Tuesday, November 10, 2009

USA Friendlies in Slovakia, Denmark

As the last FIFA international fixture window for a while approaches this weekend, the U.S. Men’s National Team heads to Europe for friendlies against Slovakia on November 14th and Denmark on November 18th. Both Slovakia and Denmark have already qualified for the World Cup, along with the U.S., and it should shape up to be great test matches for our players. Bob Bradley earlier announced the roster that will head to Slovakia:

GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Marcus Hahnemann (Wolverhampton), Troy Perkins (Valerenga)
DEFENDERS (9): Carlos Bocanegra (Rennes), Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover), Jimmy Conrad (Kansas City Wizards), Clarence Goodson (IK Start), Frankie Hejduk (Columbus Crew), Chad Marshall (Columbus Crew), Heath Pearce (FC Dallas), Jonathan Spector (West Ham)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Michael Bradley (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Clint Dempsey (Fulham), Benny Feilhaber (AGF Aarhus), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA), Dax McCarty (FC Dallas), Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew)
FORWARDS (4): Jozy Altidore (Hull City), Conor Casey (Colorado Rapids), Jeff Cunningham (FC Dallas), Eddie Johnson (Fulham)

Due to the MLS Playoffs, USMNT regulars like Landon Donovan, Stuart Holden, Brian Ching and Ricardo Clark were excused from national duty. Also, a couple of surprises on people not making the roster: Jose Torres and newly switched defender Edgar Castillo. Both were excused due to Mexican league games this weekend, but look for one or both to be called up for the Denmark game next week. I would imagine that since LA plays Houston on Friday in the MLS Western Conference final, either Donovan or a combo of Holden, Ching or Clark will be making the trip to Europe should their team lose.

There was only one person named to the team that really turned heads, and that’s Dax McCarty, a young player for FC Dallas who had a very solid season. Jeff Cunningham, the Golden Boot winner in MLS this season, has earned a call up despite being 33. Eddie Johnson has returned to the national squad after a long layoff. It will be interesting to see if he has regained the magic foot that saw him score 9 goals in his first 8 USMNT caps.

There is still no Maurice Edu or Jermaine Jones, who have been out due to injury. Both of them are due to return soon, and so we will see how they figure into Bob Bradley’s plans later on in the winter. For now, we will see a mix of experience and young players take on solid teams in Slovakia and Denmark on the 14th and 18th.

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