23 TICKETS TO GERMANY
RECAPS
PREVIEWS
EXTRA TIME
Thursday, February 2, 2006
Less than five months remain until the World Cup, and it is time once again to check on who will make the plane ride to Germany this summer.

Nagging injuries are beginning to drop players like Eddie Johnson and John O'Brien down the ladder, while the forward and left back races are heating up in earnest.

Jonathan Spector barely retains his place in our 23 ahead of hard chargers Todd Dunivant and Heath Pearce. Meanwhile, Taylor Twellman returns to the good side of the bubble at the expense of the injured Chris Albright.

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)
World Cup mascot Goleo better watch his back. (HK)
Landon Donovan - M/F, Los Angeles Galaxy (USA)
Offensive spur with a bit of attitude. (KH) Say what you will about the kid, he's the most talented US player. (RF)
DaMarcus Beasley - M/F, Puebla (Mexico)
Battleground tested and a truly exciting player to watch. (KH)
Claudio Reyna - M, New York Red Bulls (USA)
Upside of injury means he will be fresher for World Cup. (HK) Do they have bubble wrap in Manchester? (GS)
Brian McBride - F, Chicago Fire (USA)
The anchor for a Fulham team that has had several injuries and suspensions on the offensive end. (NT)
Steve Cherundolo - D, Hannover 96 (Germany)
Slicker than he used to be, Dolo must be first pick for the #2 slot. (SOC)
Marcus Hahnemann - GK, Everton (England)
Show of hands: Who would be overly worried if (knock, knock, knock) Marcus got called into emergency duty? (GS) Remember, no guns on planes, Marcus. (RF)
Oguchi Onyewu - D, Charlton Athletic (England)
Despite recent cards, can be counted on when it matters. (HK)
Eddie Lewis - M, Los Angeles Galaxy (USA)
"Fast Eddie" is also Mr. Versatile on the left, which gives Bruce two for the price of one. (SOC)
Carlos Bocanegra - D, Rangers (Scotland) on loan from Racing Santander (Spain)
My money says he starts two group matches: one at left back and one in the middle. (GS)

NEARLY A LOCK
Bobby Convey - M, San Jose Earthquakes (USA)
Team playing well? Check. Player playing well? Check. Player is an FOB (favorite of Bruce)? Check. See you in Germany. (NT)
Gregg Berhalter - D, Los Angeles Galaxy (USA)
Getting his act together at Cottbus would be wise if he wants to avoid dropping into any tense competitions. (GS)
Pablo Mastroeni - M, Colorado Rapids (USA)
Great... another real injury concern. (GS) World Cup experience and playing position make him a near lock. (KH)
Cory Gibbs - D, Chicago Fire (USA)
Cory gets to stay settled in Holland and focus on his return, good news for everybody. (GS)

FAIRLY SAFE BET
Eddie Johnson - F, Aris (Greece) on loan from Fulham (England)
This is starting to look bad... O'Brien bad. It certainly doesn't help that other strikers are distinguishing themselves a bit. (GS)
Clint Dempsey - M/F, Fulham (England)
Norway, schmorway... I told you all he was going. The longer JOB remains out, the closer MC Clint gets to being a lock. (GS)
Frankie Hejduk - D, Los Angeles Galaxy (USA)
Bruce brings him, if just to remind Cakes to keep his elbows up. (MF)

IN A BATTLE
John O'Brien - D/M, ()
At least he didn't get hurt watching the Norway game...he didn't, right? (NT) This guy holds the key if we make it to later rounds. (KH)
Tim Howard - GK, Everton (England)
How much longer can Van der Sar last with Brown and Silvestre lining up in front of him? (NT) The threat is real! I repeat: the threat is real! (GS)
Josh Wolff - F, Sporting Kansas City (USA)
Josh has lately shown fitness, desire, drive and dizzying pace. Most importantly, he's managing to touch, dribble and pass at this speed. (JM)
Taylor Twellman - F, New England Revolution (USA)
Finally! (MF) If TnT keeps working well on this new Dirk Kuyt impersonation, he should get a chance to go off in Germany. (GS)
Steve Ralston - M, New England Revolution (USA)
Injury at winter camp hurts his chances. (AG) Nothing leads me to believe that someone else has wrestled his spot away. (NT)
Jonathan Spector - D, Birmingham City (England)
Needs to find a way off of Charlton's bench. (AG) Has the pedigree, but not the PT. (HK)
MOVING UP THE LADDER

Chris Klein - I was wondering what took Bruce so long to bring him back. His physical tools and cross/shot skills set should worry Ralston and Quaranta, but no right back please. (GS)

Jimmy Conrad - Cory Gibbs' late injury and club troubles suddenly may have given Jimmy real reason to hope for a left center back spot. (JM)

Eddie Pope - It wasn't exactly the Steady Ed of old, but he seems to be getting everything back in order. Stay tuned. (GS)

Pat Noonan - How did this guy go for four months without an MLS goal? Yeah, it was only Norway B-, but another St. Louis homeboy is making a move. (GS)

Matt Reis - Did well to shut out Canada, making a few vital saves. (AG) Howard is starting to look like a summer spectator. (GS)

Todd Dunivant - At this point, any strong performance at left back for the US is going to get people talking. (JM)

Danny Califf - Given a few months in Europe, he may become a Bruce favorite. (RF)

Nat Borchers - As with Califf, excellence in new European surroundings could get him a late look... but I do mean "excellence." (GS)

Nate Jaqua - He's in the picture, which is moving up for Nate. (NT)

Heath Pearce - He needs to answer Dunivant's fine debut with a splashy February display, but this kid ain't short on fighting spirit. (GS)

SLIPPING OUT OF FRAME

Freddy Adu - Welcome to the show, kid. Enjoy the cup of coffee and remember what this is like because it's going to be important for you in four years. (NT)

Kyle Martino - Was back on the scene briefly, but Arena seems to have seen enough. (SOC)

Santino Quaranta - His dark horse campaign might soon be coming to an end. (NT) Has failed to impose himself when given the chance to impress. (SOC)

Ben Olsen - He needs to show well for 90 minutes for Japan or Guatamala. (JM)

Brian Ching - Thank you for everything from the bottom of our hearts, but don't expect to be in Germany in either March or June. (GS)

BUBBLE BATTLERS

Chris Albright, Chris Armas, Brian Carroll, Conor Casey, Ricardo Clark, Benny Feilhaber, Eddie Gaven, Herculez Gomez, Kevin Hartman, Cobi Jones, Justin Mapp, Chris Rolfe, Frankie Simek, Kerry Zavagnin

note: YA's Rich Fidler, Mark Flannery, Aaron Gidding, Kent Hufford, Harris King, James McCarthy, Sean O'Conor, Greg Seltzer and Neal Thurman compiled this feature
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