DCU and the USMNT: The Trial Phase
Now that the USMNT is heading to Germany, everyone excpects Bruce Arena to start calling in other players on a trial basis for National Team duty before settling on a line-up to take to the finals. You have to figure there are about three distinct stages left in the USMNT selection process:
1) The remaining qualifying games.
2) Any 2005-2006 friendlies (which there will probably be a significant number of)
3) The Germany squad.
The remaining qualifying games are not meaningless, as they could affect the potential seed of the US (discussed over at Climbing the Ladder). The friendlies will probably be used to settle on a starting lineup and generate chemistry.
Accordingly, barring injury, here's a list of current and former DCU players that might get national exposure, and the odds of showing up in each phase:
1) Bobby Convey, M
Bobby was probably 50-50 to make the Germany team coming into this qualifying round, and his performance during the hexagonal has bolstered his case for being on the final squad. His speed and ability to elude marking have never been in question, but he has now shown better skills on service and his time in Reading have started to answer the questions about his finishing.
Odds of appearing in Qualifying? Already In.
Odds of appearing in Friendlies? 20:19
Odds of appearing in Germany? 5:4
2) Eddie Pope, D
We love Eddie, but his best days are behind him. I'd like to see him get one more cap as a thank you for years of service to the USMNT, a chance for the fans to give him an ovation. But I don't think he should go to Germany.
Qualifying odds? 6:1
Friendly odds? 2:1
Germany odds? 10:1
3) Santino Quaranta, F/M
His call-up to the Gold Cup surprised many, including me. But his game, while perhaps not stellar, has been solid, and Arena has apparently been pleased with what he's seen in camp. He is the best hope of a current DC player to make it to Germany.
Qualifying Odds? Already In, probably a starter soon.
Friends Odds? 3:2
Germany Odds? 2:1
4) Freddy Adu, F/M
He appears in a Nike spot in a blue uniform, and questions abound. Do they know something we don't? No. Are they just using him as a recognizable face for US Soccer? Yup. Does he have a shot? Slim.
Qualifying Odds? 40:1
Friendly Odds? 20:1
Germany Odds? 50:1
5) Bobby Boswell, D
The defender has a legion of supporters that think he could step up to the International Stage, but questions about how he handles speed and a killer stat (3 Own Goals) argue against him at this point. Still, the defensive line is probably the place where a breakthrough could take place.
Qualifying Odds? 40:1
Friendly Odds? 30:1
Germany Odds? 75:1