23 TICKETS TO GERMANY
RECAPS
EXTRA TIME
Sunday, September 11, 2005
Only nine months remain until World Cup 2006, and the race for a place in Bruce Arena's final 23-man World Cup roster is well underway. You might be wondering who will travel to Germany and who will watch on television with the rest of you... well, YA is here to help!

How does it work? We list the guys we think are going to make that final roster in four separate categories that denote how deeply you should carve our proclamations in stone. We will keep an eye to players that are gaining or losing ground, so naturally we will return every month until the squad is announced to chart progress.

The September edition features some movement in the ranks, with (so sayeth YA) 10 of the spots in the final 23 set in stone. Brian McBride, Bobby Convey and Claudio Reyna have convinced with their early-season club play, while Josh Wolff is hanging on to the final forward place in the team by the narrowest of margins over Jeff Cunningham and Taylor Twellman. Kansas City defender Jimmy Conrad has replaced Greg Vanney on our squad list, and US mainstay Eddie Pope slips six spots in the ordinal ranking.

As always, we want your feedback. Feel free to send in your 23-man list or comments to our http://www.yanks-abroad.com/content.php?mode=contact&action=show§ion=generalmailbox[endlink].

PACK YOUR BAGS, BOYS
Kasey Keller - GK, Seattle Sounders (USA)
Keller is the biggest lock on this roster. (RF)
Landon Donovan - M/F, Los Angeles Galaxy (USA)
I'm going out on a limb with this one... (GS)
DaMarcus Beasley - M/F, Puebla (Mexico)
Just in case anyone forgot, DaMarcus drives opponents bonkers. More danger free kicks = more US victories. (GS)
Oguchi Onyewu - D, Sheffield Wednesday (England)
Comes highly recommended by Jared Borgetti. (HK) Do not underestimate what a monster he is on both attack and defensive set pieces. (GS)
Eddie Lewis - M, Los Angeles Galaxy (USA)
If his crosses and free kicks weren't enough, Lewis reproved that he can play an able left back against World Cup-caliber opponents. (GS)
Claudio Reyna - M, New York Red Bulls (USA)
Has started the season with Manchester City playing the kind of soccer that made him Captain America. (GS)
Brian McBride - F, Chicago Fire (USA)
A work horse up top who is still dangerous in front of goal. Brings class, leadership and composure on and off the field. (HK)
Steve Cherundolo - D, Hannover 96 (Germany)
He'll return to his pre-injury class quickly, and when he does, he should be a lock to start at right back. (BMH)
Eddie Johnson - F, Aris (Greece) on loan from Fulham (England)
Assuming he stays in MLS until World Cup, just imagine how much fresher EJ will be compared to top European-based defenders. (GS)
Cory Gibbs - D, Chicago Fire (USA)
Feyenoord got by Ajax without him, but it wasn't because they stopped anybody. (GS) His man-marking skills alone get him a spot. (BMH)

NEARLY A LOCK
Carlos Bocanegra - D, Rangers (Scotland) on loan from Racing Santander (Spain)
Solid defensive force in two positions; he's in. (GS) A rock in the center, he can play left and scores sometimes. Lack of ball skills may limit his play. (MF)
John O'Brien - D/M, CD Chivas (USA)
On talent, he'd be a lock. If he can't stay healthy, his spot is at risk given the strength of our midfield. (NT)
Gregg Berhalter - D, Los Angeles Galaxy (USA)
World Cup experience and extremely consistent play; there's no way Arena doesn't bring the Cottbus captain. (MF) If Eddie Pope continues to slip, it will be even more important to have someone like Berhalter who captains his club on the defense. (NT)
Frankie Hejduk - D, Los Angeles Galaxy (USA)
I know all the complaints: can't cross, his "stepovers", etc. Whatever. Frankie has all the intangibles that coaches speak about. Hustle. Desire. Versatility. At least you know that he's going to give you everything, every time. (BMH)

