23 TICKETS TO SOUTH AFRICA
RECAPS
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.
P Murf
Thursday March 11, 2010 1:11 pm
i shudder when i imagine the combo of lennon/walcott/swphillips all potentially attaching down our left side. it doesnt matter what formation we run, our outside defenders are simply not quick enough or skilled enough.
Bobeto
Thursday March 11, 2010 11:40 am
All everyone talks about is Bornstein's last match. He has stunk up the place in his last 3 matches and then all last summer....It's not like his "lack of" quality play has just happened...he has been constently poor. Get over the fact he scored the goal against CR. Even a blind squarel will find a nut sooner or later.
Bobeto
Thursday March 11, 2010 11:34 am
I STILL don't understand the love for Bornstein by Bradley? Even trying him at center defense just does not make sense, he is not an international level defender, period. What does that say to the guys that weren't given half as many chances as Bornstein. To take him to SA would make it so obvious that Bradley shows favorites. I would list him behind Pierce, Goodson and Conrad. The scary thing is that Bradley may "start" him.... If Jones doesn't play any club matches before WC, he is not going. Clark, Edu, Holden all deserve to go to SA. Ching, Beas, Torres, Bedoya and Feilhaber, I have no problem as backup players.
Carlos
Thursday March 11, 2010 11:18 am
— SealBeachSandy I totally agree with your lineup. I really do believe davies will be back in time for the world cup. Edu I think us underrated in he usmnt but I think he's a sure starter. Than again I see clark, jones, or feilhaber starting as well. Let's see what happens when the roster is announced
Tony P
Thursday March 11, 2010 11:03 am
I say Ricardo Clark in and Jermaine Jones out. Other then that, I think this is accurate as to what will happen.
Boss
Thursday March 11, 2010 10:51 am
Why in the Sam Hell isn't Edgar Castillo getting a chance to show himself for the USMNT? I mean, we knew this should happen long before Bornstein stunk up the joint at Netherlands. Bradley is mind boggling sometimes. Our biggest risk against England or any big team we might face in the knockout is getting exposed at the back. But Bob seems to have no new ideas. Wynalda has been calling for 3 center backs on FFN and I agree, but you have to give it a whirl, right? I'd like to see YA take a stronger opinion on the WC squad. Not just who Bob will pick, but who should he pick and where should they play. Gun to my head, here's my England starting 11:

----------------------- Howard------------------------
-----------Demerrit---Gooch---Bocanegra----------
-Donovan-------------------------------------Beasley-
---------Feilhaber------Jones------Bradley-----------
-------------------Dempsey---------------------------
-------------------------------Jozy--------------------

Donovan as overlapping wing back has shown he can defend and attack down the wing at everton. Wing backs fall to a flat 5 man back line under pressure. Like you, I never thought I'd ever put Beasley back in the starting lineup, but again, I'd like to give Castillo a run in this formation. Sure this looks a tad unorthodox but do we really want to play England straight up as though we can match them that way. That's just plain silly, right? Plus, do we have to endure another World Cup where we get cut to pieces at left back because we can't imagine other options?
Eric
Thursday March 11, 2010 10:42 am
Good except I'd put Jones in "Moving Up", Bedoya in "Work to do", and Pearce "In a Battle". Do we really think there is any chance the plane is leaving without Bornstein and Pearce on it (barring injury). Bradley is not taking Castillo, and who else is there? I also think Clark will make it even though he shouldn't. Expect Edu to start though. I actually see Jones in a battle with Kljestan over Feilhaber's spot (he won't recover in time). Bedoya is up against Rogers and Bease (who has looked decent recently) with Bease having a stlight edge (but he may get injured). If Davies doesn't make it, expect one of the losers from those three to be in a battle with Casey for his spot.
Freddie Footballer
Thursday March 11, 2010 10:38 am
I think you guys have the roster, pretty much. Still a couple of questions on the injury front: Jones, Feilhaber, Davies, and Holden. I do think Jones goes ahead of Clark or Torres, so it'll probably come down to the health and form of Jones and the two other guys. One of these guys will not be going unfortunately. Well, maybe they all go, if Feilhaber doesn't get in shape in time. There are just too many central mids, can't take them all.

I think since Boca and Spector can back Bornstein (ugh) up at left back, Pearce is not necessary. Why not bring Bedoya instead? He's got speed and size and he's unafraid going at defenders as we saw in Amsterdam.

If Davies doesn't go, then expect to see Findley or Casey there. I think Bob is comfortable with three pure forwards (since Lando and Dempsey can play up top) but not just two in Altidore and Ching. He needs some protection at the position.
Stumpy###s Bear
Thursday March 11, 2010 9:46 am
I don't see Jones taking a spot from Clark, that would be crazy. Also, I don't see Davies making it back to the point where he's a starter, but rather a speed option late in the game. Unfortunately you're right, Bornstein will make the roster, but thanks to some reshuffling, we'll surely get our best defenders on the pitch in the form of either Dolo (Spector moves out right) or Demerit (Boca moves left). Are we really that sure that Beasley is "back" after a streak of good play in the SPL, an injury, and 30 mins against the Dutch? I still need to see some more, but I truly feel he was a top 3 USMNT'er a few years ago.
Kyle
Thursday March 11, 2010 8:29 am
other than brian ching, that's an intimidating list of players. Not sure Friedel is a better option than Howard. Friedel's attitude sucks and he'll be 39 at the start of the WC. He's also a disgrace for turning his back on his country. I'm also not sold on Beasley yet. Ricardo Clark shows a bit more vision and presence than Beas.
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