23 TICKETS TO SOUTH AFRICA
EXTRA TIME
Thursday, July 2, 2009
You asked for it, you got.

Today, July 2nd, 2009 is the Five-Year Anniversary of Yanks Abroad's existence. And in celebration, we're releasing our most popular feature.

For this go-around on the visit to the travel office, we are throwing away our normal routine by choosing who we would send to South Africa next summer, instead of trying to figure out Bob Bradley. And let's face it, that's not easy.

Among our changes is veteran DaMarcus Beasley being stopped at the airport by security and not let anywhere near the plane, while Jay DeMerit and Jonathan Spector can now sit back and relax and order the cocktail of their choice.

Sacha Kljestan joins Beasley on the outside looking in while an oldie-but-goodie hops on for his fourth trip to the World Cup.

If you agree, disagree or somewhere in between, use our new comment feature at the end of the page and share your thoughts!

PACK YOUR BAGS, BOYS
Jozy Altidore - F, Sunderland (England)
Still only 19...and he looks and plays like that? My goodness. (BL) Joan Capdevila should have listened to him. (KB)
Carlos Bocanegra - D, Rangers (Scotland) on loan from Racing Santander (Spain)
Keep him on the left for the rest of the qualifiers. (KB) Was a few steps slow in South Africa, hopefully because of the hammy, but either way he'll be there. (GM)
Michael Bradley - M, Roma (Italy)
More important to the team than his father. (MA) I can deal with him being a little petulant as long as he makes plays. (AB)
Clint Dempsey - M/F, Fulham (England)
Floated in a few games, but got his act together - he's a danger in the box. (RF) His big bronze ball says it all. (DS)
Landon Donovan - M/F, Los Angeles Galaxy (USA)
Showed the world he was more than a spot kick taker. (AV) Is becoming Captain America right before our eyes...finally. (GM)
Tim Howard - GK, Everton (England)
I'd take him over anyone else in the world right now. (BMH) When the US couldn't cope, he could. First name on the team sheet. (AV)
Oguchi Onyewu - D, Sheffield Wednesday (England)
Dear Newcastle, enjoy the Championship for me. Sincerely, Gooch. (DS) The reason Spain didn't even try to send in any corner kicks. (AB)

NEARLY A LOCK
Jay DeMerit - D, Watford (England)
Confederations Cup shot his worth up, he can start packing. (RF) Did you watch David Villa get shut down by a guy that plays for Watford? (AV)
Charlie Davies - F, Randers FC (Denmark)
How is it we needed to be almost eliminated for this guy to get a shot? (BL) Make sure you choose your destination wisely. (BMH)

FAIRLY SAFE BET
Jonathan Spector - D, Birmingham City (England)
We've got a new challenger to Cherundolo on the right side. (KB) Stay healthy and play is all he needs to do this upcoming season. (RF)
Brad Guzan - GK, Aston Villa (England)
Solidified his #2 spot against Egypt. (DS) Couldn't ask for a better backup. (GM)
Benny Feilhaber - M, New England Revolution (USA)
Brings a composure that others lack. (AB) Has to have a good season before he's a lock. (GM)
Jermaine Jones - M, Schalke 04 (Germany)
Lots of haters, but also lots of game. (AB) Clark and Kljestan, take a back seat to the starting DMid... (CW)
Jose Francisco Torres - M, Tigres UANL (Mexico)
Paco in a Reyna role would have closed out Brazil. (CW) Does Bradley know he's on the bench? (KB)
Steve Cherundolo - D, Hannover 96 (Germany)
The Gold Cup will be his place to shine as a leader. (RF) Let's not forget this guy is a really good right back. (BL)

IN A BATTLE
Maurice Edu - M, Stoke City (England)
With Jones in the fold, Mo becomes the backup. (CW) ... but he's going regardless. (DS)

WORK TO DO
Freddy Adu - M/F, Philadelphia Union (USA)
Gold Cup is his best chance to show he deserves some time. (BL) Find some playing time anywhere, even if it's the Luxembourg 4th division. (BMH)
Frankie Hejduk - D, Los Angeles Galaxy (USA)
Dude stands up when needed. (MA) His energy and veteran leadership are indispensable. (DS)
Heath Pearce - D/M, CD Chivas (USA)
Is still competing for the left back spot, but has to have a good season first. (GM) Heath's chances are running out in USA colors. (MA)
- F, () on loan from ()
I can't see him starting in front of our new dynamic duo. Maybe he can mentor? (AB) Striker is the weakest position and so he gets it by default. (BMH)
Brian McBride - F, Chicago Fire (USA)
Says he'd reconsider if approached? Ok, Bake, 'Will you play?' (CW) ...but does he still have the legs? (MA)
Danny Califf - D, Philadelphia Union (USA)
Is ready to step in when needed, and is solid as they get. (GM) passed by DeMerit but still on the cusp. (DS)
Marcus Hahnemann - GK, Everton (England)
Playing in the Premiership will help his cause. (AV) If Timmy got hurt, I'd put him in before Guzan. (BMH)
MOVING UP

