It’s not exactly been a fruitful few months for Bob Bradley and his USA squad. They’ve lost five of their last six games, including an embarrassing 4-2 home loss to Czech Republic this week, all of which has served to dampen the optimism generated from last year’s successful run in the Confederations Cup.
Nonetheless, last night Bradley named his final 23-man squad, and while it contains many names unfamiliar to fans at on this side of the globe, their starting XI against England is unlikely to hold many surprises for Fabio Capello and his men.
LA Galaxy’s Edson Buddle and Pachuca’s Jose Francisco Torres and Herculez Gomez are three wonderfully-named players who have made the final cut despite only having a handful of caps between them, but Bradley is likely to trust his old guard when it comes to the crunch in Rustenburg.
It means, depending on fitness, the side expected to line-up against England is: Tim Howard (Everton); Carlos Bocanegra (Rennes), Oguchi Onyewu (Milan), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover), Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas); DaMarcus Beasley (Rangers), Michael Bradley (M’Gladbach), Stuart Holden (Bolton), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy); Clint Dempsey (Fulham), Jozy Altidore (Villarreal).
As well as those already based in Britain, Altidore, Donovan, Onyewu and Bocanegra have all played in the Premier League before, leaving only defenders Cherundolo and Bornstein and the manager’s son Bradley as relative unknown quantities.
Given the lack of a surprise factor, that might well come with the games against Slovenia and Algeria for example, Capello will not allow his team any excuses should they fail to start off on a strong note against their toughest Group C rivals.