Home > MNT Lineups > Let’s Add Seven Men

Let’s Add Seven Men

On Wednesday, CONCACAF announced that, on a going-forward basis, any team playing in the Confederations Cup and Gold Cup in the same year, may name 30 players to their roster instead of the normal 23.  The game day roster remains at 18.

This has naturally fueled discussion among soccer fans about who Bob Bradley should name.  A couple of commentators have encouraged him to select even more prospects:  either for the purpose of getting a look at them or capping them in a tournament match.  (see, e.g., The Post, Project 2010 )  And another blog suggests it will be a way to let specific players, e.g., McBride, play in front of home crowds.

The problem is that CONCACAF didn’t award these extra roster spots to add more fringe players.  Check out the announcement:

In light of the consecutive competitions, the Confederations Cup and the Gold Cup, with the objective of providing the best performance possible for the public, and in recognition that the back-to-back tournaments strain players and their clubs, CONCACAF will give permission to any team who also is participating in the Confederations Cup in the same year to enlarge their roster to 30 from the 23 already permitted.

It seems clear to us that CONCACAF’s goal in the rule change is to permit players who participated in the Confederations Cup (i.e., a team’s A squad) to participate in the Confederations Cup.  The “best performance possible for the public” is from fielding the best possible teams and the strain of back-to-back tournaments on “players and their clubs” only affects those players who appear on both rosters.

Frankly, CONCACAF has opened a wide door for the U.S. to name A-teamers:  Torres, Altidore, Feilhaber, Spector, Bornstein, Clark, and Kljestan.  (Or Bradley if it helps nullify his suspension in time for the Mexico qualifier.)  And once named, those players do not have to appear on a game-day roster.  So, Coach Bradley could name them and keep them officially on the roster while working out with their club teams.  And if the younger players look like they need help winning the Gold Cup, Bradley can call in the reinforcements.

Admittedly, this will upset Mexico, whose decision to send its B team was probably affected by the knowledge that the U.S. was doing the same.  Mexico now must worry that the U.S. could name Donovan, who would be available to swoop in for a Final against it.

There are so few slots legitimately open for the World Cup squad and a clear suggestion from CONCACAF that the purpose of the rule is to field a ‘better’ team.  The U.S. has earned an advantage:  a chance to bring in starters after its rival has committed to a B team.  It would be a waste to simply add more players who have no realistic shot at the World Cup squad.  Bob can add seven young players, or seven men who have established themselves for the national team.  Let’s add seven men.

Note:  The idea for this post and the list of ringers are from wjmooner.

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Categories: MNT Lineups
  1. Ryan Noel
    July 2, 2009 at 12:25 am

    I think we won’t see too many “A” team players get a call, simply because they need some rest before the Azteca trip.

    My issues with this mainly rest with CONCACAF. It’s foolish for them to hold this tournament every two years, rather than every four like the rest of the world.

    Mexico, Canada, and the US are all sending “B” team players, mainly because the tournament counts for nothing.

    If CONCACAF wants better players and better numbers, it’s in their interest to stop having the tournament every other year and start having it 2 years after every World Cup (like the Euros, etc).

    This is just a veiled attempt by CONCACAF to get Bradley to add some of his “stars” and drive attendance numbers up in the big American stadiums.

  2. Michael
    July 2, 2009 at 7:18 am

    At least the Euros qualification process starts shortly after the World Cup, so teams still play regular, meaningful games afterwards. The U.S. team had to sit on its hands and wait for 2007 to come before they could get back on the field.

    I think there’s a bit of pride with any tournament. Especially when you’ve won it two times in a row and three of the last four. It can be a statement. And if there’s a U.S.-Mexico final, you know that winning will mean something.

    Yes, CONCACAF wants some stars at the tournament but give them credit: they’ve given the U.S. a gift-wrapped way to incorporate their stars only if they needed them. It’s low-risk and low-reward for the U.S. but ultimately beating Mexico in the Gold Cup final would be nice. (The Azteca’s always tough for us, rested or no, but making sure that we keep Mexico reeling leading up to it would have some subtle advantages.)

  3. wjmooner
    July 2, 2009 at 10:37 am

    You touched on this above, but how furious must Mexico be at this development, especially if the USA takes the bait and stocks the team with “A” squad guys for the semi-finals and finals. Although certainly not agreed upon, there did appear to be an implicit understanding that Mexico would send their “B” team and the USA would do the same.

    I, for one, am looking forward to seeing whether the CONCACAF stars of the 2007 U-20 World Cup can prove they deserve more playing time with their squads. As much as we worry about Freddinho, Mexicans must be besides themselves with the career of Gio Dos Santos.

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