Ten MLS players made the United States' preliminary squad for the World Cup, while a few other players will feature for other nations. Kyle McCarthy takes a team-by-team look at the fallout in McCarthy's Musings.By Kyle McCarthy
When United States head coach Bob Bradley revealed his 30-man preliminary squad for the World Cup on Tuesday, he piqued the interest of several MLS coaches.
Ten MLS players – including a couple of surprising inclusions and one or two interesting exclusions – made the cut to join the American training camp in Princeton, N.J. next week as Bradley ponders how to pare his squad down to the required 23-man selection prior to the June 1 deadline.
Most of the domestic contingent will end up disappointed when Bradley names his final travel party, but a few players could join the likes of Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA), Brian Ching (Houston) and Landon Donovan (Los Angeles) in South Africa with positive performances in camp.
As the ten hopefuls – and a few of the snubbed players – contemplate their World Cup dreams and Andrew Boyens (New York/New Zealand) and Roger Espinoza (Kansas City/Honduras) celebrate their roster spots with other nations, here is a look at the team-by-team impact of yesterday's roster revelations:
Chicago – Brian McBride didn't earn the shock recall some had touted him to receive, so the Fire's sole recent connection to this summer's extravaganza is the presence of former (and future?) schemer Cuauhtemoc Blanco in the Mexico squad.
Chivas USA – Jonathan Bornstein grabbed his anticipated spot in the preliminary squad, while Sacha Kljestan earned a somewhat surprising berth alongside his Red-and-White teammate based upon his recent uptick in form. Kljestan faces a tough battle to show he can translate his effectiveness in a free role with Chivas USA to a wide position in Bradley's considerably more defined system, but Bornstein should end up inside the cut line for the final 23. Both players will miss Real Salt Lake's visit on May 22, but Kljestan may return in time for the May 29 visit to D.C. United. Bornstein will miss that match and the subsequent trip to New York on June 5 while away on World Cup duty.
Colorado – Conor Casey expressed his bemusement with his omission from the U.S. squad and it's hard to blame him. The emergence of Edson Buddle and Herculez Gomez plus Brian Ching's return to fitness made it a numbers game and the hulking forward lost out to players in superior form. Will the snub spur Casey to improve his domestic performances or send him into a funk?
Columbus – Tuesday marked the worst case scenario for Robert Warzycha: Chad Marshall and Robbie Rogers found a home in the American squad despite their apparently distant hopes for a spot in the final 23, while all-around good guy and little-used substitute Duncan Oughton failed to make New Zealand's delegation. Marshall and Rogers will miss a crucial top-of-the-table clash at New York on May 20 and likely won't return in time for a difficult trip to Kansas City three days later. Columbus would definitely like to have both Marshall and Rogers back for the trip to Los Angeles on May 29 if they are deemed surplus to requirements. Frankie Hejduk missed out on a call-up, however, and will remain with the Crew.
D.C. United – Pim Verbeek likes to pick Australians who play outside of their native land, but Danny Allsopp never really entered the reckoning.
FC Dallas – Heath Pearce still faces a fight to make the final 23 after earning a spot on the preliminary roster, but FCD will be able to cope either way with Jair Benitez able to deputize at left back and Zach Loyd a capable option on the right side. Pearce will miss a home date with Los Angeles (May 20) and a trip to Chicago (May 27) as he attempts to book a place on the plane. Jeff Cunningham played his way out of contention with his wastefulness in front of goal this season.
Houston – Brian Ching will look at the forward group called into camp and believe he has a spot assured in the final 23 if he can prove his fitness after a hamstring injury. Houston has played well enough without Ching to suggest his absence for four matches – including home dates with strugglers D.C. United (May 22) and Philadelphia (May 29) and difficult trips to New York (June 2) and Los Angeles (June 5) – wouldn't cause any undue harm. Dominic Kinnear will count himself lucky that Brad Davis didn't earn the shock recall his recent form may have substantiated.
Kansas City – Roger Espinoza just about earned his spot on the Honduran roster with his form at left back this season. The Wizards will likely to look to Michael Harrington to fill the void when Espinoza misses home matches against Columbus (May 23) and Philadelphia (June 10) and away dates with Real Salt Lake (May 29) and Toronto FC (June 5). Jimmy Conrad's World Cup chances seemingly evaporated at the moment he drew a first-half red card as captain in a friendly against Honduras earlier this year, though one has to wonder how a player goes from captain to afterthought so briskly.
Los Angeles – Bruce Arena has worked his magic this season, but he'll need to conjure up something special if Edson Buddle joins Landon Donovan in South Africa. The pair will skip at least the trips to FC Dallas (May 20) and Columbus (May 29) while in camp, but Donovan will miss at least two more games – a home date with Houston (June 5) and a trip to Real Salt Lake (June 9) – while the U.S. is in South Africa. Losing Buddle – in addition to Donovan – for that amount of time could present some problems for the in-form Galaxy.
New England – Steve Nicol can't find enough players to name a full 18-man squad for matches right now, but at least he won't have to worry about any further issues caused by the World Cup.
New York – While Andrew Boyens is surely happy to earn a spot on New Zealand's World Cup roster, his absence won't really impact the starting XI unless Mike Petke or Tim Ream picks up a knock.
Philadelphia – Not even Fred's more famous namesake earned a sniff for a spot in Brazil's World Cup squad.
Real Salt Lake – After an injury-plagued and indifferent start to the season, Robbie Findley may use his inclusion in the U.S. preliminary squad to provide a boost to his domestic form even if he doesn't earn an unlikely spot in the final 23. With Fabian Espindola and Alvaro Saborio in the fold, RSL won't miss Findley too much for the trip to Chivas USA (May 22) and the visit by Kansas City (May 29), though he could return to the Claret-and-Cobalt in time for the latter fixture.
San Jose – Bobby Convey probably didn't need another affront to keep him motivated after the motivational boost provided by a halftime withdrawal in the season-opening defeat to Real Salt Lake, but his comments in the wake of his anticipated omission from the U.S. preliminary roster suggest he could use this snub as fuel to maintain his fine recent form.
Seattle – Blaise Nkufo will play for Switzerland in South Africa before linking up with Sounders FC in the summer. Given his side's problems in front of goal, Seatte coach Sigi Schmid will hope the veteran striker comes through the event without picking up an injury.
Toronto FC – Former playmaker Amado Guevara will make his World Cup bow with Honduras, but Canada's persistent struggles in CONCACAF qualifying ensured no TFC player will make the trip.
Kyle McCarthy writes the Monday MLS Breakdown and frequently writes opinion pieces during the week for Goal.com. He also covers the New England Revolution for the Boston Herald and MLSsoccer.com. Contact him with your questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter by clicking here.
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