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With the recent transfer of Charlie Davies from Hammarby to Sochaux, he is now leaving the Gold Cup squad to join up with his new team. He is now the fourth player to leave the squad.

The other three were Freddy Adu, Micheal Parkhurst, and Steve Churundolo.

The loss of Davies leaves a US attacking group that is a little toothless. Ching, Cooper and Santino Quaranta are the remaining forwards in the squad while Jozy Altidore can be brought in if necessary. I doubt Altidore comes back, as he will either be returning to Villareal, or moving on loan to another club to gain playing time. Cooper hasn’t had a great tournament and Ching is returning from an injury which will lessen the power of the attacking duo for the rest of the tournament.

Freddy Adu’s return to Benfica happened last week and his absence really won’t be missed. He has had a mediocre tournament in his two appearances and did not climb the mountain like I hoped he would. He had a few moments of skill, but even more moments of disappointment. He will need to find playing time somewhere, and should be loaned out again. The best move for him would be to move to a club in Sweden, or Denmark where he can get playing time, and slowly build his confidence back up to where it should be.

Micheal Parkhurst was not on his best form in this tournament, and did not help his cause for playing time with the US Men’s National Team as the other centerbacks in the player’s pool look stronger and stronger. He moved back to his club in Denmark, Nordsjaelland.

Steve Cherundolo was good in the tournament, providing some great crosses and anchoring that right side of the defense. He will be missed, as the other right backs in the squad are pretty meagre. Brad Evans has played a few games there, but he is a natural midfielder, while Jay Heaps’ performance against Haiti shows that he is not of USMNT quality. Sam Cronin has played a few games as a right back for Toronto.

Of note as well is the absence of Benny Feilhaber, who was brought in for two games from the extra players allotted to the US team for their performance in the Confederations Cup. He has moved back to his club as well so that he could begin preseason training.

This is how I see the team lining up in the Semi-Finals.

Ching——–Cooper

Rogers—————–Beckerman————-Cronin—————-Holden

Pearce——————–Marshall—————–Conrad—————-Evans

–Perkins–

The midfield is still very good, and Holden has been a beast recently, so I still think the team reaches the final, but I don’t know if they can become champion without more of a strike force, and better right back.

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A new semi regular column is going up soon here on the 2-6.

The twentysixpanels book review will look at the biographies, case studies and novels that have defined the world of football and soccer through the decades. It will be a way for readers to familiarize themselves on the better books on soccer around the world. Here is just a sampling of what will be covered this summer and fall.

Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby

Among the Thugs by Bill Buford

Soccer in Sun and Shadow by Eduardo Galeano

The Beckham Experiment by Grant Wahl

How Soccer Explains the World by Franklin Foer

And hopefully others, if I can get them read, which include:

Inverting the Pyramid: The History of Football Tactics by Jonathan Wilson

Brilliant Orange The Neurotic Genius of Dutch Soccer by David Winner

First post should be up in the next few days. What’s your favorite soccer book? Excited for The Beckham Experiment? Let me know in the comments.

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US Gold Cup 2007

On Saturday, the USMNT starts the second tournament of it’s long summer against Grenada in the Gold Cup. The team will not be the same as the one that traveled to South Africa last month, but it looks to achieve many of the same goals as the A team achieved against the best teams in the world. The quality of opponents in the Gold Cup is lacking, however, a young, inexperienced American side will be able to learn a lot from this tournament as well as try to garner the attention of head coach Bob Bradley before the World Cup in 2010. The squad looks like this:

Goalkeepers: Jon Busch (Chicago Fire), Troy Perkins (IK Start), Luis Robles (Kaiserslautern)

Defenders: Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96), Jimmy Conrad (Kansas City Wizards), Clarence Goodson (IK Start), Jay Heaps (New England Revolution), Chad Marshall (Columbus Crew), Michael Parkhurst (Nordsjaellands), Heath Pearce (Hansa Rostock)

Midfielders: Davy Arnaud (Kansas City Wizards), Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Colin Clark (Colorado Rapids), Sam Cronin (Toronto FC), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders), Stuart Holden (Houston Dynamo), Logan Pause (Chicago Fire), Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew)

Forwards: Freddy Adu (AS Monaco), Brian Ching (Houston Dynamo), Kenny Cooper (FC Dallas), Charlie Davies (Hammarby), Santino Quaranta (D.C. United)

Seven players have also been allowed to be added to the pool since the Confederations Cup ended so close to the start of the Gold Cup. The US will still have an 18 man game day roster but, will be able to call in these players to individual games if the coach decides to do so.

These players are:

Jozy Altidore, Brad Guzan, Conor Casey, Sacha Kljestan, Benny Feilhaber, Jonathan Bornstein, and Ricardo Clark

The lineup I see Bradley using is this:

Ching————–Davies

Holden

Rogers—————————————————————————Adu

Pause

Pearce——————–Goodson—————Parkhurst—————–Cherundolo

However, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Holden and Adu switch places, or for Beckerman to come in for Pause. I also think we will see Jimmy Conrad and Chad Marshall in the center of defense at some point as well. The above lineup is what I would like to see for the first game against Grenada.

Honduras and Haiti are also in the United States’ group.

What do you think? Good lineup, or do you want to see somebody else in there getting some playing time? Wish someone who wasn’t called up would have been? Let me know in the comments.

I’ll be back later with some key players to watch in the tournament.

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