May 12, 2010

Thoughts on USMNT preliminary roster: Forwards

For the next few days leading up to the final cuts for the US men's national football (soccer) team final roster, I'll be making my analysis on the players Bob Bradley selected for the preliminary 30 players. If the US Soccer Blog, SBI or MTFUSA (hell maybe even the MLS Insider) covers the training camp, I can get a better idea of who the final 23 should be...and ultimately my starting 11.

The first blog will be about the forwards that Bob Bradley selected. Below is each forward that made the preliminary roster, along with their club, past career with club and international teams, as well as my brief thoughts on it, and a grade on the player and Bradley's selection.




Jozy Altidore

Club: Villarreal – Spain's La Liga 
No real shock here, he had a breakthrough performance in the USMNT's early Hexagonal games, and shined well during the Confederations Cup, and subsequent qualification matches. My only worry was his somewhat disappointing performance with Hull City, though he really picked it up at then. Then again, Hull's the pinnacle of EPL Championship mediocrity.

Player Grade: B+. He has his moments, but he can sometimes be fairly quiet.
Selection Grade: A. Altidore has nearly secured a spot on the starting 11, and he's the youngest player on the preliminary list. One of the many prospects.

Edson Buddle

Club: Los Angeles Galaxy – USA's Major League Soccer
Skeptical at first about Bradley inviting him out of the blue. He only had one cap with probably a "C"-level squad about seven years ago. This whole thing about Buddle lighting up the board is one thing, but he's been a MLS scoring star for years now. As many US soccer fans know, this doesn't always translate to the international level, in spite of the fact that MLS's level of play has tremendously increased since 2006.

Player Grade: A-. It's often considered that MLS superstars are equivalent to second division leagues in top soccer nations or top Euro-leagues in weaker nations. Europeans frequently belittle MLS, when it's become a hotspot for European clubs to recruit prospects.
Selection Grade: B+. If he makes the final 23 roster, lets hope he can flare up the board in South Africa like he does in LA. Shouldn't be too hard with Slovenia and Algeria. England's a whole different ballpark.


Brian Ching

Club: Houston Dynamo – USA's Major League Soccer
Being older and suffering an injury following Houston's game against Real Salt Lake, I was not expecting him to be invited to the training camp. He's not a regular, he's one of the aged players who can now squeeze his way to a veteran role...with primarily B squad players. I wasn't even impressed with him at the Gold Cup, which the primarily B/C-squad club surprised me with their run to the finals.

Player Grade: C. Ching's not a terrible player, but he's not a player that's capable right now to be playing at such a competitive level. Look at his teammates Holden and Clark. They were much more of a driving force behind the Dynamo than Ching was or is.
Selection Grade: D+. Ching's had his time with the squad. He's aging, he's nothing impressive, and his days are nearly done. Bradley should try a younger player here, or at least someone that's not injured.

Robbie Findley 

Club: Real Salt Lake – USA's Major League Soccer
Findley's a young, scoring machine in...MLS...he's really needing to make the switch over to Europe if he wants to further progress his career. 

Player Grade: D-. Watching him in the Netherlands game, it's fairly evident that he's inexperienced. I can see him really starting to become a regular subsequent to this World Cup, and maybe play in the 2014 World Cup...if we qualify of course.
Selection Grade: C. We all know this, even if Bradley doesn't say it. Findley wouldn't have any chance being on this roster if it wasn't for Davies being injured.

Herculez Gomez

Club: Puebla – Mexico's Premiera Division
Supposedly he's been doing well with Puebla, but he's already in his late 20s and only capped twice? I don't like where this is going.

Player Grade: C-. Maybe he's having a hot season, but he's really past the point to make a prominent stand on the national squad for a good deal of time.
Selection Grade: C+. But, hey, if someone's playing good at the moment, wouldn't you want that scoring power up front? Don't know if he'll make the final 23 though.

Eddie Johnson

Club: Aris Thessaloniki – Greece's Super League
Johnson's been known to be disappointing lately on the international stage, but perhaps some respect can be given back for his poignant display with Aris these past few months. Five goals in only fifteen appearances is fairly impressive. Only 2-3 did he actually start.

Player Grade: C+. After spending numerous months being loaned around in Europe, he might have found his niche in Greece, but can the style of play with Aris translate with a melting pot of other styles from Germany, England, Scandinavia, and the US? Traditional outlets for USMNT internationals.
Selection Grade: B-. A rather young attacking pool, Johnson's had the most international experience, but Johnson actually playing a forward. Doubt it.

About the Author

Tyler Walter

Author & Editor

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