23 TICKETS TO SOUTH AFRICA
RECAPS
PREVIEWS
EXTRA TIME
Thursday, February 15, 2007
The YA soothsayers have had two friendlies under interim (?) boss Bob Bradley to calibrate their crystal balls, and with a couple of new voters in our realm, there has been some movement on the manifest of destiny since Halloween.

Steve Cherundolo jumps two levels to a lock, but he is only one of eight guys to be sitting prettier in our first 2007 edition.

Meanwhile, Conor Casey, Brad Guzan and Marvell Wynne have fallen off the 23 in favor of Adin Brown, Jimmy Conrad and Justin Mapp.

As always, http://www.yanks-abroad.com/content.php?mode=contact&action=show§ion=generalyour feedback[endlink] is welcome and appreciated.

PACK YOUR BAGS, BOYS
Oguchi Onyewu - D, Sheffield Wednesday (England)
Newcastle gives Gooch the opportunity to play against the world's best. (JE) He might even have to order an XXL captain's armband to go over his super-sized arm. (JDJ)
Clint Dempsey - M/F, Fulham (England)
If our whole team was made up of Dempseys, I'd be a lot more optimistic about our chances. (MF) Just you wait until he gets into game shape, Fulham fans. (GS)
Tim Howard - GK, Everton (England)
Tim should be feeling confident about his chances. He's re-established himself with Everton. (JDJ) He still hasn't totally convinced me, but time is on his side. (HK) This is his spot to lose. (JE)
Bobby Convey - M, San Jose Earthquakes (USA)
Will be in his prime in 2010. He will be the General. (MF) Thanks to an injury, he's not yet adequately established himself as a Premiership-caliber winger. (JDJ)
Steve Cherundolo - D, Hannover 96 (Germany)
Until someone steps up, Cherundolo remains unchallenged for the starting right back spot. (JE) Only silly people think he's too small. He may be the captain. (MF)

NEARLY A LOCK
Landon Donovan - M/F, Los Angeles Galaxy (USA)
Good goal against Mexico, but someone better tell him that soccer games have two halves. (PK) Some of my colleagues are clearly still angry with Lando, but he'll be there. The question is: how many surpass him if he's still in MLS in 2010. (GS)
Jonathan Spector - D, Birmingham City (England)
Our most versatile defender - although, I wouldn't mind seeing him as a defensive midfielder. (JE) If he gets a coach to set his position, he'll be in good shape to make it regardless of what team, or even league, he's playing in. (JDJ)
Benny Feilhaber - M, New England Revolution (USA)
We will look back on HSV's tumultuous 2006/07 season as the year that made Benny a true professional. (HK) He isn't getting discouraged by the recent demotion, so neither should anybody else. (GS)
Carlos Bocanegra - D, Rangers (Scotland) on loan from Racing Santander (Spain)
He has helped himself by playing defensive midfield for Fulham. Versatility is always a prized asset on a National Team roster. (PK)
Freddy Adu - M/F, Philadelphia Union (USA)
The grace period is over, now he must start to deliver on some of that promise. (PK) Freddy will finally play his preferred position, so we will begin to find out just how good he really is this season. (GS)
Heath Pearce - D/M, CD Chivas (USA)
He might not be Bob Bradley's cup of tea, but when the Bornstein 15 minutes wears off, he'll still be standing tall. (JDJ) Fine, coach. You're looking at young players... now give Heath a start. (GS) Hey Bob...how about a left defender that can actually, you know, play defense? (CW)
Michael Bradley - M, Roma (Italy)
He's handy around the field, and after a U-20 World Cup, will be primed for play with more senior players. (JDJ) Mikey is still in student mode with Heerenveen; next season is when the judging really starts. (GS)

FAIRLY SAFE BET
Jay DeMerit - D, Watford (England)
The National Team call is all that is missing for the movie. (HK) If Jay is not starting the next two matches, I officially give up hope in humanity. (CW) I'm not going to be one of those people who doubts him - they're always wrong. (MF)
Marcus Hahnemann - GK, Everton (England)
Marcus hasn't been consistently exceptional this season, but he usually comes up big when the chips are down. He has made some HUGE late saves to protect slim Reading leads. (GS)
DaMarcus Beasley - M/F, Puebla (Mexico)
We know his limitations, but when used properly he can turn a game. (HK) He seems to have his confidence back. (PK)

IN A BATTLE
- F, () on loan from ()
The big guy is getting the nod now, while the Euro talent is away. (RF) With so much competition, Jimmy could really go either way in 39 months. He could be the savvy glue in our 2010 backline or he could have already gone over the top of the hill. (GS)
Ricardo Clark - M, Stabęk (Norway)
He's got the energy to do a job, and the understanding will come. (JDJ) His performance slipped badly against Mexico, but that awful 4-4-2 "isosceles trapezoid" formation is partially to blame. (GS)

