USA – Czech Republic Preview

File photo of U.S. head coach Bradley reacting during his team's Confederations Cup final soccer match against Brazil in Johannesburg

Bob Bradley has stated he will announce his final 23-man World Cup roster later this week, making Tuesday’s friendly against the Czech Republic (8:00 EST – Hartford, Connecticut) the last chance for peripheral players to make an impression.

Players to watch

Forward: Herculez Gomez, Edson Buddle, Robbie Findley, Eddie Johnson

One of these strikers needs to emerge and help fill the gap left by Charlie Davies’ absence.

Left Back: Heath Pearce, Jonathan Bornstein

Bornstein was the starter in 2009, and while FFG doesn’t wish to root against Bornstein, we feel Pearce has the better skillset. Pearce could stake his claim with a strong performance.

Center Midfield: Ricardo Clark, Maurice Edu

These two are duking it out for the right to start alongside fellow center midfielder Michael Bradley.

Outside Midfield: DaMarcus Beasley, Alejandro Bedoya

Unless Bradley the Elder takes one less defender than is the norm, the winger who performs poorly tomorrow might not journey to

South Africa.

Center back: Oguchi Onyewu, Jay DeMerit, Carlos Bocanegra, Chad Marshall, Clarence Goodson

Formation 1

The US has a brewing fitness problem: DeMerit, Bocanegra, and Marshall have all missed training camp sessions due to injury, and Onyewu has not played since October. Look for Gooch to receive extended playing time with Goodson, while the other three might be allowed to sit this one out.

Goalkeeper: Marcus Hahnemann, Brad Guzan

Unquestioned starter Tim Howard might find himself on the sideline as Bradley auditions Guzan, the future goalkeeping star, and Hahnemann, an elder statesman coming off a fine season, to determine the number two.


Formation 2

With position battles looming and some starters facing fitness questions, Bradley could field an unfamiliar lineup. He can 1) play a few first-choice players with some fringe players to determine who meshes with whom or 2) start mostly fringe players in order to have an extended chance at analyzing their play.

Czech Republic

The Czech Republic did not qualify for the World Cup, but there’s still enough quality in the team to test the USA. Petr Cech (Chelsea) is one of the best goalkeepers in the world and Jaroslav Plašil (Bordeaux) is talented enough to lead an efficient attack. Tomáš Rosický, the Czech captain, will miss the match due to injury, an occurrence that sits well with many experienced US fans – Rosický scored 2 goals when the Czech Republic defeated the US at the 2006 World Cup.

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