These aren't what you'd call crucial days for the US National Team. And as far as I'm concerned, Bob Bradley can call in whoever he wants. And yeah, I really should have a passing familiarity with the men who play in my favorite league, if only so my fantasy team doesn't stink up MFLS.
But for the first time since MLS began, someone has been called into Camp Nat that I have literally never heard of. Brian Edwards, goalkeeper, Toronto Footballing Canadians. Played in and started six games this year. 2-3-1, GAA 1.33.
Okay, then. Rimando, Busch and Hesmer have other things to worry about this week, and a quick scan through the rest of the league's rosters reveals various combinations of age, inadequacy, and foreignness. Surprised Matt Reis isn't getting the start, let alone snubbed from camp altogether - but not enough to make a federal case out of it. Bradley's presumably familiar with Mr. Reis' work.
It's the absence of other foreign-based players I was more surprised about. Yeah, the camp is heavily infested with Colorado Rapids. Yeah, the big news will probably be the big Texas showdown between Cooper and Ching for the coveted title of Someone Besides Eddie Freaking Johnson.
It's the absence of Orozco, Torres and Davies that struck me. Bradley saw much more of them in practice than I've seen any of them in their actual professional jobs, but I'm pretty sure this is one of those FIFA dates I've read so much about. LaBrocca and Clark are local boys, sure, but they have more of an upside than Torres? Sean Franklin is already better than Orozco? Bradley doesn't seem to be the sort to swallow Galaxy propaganda whole, but there we are.
I'm sure there are reasons Davies isn't being called in, but the future does not lie with Davy Arnaud or Conor Casey. Or with Chad Barrett. And while this may get me banned from the state of Texas...if I put a gun to your puppy's head, and made you choose between Davies, Ching or Cooper to score a goal for the US...you're certain about Brian Ching? Puppy murder certain? I don't think you're puppy murder certain. Not this week, you're not.
The future does lie with Sacha Kljestan, the youngest player on this roster (since Davies was left off), probably the most talented (his club teammate at camp has an argument, but not a super-fantastic one). Bradley's almost certainly going to hand the armband to Mastroeni, but this will be about Kljestan running the team. The guy's grown by leaps and bounds in the league, and a meaningless game against a truly desperate opponent will be great for him. Also glad to see Bornstein back in the mix after a troublesome season - wonder where he will play. He's the smallest guy on the roster, so despite his position listing I'm guessing not central defender, Preki.
Trinidad did benefit from US also-rans running out at Sport of Pain, and if the Footba Warriors can't get a point at home against a bunch of baseball-loving Commies they deserve an early cricket season. Still, I'm sure they were kind of hoping for Donovan and Howard. (Me too, I'd still much rather see T&T than Guatemala in the Hex, and why take chances?)