Conor Casey - The forward spots are completely up for grabs with the exception of Jozy. (GM)

Edgar Castillo - If he says he wants in, let him in! (BL) Could he solve the problem on the left? (KB)

Ricardo Clark - Bradley seems to love playing next to him, and vice versa. (GM) Given the chance due to injury and played okay. (RF)

Zak Whitbread - He's been overlooked too long. (MA) ...by the US. Premiership and Championship clubs are paying attention. (CW)

MOVING DOWN

DaMarcus Beasley - I've about had it with him. Do work on the club level. (AV) ...or he'll be watching the World Cup on ESPN. (RF)

Jonathan Bornstein - This is what happens when you take a forward and try to make him defend. (CW)

Sacha Kljestan - Struggled mightily against quality opponents, his form is failing him. (RF) That hat trick versus Sweden is looking like a fluke. (AB)

OTHER BUBBLE BATTLERS

Bobby Convey, Kenny Cooper, Mikkel Diskerud, Stuart Holden, Eddie Johnson, Kasey Keller, Chad Marshall, Pablo Mastroeni, Michael Parkhurst, Tory Perkins, Santino Quaranta, Luis Robles, Frank Simek, Marvell Wynne

note: Yanks Abroad's Michael Adubato, Arch Bell, Kenya Brown, Rich Fidler, Bri-Mathias Hodge, Brent Latham, George Murphy, David Smith, Andrew Vorce and Chad Winger compiled this feature.
Gatorbest
Monday July 27, 2009 11:37 am
After the Gold Cup certainly Stuart Holden has to be in the disscussion. Still would like to see Adu do something - he is exciting on the ball.
Brooklyn Dave
Monday July 13, 2009 7:29 pm
Now that we've seen some of the fringe players in the Gold Cup, I think you'd have to rate Chad Marshall, Robbie Rogers and Stuart Holden as having a good shot at grabbing the last few spots on the WC roster.

Rogers problem is that he's not versatile, but I think his touch and aggression up that left flank will hold up against top level comp, and it will be hard for BB to leave him out.

Holden showed he's a solid all around midfielder with a classy first touch, a good work rate and stamina, and long-range scoring ability. He can fill Junior's spot well if he's out, or you could move him out right. Versatile.

Figure BB to be at least two deep at the two central defender spots, so Gooch, Boca, DeMerit and ? I suppose Specter could fill that roll, but I think Chad Marshall could be the man. I'd rather take him than Hejduk or Bornstein.
JBJ
Wednesday July 8, 2009 4:33 pm
- somebody needs to remind me what TORRES and ADU have done to earn their ticket to SA. comparing torres to reyna? after a half season in mexico? there may be a spot open available for them, but how bout we have them earn it. yes, KLJESTAN has lost his mojo a bit, but neither of these guys has actually done anything to take his spot (club or country). only time will tell who is worthy.

-we are most likely going to start 2 DMs, dont see how you leave CLARK out of the mix, even if its just as an emergency option and especially as jones and edu are both dealing with injuries currently. and how bout the difference in results with clark on the field v. not on the field at confed (2nd half v italy/1st game v. brazil)?

-dont see the need for HEJDUK. seems like RB is covered with dolo and spector. might as well bring WYNNE - continue grooming him for a more significant role. or another mid (if you must see torres and adu).
Tiger
Tuesday July 7, 2009 2:02 pm
Charles Kazlauskas brings versatility (ability to attack and defend), European (eredivisie) experience, youth (22 years of age), and size. He may be somewhat off the radar of the USA national team, and consequently a bit of a dark horse, but he nonetheless deserves and merits consideration leading up to South Africa.
Mike in FW
Monday July 6, 2009 1:45 pm
Keller is a much better choice for the third GK than Hahnemann. Third GK is more about being a good teammate and lockerroom presence, and, able to step into the spotlight if disaster happens and we lose the first two. Keller fits perfectly.
Micah Di Sabato
Monday July 6, 2009 9:38 am
BRAVO for placing Clark, Sasha, and Bornstink in the "stand-by"ine for a ticket. I fear that he will not pray BB concurs with your logic as all three have a stonefoot first touch and have shrunken against top level competition. As much as BB has consistently over-rated these hacks what I can not understand for the life of me is his constant oversight and undervaluing of posession based midfielders like Torres, Feilhaber, Adu, and Holden as well as the complete career-long disrespect Marcus Hahneman has received from both Arena and Bradley. Marcus has earned the #2 spot based on club play leaving Keller and Guzan in a dog fight for the #3 keeper.
BigDinLA
Sunday July 5, 2009 8:26 pm
Anyone that thinks Clark played great in the Confed Cup seriously needs to learn a little more about soccer. Yes he ran around a lot and broke up a few balls, but he can not possess the ball at all. He is just a younger version of Pablo "The Mangler" Mastreoni. The Central Mid pairing needs to be Haber and Jr.

