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23 Tickets to Germany

By Todd McClamroch in News on May 2, 2006 3:15PM

05_02_06_usa.jpgUnited States National Soccer Team Manager Bruce Arena plans to announce the 23 player roster for the 2006 FIFA World Cup tonight at 5pm on ESPN's Sportscenter. Arena is announcing the squad 13 days before the official roster submission date, when the rosters for all 32 teams will be finalized.

We feel there are 13 players who can rest easy today as their place on the roster is a sure thing (denoted in italics below). But there are likely another 20 players who are feeling queasy this morning, sitting on the bubble waiting to learn their fate. Whatever the roster is the United States will have its hands full in a difficult division that pits them against the Czech Republic, Italy and Ghana. Here is Chicagoist's best guess at the final roster:

Goalkeepers (3):
Kasey Keller, Marcus Hahnemann, Tim Howard

Defense (7):
Carlos Bocanegra, Steve Cherundolo, Cory Gibbs, Frankie Hejduk, Eddie Lewis, Oguchi Onyewu, Eddie Pope

Midfielders (9):
DeMarcus Beasley, Bobby Convey, Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan, Chris Klein, Pablo Mastroeni, John O'Brien, Ben Olsen, Claudio Reyna

Eddie Johnson, Brian McBride, Taylor Twellman, Josh Wolff

Arlington Heights native Brian McBride, who plays for Fulham in the English Premier League, is one of the players who can relax today as he is safely on the squad. Chicago Fire Captain Chris Armas will likely not be included in the roster as he has just recently began playing again after lengthy rehab to his knee. The Fire will benefit by having their stars in Chicago during the World Cup while many teams like the New England Revolution and the Kansas City Wizards will see several players out of commission for over a month due to the competition.

The United States has three games scheduled to allow Arena to figure out the best roster configurations and for the team to gel. On May 23rd the Nats play Morocco in Nasvhille then head to Cleveland to take on Venezuela on May 26th before finishing the Send Off Series in East Hartford against Latvia on May 28th. All three games will be available on ESPN2.

Image via photosjeff.