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.
Cliff
Thursday March 11, 2010 6:31 am
Bob is showing a lil hypocracy here and it smells of what you have said is "clearly blackmailing the coach"

How can Conrad get crucified for essentially the same thing Bornstein has done repeatedly?

Don't get me wrong, this is much less a pro-Conrad as it is a no-Bornsetein post...
I think Clark should and will be there...if he gets minutes in Germany.
SealBeachSandy
Thursday March 11, 2010 3:00 am
Bornstein can't go to South Africa. DeMeritt was a monster against Holland. He is a SURE BET. Our back line must be from left to right, Boca, Gooch, DeMeritt and Spector. Middle of field. Dempsey, Bradley, Edu and Donovan. Up top, God willing, Charlie and Jozy. If Charlie can't go, Dempsey moves up top and Holden slots in if he gets better. Ching? Ching, Bornstein, Conner, Findley and other MLS hacks should stay home.

Substitutes, Robbie Rodgers has demonstrated he has crazy skills and as such, he get to go ride the pine so he is more relaxed in future.

Midfielders: Holden, Beasley, Clark, Jones, Torres and Feilharber.

Back up goalies: Guzan and Marcus Hahnamann.

Dolo and Pearce make the trip, along with Goodson.

First guy to get on the plane if someone can't make it, Adebayor, narrowly beating out Kleistian. Go get em boys.
Henry
Thursday March 11, 2010 2:36 am
I disagree with Ricardo Clark's position on here. I think he'll make the final 23.

Other than that, I think it's pretty accurate.

I'm really disappointed with Freddy Adu at this point in his career. I'm also disappointed with Sacha Kljestan...I thought this guy was really turning into a great player at one point. Eddie Johnson is another guy I'm really disappointed with. I would add Robbie Rogers to this list of disappointment too, but he is still young.
Mark
Thursday March 11, 2010 2:16 am
I would bring back Friedel just for the USA v. ENG...He is very good at stonewalling Rooney. Let's just hope Rooney hits a bad patch...
cfig
Thursday March 11, 2010 2:14 am
At this point I see almost all of your 23 in, and Feilhaber and Stu are debatable only because of injury. I think Torres is on the bubble at this point, however, Beasley's outstanding play recently plus the spark Bedoya showed v Holland may bump him from the plane if Jones is healthy. If Jones isn't fully fit then I think Torres has a spot.
Christina
Thursday March 11, 2010 1:35 am
I'm interested to know what Brian Sciaretta thinks about this. I hope he does an article on it!
Mitch
Thursday March 11, 2010 12:25 am
Your comment regarding Timmy is somewhat disappointing. Week in and week out, this guy performs at a high level in the EPL. Yes, I will agree that Brad is playing on another level, but his intention is to not play in the WC, let alone being backup. On the other hand, I agree with you 100% regarding Johnathan Borenstein. This guy should no longer be called up to the US team until drastic change is demonstrated. He has no GAME! Against holland, he was disappointing. No further to say.
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