Tuesday, December 30, 2008

5 Crew Mates On Board With U.S.A.

By Gory Guerrero

Five Columbus Crew members have been tapped by Bob Bradley on the 25-man roster for the January U.S. National team training camp.

Top of the list: Chad Marshall. Just yesterday, there were those who were questioning El Luchador’s prediction that Marshall’s decision to stay with the Crew in 2009 enhances his prospects for a call-up. Voila. Next stop: South Africa.

Also on the very young list: goal keeper Will Hesmer, midfielders Brian Carroll and Eddie Gaven, and midfielder-forward Robbie Rogers.

"This is the beginning of a big year for the national team, and it is important that we get started off heading in the right direction," Bradley is quoted on MLSnet. "This is another great opportunity to reinforce the principles of how this team operates both on and off the field, as well as getting players ready for the match against Sweden and the first World Cup qualifier this year against Mexico in February."

The training camp begins Jan. 4 at the National Training Center at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California. The 25 will train for the United States’ first 2009 match-up, a friendly against Sweden 8 p.m. EST on Jan. 24 at The Home Depot Center. The game is scheduled to be broadcast live on Fox Soccer Channel.

Of course this means that members of Crew Soccer Nation likely will have an opportunity to see five of their own in action on Feb. 11 in the World Cup qualifer against Mexico.

Hesmer will have to compete with Goalkeeper of the Year and former Crew man Jon Busch (Chicago Fire), Troy Perkins (Valerenga IF) and Matt Pickens (out of contract).

There are only two veterans on the young team, Cory Gibbs (Colorado Rapids) and Brian Ching (Houston Dynamo).Clearly, Bradley is pursuing an Arsene Wenger-style young blood strategy.

That’s fine, but where is Frankie Hejduk?

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