Yesterday, we touched on Freddy Adu’s exclusion from the roster for the March 3 friendly against the Netherlands. He’s scored a couple of goals and seems to have settled in well for Aris, but Bradley passed him over for this last-chance game.
Now let’s go to Freddy’s twitter page, where he first says he’s “fighting a sore hammy” but is “not one to complain about injuries” so he’s “working through it,” then says “lol, I’m not injured, I just said my hammy is sore”—and proceeds to talk about getting ready for Aris’s “big game this weekend.”
Hard to parse this precisely—and Freddy never mentions the U.S. call-ups, which included his Aris teammate Eddie Johnson—but it’s possible that Bradley decided not to uproot him from his club side while he’s carrying a slight knock. The U.S. coach may have figured Freddy’s better off staying put and continuing to make his case with good performances at Aris, or … he’s not in the coach’s plans for South Africa.
Sacha Kljestan didn’t get the call despite scoring the stoppage-time winner against El Salvador on Wednesday, a play Bradley singled out in his postgame comments. Perhaps Bradley is satisfied with Kljestan’s status, and simply wants to have a look at other midfielders.
We’re not surprised to see Rangers midfielders DaMarcus Beasley and Maurice Edu called in for this one. They’ve both returned from injury and have played recently for the Glasgow side, with Beasley, especially, looking like resuming his excellent pre-injury form. If both stay healthy and get regular playing time this spring, they’ll not only make the final 23, but could be starting versus England on June 12.
The timing of this game is great for Bolton winger Stuart Holden, who finally saw the field for Wanderers on Wednesday, going a full 90 in their FA Cup loss to Tottenham. Despite the 4-0 thrashing, Holden showed well, and this game is teed up for him to state his case (if not cinch it) to be on the plane to South Africa.
The same could be said for midfielder Jose Francisco Torres, who, despite a recent hamstring strain, has been playing and scoring goals for Pachuca of late. But the apparent knock on him is that he has a high-finesse, low-grit game, and to do well against an elite European team like the Netherlands, he’ll need some grit to go with his skill. At any rate, it’s fair to say that Torres hasn’t gotten a clear crack at it for the U.S., so this is a big game for him.
In the backline, the most notable absence is that of towering Columbus Crew defender Chad Marshall, who last summer appeared to have an edge over Clarence Goodson for a spot in central defense. Now, Goodson is going to Amsterdam while Marshall didn’t get off the bench versus El Salvador this past Wednesday. That seems pretty clear.
Here is our predicted starting lineup for next Wednesday:
We’d like to see both Torres and Holden get significant time, though, and it would also be interesting to see Heath Pearce, flush from a good game against El Salvador, test himself against the Netherlands.
Will Alejandro Bedoya get a shot? He could be an intriguing option on the left wing. And forgotten-man right back Frank Simek has been starting regularly for Sheffield Wednesday this season. Will he see the field in a U.S. shirt for the first time since 2007?
Speaking of the U.S. shirt, the Amerks just got a new kit, which they will wear at South Africa 2010. Take a look:
(We’re partial to the red.)
GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Marcus Hahnemann (Wolves), Tim Howard (Everton)
DEFENDERS (7): Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA), Carlos Bocanegra (Rennes), Jay DeMerit (Watford), Clarence Goodson (IK Start), Heath Pearce (FC Dallas), Frank Simek (Sheffield Wednesday), Jonathan Spector (West Ham United)
MIDFIELDERS (7): DaMarcus Beasley (Rangers), Alejandro Bedoya (Orebro), Michael Bradley (Borussia Moenchengladbach), Landon Donovan (Everton), Maurice Edu (Rangers), Stuart Holden (Bolton Wanderers), José Torres (Pachuca)
FORWARDS (3): Jozy Altidore (Hull City), Robbie Findley (Real Salt Lake), Eddie Johnson (Aris Thessaloniki)