Bradley willing to consider Beasley, Edu
U.S. coach Bob Bradley sounds willing to consider midfielders DaMarcus Beasley and Maurice Edu for his World Cup roster.
The U.S. will be missing many of its regulars for its 2010 opener, an exhibition against Honduras on Saturday night, and for a Feb. 24 match against El Salvador on Feb. 24 in Tampa, Fla.
Far more significant is a March 3 game against the Netherlands in Amsterdam, the last game before Bradley selects his 23-man World Cup roster.
Beasley, a veteran of the past two World Cups, hasn't played for the national team since a poor performance against Brazil at last June's Confederations Cup. Last month he scored his first two goals for Glasgow Rangers since April 2008, then strained a thigh muscle.
"It was nice to see DaMarcus after a period when he wasn't seeing much playing time at Rangers work his way back into the fold," Bradley said Thursday. "Obviously, he's had a little setback with this injury but, hopefully, that's not going to be a big one."
Edu, Beasley's Rangers teammate, returned to first-team action Dec. 27 for the first time since injuring a knee ligament on May 24.
"It's great that he's back," Bradley said. "That's a good example I think of a guy that we've got to look at closely to see exactly where he is in the next few months."
While the Honduras match is a vehicle for players from Major League Soccer and Scandinavian clubs, the March 3 game will be played on an international fixture date and should draw from virtually the entire player pool.
"It's the one opportunity we have for the group as a whole to be together before May, and so I think that time, just to set the tone for May is important. I think in certain cases there will be some players that now you're still a little bit unsure of," Bradley said. "The more guys that you have that are now healthy, playing, certainly that may mean that it's a little tougher in some cases for decisions, but those are good problems to have."
While Beasley and Edu could be called in for the Netherlands match, the U.S. will be without midfielder Clint Dempsey, who injured his right knee Sunday playing for England's Fulham. After fearing initially that he might have torn the posterior cruciate ligament and needed surgery, the Cottagers said Tuesday that damage was moderate and that he should return before the end of the Premier League season in May.
Still, Bradley doesn't know exactly when Dempsey will be able to play.
"I don't think anybody wants to give a time frame at this point," he said. "I'm not the doctor. I'm not the trainer."
Bradley also won't have Oguchi Onyewu back by the Dutch game. The AC Milan defender is recovering from knee surgery in October.
"I think one of the hopes is that he'd be ready to get back into regular training in March," the coach said. That means the earliest Onyewu could play in matches would be in April.