2010 Starting XI Taking Shape

It’s hard to believe, but the World Cup is only a year and a half away.  That means it’s time for a little speculation.  Here are some thoughts on how the roster is taking shape and what we expect to see in South Africa:

After the Sweden match, Sacha Kljestan has taken the lead in the race to be Michael Bradley’s central-midfield partner, in most American fans’ eyes.  But after Wednesday’s showing against Mexico, he only confirmed my worries about his play.  He’s a decent attacking player, but he gives the ball away far too often.  I think Torres will prove to be a better option.  Bradley’s a good ball winner.  Torres can actually hold and distribute.

As far as the left back situation goes, Pearce is losing his luster.  In a defense that has performed very well for the US, he has been mediocre, at best.  If he doesn’t start securing more playing time, I think we’ll have to swing Bocanegra out left.

Here’s what I’m thinking for 2010:



If Simek manages to stay healthy or Spector plays consisently (and on defense), either could challenge on the left.  Put simply, Bocanegra, Onyewu, and Cherundolo will start–it’s up to a center back or left back to step up and fill out our back line.

As far as Bradley-style lineups go, this one looks pretty solid.  But obviously, if I were running things, it would look more like this:

yadda yadda yadda…

Cooper’s not there yet, but his pairing with Altidore showed some real promise.  I think another year of development (and perhaps a move to a bigger club) will be enough for him to secure the #2 slot in the US’ forward depth chart.

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