23 TICKETS TO SOUTH AFRICA
PREVIEWS
EXTRA TIME
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Jonathan Daniel/Getty
Altidore is going to his first Cup
The last games before the official roster announcement is made have been played. That can only mean that it's time for us to hand out our 23 Tickets for the last time.

Before we do, let's look back on our first edition following the debacle in Germany and see how we progressed over the last four years.

Of the 23 we chose back in July 2006, 14 have made it to our final cut for the 2010 event. Yes, we laid an egg on our guesses of Bobby Convey and Cory Gibbs being locks, but of the remaining choices, four of them should still be named as alternates this time around.

Back to the present, we've put Charlie Davies back on the plane as his miraculous recovery from his tragic car accident in October continues, while DaMarcus Beasley goes from not even a battler to his third World Cup to complete his phoenix act.

Meanwhile, Kenny Cooper's ill-advised move to England costs him dearly and Jermaine Jones, despite still being injured, pips Ricardo Clark to a spot in the midfield.

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)
The USA's best pure forward. (BS) Near last minute goal versus Holland showcased quick strike ability. (AB)
Carlos Bocanegra - D, Rangers (Scotland) on loan from Racing Santander (Spain)
Unquestionable leader of the US team. (JK) His club situation hasn't affect his status for the US. (RF)
Landon Donovan - M/F, Los Angeles Galaxy (USA)
He's at the prime of his career and has shown his best play this last year. (JK) Hopefully his fire at Everton will also last through July. (DS)
Tim Howard - GK, Everton (England)
The only better option is Brad Friedel and he's not coming back. (EZ) His decisions between the sticks are sometimes questionable. (MA)
Clint Dempsey - M/F, Fulham (England)
He's still one of the most creative players we have. (AV) As a wing, he tends to disappear for stretches until he strikes brilliantly. How would he look up top? (JVW)
Oguchi Onyewu - D, Sheffield Wednesday (England)
Will make a mockery of Peter Crouch on June 12th. (AB) Assuming no recovery setbacks, he's on the plane. (DS)
Michael Bradley - M, Roma (Italy)
He easily makes this team no matter who the coach is. (BS) Red card in waiting. Book it. (CW)

NEARLY A LOCK
Brad Guzan - GK, Aston Villa (England)
The Aston Villa back-up is used to the role. (RF) Personally, I'd start him in front of Howard. (MA)
Jay DeMerit - D, Watford (England)
Captaining an English club as an American is no easy task. (AV) The player that came out of nowhere to play in the EPL will continue his dream career and make the World Cup team. (BS)
Jonathan Spector - D, Birmingham City (England)
Recent performances tell us he's above 'Dolo. (RF) Will be looking for a start come June. (AV)

FAIRLY SAFE BET
Steve Cherundolo - D, Hannover 96 (Germany)
If Bradley wants the best defending right back, he will start. (JVW) Can he please play left back? (IH)
Maurice Edu - M, Stoke City (England)
Showed against Holland and against Celtic that he can play. (BS) One of our deepest position, but he's quality. (AV)
Jonathan Bornstein - D/M, Atlante (Mexico)
Has been awful for the US for the past 2 years. Bradley will wish he never capped this guy, let alone bring him to South Africa. (CW) Clearly blackmailing the coach. (JVW)
Jose Francisco Torres - M, Tigres UANL (Mexico)
Composure on the ball is unmatched on squad. (RF) Nice skillful alternative for US in midfield. (TK)

IN A BATTLE
Marcus Hahnemann - GK, Everton (England)
Doesn't really matter, but I don't know who else deserve it in his place. (IH) He's always been in the shadows and is destined to remain there. (EZ)
Stuart Holden - M, Bolton Wanderers (England)
Health is working against him, but if healthy, he is going. (IH) Just when he was coming into his own, ouch. (EZ)
Benny Feilhaber - M, New England Revolution (USA)
Seemed like a lock a few months ago, but has to get healthy. (IH) Always one of our most clutch tournament performers. (DS)
Jermaine Jones - M, Schalke 04 (Germany)
There is definitely room for him on the roster. (MA) Needs to get healthy, but appearance in Amsterdam bodes well. (TK)
DaMarcus Beasley - M/F, Puebla (Mexico)
I'll admit it. I was wrong about DaMarcus. (CW) Bease is back and back big! (AB)
Clarence Goodson - D, Brøndby (Denmark)
Impressive with his opportunities in the Gold Cup and recent friendlies. (JK) Late call ups are a good sign. (TK)
- F, () on loan from ()
Our best hold up forward, brings the best out of our midfielders. (JK) We're short on decent strikers... (MA)

