May 25, 2010
By Michael Lewis
Bradley will get an opportunity to answer some questions vs. Czechs tonight
So many questions, so little time to get them answered.
|Bob Bradley hopes he will get some answers for the final slots on the U.S. World Cup team against the Czech Republic Tuesday night.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
U.S. national coach Bob Bradley hopes to get many of them answered in East Hartford, Conn. when the U.S. takes on the Czech Republic in a World Cup warm-up match Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET (ESPN, Galavision).
Since Bradley wants to name his 23-man World Cup roster prior to Saturday's game against Turkey in Philadelphia, he most likely will use players who are on the bubble, to see whether they are up to playing at the international level or if a player returning from injury is match fit.
Bradley said that "17-19" spots had been secured for South Africa.
Bradley said he and his coaching staff are constantly talking about the players.
"We are certainly taking into account the players form, fitness and then that is thrown in with past performances," he said.
Bradley said try to consider various situations in the World Cup, if a team needs an attacking option or must bolster its defense with the lead.
"Obviously, the ability to cover different scenarios comes into play when you build a roster," he said. "Who are guys that help in certain situations; who do you want to bring on when you’re down? Who do you want to bring on when you have the lead? You try to have a feel for all those things and for how you cover different situations if there are injuries or suspensions.
"At the end of the day, there are some tough decisions.”
The U.S. will dress 23 players and will be allowed to use as many as six subs. The U.S. leaves for South Africa on Sunday.
One of the questions Bradley must answer is which forwards to take. Jozy Altidore appears to be a lock. Brian Ching, returning from a hamstring injury, isn't fully match fit yet. Edson Buddle and Herculez Gomez have enjoyed outstanding spring seasons in their respective leagues, Major League Soccer and Mexico, but have a total of 77 minutes of international experience.
“Right now there are a lot of attacking options," U.S. midfielder Landon Donovan said. "This week has given us all a lot of confidence moving forward with where our attack options lie. All the guys that have come have done fairly well – maybe better than expected. Now we have three opportunities over the next couple of weeks to finalize what we’re finally going to look like when June 12 comes. I’ve played with all of these guys at some level and I would be confident with any of them on the field. Obviously the games will tell us a lot but I think we’re further ahead than what we had expected.”
The last time the Americans and Czechs met, the Europeans rolled to a 3-0 victory in the 2006 World Cup opener for both teams. This time the U.S. is using the Czech Republic, which failed to qualify this time around, as sparing partners before the World Cup.
The Czechs did not look sharp at all in their 2-1 loss to Turkey in an international friendly in Harrison, N.J. Saturday.
“It wasn’t the fondest memory of my career – that game," said Donovan, recalling the World Cup encounter. "I remember after five minutes we were down a goal and then we were chasing the game so it was difficult. At that point in time, that team was very good with a lot of guys right in the prime of their careers. They were confident, they had played together for a very long time and they were a very good team.
"Now, a few of the older guys are gone but they’re still a very good team with players that play all over Europe at big clubs. We expect a very good challenge. If you can’t play one of the teams that have qualified for the World Cup, there’s not many better teams that you can pick that the Czech Republic."
After Tuesday’s game, the U.S. will host Turkey in Philadelphia on Saturday at Lincoln Financial Field (2:00 pm).