January 4, 2010
THE FIRST PUSH
U.S. National Team gathers in Carson to start its World Cup preparation
The U.S. National Team's first push of 2010 for this summer World Cup begins on Monday when 30 players will start practicing at the team's annual training camp at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
Thirty players have been named to the training camp roster.
The group will prepare for the USA’s first match of the year, a friendly against fellow World Cup finalists Honduras on Jan. 23 at The Home Depot Center.
"This is the start of six months of preparations for the World Cup, and it is important that we get started off heading in the right direction,” U.S. coach Bob Bradley said in a statement in December. “We have had the chance to work with many of these players through their time with the national team, while others performed well for their clubs throughout last season and have earned this opportunity. We are continuing to evaluate the player pool as we move towards finalizing our roster for this summer.”
The camp is a largely domestic-based group that includes 25 players who ply their trade in the United States. MLS is well represented, with 13 of 16 clubs contributing players. The roster boasts several year-end award winners, including MLS goalkeeper of the year (Zach Thornton), defender of the year (Chad Marshall), Golden Boot Winner (Jeff Cunningham) and rookie of the year (Omar Gonzalez).
Chivas USA will supply a team-leading four players, led by defender Jonathan Bornstein, whose game-tying goal in the closing moments of the USA’s 2-2 tie against Costa Rica secured first place in the CONCACAF final round qualifying while guaranteeing Honduras’ place in the World Cup. MLS Cup champion Real Salt Lake sends three players, along with Columbus Crew and FC Dallas.
Fifteen players headed to Carson earned at least one cap in 2009 with the full team. Nine players - Kyle Beckerman, Jimmy Conrad, Brad Evans, Benny Feilhaber, Clarence Goodson, Marshall, Heath Pearce, Troy Perkins and Robbie Rogers – were part of the squad that reached the finals of the CONCACAF Gold Cup. Beckerman, Goodson and Rogers scored their first international goals in that tournament, with Goodson depositing the game-winner in the semifinal against Honduras. MLS Best XI striker Conor Casey connected for his first two goals for the full team, pulling the U.S. level in Honduras before Landon Donovan’s game-winner secured the team’s ticket to South Africa on Oct. 10. Cunningham’s first goal in 12 tries for the full team also marked the last of 43 goals scored by the U.S. in 2009, the FC Dallas attacker tallying the lone strike in the 3-1 loss on Nov. 18 to Denmark.
Feilhaber is the leading cap winner with 30 appearances, the midfielder having started in the FIFA Confederations Cup final against Brazil. Pearce stands second in line with 28 caps, including nine starts in the successful World Cup qualifying campaign. At the other end of the experience spectrum, there are 23 players on the roster with 10 caps or less, and nine will be in search of their first-ever appearance with the full team.
There are five Scandinavian-based players joining the group in Carson. In addition to Feilhaber and Goodson, Valerenga goalkeeper Troy Perkins returns to the fold having earned his first six caps during the USA’s run to the Gold Cup final. Aalborg striker Marcus Tracy and Örebro SK midfielder Alejandro Bedoya will make their first appearances in a camp with the full team.
Following the Honduras match, the United States will play third-ranked Netherlands in Amsterdam March 3, allowing the U.S. to face one of the top teams in the world prior to the start of the World Cup.
The U.S. has been drawn into Group C with England, Slovenia and Algeria for the World Cup in South Africa. The U.S. will open its sixth consecutive World Cup against England on June 12 in Rustenburg, and will follow that game with matches against Slovenia on June 18 in Johannesburg and Algeria on June 23 in Tshwane/Pretoria.
GOALKEEPERS (4): Kevin Hartman (Kansas City), Troy Perkins (Valerenga), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake), Zach Thornton (Chivas USA)
DEFENDERS (8): Kevin Alston (New England Revolution), Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA), Jimmy Conrad (Kansas City Wizards), Omar Gonzalez (Los Angeles Galaxy), Clarence Goodson (IK Start), Chad Marshall (Columbus Crew), Heath Pearce (FC Dallas), Marvell Wynne (Toronto FC)
MIDFIELDERS (12): Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Örebro), Geoff Cameron (Houston Dynamo), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders), Benny Feilhaber (Aarhus), Eddie Gaven (Columbus Crew), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA), Jeff Larentowicz (New England Revolution), Dax McCarty (FC Dallas), Chris Pontius (D.C. United), Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew)
FORWARDS (6): Justin Braun (Chivas USA), Conor Casey (Colorado Rapids), Jeff Cunningham (FC Dallas), Robbie Findley (Real Salt Lake), Brandon McDonald (San Jose Earthquakes), Marcus Tracy (Aalborg)