One month away.
That's how close we are to finding out which 23 players Bob Bradley will select to represent the United States at the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
While the nucleus of the squad is pretty much set in stone, there are still some positions in a state of flux.
Take the forward position, where you have young sensation Juan Agudelo suddenly not starting for the New York Red Bulls, Charlie Davies off to a great start with D.C. United and Herculez Gomez on another hot streak in Mexico.
Then you have midfield, where Bob Bradley has even more options to choose from. Ricardo Clark is getting good minutes in Germany and may force his way into the mix, while Benny Feilhaber's move to MLS could help him solidify a place on the roster.
We only have two changes in the April roster projection who weren't in last month's squad. Who are they? Check them out in our April edition of the USA Gold Cup projected roster:
PROJECTED 2011 Gold Cup Roster
GOALKEEPERS– Tim Howard, Marcus Hahnemann, Brad Guzan
DEFENDERS– Carlos Bocanegra, Steve Cherundolo, Oguchi Onyewu, Timmy Chandler, Clarence Goodson, Jonathan Spector, Eric Lichaj, Tim Ream
MIDFIELDERS– Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones, Maurice Edu, Sacha Kljestan, Benny Feilhaber, Alejandro Bedoya
FORWARDS– Jozy Altidore, Juan Agudelo, Herculez Gomez, Teal Bunbury
Here are some thoughts on the picks:
GOALKEEPER– No changes, and now with Sean Johnson off to a rough start in MLS, it looks as though David Yelldell is the best option to crack the squad. As for Guzan's availability, he is getting married this summer, but could still potentially be included as the third goalkeeper and be available for the later part of the tournament. If Bradley decides he doesn't want to deal with that, Yelldell could be the pick. If Bradley decides on bringing in an MLS third goalkeeper, Nick Rimando looks like the best bet.
DEFENDERS– Goodson is back in, beating out Jay DeMerit, who has been struggling with injuries. The quest for a viable left back continues, and now Heath Pearce has moved to centerback with Chivas USA, giving Bradley one less option there. Timmy Chandler's foot injury doesn't appear likely to keep him out of the Gold Cup.
MIDFIELDERS– This group remained the same even though Ricardo Clark is really making a case for inclusion. Jose Torres is also seeing regular time with Pachuca again, but he seems unlikely to break through. Alejandro Bedoya was a surprise inclusion to some last month, but he's off to a red-hot start in Sweden, only solidifying his place. Looking at this group you wonder if Bradley wouldn't want one more winger, but the lack of true wing options makes it unlikely.
FORWARDS– Charlie Davies has to be talked about. The speed is there, and while he's still not fully sharp, he's definitely in the conversation now. Knowing Bradley, I'd bet on him leaving Davies to continue progressing with D.C. United rather than pulling him into the squad. That said, if he calls Davies into a camp, and likes what he sees, we just might see the return of CD9 to the national team mix. Herculez Gomez makes the squad over Davies because he's a different kind of forward, so Davies isn't really competing with Gomez, but more so with Agudelo and Bunbury. Gomez edges out Edson Buddle right now.
What do you think of the squad? Which players do you think should be on the squad? Which players do you are you surprised to see included in our projection?
Share your thoughts below.