WORK TO DO
Charlie Davies - F, Randers FC (Denmark)
I think I see the USMNT version of Willis Reed coming to life. (AB) Rebuilt like the 6 Million Dollar Man... could be priceless. (JVW)
Heath Pearce - D/M, CD Chivas (USA)
Has played much better since joining MLS. And can actually defend. (CW) Has shown that he's not completely lost it, but is that enough? (DS)
MOVING UP

Alejandro Bedoya - Such a versatile young player who showed some spark against the Dutch. (AB)

Robbie Findley - He's just not ready to step in for Davies. Give him some time . (EZ)

Frank Simek - Being named to the roster for Holland was telling. If Cherundolo or Spector go down, Frank could get the call. (CW)

MOVING DOWN

Conor Casey - Despite flashes of brilliance, Casey is a two-trick pony. (EZ)

Ricardo Clark - Has to start getting minutes, but I haven't forgotten his Confederations Cup performance yet. (IH)

Kenny Cooper - His move to England wasn't the smartest thing to do at this stage. (MA)

OTHER BUBBLE BATTLERS

Freddy Adu, Kyle Beckerman, Edgar Castillo, Eddie Johnson, Sacha Kljestan, Chad Marshall, Michael Parkhurst, Robbie Rogers

note: note: Michael Adubato, Arch Bell, Rich Fidler, Isaac Heath, Bri-Mathias Hodge, Trafton Kenney, John Kretlow, Nick Leyden, Ryan Noel, Brian Sciaretta, David Smith, Andrew Vorce, Jon Van Wagenen, Chad Winger, Edgar Zuniga compiled this feature.
stephen
Monday March 15, 2010 12:26 pm
MA, you can't be serious about wanting to start Guzan over Howard! Please explain.
I know Timmy can be susceptible to the long ball and the lob because he is aggressive off the line, but Guzan needs more time. I don't think there are many who see it like you MA. In your defense however, I think Guzan is great and will play well in SA if he gets the chance but if Howard is healthy, no way.

I'm also OK with Bornstein to mark up well on England's small quick guys like Lennon, Cole, Phillips or, Wright. JB tailor-made for England game, left back spot.
Adrian S.
Sunday March 14, 2010 2:07 pm
Drop Bornstein...take Rico Clark! We have Bocanegra and Pearce as options at LB. Bornstein is a liability; his defensive positioning is terrible and he costs us at least a draw against Holland.

My starting XI would be:

GK: Howard
LB: Bocanegra
CB: Gooch
CB: DeMerrit
RB: Spector
LM: Donovan
DM: Edu
CM: Bradley
RM: Dempsey
F: Altidore
F: Ching/Davies (praying and keeping fingers crossed for his fitness)
Red Dan
Sunday March 14, 2010 1:08 pm
Onyewu will make a mockery of Peter Crouch? Geez, I seem to remember a couple years back when Onyewu was loaned out to Newcastle United for a spell and was totaly lost playing in the EPL; mistake after mistake. And too darn slow to boot.

I gotta think he'll be having more than his hands full and won't be dominating anyone on the 12th of June.

And SB Sandy -you do know that Friedel retired fr om international play after the 02 WC, don't you?

But saying Howard's better than Brad; really?

Friedel has twice the number of CleanSheets in league play and has allowed half as many goals.

In his last 14 EPL games, he's been beaten twice. In that same stretch of play, Howard's allowed 15 goals.

