23 TICKETS TO SOUTH AFRICA
PREVIEWS
RECAPS
EXTRA TIME
Thursday, October 22, 2009
It was a bittersweet end to the hexagonal for most US fans after a victory over Honduras sent Bob Bradley's men to South Africa.

Following the monumental - and somewhat fortuitious win in Central America - the US lost 20% of their starting field players when Charlie Davies was hurt in a car accident and Oguchi Onyewu did a knee two days later against Costa Rica.

This edition sees a few players moving up to fill or temporary hold those voids, while only a few other overall changes have taken place.

Davies, for obvious reasons drops entirely out of the running, while Stuart Holden and Robbie Rogers make moves towards the plane.

On the other end of the spectrum, Clarence Goodson and Kasey Keller get escorted out by security, while Jonathan Bornstein comes closer to locking up his spot.

If you agree, disagree or somewhere in between, use our comment feature at the bottom of the page to share your thoughts with us and your fellow YA readers.

PACK YOUR BAGS, BOYS
Jozy Altidore - F, Sunderland (England)
Move to Hull has been iffy at best. Needs to play more consistently or could be rusty by the summer.. (CW) Needs to fine tune his finishing, but he is now our best forward. (IH)
Carlos Bocanegra - D, Rangers (Scotland) on loan from Racing Santander (Spain)
Our last healthy A-team center back. (DS) 11 years ago, the USA dropped its captain from the World Cup roster...I don't think it's going to happen again. (BS)
Landon Donovan - M/F, Los Angeles Galaxy (USA)
Will be looking to improve 100-fold over his last World Cup, and that should be easy! (MA) Seems to be maturing. (GM)
Tim Howard - GK, Everton (England)
Awful gaffe against Honduras reminded me of Tim Bumblehands of ManU. (CW) Just don't let it all fall apart before the summer. (MA)
Michael Bradley - M, Roma (Italy)
Has all the talent in the world, but has been going through the motions for both club and country since the beginning of the season. (CW) Occasionally out of control, but brings a needed toughness to the midfield. (IH)
Clint Dempsey - M/F, Fulham (England)
Could possibly move to forward with Davies out and the emergence of Holden. (IH) Tendency to disappear is troubling, but still a threat to score from anywhere. (AB)

NEARLY A LOCK
Oguchi Onyewu - D, Sheffield Wednesday (England)
Assuming no setbacks for his recovery, Gooch is still a lock. (DS) Injury and lack of playing time at the club level could put his starting spot in jeopardy. (IH)
Brad Guzan - GK, Aston Villa (England)
Will enjoy riding the pine in the World Cup. (RF) As solid of a number 2 as you could ask for. (GM)
Benny Feilhaber - M, New England Revolution (USA)
Enjoying the best season of his career. (DS) Seems to shine coming off of the bench. (GM)
Steve Cherundolo - D, Hannover 96 (Germany)
A Bundesliga starter will always make the USA national team if healthy and fit. (BS) Seems to be giving Spector a battle. Bradley really likes him and his experience. (GM)

FAIRLY SAFE BET
Jay DeMerit - D, Watford (England)
Hopefully "The Pirate" recovers soon. (RF) As Jay said, your eyes aren't something to mess around with. Hopefully the patient route results in recovery by this summer. (CW)
Stuart Holden - M, Bolton Wanderers (England)
If Dempsey moves to forward to replace Davies, Holden could be the USMNT's starting right-mid. (BS) Burst on to the scene and has played well for his age. (RF)
Jonathan Spector - D, Birmingham City (England)
Too versatile not to go. (JTR) It's hard to overlook a Premiership player for anyone in a lesser league. (MA)

IN A BATTLE
Jonathan Bornstein - D/M, Atlante (Mexico)
Hate to say it, but the goal against Costa Rica most likely solidified him as our left back. (IH) Who am I kidding? Bob's gotta take his binky to Jo-Berg. (AB)
Jose Francisco Torres - M, Tigres UANL (Mexico)
A calming influence in the middle that we desperately need. (RF) An outstanding match versus the Ticos. Paco needs to be on the field. (AB)
Jermaine Jones - M, Schalke 04 (Germany)
Can he recover in time?. (JTR) Pfft. He'll show why he'll become a lock soon enough. (RF)
Ricardo Clark - M, Stabęk (Norway)
Needs a successful winter move to Europe to secure his place. (DS) Was atrocious against Honduras. I'm not a fan of Rico, but even I know he's got more to offer than that. (CW)

WORK TO DO
Maurice Edu - M, Stoke City (England)
One of the US' walking-wounded but should be back soon. (MA) Once he recovers I can't imagine him not on the plane. (AV)
Conor Casey - F, Colorado Rapids (USA)
Davies injury might make him a starter. (GM) Two in Honduras and MLS lethalness gets him on the plane. (AV)
Troy Perkins - GK, DC United (USA)
Not as strong this year at Valerenga but a late season push in Norway could push Perkins to the third keeper spot. (AB) I'm not going to worry much over the third keeper. (BS)
Kenny Cooper - F, Portland Timbers (USA)
Hopefully he replaces Ching. (AV) Has been proving that he has the goods with play in Munich. (MA)
Edgar Castillo - D/M, Tijuana (Mexico)
Impossible to know how he's going to fit in with the team just yet. (BS) Upcoming friendlies will hopefully show if he's worth the hype (DS)
- F, () on loan from ()
Ok fine... Here's your ticket. (AB)
MOVING UP

Eddie Johnson - Might be in the mix now that Davies is out (GM)

Robbie Rogers - Has game-changing ability, and could be a decent option off the bench (IH)

Frankie Hejduk - The man should be in South Africa, so Starbucks in that hemisphere get prepared... (RF)

MOVING DOWN

Charlie Davies - Get well Charlie!

