Ta DA! The Roster (and One Thumb Up Yer Backside)

Well, here it is: the 23-man roster that the United States will take to Germany:

Goalkeepers: Kasey Keller, Tim Howard, Marcus Hahnemann.
Comments: All no-brainers.

Defenders: Carlos Bocanegra, Steve Cherundolo, Jimmy Conrad, Cory Gibbs, Frankie Hejduk, Eddie Pope, Oguchi Onweyu, Eddie Lewis.
Comments: I followed this as well as I could through Big Soccer.com, but the site kept crapping out. Still, based on what I saw, people are seriously grumpy about Conrad making the cut. I say, fuck 'em. No, he's not our most talented player, but I'd take him on sentiment; and anyone who watched the Germany game, but who doesn't understand Conrad over Berhalter clearly watched some other game than the one I saw. Albright missing out is a bit of a mystery to me - especially when you consider Hejduk's recent, full-time spaz performances. Everyone else makes good sense and ought to do fine.

Midfielders:: DaMarcus Beasley, Bobby Convey, Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan, Pablo Mastroeni, John O'Brien, Ben Olsen, Claudio Reyna.
Comments: No surprises. Glad to see Dempsey out there...and Ben Olsen. The only dubious call is with John O'Brien, who struggles with injuries; all I'm saying is it's a good thing they've got that alternate list. But, when O'Brien, he simply has to be on the roster. Here's to hoping his groin holds together.

Forwards: Brian Ching, Eddie Johnson, Brian McBride, Josh Wolff.
Comments; Ching?! Brian "Headless Chicken" Ching?!! Wow, that's a brave call. For the record, I'd be delighted to eat those words 'round about mid-June.

All in all, the surprises aren't that big a deal - the dorks at Big Soccer need jobs (cough, cough) and lives. These guys are the back-ups; anything Ching adds by way of goals is gravy and Conrad will only come on either late, as a result of injury, or not at all. I think he's good enough. Whatever he is, he's no worse than Jeff Agoos and he started.

Next up, some mid-to-late May warm-ups (versus, Morocco, Latvia, and Venezuela) and then the Cup. Put it this way: if Conrad stinks up the field in any, or all three of those games, I'll join the peanut gallery.

One last thing: if you look at the pictures on the two links not from Big Soccer, it's worth noting that a photo of Brian Ching accompanies each. I think he's the bigger surprise for the pros, most of whom thought New England's Taylor Twellman had it in the bag. For what it's worth, I rate Twelllman higher, but don't think he's got nearly enough upside to make tapping Ching in anyway dubious. If nothing else, Ching's size recommends him over Twellman. To be blunt about it, neither player seems ready for prime-time, so let's call this the crap-shoot that it is and try to enjoy ourselves, shall we?

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