Looming Gold Cup roster questions 

May, 4, 2011

The Gold Cup is closing in, and with it comes some interesting decisions for U.S. head coach Bob Bradley. Looking at the calendar, what sticks out is how little wiggle room Bradley has to select a roster and prepare for the tournament, the first competition that counts for the U.S. since the World Cup.

Last year Bradley called in 30 players to the pre-World Cup camp and was able to observe bubble players in training before whittling the group down to the final 23 slots. Bradley had the luxury of seeing, for example, Brian Ching and Herculez Gomez on the same field before deciding on Gomez. This year provides no such luxury. CONCACAF rules call for Bradley to submit his 23-man Gold Cup roster no later than May 21, a few days before training camp starts in Cary, N.C. Once the roster is in, substitutions are allowed only for injury.

If he wanted to, Bradley could call in more than 23 players to the camp, with the possibility that some of the extras could see action in the June 4 friendly against Spain in Foxboro, Mass, but that's unlikely. There's only a week of training before that match and because of the cancellation of the February friendly in Egypt, the Yanks' regulars badly need minutes together before the Gold Cup opener against Canada on June 7 in Detroit.

Some tough questions must be answered in the next three weeks, then. Here are few of them:

Is Charlie Davies ready to don a Yanks shirt again?

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.