CHICAGO (Nov. 11, 2010) â€” U.S. Menâ€™s National Team head coach Bob Bradley has named an 18-man roster that will travel to face South Africa on Nov. 17 in Cape Town. Coverage of the 2010 Nelson Mandela Challenge begins at 2 p.m. ET on ESPN2 and Galavision. Fans can also follow the match live via ussoccer.comâ€™s MatchTracker.
"This game is a good opportunity to look at some different players and assess their place in the pool as we continue to build for the next cycle,â€ said Bradley. â€œWith our immediate focus on the Gold Cup next summer, this game in many ways is just as much the start of 2011 as it is the end of a great year.â€
Players out of season begin arriving into Cape Town on Saturday evening, with players with matches to play scheduled to arrive Monday.
The roster includes five players from the 2010 FIFA World Cup, where the U.S. finished in first place in Group C ahead of England, Slovenia and Algeria before going out in the Round of 16. Jonathan Bornstein started in the dramatic 1-0 victory against Algeria and the game against Ghana, while striker Robbie Findley started three of four matches. Clarence Goodson, Brad Guzan and Jonathan Spector round out the World Cup contingent. Spector started all five matches in the USAâ€™s second-place finish at the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, and Guzan earned the 3-0 shutout against Egypt that put the U.S. through to the semifinal where they would defeat No. 1-ranked Spain.
The roster is evenly split with players based in MLS and abroad. On the domestic front, the Columbus Crew contributes the most players, sending a trio of midfielders to South Africa. Robbie Rogers was part of the 30-man preliminary roster for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, and also reached the final of 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup. The group includes MLS Defender of the Year finalist Nat Borchers and Rookie of the Year nominee Tim Ream.
Juan Agudelo and Gale Agbossoumonde are the first two alumni from U.S. Soccerâ€™s Development Academy to participate in a training camp with the full Menâ€™s National Team. Agudelo â€“ who signed a Homegrown Player contract with New York Red Bulls and appeared in both of their playoff matches this year â€“ made two appearances at the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Nigeria, while Agbossoumonde, originally from Togo, captained the U-20s to the championship at the 2010 Milk Cup in Ireland.Â
Ream, Mikkel Diskerud and Teal Bunbury will also be getting their first opportunity with the national team. Diskerud made two appearances for the U.S. at the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Egypt, while Bunbury, who holds dual citizenship with the United States and Canada, is entering his first camp for the U.S. at any level. Goalkeeper Dominic Cervi was in camp previously but has yet to make an appearance, meaning a total of six players on the roster will be in search of their first cap.
The teams have met twice in their history, the United States collecting victories in both encounters. The USA will be competing in its second Nelson Mandela Challenge Cup, the first appearance coming three years ago to the day. In the teamâ€™s inaugural visit to South Africa, Steve Cherundolo scored the gameâ€™s only goal and Jozy Altidore made his full team debut in the 1-0 victory. In their only other meeting, the U.S. beat South Africa 4-0 on June 3, 2000, in Washington, D.C. Cobi Jones tallied twice that day, with Earnie Stewart and Claudio Reyna rounding out the scoring as Kasey Keller earned the shutout.
The Nelson Mandela Challenge, an annual one-off event typically hosted in South Africa, began in 1994 and has seen South Africa face opponents like Brazil, Argentina, Holland, Nigeria and a host of others.
Combined with the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup - in which the United States reached its first final of a major FIFA competition after defeating No.1-ranked and current FIFA World Cup Champion Spain in the semifinal - the U.S. will play its 12th game on South African soil in three years.
U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION (Detailed Roster)
GOALKEEPERS (2): Dominic Cervi (Celtic), Brad Guzan (Aston Villa)
DEFENDERS (7): Gale Agbossoumonde (Estoril Praia), Nat Borchers (Real Salt Lake), Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA), Clarence Goodson (Brondby), Eric Lichaj (Aston Villa), Tim Ream (New York Red Bulls), Jonathan Spector (West Ham United)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Alejandro Bedoya (Ã–rebro), Brian Carroll (Columbus Crew), Mikkel Diskerud (Stabaek), Eddie Gaven (Columbus Crew), Logan Pause (Chicago Fire), Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew)
FORWARDS (3): Juan Agudelo (New York Red Bulls), Teal Bunbury (Kansas City Wizards), Robbie Findley (Real Salt Lake)