The U.S. will take on Czech Republic tonight in their first warm-up for the 2010 World Cup. It will be the first chance for many U.S. soccer fans to get a look in 2010 at the team who will represent them in South Africa. It will be the last chance for players on the bubble to make the final 23-man roster to make their mark.
Kickoff is 7 p.m. (central) from Rentschler Field in Hartford, Conn. ESPN will carry the game with coverage starting at 6:30 p.m. and is part of a three-game series of warm-ups. The U.S. will play Turkey on Saturday at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia and Australia on June 5 at Ruimsig Stadium in Roodepoort, South Africa.
The United States and Czech Republic have met twice before, the visitors earning victories that both came during Word Cups. The Czechs defeated the U.S. in their opening group match on June 12, 2006, in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. Prior to becoming an independent country in 1993, Czechoslovakia handed the U.S. a 5-1 loss in 1990 FIFA World Cup in Florence.
It has been speculated that Coach Bob Bradley will likely finalize his 23-man roster tomorrow before the team travels to Philadelphia ahead of the June 1 deadline. There are a number of players battling injuries, among them captain Carlos Bocanegra (sports hernia surgery), Jay DeMerit (abdominal strain), Eddie Johnson (hamstring) and Chad Marshall (hamstring). Oguchi Onyewu (ruptured patellar tendon) hasn't played a competitive game since late 2009 and Stuart Holden only recently returned from a broken bone in his leg.
All 30 players called in by Bradley have been able to participate in full training.
Here's the full 30-man roster.GOALKEEPERS (3):
Jozy Altidore (Villarreal), Edson Buddle (Los Angeles Galaxy), Brian Ching (Houston Dynamo), Robbie Findley (Real Salt Lake), Herculez Gomez (Puebla), Eddie Johnson (Aris Thessaloniki)Players on the 23-man Roster Bubble:
Bornstein, Marshall, Pearce, Kljestan, Rogers, Buddle, Ching, Findley, Gomez, JohnsonWho I'd Leave At Home:
Bornstein (if healthy, Bocanegra is a better option, plus Spector can flop sides), Pearce (same reason as Bornstein), Kljestan (we want goals, not red cards), Rogers (maybe next cycle), Findley (Gomez and Buddle are better options), Johnson (Gomez and Buddle are better options).Interesting Roster Facts:
The average age of the USMNT is 26.5 (the youngest U.S. squad since 1994); the player with the most caps is Landon Donovan (121); the fewest caps, Edson Buddle (1); Marcus Hahnemann (37) is the oldest player; Jozy Altidore (20) is the youngest.Where the U.S. Players Play:
A (9), England (7), Germany (3), Mexico (2), Scotland (2), Denmark (1), France (1), Greece (1), Italy (1), Norway (1), Spain (1), Sweden (1).
About the Czech Republic
The Czechs are rebuilding in hopes of qualifying for Euro 2012 and won't really resemble the team that ruined the Yanks 2006 World Cup. The only notable player coming stateside is Chelsea goalkeeper Peter Cech. (Stalwarts Tomas Rosicky, Milan Baros and Marek Jankulovski have not made the trip. The Czech's lost 2-1 to Turkey in a friendly on May 22 at Red Bull Arena.
Here is their 22-man roster:Goalkeepers (3):