WORK TO DO
Eddie Johnson - F, Aris (Greece) on loan from Fulham (England)
He's still the most dangerous pure striker in the US pool. (JE) Few seem to have noticed, but EJ's touch and off-the-ball movement appear to be improving. Be calm and patient, folks. (GS)
Cory Gibbs - D, Chicago Fire (USA)
Definitely in a battle, but still has three-and-a-half years to get healthy. (HK) When healthy, he is a lock. (JE) Pure class, on and off the field. If he misses out due to injury in 2010, I will curse every possible Earth deity just to be sure. (GS)
- F, () on loan from ()
The Denmark game puts him on my 23 - skill counts. (MF) World Cup rosters require at least one guy capable of making a big offensive play late in the contest. Tired defenders will hate him in the African heat. (GS)
Kenny Cooper - F, Portland Timbers (USA)
Far more technique than most MLS strikers, his attitude and form are infectious and refreshing. However, for all his size and strength, he doesn't throw his weight around as freely as Twellman. (JDJ)
Taylor Twellman - F, New England Revolution (USA)
If he ever does get a shot with the first team, he'll deliver. (MF) This time around, I don't think he'll get cut. (JDJ)
Adin Brown - GK, Portland Timbers (USA)
Heading back to the big leagues next year, the Bear could make his mark. (MF) I am still a big fan of the headgear look. (HK) He will earn a move to a bigger club in the next 18 months. (GS)
MOVING UP

Josh Wolff - He finally made it to Europe, will it help him find the net? (PK)

Jonathan Bornstein - I think US fans are over-celebrating a speed burst against Mexico and a tap-in against Denmark. He's got tons of promise, but still played three shabby defensive halves out of four. (GS)

Kamani Hill - Has quickly received playing time for Bundesliga club Wolfsburg. He is a player who should be on Bob Bradley's radar. (JE)

Charlie Davies - Is starting to assert himself in Hammarby camp. Perhaps the best of a rising US crop of young guns. (GS)

Nathan Sturgis - The best of the Under-20 defenders. He's quickly showing that he could be in the mix by 2010. (JE) He's mobile, and has the right instinct as a stopper. (JDJ)

Frankie Simek - Has quietly played every game for two years now at Wednesday - not for nothing. (MF) Bornstein is getting called up based on one season in MLS...where's the love for Franklin after 2 1/2 starting seasons in England? (CW)

Robbie Rogers - Regardless of being unproven, he has something uncoachable: a good soccer brain. He's at the right club, which has cultured the likes of Huntelaar, Van Nistelrooy, and Tomasson. (JDJ)

Jeremiah White - As one of the few who have seen him play, the kid has got skills in a position where we are very, very, thin. (MF) Lead AGF back to the top flight and your call-up gets closer. (GS)

Josmer Altidore - The scary thing is that he still might be too young in 2010. (HK)

Michael Harrington - After searching so long for a proper raiding left back, the US may actually have three good candidates during this cycle. My money says he's a MLS Rookie of the Year frontrunner. (GS)

MOVING DOWN

Chris Rolfe - He's got the instinct, but maybe not the confidence, ego or audacity. Sometimes nice guys finish last for a reason. (JDJ) Another victim of Bradley's silly tactics... Donovan and Rolfe as stranded small forwards? Man, we got away with one against Mexico! (GS)

Jemal Johnson - His window of opportunity is closing. (PK) What happened? (JE) No, seriously... what the hell happened? He was playing well for Wolves, and then... POOF! (GS)

Conor Casey - The move to Toronto was a good idea. He was beginning to fade from radar. (GS) Will he become the next Kenny Cooper and clean up in MLS? (PK)

Chris Albright - Just won't have the class to compete for a spot once some of the younger players develop... good singing voice, though. (JDJ)

OTHER BUBBLE BATTLERS

Kyle Beckerman, Bobby Boswell, Jose Burciaga, Jr., Chad Barrett, Danny Califf, Joe Cannon, Brian Ching, Todd Dunivant, Gabriel Ferrari, Eddie Gaven, Josh Grenier, Brad Guzan, Nate Jaqua, Kasey Keller, Quavas Kirk, Sacha Kljestan, Pablo Mastroeni, Dax McCarty, Lee Nguyen, Pat Noonan, Troy Perkins, Santino Quaranta, Eddie Robinson, Matt Reis, Chris Seitz, Johann Smith, Danny Szetela, Jonathan Villanueva, Quentin Westberg, Marvell Wynne, Preston Zimmerman

note: Yanks Abroad's Johannes de Jong, Jason Endres, Rich Fidler, Mark Flannery, Harris King, Peter Kratzel, Greg Seltzer and Chad Winger compiled this feature.
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