Thursday, May 24, 2007

Three Revs Make Gold Cup Roster

US National coach Bob Bradley announced his 23-man Gold Cup roster today. Taylor Twellman, Steve Ralston, and Micheal Parkhurst were all on it. The roster is considered his "A team" with the USSF firmly behind winning the championship of CONCACAF over Copa America which will be played shortly afterwards (more on that later). (click title to read more)

No surprise with Twellman. He's been on form to start the season with six goals in eight games. His body of work, which should have earned him a World Cup spot, is second to none in regards to MLS forwards over the past five years.

Parkhurst is a slight surprise and may have a lot to do with Jimmy Conrad's current injury woes. It would be nice to see him line up next to Oguchi Onyewu in central defense. Parky will provide the coverage while Gooch provides the muscle. He will have some competition from Simek and Demerit. However, play time is over and Bradley has been instructed to win the tournament. Players won't get special treatment because they are based in Europe and won't be going to Copa America.

Steve Ralston may be the biggest surprise. He's surely earned the spot with his current MLS form. However, he won't be in the USMNT picture much longer. This just goes to show how much emphasis the US is putting on this cometition.

No word yet if there will be any overlap with the Copa America roster, which won't feature any players from Europe. Reis and Noonan may be sure a sure bet for that team, and it would be a tremendous hit to the Revs if they lost the other three for another two weeks.

So, does the US Soccer Federation have it's priorities in the right place? Winning the Gold Cup earns the US a birth for the next Confederations Cup in 2009. The logic being, that is where they would face the best roster that teams like Brazil and Italy would throw at them. The consensus is that many teams won't be sending their best to this year's competition. It's played at the absolute wrong time for those players based in Europe who need a month off before the ten month grind starts up again. Many of the South American federations are resigned to that fact and haven't invited their best.

Just don't tell that to Lionel Messi and Robinho, who seem desperate to play in it. Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico (who always try to win whatever competition they are in) will all be fielding rosters which will likely have an easy time with the US B team. Our A team would actually have an outside chance at winning Copa America, which would be a lot more impressive than beating Cuba and Canada in our own stadiums.

They are also passing up the opportunity to seriously compete in a meaningful competition in a hostile environment. This year, it is in Venezuela. Not only will they be chanting "Osama" and throwing rocks at our bus, they'll be sniffing the air while shouting "Satan was here yesterday! I smell Sulfur". There's a similar environment that the US competes in every four years and always seem to lose: Mexico City's Azteca Stadium. Am I the only one who thinks it would be a heck of an experience to seriously prepare for, and be successful in that type of environment?

I don't place all the blame on the USSF, though. The scheduling for Copa America stinks (not as bad as W's sulfur undies apparently). They are missing an absolute golden opportunity to set up a competition opposite the European Championship every four years. Just imagine if they invited a certain amount of CONCACAF teams who in turn made this year's Gold Cup the basis for qualification? Both tournaments would then take a quantum leap in importance. That's something they both need, but sadly, it's something we will never see.

In the meantime, it'll be nice to see which newcomers will succeed when called apon and which will crash and burn. We're likely see Byrne get some time at RM, and we'll probably find out who Nicol rates as the fourth best forward on the team. Gary Flood will see some time, especially if Avery John gets called up to the Trinidad and Tobago team. I'd also like to see if Ryan Solle has what it takes yet.

Time will tell. Until then, congrats to Twellman, Ralston, and Parkhurst. You've earned it.

1 Comment:

Anonymous said...

CONGRATULATIONS REVS PLAYERS! Especially Taylor Twellman He is an AMAZING player and totally deserves this acknowledgment!