By Ryan Fleming
Bob Bradley didn’t have much of a choice. He was forced to leave Charlie Davies, the star forward of the United States Men’s National Team and French-side, Sochaux, out of the 30-man preliminary roster, which the USMNT’s manager presented yesterday at 2 p.m.
The young, fiery striker has not played a competitive match since he was seriously injured in a fatal car accident last October. Recently, he has been fueled by a possible World Cup placement on the US squad, but now he’ll have to wait.
Davies really came under the spotlight after his exciting and often difference-making play in the Confederations Cup last summer. Unfortunately for the USMNT, they will be without Davies, who was one of the Yanks’ most lethal players.
“We just felt right now, for Charlie, it is in his best interest to continue his rehab and continue to get back to where he was last year,” Bradley told the New York Times.
Other notable additions to the preliminary squad are Herculez Gomez and Edson Buddle. Gomez lead Mexico’s Primera División in scoring. There are many that haven’t seen Gomez play, but what he has done in Mexico is downright impressive. Throughout his career, the 28-year-old has been stricken with injures that have hampered past success. The MLS journeyman will try to show Bradley that he should get another chance.
I won’t say that he’ll do what Davies could, because I don’t think he can. But if Gomez does make the final 23-man squad, then Bradley saw something in the forward that will ease the pain in his most troubled position.
The MLS’s leading scorer, Buddle, was also added to the preliminary squad. Much has been said about Buddle. Some have criticized the strikers performance, despite his number of tallys (nine goals in eight games), that he’s playing in a second-rate league and the defenders Buddle competes against aren’t top-flight. I’m on Buddle’s side. I’ve seen all the goals he’s scored, he deserves to be there. Despite his lack of experience internationally, I’d pick Buddle or Gomez over Houston Dynamo, Brian Ching.
Jozy Altidore, the U.S.’s only sure-starter up front was picked along with Aris’s Eddie Johnson, who had an impressive set of matches in Greece’s playoffs.
Out of the midfield, there really weren’t many surprises. DaMarcus Beasley’s playing time for Scottish Premier League Champions, Glasgow Rangers, decreased; not earning him a spot in the starting XI since March 9. Still, Beasley was picked.
Freddy Adu had a chance to make the squad with his recent improving play alongside Johnson at Aris, but was left out.
On the Yanks backline, Bradley took Oguchi Onyewu from AC Milan. Unfortunately for Onyewu, he found himself in nearly the same situation as Davies. The defender hasn’t played since Oct. 14, in the U.S.’s final World Cup qualifier, where he tore his patellar tendon. If Onyewu is healthy at the start of the WC, the US will feel more comfortable along the back. Of course, even if healthy, Onyewu’s first tests will be the world’s best.
Tim Howard, Brad Guzan and Marcus Hahnemann were picked as Bradley’s goalkeepers. Howard, one of the best in the world, will surely start.
Goalkeepers: Brad Guzan (Aston Villa, England), Marcus Hahnemann (Wolverhampton, England), Tim Howard (Everton, England).
Defenders: Carlos Bocanegra (Rennes, France), Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover, Germany), Jay DeMerit (Watford, England), Clarence Goodson (IK Start, Norway), Chad Marshall (Columbus), Oguchi Onyewu (AC Milan, Italy), Heath Pearce (Dallas), Jonathan Spector (West Ham, England).
Midfielders: DaMarcus Beasley (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland), Alejandro Bedoya (Orebro, Sweden), Michael Bradley (Borussia Moenchengladbach, Germany), Ricardo Clark (Eintracht Frankfurt, Germany), Clint Dempsey (Fulham, England), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles), Maurice Edu (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland), Benny Feilhaber (AGF Aarhus, Denmark), Stuart Holden (Bolton, England), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA), Robbie Rogers (Columbus), Jose Torres (Pachuca, Mexico).
Forwards: Jozy Altidore (Hull, England), Edson Buddle (Los Angeles), Brian Ching (Houston), Robbie Findley (Salt Lake), Herculez Gomez (Puebla, Mexico), Eddie Johnson (Aris, Greece).
Ryan Fleming is a contributing writer and editor for The Soccer Guys. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.