23 TICKETS TO SOUTH AFRICA
RECAPS
PREVIEWS
EXTRA TIME
Thursday, August 31, 2006
The long wait until World Cup 2010 has already begun for Red, White & Blue supporters, but YA has no intention of waiting to handicap the field for the South Africa sweepstakes.

With coach (fill in the blank)'s roster deadline only 43 months away, we felt it best to start rating everyone's roster chances as soon as possible. Of course, we will continue to update our airplane manifest as the tournament approaches.

In our second 2010 edition, only Bobby Convey and Tim Howard are rated as unanimous locks. Meanwhile, Jemal Johnson, Pablo Mastroeni, Taylor Twellman and Quentin Westberg move into the 23 in place of Kenny Cooper, Todd Dunivant, Brad Guzan and Chris Rolfe.

As always, we welcome your feedback in the http://www.yanks-abroad.com/content.php?mode=contact&action=show§ion=generalYA mailbag[endlink].

PACK YOUR BAGS, BOYS
Bobby Convey - M, San Jose Earthquakes (USA)
Has looked ordinary in Reading's first few Premiership matches, but will adjust. Just like he did last season. (CW) May just be running the show come South Africa. (MF)
Tim Howard - GK, Everton (England)
Goalkeepers don't reach their prime until they hit 30, and Howard will be 31 in South Africa. (PK) Early Goodison Park reviews have been favorable. He should be ready to make us proud by 2010. (GS)
Oguchi Onyewu - D, Charlton Athletic (England)
Six months from now he'll be playing for a team stateside fans can watch regularly on cable television. When that time comes... enjoy. (GS)
Clint Dempsey - M/F, Fulham (England)
Free Deuce! We need your invention and your patter. (SOC) If he can intern with a top five team in the Netherlands for two seasons, we have a star on our hands. (GS)
Jonathan Spector - D, Birmingham City (England)
Time will tell for this youngster. He has the potential, now he has to prove his worth. (MA) This kid is growing in confidence... watch out. (SOC)
Cory Gibbs - D, Chicago Fire (USA)
Still my top pair with Gooch. (AG) All he needs is fitness to be a great story in South Africa. Unlike the Replacements, I can hardly wait. (GS)

NEARLY A LOCK
Freddy Adu - M/F, FK Jagodina (Serbia)
Hopefully, we'll know how to use him. (MF) He'll be that good. (AG)
Steve Cherundolo - D, Hannover 96 (Germany)
We'll need his leadership and experience. Hopefully, his body will cooperate. (NT) No real competition at right back for now. (SOC)
Heath Pearce - D/M, ()
Will move to Germany soon. If not in this window, then by January. Three-and-a-half years of top-tier, top-flight soccer will do the trick. (CW)
Landon Donovan - M/F, Los Angeles Galaxy (USA)
Still the most talented player, save Adu, the US has ever had. (MF) If he is still a Galaxy player in 2010, he rides the pine for the 'Nats. (PK) Swim with the big boys in Europe, Lanny! (MA)

FAIRLY SAFE BET
Benny Feilhaber - M, New England Revolution (USA)
If he becomes a regular first teamer with Hamburg, he'll be hard to ignore. (SOC) We haven't really seen how good this kid can be yet. (PK)
Jay DeMerit - D, Watford (England)
He'll be a lock before this thing is through. (MF) How has he not gotten a call-up already? (MA) Even if Watford go down, he is staying up. (AG)
Michael Bradley - M, Roma (Italy)
Remember when they said he only played because of his dad? (PK) He has become a different player, just since spring. The kid now looks perfectly at home in a 4-3-3... hint, hint. (GS)

IN A BATTLE
Eddie Johnson - F, Aris (Greece) on loan from Fulham (England)
Can a Bundesliga team please take a chance on EJ? I want to see how he responds when pushed on a daily basis. (GS) Flashes need to become shining beacons. (MF)
Marcus Hahnemann - GK, Everton (England)
Some jittery moments in the Prem so far but as of right now, who else would go as #2? (NT) Grizzled? Check. Veteran? Check. Clubhouse influence? Check. (GS)
DaMarcus Beasley - M/F, Puebla (Mexico)
Wouldn't it be great if he could regain 2004/05 form? Frankly, I think people are hopping off the bandwagon prematurely. (GS) Another guy who needs to come out of his tailspin, but still among our best 23. (NT)
Pablo Mastroeni - M, Colorado Rapids (USA)
With two World Cups under his belt and a European move coming soon, he'll be there. (CW) Everyone needs a midfield enforcer, and he's it. (PK)
Carlos Bocanegra - D, Rangers (Scotland) on loan from Racing Santander (Spain)
Sliding down the pecking order. (MA) Can we just get Charlie to a club not managed by a Zat Knight fetishist? Middlesbrough, pick up the damn phone! Sheesh! (GS)
Conor Casey - F, Colorado Rapids (USA)
Knee injury has dropped him from view, but he can come back. (PK) Will take over McBride's spot. Just turned 25 in July, but it seems like he's been around forever. (CW)