FAIRLY SAFE BET
Pablo Mastroeni - M, Colorado Rapids (USA)
Mastroeni can play in defense or as a terrifying defensive midfielder... just ask Mexico. (RF) Assuming Pablo stays healthy, there's no reason to believe that he won't be making the trip. (NT)
Tim Howard - GK, Everton (England)
Timmy can't be more excited for Carling Cup play to begin. He'd better be ready to build some walls when it does. (GS)
Marcus Hahnemann - GK, Everton (England)
Reading's version of the Rock of Gibraltar. Will benefit from the US's early qualification. (HK) Has distanced himself from the MLS favorites in the race for the #3 spot. (BMH)
Bobby Convey - M, San Jose Earthquakes (USA)
Just when you thought he was out...he pulls you right back in. (BMH) He's always been an Arena favorite, only Bobby can keep himself off this team. (MF)
Steve Ralston - M, New England Revolution (USA)
What he lacks in skill, he makes up for in composure (or is that just plodding play?). Seems to be an Arena favorite and the goal against Mexico will help. (HK) With no obvious candidates presenting themselves, Ralston seems fairly safe for now. (NT)

IN A BATTLE
Eddie Pope - D, Real Salt Lake (USA)
Eddie in a battle? Say it isn't so. (RF) Younger guys are getting experienced, and a place on the squad could actually slip away from Steady Ed. (GS)
Clint Dempsey - M/F, Fulham (England)
Versatile and unpredictable, the perfect combination for a late-game spark off the bench. (BMH) Clint has cooled down, but has not done anything that would lead me to believe he's losing ground. (NT)
Josh Wolff - F, Sporting Kansas City (USA)
It is not going to get any easier until June, the chasers are getting ready to make their case. This spot is very, very, VERY tentative. (GS)
- F, () on loan from ()
Who would have thought we'd be this deep at center back? (BMH) His lack of versatility may hurt his chances. (RF)
MOVING UP THE LADDER

Jeff Cunningham - His one-on-one skill, unmatched by most US players, will be a great asset to have. Hopefully, Arena will start him a couple of times to see what he can do. (MF)

Taylor Twellman - Known for his fight and willingness to sacrifice himself, one would think he would be Arena's type of player. If he ever gets any minutes, he might force his way onto the side. (MF)

Justin Mapp - Keep up the good work Justin, I promise that first cap is on its way. (GS) Why can't one of these guys do this stuff with his right foot? (BMH)

Santino Quaranta - After years of hearing about all his potential, Q is finally starting to justify some of the hype. (BMH)

Chris Armas - Mexico's offense was quiet and a great deal of that has to be attributed to the job Armas did clogging the middle of their attack. (NT)

SLIPPING OUT OF FRAME

Greg Vanney - The move home has not proven to be as beneficial for Vanney as it was for Gibbs. (HK)

Jonathan Spector - Spector got hurt at the wrong time, a starting spot may be hard to find now with Charlton off to an impressive start. (RF)

Robbie Russell - Robbie, find a new club. You can make this team, but that has to come first... the sooner, the better. (GS)

BUBBLE BATTLERS

Freddy Adu, Chris Albright, Adin Brown, Joe Cannon, Conor Casey, Brian Ching, Ramiro Corrales, Brad Davis, Jay DeMerit, Benny Feilhaber, Eddie Gaven, Nick Garcia, Chris Klein, Chad Marshall, Clint Mathis, Richard Mulrooney, Pat Noonan, Ben Olsen, Heath Pearce, Peter Philipakos, Matt Reis, Brian West, Zak Whitbread, Marvell Wynne, Kerry Zavagnin

note: YA's Rich Fidler, Mark Flannery, Bri-Mathias Hodge, Harris King, Greg Seltzer and Neal Thurman compiled this feature
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Conor O'Brien could finally make his Austrian debut for Wiener Neustadt on Saturday.
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