PBP:World Cup Roster Union to Play Houston

Only one real surprise omission on USA’s World Cup squad.

When the U.S. National Team announced their 23 man roster for the World Cup, there was one glaring omission. I was not the only surprised person to learn that Houston Dynamo forward Brian Ching would not be going to South Africa. 

Ching had been recovering from a hamstring injury suffered in his first MLS game of the 2010 season. While he was cleared to play, I think the injury surely hurt his chances to make the team. I’m not sure what other reason there could have been to leave him out. I had thought that Eddie Johnson, Robbie Findley and Herculez Gomez were all fighting for one forward spot. Instead, with Ching’s exit, it was actually two spots that were open.   

So the USA enters this World Cup with these four forwards: Jozy Altidore, Edson Buddle, Robbie Findley, and Herculez Gomez, who have a combined zero World Cup games under their belt. What they have is some size and some speed.

Does this mean in a 4-4-2 formation that Edson Buddle will now start beside Jozy Altidore? Remember, Head Coach Bob Bradley can also play the experienced Landon Donovan or Clint Dempsey in a forward role as well, or he could go with a lone striker for game one vs England.

For now let’s congratulate the clear winners here, and that’s Buddle, Gomez, and Findley. While Buddle and Gomez were in form, leading MLS and the Mexican League in goals respectively, Findley was dealing with some injuries and a slow start. Still, Bradley saw something in all three players and chose them over Ching. Bradley had a tough job to get this list down to 23. It’s up to those players now to show the U.S. leader that he has made all of the correct choices.

Next stop for the USA --- vs Turkey, Saturday at the Linc. Then it’s on to South Africa.

As for the Union, they are back in action following a two week break. They are healthy and well rested as they go into Houston to face the Dynamo. Can the Union pick up where they left off in their 1-1 draw vs FC Dallas on May 15th? Philly will have to minimize mistakes vs a veteran team like Houston. Brian Ching returns after his disappointment of not making the WC roster. 

You also have Brad Davis in a playmaking role, and the ageless Pat Onstad in goal. Onstad is back from Canada’s game vs Argentina. In that 5-0 friendly loss, Onstad set a record for caps earned by a Canadian goalkeeper, with 57. Houston defender Andrew Hainault also played a full 90 in that game.  

For Philadelphia, team defense is key. You don’t go into a Houston game expecting to score a bunch of goals. Getting the first goal would be a great start for the Union. They’ve only done that once, and that was in the DC game that they won 3-2.

There are 6 other MLS games on Saturday with all eyes watching the LA at Columbus game. The Crew get Robbie Rogers and Chad Marshall back from the National Team, while the Galaxy begin life without not just Landon Donovan, but now Edson Buddle as well. Columbus has to be at least a slight favorite because of all of those reasons, plus home field advantage.  

Enjoy your soccer weekend.

Download the FREE MLS App

Follow the Union's scores, updates, highlights, analysis and more.