World Cup Roster: Locks, Bubble Watch, and Where’s Charlie?

Charlie Davis


The provisional World Cup roster has been announced. We’ll address the big news first: why no Charlie Davies?

Say It Ain’t So, Charlie

The official company line, straight from Bob Bradley, is that “he (Charlie) hadn’t been given full medical clearance” from his club, Sochaux. This statement, however, does not come without a conflict of interest: the club does not wish to risk the health of its future star. With that caveat in mind, the only fact anyone knows is that Sochaux’s doctors did not give Charlie a clean bill of health.

Another fact? He’s not officially out of it just yet. On June 1st Bradley will submit his 23-man roster, but clubs have until the day before their first match (June 11th for the gringos) to make changes due to injury. Those replacements do not have to come from the original 30. If someone else picks up a knock and Davies appears to be fit, he could go. The odds are one in a million, but so were the chances he’d be doing any kind of training at this point.

Charlie is sure to dominate headlines for the next few days, but Bradley and the other players have to move forward. So shall we.

Here are the players that are guaranteed to make the team, those that will likely be in South Africa but could lose their spot, and some who need to impress to ensure a place.

Locks:

GKs: Tim Howard, Brad Guzan, Marcus Hahnemann CBs: Jay DeMerit, Oguchi Onyewu, Carlos Bocanegra, Clarence Goodson FBs: Steve Cherundolo, Jonathan Spector Mids: Michael Bradley, Maurice Edu, Ricardo Clark, Landon Donovan, Fwds: Jozy Altidore, Clint Dempsey

Could Lose Their Spot with a Poor Camp/Friendlies:

FBs: Jonathan Bornstein Mids: Stuart Holden, Benny Feilhaber, Jose Francisco Torres Fwds: Brian Ching CBs: Chad Marshall

Needs Something Special to Make the 23

FBs: Heath Pearce Mids: DaMarcus Beasley, Alejandro Bedoya, Robbie Rogers, Sacha Kljestan Fwds: Eddie Johnson, Herculez Gomez, Edson Buddle, Robbie Findley

Position Battles

GK – The only question here is who will be the number 2 – Guzan or Hahnemann?

CB – Goodson, Onyewu, DeMerit, and Bocanegra will go. If Onyewu is fully-fit and Bradley decides to start Bocanegra at left back, Marshal might find himself without a plane ticket. Also working against Marshall: Edu, Spector, and Bornstein can all fill-in at CB if necessary.

LB – Bocanegra is first-choice, though if he’s playing CB, Bornstein is the presumed starter. A poor camp from Bornstein and an impressive showing from Pearce could mean Bornstein loses his spot.

RB – Two weeks ago Spector was the unquestioned starter. He’s had some poor showings in his last few games for West Ham, giving Cherundolo an outside chance to regain his starting role.

CM – Michael Bradley will start with either Edu or Clark his partner. Torres or Feilhaber will stay home unless Bob the Elder chooses to drop a defender.

Outside Mid – Davies’ absence moves Dempsey to forward and means the USMNT will need a new starting right midfielder. The frontrunner should be Holden, though he is just coming back from a two-month layoff. Bedoya could jump over him on the depth chart, or a great camp from Beasley might make Bradley start DaMarcus on the left and Donovan on the right.

FWD – If Ching has recovered from an April hamstring injury, he’ll be the third-choice forward (behind Altidore and Dempsey). Any of the other strikers has a shot to make the fourth spot theirs.

Predictions for the June 1st Roster

GK (3) – Howard, Hahnemann, Guzan

FB (4) – Bornstein, Cherundolo, Spector, Bocanegra

CB (3) – Onyewu, DeMerit, Goodson

CM (5) – Bradley, Clark, Edu, Feilhaber, Torres

OM (4) – Donovan, Holden, Bedoya, Beasley

FWD (4) – Altidore, Dempsey, Ching, Gomez

Gringos – what do you think of this roster? Would you change anything? Does Davies’ absence already doom our chances of making the knockout round?

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