Breaking down the USMNT call ups
Bob Bradley called a young, inexperienced group of 24 players to participate in the three-week January camp that concludes on with a friendly against Chile on Jan. 22. The group averages just a shade over 23-years-old, and half are seeking their first caps. So just who are these guys?
Dominic Cervi (Glasgow Celtic) - The towering netminder is trapped behind Lukasz Zaluska and Fraser Forster at Celtic and is now on loan at Dundee. Will a half against Chile help him catch the eye of another club?
Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire) - One of six 2010 MLS rookies on the roster, Johnson has the most upside of the four keepers in camp. He started 13 matches for Chicago last season and traveled to Madrid earlier this month with the successful Generation adidas tour. This is his first camp.
Matt Pickens (Colorado Rapids) - The MLS Cup winner probably won't ever challenge for the No. 1 or No. 2 role, but he could find himself in the running for the third spot. He's been in the January camp before, in 2007 and in 2009.
Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake) - Despite having just four caps, RSL's trusty backstop goes to The Home Depot Center tied with Dax McCarty and Marvell Wynne as the second-most experienced player on the roster.
A.J. DeLaGarza (Los Angeles Galaxy) - The versatile player was the most unlikely of the Galaxy trio to receive a call, but he's fast, fit, and forward-thinking, just like Bradley prefers. He's appeared in at least 17 games each of his first two seasons in the league.
[inline_node:301906]Sean Franklin (Los Angeles Galaxy) - The 25-year-old earns his third call to the national team but is still seeking his first senior team cap. He played one match at the U-20 level.
Omar Gonzalez (Los Angeles Galaxy) - Bruce Arena's star center back will try to impress his current coach's successor. Gonzalez's national team career can only get easier after he earned his first start against Brazil during a friendly at Giants Stadium on Aug. 10.
Ugo Ihemelu (FC Dallas) - The FCD stalwart makes his second-straight January camp, four years after making his international debut against Norway.
Zach Loyd (FC Dallas) - The fifth pick in the 2010 MLS SuperDraft is one of two big surprise out of the Big D. His youth serves as further proof that Bradley has his gaze fixed firmly on the future. Loyd appeared in 24 regular season games for FCD and all four postseason matches.
Ryan Miller (Halmstads) - Cue the Sheryl Crow: A change did Miller—who flamed out with Columbus and D.C. before finding a home in Sweden—good.
Tim Ream (New York Red Bulls) - After his performance with the US team in South Africa last month, the center back of the future looks increasingly like he could be the center back of the present.
Anthony Wallace (Colorado Rapids) - The 21-year-old left back has always been a tantalizing prospect. Is 2011 the year that he transforms promise into production? He appeared in a career-high nine games in 2010, including the MLS Cup final.
Marvell Wynne (Colorado Rapids) - The onetime bluechip prospect matured greatly in 2010, transforming from a speedy wingback to a speedy center back. He needs to continue that trajectory if he's going to transition from "solid MLS player" to "national team contributor."
Eric Alexander (FC Dallas) - The other huge surprise from Dallas, Alexander watched from the bench during MLS Cup, but he gained valuable experience during 17 appearances for his club. A product of the University of Indiana, he will get more in California.
Alejandro Bedoya (Örebro) - Six caps are all the Allsvenskan rising star needs to be the most experienced player in camp. Will that translate to a leadership role?
Sam Cronin (San Jose Earthquakes) - The 2009 Gold Cup veteran is looking to make a second appearance during the 2011 version. He's got the talent to claim a solid place on the Americans' B squad.
Mikkel Diskerud (Stabæk) - "Mix" is one of the camp's most exciting players. Witness his sublime assist against South Africa if you need any further proof. Now he must show consistency.
[inline_node:323130]Jeff Larentowicz (Colorado Rapids) - A nice reward for one of MLS's most consistently underrated players. Injuries have hampered his international prospects in the past, so this is the 27-year-old's shot to make an impression.
Dax McCarty (D.C. United) - The box-to-box midfielder gets some deserved recognition with this call up. His biggest hindrance, though, is that Bradley doesn't really need another box-to-box midfielder.
Brek Shea (FC Dallas) - He's listed as a midfielder, but will Shea play center back, where he starred for the Generation adidas side in Spain?
Juan Agudelo (New York Red Bulls) - So young. So full of potential. The 17-year-old will have a great opportunity to show that he's willing to work to improve—something he must do if he's going to meet the already somewhat outlandish expectations being thrust on him.
Justin Braun (Chivas USA) - The forward missed out on getting a cap during the 2010 camp, but he has a good chance of earning his first against Chile.
Teal Bunbury (Sporting Kansas City) - The USMNT's 2011 breakout striker? Stay tuned.
Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes) - MLS' Golden Boot winner obviously deserved a call. Once he got his shot, he took it, showing an uncanny ability to score timely, important goals. Can he do it at the next level?
Noah Davis covers the United States national team for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on Twitter at @noahedavis.