U.S. national team coach Bob Bradley stirred the melting pot yesterday when he announced his 23-man roster to compete June 4 against Spain (4:30 p.m., ESPN) and in the CONCACAF Gold Cup beginning June 7.
For starters, Bradley's squad features a host of players who compete domestically in Major League Soccer and abroad with various European and South American clubs.
But the biggest shocker was the return of midfielder Freddy Adu to the full men's team after a nearly 3-year hiatus. Adu has 15 international caps but his last was against Barbados on June 22, 2008 in preliminary qualifying for last summer's FIFA World Cup. Adu, on loan to Turkish club Rizespor from Portugal's Benfica, has "matured a great deal," according to Bradley.
"This seems like a good opportunity to get him back in with the team as he continues to grow and mature," Bradley told reporters yesterday via conference call. "It's an opportunity that has been earned. We felt it was a good time to bring him back in and challenge him."
The United States, in Group C along with Canada, Panama and Guadeloupe, will open the Gold Cup against the Canadians at Ford Field in Detroit.
Landon Donovan is one of six MLS players who made a roster featuring 14 players who have played in a Gold Cup match, 11 who were part of a U.S. Gold Cup championship team in and 10 who were a part of the surprising, 2-0 victory over world champion Spain in the semifinals of the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup.
Guatemala tabs Ruiz
As expected, Union forward Carlos Ruiz has been selected to compete for his native Guatemala in the Gold Cup.
Guatemala opens play in Group B against Honduras June 6 at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. That is a place Ruiz knows well - he was a member of MLS' Los Angeles Galaxy for seven seasons.
Ruiz will depart for training camp following Saturday's match against Toronto. He is one of a few Union players who could miss time this summer. It's projected that Colombians Carlos Valdes, Faryd Mondragon and Roger Torres could be called up for July's Copa America in Argentina.
In other Union news, the club announced its season-ticket sale has been extended through May 31 and that a presale for season ticketholders for the July 23 exhibition at the Linc against Real Madrid starts today, beginning at 10 a.m., and runs through May 31.