Held back with intent by national team boss Bruce Arena, the roster for the United States national team for Wednesday’s World Cup qualifier has been left mostly unknown.
But now various reports are peeling back some of the layers of Arena’s squad, and the team that will face Jamaica in Kingston tomorrow evening is being revealed. At the same time, Arena has voiced his lack of concern in making his team known with more than a hint of gamesmanship in the air.
“Why do we need to release the roster?” said Arena to the Washington Post. “We know what the roster is. We’re the only ones who need to know. We don’t see any value in it.”
Arena’s team is an experienced one for the most part, his cards clearly showing a desire to start this round of qualification with a team that knows how to play on the road in a difficult Caribbean environment.
“It would be a challenge if we didn’t know each other, but we’ve been together a lot over the years,” Arena said. “That’s why in this particular
game you tend to lean on an experienced roster. Imagine bringing in newcomers in this situation for a qualifier on the road?”
“The Office” in Kingston is a difficult place to play in, much less take three points from. In goal, experience is personified by the duo of Kasey
Keller and Tony Meola. Jonny Walker is the third member of the trio currently in Miami training, but it is likely that Arena will take his veteran pair to Jamaica, with Keller starting despite his early season demotion to number two at Tottenham.
The list of defenders is a familiar one as well; the least experience member of the six-man group is central defender Cory Gibbs, but the Dallas Burn centerback may earn a start alongside Eddie Pope. Carlos Bocanegra or Gibbs will partner Pope in the heart of the American defense, with Greg Vanney set to be on the left side and either Steve Cherundolo or Frankie Hejduk on the right.
In midfield, Arena is likely to go with a well-known foursome of Chris Armas, DaMarcus Beasley, Landon Donovan, and Claudio Reyna. As of late, Arena’s preferred box midfield will give Beasley and Donovan the chance to freelance in attack while Armas and Reyna support the back four while distributing to the attackers.
Available off the bench could be Eddie Lewis and Kerry Zavagnin. Late additions were the veteran duo of Cobi Jones and Earnie Stewart, plus 17 year-old newcomer Eddie Gaven. Gaven is unlikely to make the matchday squad, and Jones was a replacement for the injured Chris Klein. Jones and Stewart are the clear examples of what Arena spoke about, that veteran presence he sees necessary on the road for a qualifying match. One of the two plus Lewis are likely substitutes for Arena.
In attack, one would think Brian McBride and Josh Wolff would be the starting partnership for the United States. There is an outside chance Brian Ching could be inserted, but again, the experience factor comes into play. Ching and Jovan Kirovski will be available for Arena if necessity or tactics call, while uncapped Dallas Burn striker Eddie Johnson is a longshot to be included in the gameday roster.
Original Article written by Aris Ohanessian
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