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Bradley queries Davies' fitness for WC

April 30, 2010
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- U.S. coach Bob Bradley is uncertain whether Charlie Davis will recover enough from severe injuries sustained in a car crash last fall to earn an invitation for the Americans' pre-World Cup training camp next month.

Davies resumed full training this week with his French club, Sochaux, for the first time since an Oct. 13 accident in Virginia, The crash left the 23-year-old forward with two broken bones in his right leg, a broken and dislocated left elbow, a broken nose, forehead and eye socket, a ruptured bladder and bleeding on the brain.

"I think the fact that Charlie is that far along is great, but certainly even within the framework of being back in training, let's face it, there's different levels there," Bradley said Thursday at Major League Soccer's office.

Bradley will announce his 30-man preliminary roster on May 11 and expects to call in 26-28 players for a training camp at Princeton, N.J., that opens four days later. He said only 16-18 spots likely are set.

By the time the U.S. leaves for South Africa on May 30, following exhibition games against the Czech Republic (May 25 at East Hartford, Conn.) and Turkey (May 29 at Philadelphia), he will have picked a final 23-man roster, which is due to FIFA by June 1. He can make substitutions up until 24 hours before his team's World Cup opener against England on June 12.

Bradley said his fitness coach, Pierre Barrieu, speaks with Sochaux about Davies every week. National team head athletic trainer Ivan Pierra was in Europe and will visit Davies in several days for a personal update. Bradley realizes making the World Cup has been a major motivation in Davies' rehabilitation.

AC Milan defender Oguchi Onyewu is another injury concern. He hasn't played since tearing the patellar tendon in his left knee during a World Cup qualifier against Costa Rica on Oct. 15.

AC Milan said Thursday he has been alternating training on his own and with the team but still wasn't ready to play. Even before getting hurt, Onyewu appeared in just one of 10 competitive matches for AC Milan, entering as a 60th-minute substitute in a Champions League match against Zurich on Sept. 30.

"Our expectation is that it may be hard for him at the end of the year to get back into the team there, play games, but certainly good news just in terms of regular training," Bradley said.

Bradley said Schalke midfielder Jermaine Jones, sidelined with a shin injury all season, had almost run out of time to get healthy.

"If it's not going to happen for the summer, he may need to have another surgical procedure that would then get him back in time for the start of the season next year," Bradley said. "We're at that sort of cross in the road. We'll know in the next week whether there's any hope."

Bradley also is monitoring forward Brian Ching, who still has not resumed full training after injuring his left hamstring during Houston's home opener April 1.

"Again, a guy that in the next two weeks we have to assess," the coach said.

Bradley said Glasgow Rangers midfielder DaMarcus Beasley, a veteran of the 2002 and 2006 World Cups, was "on the radar screen" for the training camp, but "there are still clearly some questions."

"DaMarcus has been tricky in this last year," Bradley added. "He had some very good games in December, got back into the team and I think did well. And since then it's been up and down, more down certainly of late."

Bradley said there could be a hidden reason for Beasley's lack of playing time.

"It may be a factor of late that his contract is up at the end of the year," he said.

Midfielder Stuart Holden, who broke his right leg in a March 3 exhibition loss at the Netherlands, is close to resuming full training. Bolton manager Owen Coyle has said Holden may not be ready by his club's Premier League finale against Birmingham on May 9.

Bradley said players will be allowed to compete in club matches on May 15-16 before reporting to training camp. He said Los Angeles forward Edson Buddle and Puebla forward Herculez Gomez have put themselves in contention with outstanding seasons.

Buddle, who has scored all seven Galaxy goals during a 4-0-1 start, was selected MLS's player of the month for April on Thursday. He made his only national team appearance as an 80th-minute substitute against Venezuela in 2003.

"The easy thing to see so far this year is that he scored some incredible goals," Bradley said. "That actually fits if you look back over Edson's career. As a young striker in the league, his talent came through based upon his ability at times to score some great goals -- a variety of goals, goals from outside the box, goals where he dribbled, goals with his head. I think that part is not new, but that's been there of late.

"And quickly I think there has been a lot of maturing that has taken place, so in less obvious ways he seems to be doing a lot of little things on the field that make a difference for his team."

Gomez, like Buddle 28, became the first American to gain a share of the Mexican scoring lead, getting 10 goals for Puebla. He made his only national team appearances under Bradley in the 2007 Copa America, two years after he combined with Landon Donovan to help the Galaxy win the MLS title.

"He came into the scene in LA and what you would say is everything he touched went into the net -- his pure ability to strike a ball was pretty obvious. And I think that that's kind of come back again a little bit at Puebla," Bradley said.

Bradley wouldn't say whether Marcus Hahnemann or Brad Guzan is his No. 2 goalkeeper behind Tim Howard, but referred to 37-year-old Hahnemann's strong second half of the season for Wolverhampton and discussed the potential of the 25-year-old Guzan.

He said Maurice Edu, in addition to midfield, could be used as a central defender, and that captain Carlos Bocanegra, Jonathan Spector, Jonathan Bornstein and Heath Pearce all were options at left back.

At the Niketown store Thursday, Bradley helped unveil the U.S. home World Cup jersey -- white with an off-white sash that echoes the jersey from the 1950 World Cup, when the Americans upset England. Each jersey is constructed from eight recycled bottles.

Bradley said that when the U.S. plays England in Rustenburg, stopping Rooney is a key.

"He's been in incredible form. He's been slowed down a little bit of late with injuries, but there's the starting point of things," Bradley said.


Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press