Tactics Tuesday: Predicting the Gold Cup Roster

Bob Bradley is consistent. He’s been USA’s gaffer for 5 tournaments, and his roster makeup has shown remarkable uniformity thus far.

Here’s a breakdown breakdown of the rosters he’s compiled:

TournamentGoalkeepersCenter backsFullbacksMidfieldersForwards
2007 Gold Cup34484
2007 Copa America24484
2009 Confederations Cup34484
2009 Gold Cup34484
2010 World Cup34394

Last year’s World Cup was the only tournament in which he didn’t stick to a complement of 4 center backs, 4 fullbacks, 8 midfielders, and 4 forwards. Instead, he dropped a fullback in favor of a midfielder, mostly due to the versatility of Carlos Bocanegra, Jonathan Spector, and Maurice Edu.

With Bradley the Elder set to announce his 2011 Gold Cup roster next week, we thought we’d use Bob’s tendencies to give our shot at what we think his 23-man roster will be.

FFG’s Roster Prediction

Goalkeeper: Tim Howard, Brad Guzan, Marcus Hahnemann

Center back: Carlos Bocanegra, Oguchi Onyewu, Tim Ream, Clarence Goodson

Fullback: Steve Cherundolo, Jonathan Bornstein, Jonathan Spector, Eric Lichaj

Midfield: Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones, Maurice Edu, Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, Benny Feilhaber, Alejandro Bedoya, Mikkel Diskerud

Forward: Jozy Altidore, Juan Agudelo, Teal Bunbury, Herculez Gomez

Locks

Carlos Bocanegra, Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, Tim Howard, Jermaine Jones, Michael Bradley, Maurice Edu, Benny Feilhaber, Oguchi Onyewu, Steve Cherundolo, Jonathan Spector, Jozy Altidore, Juan Agudelo, Brad Guzan, Jonathan Bornstein, Alejandro Bedoya

It’s really not even worth discussing. If they’re healthy, they’re in.

On the Bubble

Midfield – Mikkel Diskerud

We threw Mikkel Diskerud into our 23 but it’s just as likely that the more experienced Sacha Kljestan will take his spot as the combo center mid/winger.

Forward – Teal Bunbury, Herculez Gomez

Altidore and Agudelo are the only two automatic choices at this point. Bunbury potentially provides the target forward option Bradley likes to have available, while Gomez has recently found his scoring touch.

Defense – Clarence Goodson, Eric Lichaj

Goodson has been impressive in his post-World Cup appearances. However, he only recently returned from injury and his inclusion is dependent on Bradley’s choice of 3 or 4 center backs. The more interesting battle will be to see which young fullback makes the roster, Eric Lichaj or Timmy Chandler. Though, again, with Bocanegra and Spector both capable of playing fullback or center back, Lichaj and Chandler might be fighting the numbers.

Goalkeeper – Marcus Hahnemann

Bradley has two choices for the third goalkeeper. Take a veteran for locker room chemistry (because he’s never going to play) or bring a young guy to expose him to the ebb and flow of an international tournament (because he’s never going to play). For the former, Marcus Hahnemann. The latter – Dominic Cervic.

Don’t Count Out

Edson Buddle, Robbie Findley, Ricardo Clark, Omar Gonzalez, José Torres

Here at FFG we really don’t understand why José Torres has been persona non grata since the World Cup. Bob’s transition to a 3-man midfield seemed to be the perfect time to integrate the closest thing we have to Spain’s Xavi. Instead, he’s been just as absent as World Cup goat Ricardo Clark.

Of the three other World Cup veterans – Findley, Buddle, and Clark – Clark is probably the longest shot to make the team, as he hasn’t played for the National Team since his disastrous World Cup. Buddle, like Bunbury, presents opposing defenses with a different matchup than Altidore or Agudelo, while Findley still remains Bob’s closest Charlie Davies clone.

MLS standout Omar Gonzalez is in a battle with Tim Ream and Goodson for a backup spot. Goodson is more experienced and Ream a better passer, so Gonzalez is likely to sit this one out.

We really hope he plays category

Charlie Davies

We don’t think Charlie is going to make the squad. With a place in the 2013 Confederations Cup on the line, there isn’t any room for a player who isn’t back to full form, much less one who still doesn’t appear to trust his surgically repaired body.

Gringos, did we miss anyone? Do you think Charlie has a shot to make the squad?

5 Comments Post a Comment
  1. bensten says:

    I do like Lichaj in the long run, but I’d really love to see some more of Chandler after his nice work earlier this year.

    Bunbury would be interesting, but I can almost see Bob–if he’s either in a really maverick mood or had a few drinks–calling on Davies as a “wild card” off the bench sub. We all know his love affair with Findley and Buddle, though, so I’m gonna have to “predict” those two as forwards 3 and 4.

  2. John says:

    Timothy Chandler is a lock at fullback. I don’t think you mentioned him. You should.

    • Blake Owen says:

      I put Chandler in the ‘on the bubble’ section. He seems like a great young player, but if Bocanegra, Spector, Bornstein, and Cherundolo are all in, that’s 4 possible fullbacks right there. Bob might want to save space for an extra midfielder.

      But Chandler would be a great addition, I think.

  3. Taps says:

    2 things I want to say.

    One, I want to hear your reasons for thinking bornstein is a lock because I don’t think he has shown that he is in any way reliable as a fullback. I’d say that spot is between chandler and lichaj.

    two, i have read that guzan might not be able to participate because of his wedding. I know you mentioned Cervi, but he doesn’t get much PT at celtic. what about nick rimando? or David Yelldell?

    • Blake Owen says:

      I didn’t know about Guzan’s wedding. Cool for him. Bummer for us. And good call on Yelldell. Surely he’ll be called in to compete with Hahnemann for the number 2.

      As for Bornstein, I think he’s a lock because he’s a Bob favorite. Bob turned him into a fullback and has given him all of his international caps. I also think he’s a bit better than we give him credit for. He didn’t look terrible in the World Cup. “So he’s got that going for him.”

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