This afternoon U.S. soccer coach Bob Bradley announced his preliminary squad for this summer's World Cup in South Africa.
Despite a miraculous recovery from a tragic car accident late last year, Bradley opted out of taking the chance on lightening-quick striker Charlie Davies. Instead, he selected Eddie Johnson, Robbie Findley, Herculez Gomez, and rising Galaxy star Edson Buddle in his place.
While Johnson and Findley have both failed to shine for the national side in recent outings, it would not be surprising if one of these two find themselves in the final roster for South Africa. Buddle and Gomez should have done enough in the recent months to assure a place on that same flight.
Bradley also decided to take the chance on Oguchi Onyewu, a fundamental piece in the U.S. back-four over the past few years, despite still recovering from a knee injury suffered in the final World Cup qualifier against Costa Rica.
MLS players Chad Marshall and Heath Pearce have done enough to make the initial squad, however it seems unlikely that either would make the final roster considering the emergence of Clarence Goodson and rise of Jonathon Bornstein. Nevertheless, with the exclusion of Tigres star Edgar Castillo the FC Dallas defender may still have a chance.
The United States' midfield has been selected as expected by most football analysts. Scottish-born playmaker Stuart Holden has recovered just in time to claim a place in the squad, while an under-performing Sacha Klejstan and DaMarcus Beasley scrape through alongside the talented Alejandro Bedoya.
Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Marcus Hahnemann (Wolverhampton).
Carlos Bocanegra (Rennes), Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover), Jay DeMerit (Watford), Clarence Goodson (IK Start), Chad Marshall (Columbus Crew), Oguchi Onyewu (AC Milan), Heath Pearce (FC Dallas), Jonathan Spector (West Ham United).
DaMarcus Beasley (Rangers), Alejandro Bedoya (Örebro), Michael Bradley (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Ricardo Clark (Houston Dynamo), Clint Dempsey (Fulham), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy), Maurice Edu (Rangers), Benny Feilhaber (Aarhus), Stuart Holden (Bolton), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA), Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew), José Torres (Pachuca).
Jozy Altidore (Villarreal), Edson Buddle (Los Angeles Galaxy), Brian Ching (Houston Dynamo), Robbie Findley (Real Salt Lake), Herculez Gomez (Puebla), Eddie Johnson (Aris Thessaloniki).
So, what do you think? Should Bradley have given a spirited Davies the opportunity to prove his worth on the big stage regardless of his injury? Will the exclusion of skilled players like Castillo and Adu affect the national side at all?
With just over a month left until the Stars and Stripes take on Fabio Capello's England, let the discussion begin.