Kasey Keller - I figured he'd have gotten called up by now. Obviously, Bob has gone another route. (CW)

Clarence Goodson - The upcoming match against Denmark could make or break his chances for this summer (CW)

OTHER BUBBLE BATTLERS

Freddy Adu, Danny Califf, Jimmy Conrad, Marcus Hahnemann, Chad Marshall, Michael Orozco, Michael Parkhurst, Heath Pearce, Luis Robles, Zak Whitbread

note: Yanks Abroad's Michael Adubato, Arch Bell, Rich Fidler, Isaac Heath, George Murphy, JT Richardson, Brian Sciaretta, David Smith, Andrew Vorce and Chad Winger compiled this feature.
Jerry
Thursday October 22, 2009 1:52 pm
23 Tickets (Guzan)...

Here is my problem with many US fans (of which I am one)...

You are dilussional. Simply because he is in Europe does not make him "as solid a #2 you could ask for." Most countries have number two's who are actually playing. I'm not saying he does not have potential, but what's so solid about Guzan? He's not playing, so how would we know what his current form is? Having Freidel or Howard back up each other would be solid #2s - yeah, I know Freidel is done due to political issues within the USSF. What kind of experience does Guzan have, PLAYING, at the top level?

As for injuries..no Gooch, no Davies...no round of 16.
Woody
Thursday October 22, 2009 12:19 pm
What about Lee Nguyen? He has been tearing it up in Vietnam and has been training in England. Could be moving there.
asanji
Thursday October 22, 2009 11:11 am
guys for me Holden is still work in progress, Robbie one OK game and he is even considered, that tells you how lacking we are in player poll, Dolo plays 90mins game in and out and spector can't match that experience, i'll give dolo the lock for now, i don't know much about this lad, Kazlauskas, but if he plays 90 every game shouldn't BB give him a call. we donnot have a link between defense and offense, and benny i would say is unpredictable at best. you are not sure which benny will show up on m game day. after the Denmark game, will be able to tell who will be on that 23. please BB they are friendlies, try different things..
treize
Sammy Nishi
Thursday October 22, 2009 11:05 am
AND, WHERE IS KYLE BECKERMAN?

Sure, maybe the hair gets the attention first, but there aren't many more technically-competent MFs in the US system .. ..

For me, he is a lock for the bench and should be in the battle for the 'Holden' spot in the midfield .. ..

With his grit, first-touch and ability to deliver the pill with either foot, he should get a long look anywhere from in front of the back-four > front-two .. ..
Freddie
Thursday October 22, 2009 10:57 am
Rogers is placed way too low on your list. If Holden starts at right mid and Dempsey moves to striker, who will cover on the wings? Based on your list, no one. Rogers played on the right vs. CR and typically plays on the left, where he can backup Donovan.
Michael_D
Thursday October 22, 2009 10:31 am
Man, I miss Charlie Davies. I agree with the people saying Dempsey should move forward (where his indifferent defending will also hurt the team less) and give Holden or Torres a chance at outside mid.

One reason I like Spector over Cherundolo is the quality of his crosses. We ask those outside defenders to get up the field and put the ball into the area, and Spector's crosses get there much more directly and effectively than the looping balls Cherundolo hits.
Phil
Thursday October 22, 2009 10:24 am
I feel very sorry for Gooch and of course Charlie, that really hurts our ability to move through the rounds.
I agree with most of your choices but just because Borenstein scores a goal doesn't make him a better option than Castillo, Spector or Hejduk (can't believe I am saying that) at left back. I think he will cost us a game if he is the started in the WC. At Center Back obviously Boca and either Demerit or Gooch if they are healthy, if not then I am waiting to see who will step up. Has anyone mentioned Gibbs?
Also how about giving Torres, Castillo, and Adu some real minutes to see what they can do. Adu has the speed and skill to play up top with Altidore (maybe he doesn't have the head and desire but at least lets see it).
Our chances depend on injury recovery to Gooch, Demerit, Jones and Edu. We can play with anyone but we aren't world beaters until we can prove we can score consistenly not one game against Spain.
dustin
Thursday October 22, 2009 10:20 am
Bradley has "all the talent in the world?" Have you seen him play? He's more of well coached, heart and hard work guy.
dave
Thursday October 22, 2009 10:12 am
damn good list this time boyzzzz
WhitesBhoy
Thursday October 22, 2009 9:45 am
Best line-up, in order, assuming worst with injuries:

GK: Howard

D: 'Dolo, Spector, Boca, Bornstein (for lack of a better option at this time)

M: Holden, Feilhaber, Bradley, Donovan

F: Dempsey, Altidore

World beaters? Ummm,.....
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