USSF Names Roster for October Friendlies

US Soccer

The United States Soccer Federation named the 20-man roster for the October 9 and 12 friendlies against Poland and Colombia this week.

Here is the roster according to USSF:

GOALKEEPERS (2): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton)
DEFENDERS (8): Carlos Bocanegra (Saint-Étienne), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover), Clarence Goodson (IK Start), Eric Lichaj (Aston Villa), Oguchi Onyewu (AC Milan), Michael Parkhurst (FC Nordsjaelland), Heath Pearce (FC Dallas), Jonathan Spector (West Ham United)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Alejandro Bedoya (Örebro), Michael Bradley (Borussia Moenchengladbach), Maurice Edu (Rangers), Benny Feilhaber (Aarhus), Stuart Holden (Bolton Wanderers), Jermaine Jones (FC Schalke), Brek Shea (FC Dallas)
FORWARDS (3): Jozy Altidore (Villarreal), Clint Dempsey (Fulham), Eddie Johnson (Fulham)

USMNT manager Bob Bradley made a point to try to leave MLS clubs with their players, since the season is winding down and most teams are preparing or fighting for the playoffs. Kudos to Bradley for being considerate, as it might hurt at least a couple of our clubs for the playoff buildup. Also, many consider October friendlies to be near meaningless, (which I disagree with) so having new faces isn’t surprising. Either way, it is good to have opportunities where we can throw caps at young, promising youth.

I have a few problems with the squad, and I will start out with the forwards first. Only three of them? Arguably only two that are natural strikers? That doesn’t bode well for a national team that has problems scoring recently (all the time). Altidore should start both matches up front, with Dempsey in support. But Eddie Johnson? I dread that he will see time, let alone get a bunch of minutes. One time, a promising player, but now, he is just terrible. Bob, please stop selecting him.

No Landon Donovan is going to certainly be interesting. Can’t remember the last time we didn’t select him. Also, it is sad to not see Edson Buddle on the squad, but again, only two MLS players were selected. I am okay with this.

Other midfielders will step up. Bradley, Feilhaber, Edu and Holden should all see a good amount of time, and they certainly deserve it. All are class, and the future of our midfield. I would like to see Jermaine Jones get a decent shot in the midfield as well. Let’s see what he can do. Bedoya also should see a decent amount of time. Our midfield is always solid, so they worry me the least out of this team. As a U.S. supporter, any midfield we field should excite you.

Our goalkeepers are fine. Guzan and Howard. This is how it should be, so I see no problem in the net.

Our defense is really the huge change in this squad. No, almost all of our players from the World Cup are there, but the huge difference that I see is the lack of Jonathan Bornstein. This might be the 50th time I have mentioned the whole “two MLS players” deal, but this is something that I am hopeful Bradley keeps up. Jonathan Bornstein is not national team quality. He plays great for his club, Chivas USA, but he is just not good enough against the best in the world. He has a myriad of problems covering attackers, and looks lost most of the time wearing our kit. There is a certain expectation for the USMNT by its’ fans, and it is warranted. We can and do compete with the best in the world on a regular basis. We need to keep that up. Bornstein doesn’t help us do this. Not selecting him is a step in the right direction. Hopefully Bob will continue to not select him.

Aston Villa and USMNT defender Eric Lichaj

We have a tremendous amount of young talent in defense, so why not use them? Every other top nation looks to youth if players aren’t producing at their position, and we should do the same. Luckily, Bob did this by selecting Eric Lichaj. I saw the youngster play with Aston Villa against Rapid Wien during Europa qualifying, but I couldn’t come to a verdict. But after talking to some Villa fans, they seem to be very high on him. Lichaj is currently with Leyton Orient, in England’s League One,  on loan after playing for Lincoln City in League Two last season. He holds a Polish passport, due to his parents being immigrants, so this is one of the reasons why he has been selected for these friendlies. But this could be the beginning of many caps for the Polish-American. He is young, talented and could eventually take that left back spot from Bornstein. Hopefully he gets a fair shake from Bob and gets some real playing time this international break.

Michael Parkhurst is back as well. The FC Nordsjælland defender hopefully will get some time too. He hasn’t been on the radar much, only being capped five times in 2008, but it will be very good to see him get some time on the pitch for these matches.

Our defense overall really excites me. Bocanegra, Goodson, Onyewu, Cherundolo, Spector and Pearce round out the cast, as mentioned above in the lineup. This kind of depth in the back should give our keepers plenty of cover in these friendlies.

Personally, I am very excited for these matches. Both teams will put up a fight against us; especially Poland. Coming to Chicago, which is a home game in many respects for them, will be difficult. But let us not forget, the Poles are down on their luck lately. They may be hosting Euro 2012 with Ukraine, but they are far from their best.

Colombia won’t be an easy task, either. They never are. But these are matches that the U.S. should expect to win. I would say 2-1 and 1-0 respectively. October should be a good month for the USA.

And I will leave you with this video of some good times playing Poland:

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