Evaluating Gold Cup performances 

June, 29, 2011

After watching seven games in three weeks -- including the June 4 friendly against Spain -- we know a lot more about the current group of national teamers than we did a month ago.

The takeaway? Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan, Michael Bradley and Tim Howard don't have any reason to worry; those four players will almost certainly form the core of the team on the road to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. After that, though, the picture becomes quite a bit murkier. Here are 15 players who helped, hurt or maintained their U.S. prospects during the recently concluded Gold Cup.

Players who helped their cause:

Freddy Adu -- In just two appearances, Adu put in the best pair of performances of his national team career. His game-changing displays will surely earn him future call-ups and, given the high-profile nature of both matches, maybe a new job somewhere better than the Turkish second tier. The question, as ever: Can he keep this up?

Alejandro Bedoya -- A late addition to the roster, Bedoya showed he should have been on the 23-man squad from the start. Although he struggled against Mexico in the finale, he certainly wasn't alone. At 24, he'll get plenty more chances to prove he deserves regular national team invites. A move to a league bigger than Sweden's would speed his development, too.

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.