Bob Bradley and his US National team coaching staff has some tough choices to make in picking the roster for the FIFA World Cup in South Africa. A provisional roster of 30 players needs to be submitted by May 11, and then down to the final 23-man roster by June 1.
Jeffrey Marcus of the New York Times looks at the task ahead for Bradley.
“In a perfect world, we’d pick our 23 to come into camp now,” Bradley said in a meeting with reporters Thursday in Manhattan. “On one side, we feel good about the depth we’ve built up. On the other hand, there are guys at the moment who come into camp and there are questions.”
With somewhere between 16 and 18 spots "locked down" for the 23-player roster, Bradley will continue to monitor players, especially those recovering from injury, before deciding on the 26 to 28 players he will bring to training camp on May 15 in Princeton.
Kelly Whiteside of USA Today writes about some of the possibles who have been recovering from injury-
Forward Charlie Davies' situation remains the most intriguing. Davies is recovering from serious injuries suffered in an October car accident. He assumed full training this week with his French club, Sochaux. Still, Davies remains a longshot.
Bradley is heartened by Davies recovery, but also realistic. "The fact that Charlie is this far along is great, but certainly even being back in training, let's face it, there's different levels (of training)."
Top defender Oguchi Onyewu, who is returning from knee surgery, is expected to be ready for camp. As far as other major injuries, midfielder Jermaine Jones likely won't recover in time from a shin injury. Since forward is a position of concern, Bradley will be closely monitoring veteran Brian Ching, who is out with hamstring injury and has not resumed regular training.
Bradley was asked about two other forwards under consideration: Herculez Gomez and Edson Buddle who have had fine club seasons. Buddle was voted Major League Soccer's Player of the Month on Thursday, after scoring seven goals in five games, leading the Los Angeles Galaxy to a 4-0-1 record during the MLS's first month.
"The easy thing to see so far this year is he's scored some incredible goals," Bradley said. "That part is not new, but it's been there of late. There's been a lot of maturing that has taken place in less obvious ways. He seems to be doing a lot of little things that make a difference for his team."
Gomez's goal scoring in the Mexican League has been impressive as well, as Bradley noted "his pure ability to strike the ball" which he demonstrated early in his MLS career has "come back a little."Paul Kennedy of Soccer America quoted Bradley on how the rostered players tend to separate themselves in this process.
"There's an old expression that the team picks the team," he said. "That's pretty true because usually things establish themselves pretty well. Players know who are the ones that should be there, and that kind of thing."