Using Prior Lineups to Predict USA’s World Cup Roster

USA v Mexico

On June 1st, Bob Bradley will send FIFA his 23-man roster for South Africa (injured players can then be replaced up to a day before the squad’s first match). A training camp starting May 15th will help him pare down his selections.

This will be Bradley’s 5th tournament as manager, and he’s shown remarkable predictability in his selections.

Here’s a list of his tournaments in charge and the amount of players chosen at each position:

2007 Gold Cup: GK – 3 CB – 4 FB – 4 M – 8 F – 4

2007 Copa America: GK – 2 CB – 4 FB – 4 M – 8 F – 4

2009 Confederations Cup: GK – 3 CB – 4 FB – 4 M – 8 F – 4

2009 Gold Cup: GK – 3 CB – 4 FB – 4 M – 8 F – 4

Kind of uncanny, huh? The only aberration, the two keepers in the 2007 Copa America, was due to a tournament-specific restriction of a 22-man roster.

If Bradley holds true to form, his twenty-three (following the 3, 4, 4, 8, 4 mold) could be:

GK – Tim Howard, Marcus Hahnemann, Brad Guzan

CB – Oguchi Onyewu, Jay DeMerit, Clarence Goodson, Chad Marshall

FB – Jonathan Spector, Steve Cherundolo, Jonathan Bornstein, Carlos Bocanegra

M – Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley, Maurice Edu, DaMarcus Beasley, Ricardo Clark, Benny Feilhaber, Stuart Holden

F – Jozy Altidore, Charlie Davies, Brian Ching, Herculez Gomez

These aren’t the only players he’ll consider, of course. The camp starting next Friday could house up to 30 players, and though Bradley has stated he will only look at 26-28, here’s 7 more for discussion’s sake.

(M) Jose Francisco Torres, Alejandro Bedoya, Sacha Kljestan (D) Heath Pearce (F) Edson Buddle, Conor Casey, Eddie Johnson

I didn’t include a fourth goalkeeper (though it’s likely there will be one in camp) because, well, who wants to talk about keepers?

At any rate, the versatility of a few players could cause Bradley to change his traditional 3, 4, 4, 8, 4 roster.  Dempsey can play up top (and very well could start there if Davies isn’t fit), Edu can be used as center back, and Bocanegra has spent more time playing center back than left back the last few years. If Bradley does take their flexibility into account, he would likely drop Marshall and Gomez/Davies (depending on Davies’ health), with Torres and Bedoya the likely beneficiaries.

What say you, gringos? Any additions or subtractions you’d like to see?

2 Comments Post a Comment
  1. bensTEN says:

    Just for the sake of throwing out a wildcard, how about the dread-locked Beckerman? Has an MLS Cup on his shelf…

    • Gringo_Prime says:

      Beckerman’s an industrious player, has nice passing skills, and even saw some time with the USMNT last year, but he’s a CM, USA’s most stacked position.

      The defensive mids ahead of him, Clark and Edu, are playing in Europe and Bob Bradley has shown a predilection to pick those two over other options.

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