With a meaningless final match set for tomorrow night, let's move onto more important matters and begin our discussion of the problem areas and what the potential solutions might be for the U23 national team in the Olympics. Of course as you know, each team is allowed to bring three senior players to add to the mix. I think our biggest needs are...
1. A wing back - Although I think Nate Sturgis has played well enough to win the left wide back spot, I still don't like our options so far on the right. Marvel Wynne, although intimidating, has still not impressed me, and it's definitely not Kamani Hill's natural position. The obvious choice here is Steve Cherundolo.
2. Leadership in the back - Between Chris Seitz, Jonathan Spector, and Michael Orozco, I just don't see a vocal leader on defense. The team's defense clearly improved with the addition of Spector in the Canada game, but we could still use some more help. Nowak's got a couple of options here... One would be to bring in a proven leader in USMNT captain Carlos Bocanegra, or maybe Jay DeMerit (captain for Watford) if Boca is unavailable. OR Piotr could use this slot to bring on board a keeper, preferably Tim Howard or Brad Friedel.
3. Landon Donovan - He's already said that he'd "love to go", and he's our all-time leading goalscorer, so why not? Donovan has been the face of American soccer for almost a decade now. But maybe that's the problem. Maybe there's some conspiracy at hand to leave Landon at home so Freddy Adu can be the NEW face of American soccer. Eh, doubtful.
But these three seniors aren't the only players we'll get to add. Michael Bradley is sure to be added to the Olympic roster also, and maybe even Robbie Rogers, who was supposedly injured prior to qualifying (although he's been playing for the Crew in preseason). So for argument's sake, let's assume the additions of Cherundolo, Bocanegra, Donovan, Bradley, and Rogers. Now then what players who worked hard to earn a qualification do we leave home from the actual event? Chad Barrett is an obvious choice because, well, he sucked in qualifying. I prefer Kamani Hill over Wynne, but Nowak doesn't, so he stays home too. Adding Rogers as an attacking wide midfielder means that we won't have to suffer through watching Robbie Findley again. With Dolo and Boca in the mix, we now have little need for Hunter Freeman. That's four... The last one is tough because I think we're going to have to cut one of our competent midfielders. I would have no problem if Nowak decided to leave out Kljestan, but it appears more likely that Sal Zizzo will be the last man looking for a chair when the music stops.