Wednesday, May 03, 2006

U.S. World Cup squad

As my boss pointed out yesterday, maybe with a grimace, I can say and be fudging only a little bit that I will be in Germany watching the World Cup in one month.

OK, it's a little bit more than that, but with the unveiling of a top-notch squad by coach Bruce Arena last night, I'm ready to go now.

For anyone who missed it, here's the 23-warrior roster:

Midfielders: Damarcus Beasley, Bobby Convey, Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan, Pablo Mastroeni, John O'Brien, Ben Olsen and the great Claudio Reyna.

Forwards: Brian Ching, Eddie Johnson, Brian McBride and Josh Wolff.

Defenders: Carlos Bocanegra, Steve Cherundolo, Jimmy Conrad, Corey Gibbs, Frankie Hejduk, Eddie Lewis, Oguchi Onyewu and the great Eddie Pope.

Goalkeepers: Marcus Hahnemann, Tim Howard and, of course, King Kasey Keller.

The first thing that leaps out at you is how far we have come in the last decade or so. I can't believe I'm writing this, but it's true: MORE THAN HALF OF THESE MEN, 12, PLAY IN EUROPE!

I have to admit I never thought we would reach this point, and it can only get better from here.

In the middle is where we are the most solid, with still-fairly-young lions Beasley and Donovan leading the charge and a hopefully healthy Claudio Reyna keeping everything steady.

Oguchi Onyewu has always frightened me in all the best ways. He will simply be a monster on defense, helped out ably by Gibbs and, probably most often, Hejduk. As a longtime D.C. supporter I'm also thrilled that Eddie Pope gets one more shot.

Add to that goal-scoring machine Eddie Johnson and goal-stopping machine Kasey Keller and you've got the perfect squad. To me, Ching over Taylor Twellman was the only real surprise.

I realize this is far from a scientific analysis. For that, turn to Bruce at Du Nord, who wisely sleeps later than me but will surely be sounding off on all this with authority later today. He is a member of the Minnesota squad who have graciously allowed me to tag along with them to Germany, and a man who just knows way, way too much about soccer.

Arena also named 13 alternates: Tony Meola, Matt Reis, Chris Albright, Gregg Berhalter, Todd Dunivant, Chris Armas, Chris Klein, Pat Noonan, Steve Ralston, Kerry Zavagnin, Conor Casey, Chris Rolfe and Taylor Twellman. Of this group, Berhalter, Armas, Ralston and Twellman probably had the best shot at making the squad, but they simply didn't play their way onto it. Nuff said.

In related news, want to garner puzzling stares from all your neighbors and friends? Then these great Bruce Arena-Che t-shirts are for you. Made by the fine folks at Blue Sky Soccer, they're just perfect for the U.S. soccer fan who is crazy enough to buy just about anything. I already have one, of course. Click here for yours

But enough about soccer. If I get any more excited either a) my head will explode, like that poor Mexican chap I read about in the National Enquirer (he was watching the World Cup, so, yes, there is precedent!) or more likely b) I will be unable to go to work, be fired and left penniless just more than a month before the world's greatest sporting event.

We can't have that, so I'll just put on my Bruce-Che t-shirt and sign off for now. Viva Bruce!


soccerboss said...

Well all us New England Revs fans knew that Big Bruce did not like Twellman's game and all he needed was Ching to get hot to leave him off the squad. Add in Josh Wolf and I think Twellman got hosed.

Reel Fanatic said...

I would have to agree that, based on ability alone, Twellman is the better man, but it's Arena call after all

Senor Beavis said...

Goal! The dream begins!
(Sorry, forgot to hit my Cheap Joke Alarm).

So between DC United and the Orioles, are you secretly a DC-area transplant like myself?

Reel Fanatic said...

I am, sort of ... grew up in Salisbury, on Maryland's Eastern Shore