Monday, May 16, 2011

Gold Cup Predictions

I guess since everyone else is doing it, I may as well fill out my US Gold Cup 2011 roster.

Now, this isn't who I think Bob Bradley should select but rather who I think he should select. Two different things. For instance, I wouldn't have picked Robbie Findley for my 2010 WC roster but I always thought he would be on it.

Anyway, here's position-by-position with some thoughts afterward:

Goalkeepers: Tim Howard, Brad Guzan, Marcus Hahnemann

This is about the only position where there shouldn't be any surprises. Tim Howard starts most games, with maybe Brad Guzan getting into a group game. Maybe.

Defenders: Carlos Bocanegra, Oguchi Onyewu, Tim Ream, Omar Gonzalez, Jonathan Bornstein, Timothy Chandler, Steve Cherundolo

No Jay DeMerit because he recently came back from a six-week layoff. Need guys who are match fit. If Oguchi Onyewu is not healthy - and chances are he may not be - Clarence Goodson would get the call. Tough to leave Eric Lichaj off but cover on right is there.

Midfielders: Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan, Michael Bradley, Maurice Edu, Alejandro Bedoya, Mixx Diskerud, Jermaine Jones, Benny Feilhaber

Versatile, well-stocked, talented - even without Stuart Holden.

Forwards: Jozy Altidore, Edson Buddle, Juan Agudelo, Teal Bunbury, Charlie Davies

Jozy Altidore is the most frustrating addition. Of course he's on the roster but at the same time, he's not the most exciting player on this list, or close to it. Juan Agudelo and Teal Bunbury fill the excitement quota. Edson Buddle is here because he can still score goals and Charlie Davies, unless his injury over the weekend is worse than feared, could work his way back into the fold by the time the knockout rounds arrive.

Overall, this is a talented roster with a good mix of veterans and youngsters. The biggest question mark is up top. While Agudelo and Bunbury are exciting, they are not proven. And at times, experience counts a great deal in tournaments like this. Still, a bit of that youthful ignorance - they may not know that they're supposed to be nervous - is helpful at times.

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