Reading the tea leaves in USMNT camp- No Holden, No Clark? No Ching? [UPDATED]

Not Going to South Africa?

Bob Bradley released the 30-man roster for the annual USMNT camp in January. This camp is made up exclusively of MLS and Scandinavian based players that are both in off-season. There are some surprising and welcome additions that have been pointed out here and here. But I think the roster is more interesting for who isn’t on it than for who is. Three MLS based players and USMNT regulars have not been called up: Stuart Holden, Ricardo Clark, and Brian Ching.

Does the absence of Holden and Clark confirm their departures to Europe? It doesn’t definitively, since they could be called in if a move to Europe fell through, but its another piece of evidence that both players are gone. This isn’t really a shocking omission, since we know both these players will probably go to Europe in January. But it does throw some cold water on the likely phony uncertainty of what Stuart Holden will do.

Has Ching been dropped?
Ching’s exclusion is perhaps the bigger piece of news, since he is an MLS based player and doesn’t seem to be suffering from any injuries. I think this makes it increasingly clear that he is not making the trip to South Africa.

Ching is 31 years old and despite all the claims about his “hold up play” failed to contribute much at all during qualifying and was gradually replaced by Altidore and Conor Casey. Despite Bradley calling on Ching repeatedly – much to my chagrin – as I wrote in October, when I first noticed the disappearing Brian Ching: “throughout this cycle, Bradley has also been keen on including a healthy mix of veterans as he brings on younger players. But as younger players have emerged he has gradually pushed veterans aside.”

UPDATE: Jason Davis of MatchFit has a great catch. Ching apparently did have relatively minor knee surgery on a meniscus tear in November. A brief check at the Orthopedic center tells me that this is usually a pretty minor surgery that should prevent strenuous exercise for about a month. Considering his surgery was Nov. 18th this would make his involvement in the Jan camp a bit tight and makes his exclusion more explicable.

However, his exclusion still strikes me as odd. This is a minor surgery where you leave the hospital day of. One would think Ching would want to be called in to camp to at least begin training again, something he should be healthy for. If he wasn’t healthy by January he would just be dropped from the camp. No loss either way. While Jason makes a good point that this camp and the games they will play are relatively minor, the fact is that this is a world cup year – everything matters right now. Furthermore, the fact is this camp is about getting out of shape players back into shape – something Ching would probably want to participate in. There is no pressure to come into this camp in form. Also can I just note the fact that a USMNT striker gets his knee scoped but almost no one writes about it strikes me as either evidence that this is a really minor procedure or just further proof that Ching has fallen off the radar.

In short, while the case that Ching won’t be going to South Africa is less open and shut and Jason is right to be sceptical, I still think there is enough evidence (ie him being dropped late in qualifying) to speculate that Ching’s going to miss the flight to Jo-berg. But maybe I am just seeing what I want/hope to see.


3 Responses

  1. I’m fairly certain that Ching had knee surgery about a month ago. Not sure it would preclude him from participating, but it could be a factor.

    • Hmm. That definitely would makes sense but Ching doesn’t mention it on his twitter feed ( or on his personal webpage. I also found no story on it on google news. Ching is in Hawaii now and talking about the surf, not sure if he is surfing, but if so he couldn’t do that on a bum knee.

  2. […] Ching: My view on Ching is clear. The guy isn’t dangerous, he is slow as dirt, and his vaunted hold up play in my eyes is vastly […]

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