Now, you were saying..........
And it's "keeper", not "goalie."
Thanks.
Trevor Smith
Sunday March 14, 2010 3:44 am
My 23 For South Africa

Tim Howard
Brad Guzan
Chad Marshall
Heath Pearce
Clarence Goodson
Jonathan Bornstein
Jay DeMerit
Jonathan Spector
Oguchi Onyewu
Carlos Bocanegra
Robbie Rogers
Ricardo Clark
Maurice Edu
Michael Bradley
Freddy Adu
DaMarcus Beasley
Sacha Kljestan
Stuart Holden
Clint Dempsey
Charlie Davies
Jozy Altidore
Landon Donovan
Kenny Cooper
ewm13
Saturday March 13, 2010 9:24 pm
heres my team

COACH- Hiddink
Back 4- Cherundolo, gooch, boca, anyone else but bornstein.
MID- jones/edu, bradley, landy, dempsey.
FWD- jozy, davies

Bench- holden, torres, beasley, feilhaber, yadda, yadda yadda

lets put hejduk in there!
cherundolo cause spector gets bet by everyone too risky.
bradley cause he runs down opponents usually neutralizes playmaker
jones hopefully cause hes good enough for germany and schalke
Brannon
Saturday March 13, 2010 7:06 pm
Beasley, Ching, and Bornstein should still be on the bubble. If there is anyone who actually thinks that Bornstein brings something of value to this team, they should get their head checked. His performance with the USMNT over the past year has been very poor at best.

Brad Guzan has hands like bricks at times and doesn't even start at his club level. So how can one justify starting him on the Worlds biggest stage?

This team lacks and ball controlling midfielders with Feilhaber and Holden out. Torres is that man, but there is another who may still squeak onto this roster if those players can't make it. Freddy Adu needs to get that call if he can maintain in Greece.

That being said, here is who I would take.

Keepers:

Howard, Guzan, Hahnemann

Defense:

Spector, Onyewu, Demerit, Bocanegra, Cherundolo, Pearce, Simek

Midfield:

Dempsey, Bradley, Torres, Donovan, Jones, Feilhaber, Edu, Holden, Adu, Beasley

Forwards:

Altidore, Davies, Bedoya

I think the US needs to go to a formation that accentuates the strength of this team, which is the midfield. If Davies cannot get into full form by WC time, it may be best if the US goes to a 4-5-1 formation. I just can't see the US using a 4-4-2 without Davies being up front. Sorry, I just do not have any confidence it what has been put up there with Altidore.

There is still a ways to go. I am really hoping Charlie makes a great comeback as he would be a huge lift to this team.
Doug
Saturday March 13, 2010 2:23 pm
my 23 would be :

GK: Howard, Guzan, Hahnemann

Defense: Onyewu, Bocanegra, Demerit, Spector, M.Wynne, Pearce, Parkhurst

Midfield: Bradley, Edu, Torres, Dempsey, Donovan, Holden, Rogers, Feilhaber, Jones

Fowards: Altidore, Adu, Davies, Ching/Findley
Scout92
Saturday March 13, 2010 12:05 pm
EJ & copper are better choices than Ching come on. Please drop bornstein, put spector at left, every thing else looks good.
Alex Lozano
Friday March 12, 2010 8:53 pm
Agree with the list, for the most part, but if I was the USMNT manager, here's MY 23...based on health & form, of course:

GK - Howard, Guzan & Hahnemann

D - Cherundolo, Gooch, Boca, Spector, Pearce, DeMerit, Goodson & Simek

M - Dempsey, Feilhaber, Edu, Donovan, Beasley, Holden, M. Bradley, Clark & Torres

F - Altidore, Davies & Ching

I would go with a 4-4-2 formation with Dempsey & Donovan on the flanks and Feilhaber & Edu in central midfield, with Davies & Altidore up top. Think we could do some serious damage with that group!! GO, USA!!
chase
Friday March 12, 2010 3:59 pm
With Holden and Feilhaber both battling injury we are in desperate need of creative midfield play. Time to give Freddy a serious look (something we all know by now will never happen under BB). Are we seriously going to take Bedoya because he looked "okay" in a few minutes of friendly action and a mediocre euro league. That seems odd. Also, do we really need five defensive mids on the roster, and not one attacking center mid (if Holden and Benny are out)?
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