We all know the story with a little less than 70 days to go before the U.S. faces England in their first match of the 2010 World Cup. Jozy Altidore is the known commodity up front for the Americans with many options after that still up in the air. Charlie Davies would be everyones first choice but the young striker being at full fitness and form after recovery from his horific car crash last fall is wishful thinking. At this point, the other options seem to lie with a bunch of unproven MLS players. Ultimately, Bob Bradley may have to turn to moving one of his star midfielders, Clint Dempsey or Landon Donovan, up top to create the attack that the U.S. will need to score. This very well may be the best option for the U.S. come this summer. That being said, Bradley will still need to have other strikers on the pitch.
The options are well documented: Colorado Rapids F Conor Casey, Houston Dynamo's Brian Ching, and RSL's Robbie Findley. All have National Team experience, yet none have really seperated themselves from a cluster of mediocrity. Brian Ching's chances took a hit Thursday when he pulled up lame with an injured hamstring and Robbie Findley wasn't inserted into the match until the 60th minute. To me, Conor Casey has the edge at this point. I've never been quite impressed with Casey so it leaves me wanting more options.
This leads me to the question: Why not Edson Buddle?
Most of you probably saw or heard that Buddle scored two goals in the Galaxy's victory in the SuperClasico over Chivas USA. That makes three goals in the young MLS season. I watched this game and, yes, I realize that Buddle was set up perfectly on both goals and I probably could have scored on them. Even so, this is a guy who has been a goal scoring machine when he's been healthy. Last season was apparently injury plagued leading to only five goals scored, but two seasons ago, in 26 games, Buddle scored fifteen goals.
I don't know a whole lot about Buddle besides what I see on his profile on ESPNSoccernet. 28 years of age, bouncing between a few MLS clubs and a label of, "dangerous forward when healthy". I realize that this isn't a long-term option by any means but in a World Cup year, with a depleted roster of Forwards, shouldn't all options be explored? Futhermore, this is a player who already has a chemistry with one of the U.S's biggest playmakers in Galaxy teammate, Landon Donovan.
So I'd be interested to hear from all of you guys. Is it injuries that have kept Buddle off Bradley's radar? His yellow-card on Thursday was pretty dumb, is it attitude? Or is he simply not at the level to play for the National Team?
This is really my first season to follow the MLS so I'd label myself pretty green on this, but I've seen the 3 MLS forward options in action for the National Team and I've left thoroughly unimpressed, I think it's time to explore other options, with less than 70 days until South Africa, is it already too late?