BRISTOL, May 26 – US coach Bob Bradley named his final 23-man World Cup squad on Wednesday with forwards Edson Buddle and Herculez Gomez among the 15 players earning their first World Cup berths.Eight of those selected have been to a World Cup — with two not actually playing, including key midfielder Landon Donovan. Like Donovan, DaMarcus Beasley and Steve Cherundolo will be playing in the World Cup for a third time.
Beasley’s selection completes his comeback from the international wilderness after a nine-month exile from the US team that only ended in March.
"DaMarcus obviously had fallen out of it a bit and he needed to make a renewed commitment to the team and doing things as a player that makes his team better," Bradley said of he 28-year-old who endured a difficult season with Rangers in Scotland. "And we’ve seen that."
Buddle and Gomez had been somewhat surprising picks for Bradley’s 30-man preliminary squad, and both made the cut thanks to strong recent club form.
Buddle of Los Angeles Galaxy, is having a strong Major League Soccer season, while Gomez became the first American to top a foreign league in scoring with 10 goals for Puebla in Mexico.
"Both have been in great form, scored a lot of goals this year," Bradley said. "As we move into the World Cup, players who are on a roll come in handy.
"When you make tough decisions you try to factor in everything," he added. "You take into account where they are in their season and certainly to this point Edson is one of the best players in MLS. That type of form needed to really count."
Gomez may have sealed his selection on Tuesday night, when he scored one of America’s goals in a 4-2 friendly loss to Czech Republic in East Hartford, Connecticut.
Tuesday’s match marked AC Milan defender Oguchi Onyewu’s first since a ruptured patellar tendon in his left knee required surgery last October, and "Gooch" showed Bradley enough to make the final cut.
Seventeen of those selected are based in Europe, four in America’s Major League Soccer and two in Mexico.
Of the European-based players, eight play in England, three in Germany, two in Scotland, and one each in Denmark, France, Italy and Norway.
The players from the 30-man squad who didn’t make the final cut were defenders Chad Marshall and Heath Pearce, midfielders Alejandro Bedoya, Sacha Kljestan and Robbie Rogers and and forwards Brian Ching and Eddie Johnson.
"It’s important in any team building process to get to the final 23, and clearly there were some tough decisions to make," Bradley said. "We are confident that this is a group of players that will work together and be committed to doing whatever it takes to be successful."
The entire squad is to visit President Barack Obama at the White House on Thursday, prior to hosting Turkey in a friendly in Philadelphia on Saturday.
That will be their last match before departing for South Africa on Sunday. Once there they will play one more friendly, against Australia on June 5 – one week before they take on England in a World Cup opener that is a rematch of America’s famous upset of the English in the 1950 World Cup.
Goalkeepers: Brad Guzan (Aston Villa/ENG), Marcus Hahnemann (Wolverhampton/ENG), Tim Howard (Everton/ENG)
Defenders: Carlos Bocanegra (Rennes/FRA), Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA), Steve Cherundolo (Hanover/GER), Jay DeMerit (Watford/ENG), Clarence Goodson (IK Start/NOR), Oguchi Onyewu (AC Milan/ITA), Jonathan Spector (West Ham/ENG)
Midfielders: DaMarcus Beasley (Rangers/SCO), Michael Bradley (Borussia Moenchengladbach/GER), Ricardo Clark (Eintracht Frankfurt/GER), Clint Dempsey (Fulham/ENG), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles), Maurice Edu (Rangers/SCO), Benny Feilhaber (Aarhus/DEN), Stuart Holden (Bolton/ENG), Jose Torres (Pachuca/MEX)
Forwards: Jozy Altidore (Hull/ENG), Edson Buddle (Los Angeles), Robbie Findley (Salt Lake), Herculez Gomez (Puebla/MEX)
Coach: Bob Bradley