WORK TO DO
Jemal Johnson - M, Southend United (England)
Now that he has finally found a team where he plays, great things can happen for him. (MA) Showing his mettle and will not look back. (AG)
Quentin Westberg - GK, Évian TG (France)
He's young, speaks French and plays with élan. (SOC) Great young keeper who will be given a shot soon. (MF)
Taylor Twellman - F, New England Revolution (USA)
Should've been there last time - has a nose for the goal. (MF) Having wasted five years in MLS, Twellman will head back to Europe and begin to cement his spot. (CW)
Marvell Wynne - D, Toronto FC (Canada)
He's already beginning to steady his MLS game, and we have loads of time. (GS) Have faith, playing under Arena for a year or two will be great for him. (NT)
MOVING UP

Danny Califf - Always underrated in my book. Resurgence in Aalborg has Thug Life back on the radar. (CW) Denmark thinks sliced bread is boring compared to this guy's recent form. (MF)

Chad Barrett - Best "thunder" to add to the copious "lightning" options. (AG) Blow up statistically in 2007, then get on the plane to Holland! (GS)

Jeremiah White - Blazing speed and soft touch is causing problems in France. A move up in the next year or two could be a big step towards proving doubters wrong. (CW)

Joe Cannon - Is this guy the most underrated player in MLS history? The question is at least debatable. (GS)

Jonathan Villanueva - Unlucky to have not gotten a contract at Ajax, but still showed well a week later with the Under-20's. (AG)

Santino Quaranta - LA move has been just what the doc ordered. Can he keep it up? (CW) It would be a great story if he could return to prominence. (NT)

Quavas Kirk - This gifted youngster is starting to show plenty of je ne sais quoi and can balance out our smaller attackers with his size. (GS) Consider me a convert. (NT)

Frank Simek - Strong and versatile, but playing below his station. (SOC) Cherundolo is looking over his shoulder at this Midwestern boy. (MF)

Ricardo Clark - Wishful thinking or not, I can verify that smooth is essential in a 4-3-3 midfield... I'm just sayin'. (GS)

Lee Nguyen - Let's be patient, okay? He is still in the learning phase. (GS) If the PSV staff rate this guy, who am I to say differently? (MA)

Troy Perkins - He's solid and improving, but I don't get the feeling he'll ever be on the Friedel/Keller level - has a chance at the #2 if Hahnemann breaks down. (NT)

Adin Brown - Was Tim Howard's equal way back when, and is still a big strong dependable keeper. Needs to change teams/move up, but will get looks. (MF)

Alecko Eskandarian - How can you not consider him, an integral part of what could possibly be the best MLS team ever? (PK)

MOVING DOWN

Kenny Cooper - A nice combination of height, strength and skill - needs to get back to England on a roster where he can start. (NT)

Chris Rolfe - I like what this kid's selling. Now if Chicago can just get another Nowak in there to feed these young guns... (GS)

Todd Dunivant - Another skillful young defender will be a good squad option. (SOC)

Brad Guzan - On the bench, out of mind. Hopefully, the situation is only temporary. (GS)

OTHER BUBBLE BATTLERS

Josmer Altidore, David Arvizu, Nikolas Besagno, Bobby Boswell, Edson Buddle, Jose Burciarga Jr., Jon Busch, Brian Ching, Brad Davis, Hunter Freeman, Eddie Gaven, Rodrigo Hidalgo, Nate Jaqua, Will John, Sacha Kljestan, Kyle Martino, Mike Magee, Chad Marshall, Dax McCarty, Kyle Nakazawa, Pat Noonan, John O'Brien, Troy Roberts, Robbie Rogers, Robbie Russell, Ofori Sarkodie, Matt Reis, Danny Szetela, Tim Ward, Zak Whitbread, David Yelldell, Joe Zewe, Preston Zimmerman

note: Yanks Abroad's Michael Adubato, Mark Flannery, Aaron Gidding, Peter Kratzel, Sean O'Conor, Greg Seltzer, Neal Thurman and Chad Winger compiled this feature
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