Bob Bradley's tough Gold Cup decisions 

February, 16, 2011

Bob Bradley has his work cut out for him this summer. Sure, wresting the Gold Cup from Mexico will be a difficult challenge for the U.S. coach, but it could be child's play compared to picking the roster for the tournament.

Back in September, we put together a preliminary U.S. squad for CONCACAF's biannual championship. In the five short months since, the pool has deepened considerably.

Last weekend, over 20 Americans saw meaningful minutes in top European leagues. Some (Eddie Johnson, Eric Lichaj and Jozy Altidore) were loanees seeing their first action with their new teams after warming benches with their parent clubs. A few more (Jose Torres, Jonathan Bornstein and Herculez Gomez) got time in the Mexican Primera.

And the pool will only deepen when MLS resumes next month, as Tim Ream, Jay DeMerit, Teal Bunbury, Omar Gonzalez, Juan Agudelo and others (including perhaps, Charlie Davies, who officially signed with D.C. United on Wednesday) will get to make weekly cases for inclusion.

In short, some very good players will be left at home this summer.

Luke Cyphers is a former senior writer for ESPN The Magazine.
Doug McIntyre is a staff writer for ESPN The Magazine. He has covered American and international soccer since 2002.