The United States announced its 23-man World Cup team in a live ceremony Wednesday at ESPN headquarters in Bristol.
The lone shock was veteran forward Bring Ching's omission and Robbie Findley getting the nod in his place. Findley did not play in Tuesday night's friendly match against the Czech Republic, so it was widely assumed that he wouldn't be considered. We'll find out more on why he's in and Ching is out later on. For now, here's the squad:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Tim Howard, Brad Guzan, Marcus Hahnemann
DEFENDERS (7): Carlos Bocanegra, Jonathan Bornstein, Steve Cherundolo, Jay DeMerit, Clarence Goodson, Oguchi Onyewu, Jonathan Spector
MIDFIELDERS (9): DaMarcus Beasley, Michael Bradley, Ricardo Clark, Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan, Maurice Edu, Benny Feilhaber, Stuart Holden, Jose Francisco Torres
FORWARDS (4): Jozy Altidore, Edson Buddle, Robbie Findley, Herculez Gomez
Ching, 32, has 44 caps and has scored 11 goals for the national team and was hoping to make his second World Cup team. He was included in the 2006 squad, but never played a minute.
“Plain and simple Edson and Herculez have had real good stretches, scored a lot of goals,” Bradley said. “Brian has been such an important player, but it’s tough when you have an injury at an inopportune time.”
“Don't really have anything to say at this point beside disappointed,” Ching said in a text message to the Houston Chronicle, which covers his MLS team, the Houston Dynamo.
The absence of Ching isn't as shocking as who took his spot.
Findley, 24, has four caps and zero goals at the international level. The start of his MLS season has been a struggle, having only netted one goal in Real Salt Lake's first eight games before departing for training camp. Needless to say, this was not expected, but he does give the United States the some late-game speed off the bench in the absence of injured striker Charlie Davies.
The inclusion of DaMarcus Beasley was somewhat of a surprise, but obviously head coach Bob Bradley felt his experience and speed on the wing would be useful in South Africa. This will be Beasley's third World Cup. His inclusion comes at the expense of Boston College product and fellow winger Alejandro Bedoya and midfielders Robbie Rogers and Sacha Kljestan. Many thought Bedoya deserved the spot, but it'll be Beasley instead.
The other players who were on the 30-man team, but failed to make the final cut, include defenders Heath Pearce and Chad Marshall and forward Eddie Johnson. Pearce was challenging Bornstein for a spot at left back, while Marshall was a backup central defender, though the emergence of Clarence Goodson in that role sent him packing. Eddie Johnson was always a long shot, and didn't do enough in his 45 minutes of play against the Czech Republic to warrant a spot.
The United States will face Turkey this Saturday in Philadelphia in its final game on American soil before leaving for South Africa. Unlike last night in East Hartford, where seven regulars did not dress for the game, Bradley is expected to start a lineup similar to the one we may see against England June 12.
The average age of this year's roster is just under 27 years old (26.96), while the average amount of caps for the team is 34. Those numbers are down from 2006, when the average age was 28.5 and the average amount caps was 44. Donovan, Beasley and Cherundolo are playing in their third World Cups, while Dempsey, Bocanegra, Hahnemann, Howard and Onyewu will be playing in their second. For the other 15 players, this is their first World Cup.
Eight members of the team are coming off professional season in England -- seven in the Premiership and one (DeMerit) in the Championship. Four players hail from the MLS, three from the Bundesliga and two each from Mexico and Scotland. The last four players ply their trade in Denmark (Feilhaber), Norway (Goodson), Italy (Onyewu) and France (Bocanegra).