lichaj's development.
Club: Tigres (Mexico)
Not one of the most popular players on the US national team, Jonathan Bornstein continues to get playing time for Tigres, which coupled with the fact that Bornstein is one of Bob Bradley's favorites, is the reason why he is on the US roster in the Gold Cup.
I think that Bornstein has earned a spot on this roster, but it will be interesting to see if he can live up to the expectations that he can achieve or if Bornstein will find a way to let down the national team.
Club: Los Angeles Galaxy (United States)
The most famous American footballer of all time, Landon Donovan will be the best outfield player on the pitch for the United States in this Gold Cup and will be expected to perform like he did in South Africa last summer.
Donovan has suffered from injury problems so far this season, but he should be back to his old form come June and lead the US to a potential Gold Cup win.
Club: Aston Villa (England), on loan from Borussia Mönchengladbach (Germany)
The starting midfielder for the United States, Michael Bradley has continued to impress everywhere he plays and will be expected to have a great Gold Cup this year.
In last year's World Cup, Bradley was spectacular and was a massive reason why the United States were able to reach the round of 16.
Club: Blackburn (England), on loan from Schalke 04 (Germany)
A German by birth, Jermaine Jones brings an extra dimension to the United States midfield and can prove himself to be an invaluable addition to that midfield in this Gold Cup.
This year Jones moved to Blackburn on loan due to a lack of playing time with Schalke and was able to impress in his short time in England. It is expected that he will be able to continue on his success with the United States in this Gold Cup.
Club: Fulham (England)
One of the most important members of the US national team, Clint Dempsey will start for the United States in this Gold Cup and is expected to have some great success with the US after setting an American record for goals in a Premier League season with 12 this season.
Dempsey has never been able to produce for the national team like he has for Fulham, but he still has been able to score goals in two straight World Cup's and did score some huge goals in the Confederations Cup two years ago.
Club: Rangers (Scotland)
An occasional starter for the national team, Maurice Edu probably would be a starter under most circumstances but is unable to be a full-time starter due to the large amount of depth that is at the midfield position currently.
Edu did play in three matches for the United States in the 2010 World Cup including a match against Slovenia where he was controversially denied a winning goal by referee Malian referee Koman Coulibaly.
Club: New England Revolution (United States)
One of the more underrated players on the national team, Benny Feilhaber's most famous national team moment came in the 2007 Gold Cup final where he scored an amazing goal to give the United States the lead and ultimately the win.
Feilhaber has continued to shine for the United States regardless of his club position, and he does deserve a spot on this roster.
Club: Anderlecht (Belgium)
Best known for scoring a hat trick against Sweden in what were his first three international goals, Sacha Kljestan barely missed out on making a World Cup spot last season, but he did deserve to make this Gold Cup roster due to his strong performance in Belgium this season.
Kljestan has long been a favorite of Bob Bradley's and one should not be surprised if he is given a chance to start sometime in this tournament.
Club: Columbus Crew (United States)
One of the most surprising call-ups on this Gold Cup roster, Robbie Rogers has played a solid season so far this year for the Columbus Crew, but it was expected that Alejandro Bedoya would take up the eighth midfield spot for the United States in this Gold Cup.
Rogers probably is viewed as a player of the future for Bob Bradley, and that is probably the reason why he is getting this call up. However, it is not expected that he will get a lot of playing time in this Gold Cup.
Club: Caykur Rizespor (Turkey), on loan from Benfica (Portugal)
What isn't there to say? The addition of Freddy Adu is, at the very least, a puzzling move.
Adu has played well in the Turkish second division this year, but no one ever expected Adu to make this Gold Cup roster.
It will be interesting to see how much (or if any) playing time Adu will get. Adu has put together some strong performances for the national team in the past, and hopefully he can do that again this year.
Club: Bursaspor (Turkey), on loan from Villarreal (Spain).
One of the most criticized players on the national team, Jozy Altidore continues to get call-ups to the national team after putting together some strong performances in World Cup qualifying and in the Confederations Cup.
Jozy can be a strong player, but he won't be able to be the player that people know he can be until he starts to use his talent to his full ability.
Expect Jozy to start for the national team throughout this Gold Cup.
Club: New York Red Bulls (United States)
A rising star on the national team after scoring goals against South Africa and Argentina, Juan Agudelo is expected to start throughout this Gold Cup alongside Jozy Altidore.
This tournament can really show that Agudelo is truly the next big thing on the US national team, and I fully expect him to show everyone exactly how talented he is.
Club: San Jose Earthquakes (United States)
He may not have that much experience, but Chris Wondolowski will have a spot on the US roster in this Gold Cup.
Wondolowski only has one cap, but he did win the MLS Golden Boot last year, and he has only continued on with his fine form this year.