That way we would have to players that can control and defend. Both add offense and defense. As to the striker situation I still do not understand why Jemal Johnson never gets a call up. He has size pace and touch and has done very well in the Championship. BB needs to open up his player pool a lot and leave a lot of theses washed up guys at home. Conor Casey has no business being on the squad. Either does Arnaud, CHing, or EJ. Too many young players to try. I would love to see Mcbride come in and teach Altidore some toughness.
ICEMANofALFRED
Sunday July 5, 2009 2:49 am
Well all of this presumes that whichever players make up our 23 man squad, that they play well TOGETHER... so far I've yet to be convinced that that is gonna just HAPPEN so long as Bob Bradley is selecting more for size than for touch.

HOWARD is a lock for good reason, but we're a bit light at central Defense, I'd certainly take PARKHURST at least as a back up, SPECTOR could be used at CB if needed so he's got to be a lock, CHERUNDOLO, BOCANEGRA, DeMERIT, GOOCH, that leaves a few slot to be filled on Defense.

Unless there's a personality conflict, Mr. JONES has got to be included, CLARK may be prone to cards but works his ass off, EDU if healthy has also played in central Defense, MICHAEL BRADLEY can be reckless but again does the work.

Here's where Bradley's size fetish gets us in trouble... Touch players like TORRES, FEILHABER, DONOVAN, HOLDEN and ROBBIE ROGERS (Who you've left off your list) need to be included if we are to actually play the game... it's not just size but skill that is required.

DEMPSEY should be moved up front, he's just not at his best wide in MF.

DAVIES needs to shield a bit better but again will work hard. That leaves us finding which other target players are available... CHING or McBRIDE to win and hold the ball (but not both), that just leaves a slot or two for any other forward... ALTIDORE? COOPER? ADU?

add two more GK's and a pair of FB's and that's what we'll have... but the chemistry has yet to be demonstrated. The potential is certainly there
John
Sunday July 5, 2009 1:01 am
I liked the comments regarding Torres. He definitely reminds me of Reyna and his possession abilities could have taken us to victory against Brazil in the second half. Hindsight is always 20/20.

However, you're way off regarding Clark. He may have been the most athletic player the U.S. had on the field against Spain and Brazil. He won balls like crazy, intercepted passes and blocked countless shots. Were you watching the same game I was watching? Clark should be a "Fairly Safe Bet" and Jermaine Jones - who hasn't even played a game for the U.S.! - should be a "Work Left To Do."
Ilya
Saturday July 4, 2009 3:38 pm
Keepers: Howard, Guzan for sure. #3? Id go with Keller.
Defense: We have only 6 quality players here: Gooch, DeMerit in the center. Cherundolo on right. Hejduk could play on the both flanks (remember WC-02?). Boca could play centrally or on the left and Spector could play in any place. But we need 2 more. Its obvious that Califf is not good enough and Wynne/Pearce/Bornstien not ready for big games yet. Simek could add quality on the right. And Whitbread deserves to be tested.
All three Cherundolo, Hejduk, and Spector have history of long illnesses, so we definitely need more players here.
Midfield: In the middle - Bradley for sure. If Jones is good enough we have 2 places for 3 contenders: Edu, Benny and Clark. On flanks: Donovan, Dempsey, Torres and Adu.
Also, it very possible that DMB will be in form again.
Front line: Altidor for sure. Davis probably. And we need 2 more. Casey is not good enough. Ching, at least smart. McBride would be nice as a backup for Josy. BB would take 9 midfielders and 3 forwards.
Page 1 of 4
1 2 3 4  Next »
ADD YOUR COMMENTS
Name


Email (will not appear on the site)


Comment


Join the YA Email Alert?

Comments are moderated and will be posted if they are on-topic and free of profanity, abuse and spam. HTML and links are not allowed.

SUBMIT COMMENT