23 TICKETS TO SOUTH AFRICA
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.
srfinger
Thursday October 22, 2009 9:01 am
Doesnt Cunningham have to at least be in the conversation now?

Sure he is old and has squandered other opportunities with the nats, but you cant argue with his speed or finishing right now. With Davies down, those are two things our other forwards dont offer.

If Casey can get called in cause he is hot, Cunningham deserves a sniff.

Again, Im not saying he's on the plane, but he has earned himself a shot in January.
Mark
Thursday October 22, 2009 8:57 am
JB = Bob's Binky. Classic.
BigDinLA
Thursday October 22, 2009 8:57 am
Seriously of BB does not start Spector over tiny Steve, he is dumber than I thought. Spector proved in the CC that he can shut down world class players. Dolo struggles in Concacaf. This string of friendlies really needs to see BB give some young Strikers like White and Jemal a shot. PLease no EJ he had his chance and blew it. I really hope BB also gives some young guys like Whitbred a shot.
Jersey Mike
Thursday October 22, 2009 8:53 am
Our lineup is pretty decent. They say this Castillo kid is a very solid leftsided player. Bornstein has actually been playing pretty well lately, I just think we dont like him because he looks kind of geeky. LD-Bradley-Feilhaber-Holden to man the midfield (unless jermain jones can break through). Altidore and Dempsey up top is a must! Although I dont think Jozy is quite there yet, by next summer he should be.

Good luck boys!!
phil
Thursday October 22, 2009 8:43 am
IMO Junior Bradley should be nearly lock... Jermaine Jones is about to give him the battle of his life for the spot he lines up in--hopefully it'll make him a better player but I could see it getting ugly--like tantrum-stomping-fist-swinging-temper-losing-ugly.

The big questions will be can Castillo and Jones fit into that locker room and culture? Skill I don't think is the issue...
phil
Thursday October 22, 2009 8:30 am
Tim Bumblehands? Fall apart? WTF? IMO he's the reason we're going to SA... the most valuable and irreplaceable member of the team at this point.
Ed C.
Thursday October 22, 2009 8:27 am
looking at this roster, my optimism has gone out the window, especially with gooch, charlie, de merit, jones... injured. if torres and cooper and spector don't go over some of the less desirable players, then we're in BIG trouble!
Eric
Thursday October 22, 2009 8:21 am
Let's face it...we need a left back and a solid striker. Other than that, most seats are taken and the backups need to be chosen
Matt in Tampa
Thursday October 22, 2009 8:09 am
Generally agree, especially about Spector. Probably our ONLY player who can play anywhere on the back line..and could probably step in at DM too.

Not sure why Marcus H is not in the mix. Though i guess not playing is hurting.

Benny's one of my favorite players, but if he doesn't show more in the friendlies he could be left home. Crowded midfield with no stars and Torres breathing down neck. Torres looked good sub role...as has Benny...Robbie..and Holden. I think we can take from that that it's easier to look good when the other team's tired. One of this group needs to SHOW as a STARTER.
Mike
Thursday October 22, 2009 7:57 am
I have it on good authority that Frankie prefers independent coffee shops over Starbucks. I'm just saying...
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A big question for U.S. fans heading into the World Cup is surely on Jozy Altidore and just what is plaguing the young striker at Sunderland.
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