If I Ran the Zoo

I just turned twenty-three
What did you get for me?
I'm having a party, and you can't come!

- Too Much Joy

So, Bob, you ready to pick the World Cup team?

Great! By the way, Sunny said that we had to pick every single American at Everton. I know, I know, but he was insistent. Something about a toffee sponsorship.

Before we begin, there's one thing that we need to straighten out. We've all read a lot of misinformation, a lot of falsehoods, a lot of crap from people peddling an agenda. Well, it's time to set the record straight.


Yeah, that felt good. Now, back to the show.

Let's see how few MLS players I can get away with taking. For porpoises of comparison, thanks to the lazy crutch of Wikipedia - what do you want? US Soccer's website keeps giving me a 504 error:

1990: Looked this one up for fun, and maybe I should double-check with a reputable soccer site, because I'm pretty sure Tony Meola wasn't at Brighton then. Eh, life is too short to get things right. Anyway, Chris Sullivan was in Hungary, Peter Vermes was in Holland, Paul Caligiuri was in 2.Bundesliga. Only two official college players, and the rest played in clubs that were trying to milk NASL names.
1994: Six players out of 22 not signed with USSF.
1998: Six players out of 22 not from MLS.
2002: 11 out of 23. Woulda been 12, but Cherundolo replaced Armas. To this day, I enjoy pointing out that in 2002, MLS sent more players to the quarterfinals than Serie A.
2006: 11 out of 23.
2010: That's what we're here to decide.

GOALKEEPERS: God, these are the decisions that really hurt. The agonizing choices, the what-ifs, the - nah, just kidding. Gotta go with US goalkeeping veterans here: Howard, Guzan, and Bruce Arena. Or Kevin Hartman - it's not like he's going to be busy with club demands, apparently. Since Guzan is going to take the "young guy" spot, I think for the third keeper you have to go veteran, which means Hahnemann.

DEFENDERS: Gooch, Spector, DeMerit, Bocanegra, Cherundolo, and gosh, what do you mean the United States isn't deep? Every time you try to project a roster, it feels like you're a stewardess asking if any of the passengers knows how to fly a plane.

Anyhoo. God, who else? Goodson, Bornstein...ick. I wish I thought Simek was impressive during practice, or that the only reason he didn't get game time against Holland was that we were behind. Except, he didn't even dress for the game. Guess that answers that question.

I'm having a little trouble falling back in love with Heath Pearce, even if the alternative is Bornstein.

You know, for all the whining we do about lack of depth at forward, we're shallow as Paris Hilton in the back, because according to my math, we'll have to take all these meeps. Why oh why did Chad Marshall have to be so disappointing last month?

Unless you put me in charge, and let me have Conrad and Hejduk.

MIDFIELDERS: Dempsey, Beasley, Edu, Mike, Feilhaber, Clark, and Holden, because he was on his way to earning it before. Hey, I thought he was playing well, at least well enough for me to forget the Gold Cup Final for a minute or two.

The wild card here is Bedoya, one of the few guys who played no qualifiers who might have a realistic shot. People seemed to like how he played against Honduras, although all he needed to do there was put his shorts on waist-side up. I thought he was pretty good against Holland. I'm super-skeptical that Bradley's hasn't already picked all 23 players, but if he hasn't, Bedoya's probably the guy on the fence.

FORWARDS: Donovan, Altidore, Davies (knock wood), Casey, and (sigh) Hawaii 5-0. But I've had a buttful of seeing Donovan stranded on the damn wing. Give me one reason why it shouldn't be Donovan and Jozy up top.

("Because Charlie Davies might be healthy.")

Okay, give me two reasons.

Oh, yeah, Eddie Johnson. I refuse to believe he's a candidate, but Bob did call him in. Do we have someone tracking Bob's travel arrangements? If he's doing any scouting in Greece, I'm fearing the worst. Christ, he might take Freddy while he's at it.

So, here's who I think Bob has picked.

1 - Tim HOWARD, Blue Liverpool
2 - Jonathan SPECTOR, Wham! UK
3 - Carlos BOCANEGRA, Stade Wherever
4 - Michael BRADLEY, Brushing Munchkingladbag
5 - Oguchi ONYEWU, Team Beckham
6 - Steve CHERUNDOLO, who's been at Hanover longer than the freaking English royal family
7 - DaMarcus BEASLEY, BMW
8 - Clint DEMPSEY, Don't Tread
9 - Charlie DAVIES, Bionic Man
10 - Landon DONOVAN, San Jose Earthquakes
11 - Brian CHING, Houston Default
12 - Jozy ALTIDORE, Hull Truth
13 - Jonathan BORNSTEIN, FC No, I Don't Like It Either
14 - Heath PEARCE, the best American left-back...Christ, he might be right
15 - Benny FEILHABER, Gold Cup legend
16 - Maurice EDU, Glasgow Ranger
17 - Ricardo CLARK, Eintracht Kraftwerk
18 - Brad GUZAN, the second-best American keeper in all Birmingham
19 - Conor CASEY, nationally ranked
20 - Jay DeMERIT, MLS reject
21 - Clarence GOODSON, IK Bench
22 - Stuart HOLDEN, Notlob
23 - Jack SHEPHARD, annoying spinal surgeon...wait, no, that's from "Lost"
23 - Marcus HAHNEMANN, the third-best American keeper in the whole West Midlands
Alternates - Alejandro BEDOYA, Ourobouros; Troy PERKINS, Washington DC United; Sacha KLJESTAN, over my dead body