Tuesday, November 18, 2008

What's the Point?

So with the US already through to the next round, and most European players along with top MLS players getting a rest, why should you care about the US vs. Guatemala WCQ ( Wed. on ESPNClassic, 8 pm ET)? Here are a few reasons (or a few players) to watch:

1. Freddy Adu - After a couple of strong performances in friendlies against world powers, Spain and Argentina, and a move to Monaco in Ligue 1, Freddy seemed poised to realize his potential and become a regular for the US. Now having struggled in the last qualifier versus T&T and failing to break into the lineup at Monaco, he has another chance to step up and shine against a motivated Guatemalan team.

2. Jozy Altidore - A goal in your first game against Mexico, and a 10 million dollar move to Villareal can certainly raise expectations for you future. But after a lackluster performance in the Olympics, a lack of playing time for the Spanish giants, and a possible loan move on the horizon, Jozy gets another opportunity to show that he is the future at the forward position for the US.

3. Kenny Cooper - Kenny Cooper earned this call up. After getting overlooked for all of the critical qualifiers, and turning down a chance to play against T&T to stay and help his club, we finally get a chance to see the big man don a US jersey once again. Second in MLS with 18 goals scored, Cooper has established himself as one of the most prolific American strikers at the club level. At only 24 years old, lets hope that nose for goal translates to the international level.

4. Cory Gibbs and Conor Casey - Both were once promising young players that were supposed to be future mainstays for the US. Both went through more injuries than you can imagine. Both came back to MLS, and the Colorado Rapids to rejuvenate their careers. Job well done. During their late season push, the Colorado Rapids leaned on Gibbs to steady their inconsistent back line and depended on Casey for the goals. If they can stay clear of the injury bug and continue their resurgence, they can add some quality depth to their positions on the national team.

5. Michael Parkhurst - The 2007 MLS Defender of the Year, and perennial Fair Play award winner (only 9 fouls in a season, really?), has never developed into a mainstay for the senior squad. One of the most dominant defenders in MLS, Parkhurst should get a fair amount of playing time on Wednesday, and another chance to prove that his lack of physical play will not hinder him on the international level. His contract with the Revs is up, and a good performance could increase his stock in the January transfer window.

6. Jonathan Bornstein - Once Bradley's favorite option at left back, Bornstein has been relegated to the background thanks to a series of injuries and Heath Pearce's steady play at the position. But, after overcoming early season injuries and helping Chivas reach the playoffs for the second year in a row, Bornstein gets another shot to assert himself as the premier American left back.

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