This article originally appeared on SoccReligious.
The confusion among US soccer media and fans as Monday's Gold Cup roster announcement was delayed was not in the least bit stymied once the roster was finally released.
If nothing else, Bob Bradley's 23-man roster for June's CONCACAF championship tournament was a puzzling one (a mixed bag of pleasant surprises and disappointments), and the weeks leading up to June 7's opening round matchup vs. Canada in Detroit leaves us ample time to analyze Bradley's selections.
We'll kick off the discussion with the five most surprising omissions from the roster, with a special bonus mention at the end.
With the absence of injured playmaker Stuart Holden, Diskerud seemed a shoo-in to fill that central creative void. It was not to be, however, for the Stabæk midfielder.
Born in Norway but eligible for the U.S. by way of an Arizonan mother, Diskerud made his debut for the U.S. in November's friendly vs. South Africa, and his incisive passing, as well as an ability to play a variety of midfield and attacking positions, seemed to favor his selection.
Bradley had other thoughts, and his decision to leave Mixx at home indicates a larger trend for this tournament favoring age and experience over youth and potential.
“Mixx is a younger player that has shown promise," Bradley said. "So many different things get put into it when you’re looking at a roster. I think Mixx is a player...when you think about the Olympic team situation coming up and other opportunities including friendlies with the national team that we’ll see him again.”
While few expected Diskerud to be a starter this summer, there's no doubt the U.S. could use his offensive spark late in games if the attack isn't up to par.
Bunbury, like Diskerud, seems to have fallen victim to age here, as Bradley selected the more veteran Chris Wondolowski ahead of Sporting Kansas City's budding star.
Bradley, however, argues that the selection was less about age and more about form.
"I didn’t think it was the right time for him," the coach said of Bunbury. "I don’t think he’s been as sharp as we would like so far in the season. I think that’s a sign of him continuing to mature and grow."
In seven MLS contests this season, Bunbury has tallied three goals, two of which came against a leaky Vancouver defense, but he has gone scoreless in his last five, all KC losses.
Another dual-citizen, Bunbury may be regretting his decision to pledge his allegiance to the flag of the United States of America instead of standing on guard for O Canada.
He expressed his disappointment over Twitter last night: "Thanks for all the support. Things like this make me a stronger person and player. Good Luck to all the guys."
Of the five (plus one) players mentioned here, Chandler is the biggest surprise, but speculation that his absence is just that: an absence, not an omission.
In fact, it seems the delay on Monday could have been a result of Chandler's request to remain left out of the mix this summer.
"We felt that it didn’t make sense at this time for [Chandler]" Bradley said. "He’s carried a few little injuries of late. He has told us that physically and mentally this season has been a hard one.
"We feel strongly that we’ve worked hard to build a good relationship with him and felt that when you added everything up that the time wasn’t right for this Gold Cup."
The Nuremberg fullback would have provided great outside defensive depth, and perhaps could have challenged for a starting left back nod (though he's featured on the right for the U.S. in the past).
There is also speculation that Chandler could be buying time to ponder a German call-up, if Die Mannschaft throw one his way.
Steve Cherundolo should do just fine on the right, but Chandler's speed and work rate would have made the U.S. defense stronger, regardless.
Bradley needs to ensure Chandler is capped in a non-friendly international match so the Germans keep their hands away from the best U.S. defensive prospect.
For the second time in as many Mays, Bedoya finds himself on the wrong side of the cutline for a major international tournament.
The young Orebro midfielder was one of the last names axed from the 2010 World Cup roster, but he seemed a lock for a Gold Cup spot.
His energy and versatility would come in handy on the substitutes' bench, but Bradley indicated Bedoya's style of play might be too similar to what the U.S already has in ample supply.
"[Bedoya] has energy and willingness to be involved in the game in a good way, but nonetheless we looked at some of the other players, and now in some cases you have to make some tough decisions where certain guys are almost in the same category," Bradley said.
That "same category" includes interior wingers: outside midfielders who like to drift centrally, a la Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan, Sacha Kljestan and Benny Feilhaber.
Add a surprise like Freddy Adu, and Bedoya becomes expendable.
It's crazy to think that this time a year ago, many fans felt Charlie Davies could make a World Cup roster, even though he was just a few months past an October car crash that almost took his life.
Fast forward another year, and Davies, like Bedoya, will have to watch the national team play its biggest tournament of the year from home.
Though his MLS resurgence has been a media dream (his six goals in league play trail only Landon Donovan's seven) Bradley indicated Davies has yet to show he can impact the game enough away from the penalty spot, where he's scored four of his goals, to merit a call up.
"I had a good conversation with [Davies] on the telephone the other day and just told him that I still feel that it’s still not totally where it needs to be," Bradley said.
"Part of that is tricky because you’re looking at strikers and you want to see goals. Obviously, he’s done well to put himself in some good goal-scoring situations but in terms of his all-around contribution to the team I still think he’s working his way back."
That comeback, coupled with the emergence of Juan Agudelo as a fitting partner for Jozy Altidore, would have made it difficult for Bradley to include Davies.
Torres' omission isn't surprising at this point in time. But, had you asked a year ago, most fans would have expected the 23-year-old central midfielder to compete for a starting spot in the Gold Cup and would not have wondered if he'd even earn a roster spot.
Torres' decline in the U.S. soccer picture has been strange. In pre-World Cup friendlies against the likes of Turkey, Torres showed a composure, passing range and defensive skill that boded well for his future internationally.
However, a "poor" (quotations to emphasize the misperception of his play) performance in a World Cup start against Slovenia was the last we've seen of Torres. The Pachuca midfielder hasn't even really been an afterthought, especially with the abundance of central midfield talent in the U.S. ranks right now.
Don't rule him out of the USMNT picture just yet, however. Jermaine Jones will be too gray for World Cup 2014 play, and Torres, should he improve at the club level, could battle Maurice Edu and (gasp!) Michael Bradley (whose lack of club playing time is worth note) for midfield spots if Stu Holden moves wide right, as expected.