The U.S. national team depth chart is clearly in transition. It certainly is a tricky time to assign order as the value of "potential" is elevated slightly for the time being.
On the other hand, U.S. coach
With just one match remaining in a busy year, here's where things seem to stand in terms of how Bradley sees the squad:
If Guzan, 26, claims a starting assignment at Aston Villa or elsewhere, this could become a tighter tug-of-war than many think. Hahnemann, 38, probably won't appear in as many future camps, but he remains a quality 'keeper and Bradley always knows where to find him.
In the long view, Bradley should probably consider looking at young men to begin apprenticing internationally. Chicago Fire rookie
Lichaj's peppy performance against Colombia on Tuesday provides some hope that something more resides in the pipeline. But for now, no one can unseat the best right back the U.S has ever had. Wynne is a distant No. 4 -- especially as he has played center back more often than right back for Colorado this year.
Demerit's place comes with an asterisk since he's without a side (but leaning toward joining MLS in January). Gonzalez and Ream are guys who will probably find themselves in the (always MLS-heavy) January U.S. camp. Ream has yet to appear in a camp (as Gonzalez has) but his time is surely coming, considering his important place for a New York Red Bulls side doing so well.
Parkhurst is the really intriguing figure here, someone who could potentially climb the depth chart over the next year. Bradley singled out the brainy defender's play lately in Denmark and his 45 minutes in Tuesday's scoreless draw in Philadelphia.
"Tonight you can see some of Michael's ability to read situations and plays," Bradley said. "He sniffs things out quite well. The only question that always exists is can he do that at the highest level."
Edu does OK but still needs seasoning and a few more tricks up his sleeve. He can't command a game or protect possession as Bradley or Jones can. Torres was higher on the list just six months ago, and has a World Cup appearance to prove it. Unfortunately, it wasn't a good World Cup performance. So, opportunity squandered, he has probably fallen on the chart. Holden has probably already lapped him.
Holden is better on the right but versatile enough to play on the left (or centrally, even), and his ability to provide quality free kicks and corner kicks is a bonus. Feilhaber's appearance reminds everyone that fans, media and the federation can bang on about progress, but the pool remains shallow in some spots. It's not that he's bad; he's just really not an outside midfielder. But he becomes an option because guys like Rogers and Torres are dragged down by notable deficiencies.
The list is so unstable that even
Braun did a lot with very little help around him at Chivas USA this year. He looks like a faster, more athletic version of Ching. Six weeks ago, Wondolowski wouldn't be in this conversation any more than long-retired
Perhaps Braun or Wondolowski can bridge the gap between performance in league and international play better than Buddle, Gomez or Findley, all of whom remain in the pool for lack of better options. Bunbury will have to choose between the United States or Canada before qualifiers begin. Davies' status is anyone's guess -- he's back playing but still not 100 percent and off-the-field incidents have also become an issue.
The coach would love to see one or two of these guys seize the opportunity. Speaking specifically of the big pool of forwards, Bradley said: "We continue to size up different guys and different options. The bottom line still is that like a lot of countries in the world, we continue to look for players that we think at the international level can really have a presence and score goals. That's an ongoing search for sure. We feel we've got some different options, but at the same time it's an area where we'd like to improve."