The Clean Sheet: Our team
in case McBride gets hurt, which he tends to do given his completely fearless style of play. Ching can fill the role of target forward and is in good form right now. And as I've said before, while Twellman is a great player, I don't see how he helps the team off the bench.
If you need a spark, Landon moves up from the midfield or you go for the pace of Josh Wolff or the unpredictability of Eddie Johnson. I said it months ago, I'll say it again -- Taylor Twellman is a hard-working, honest MLS stud, but I just don't see how he would help this particular U.S. World Cup squad.
Best consolation prize: While he is not in the first 23, Twellman did just land an endorsement deal with Red Bull. The drink, not the club. I guess Alecko Eskandarian wasn't available?
Best story: Benny Olsen. No one has resurrected a career like this guy since John Travolta in "Pulp Fiction." Obviously, Benny is one of The Bruce's guys, but good for him for battling back from injuries and poor form to snatch a well-deserved trip to Deutschland.
Best story, runner-up: Marcus Hahnemann. Tim Howard got all the ink, but all Marcus has done since transferring to Reading is turn into one of the best goalkeepers in all of England, single-handedly getting his team to the playoffs in the past and now helping his team to automatic promotion and a berth in the Premier League next season. A fitting pat on the back for the Mile High Club alum.
Best U.S. national team fan: The blonde chick who plays Izzy on Grey's Anatomy. Okay, I have no idea if she is a fan of the Yanks, but I am a big fan of hers. Hey now!
Biggest worry: Injuries. This team is injury-prone. We don't need to list all the names, but we all know there are plenty of guys who spend as much time at the training table as I do at the buffet table. This team's depth will be tested.
Biggest worry, runner-up: Where's the nasty? The Yanks need someone to step in and fill the role of enforcer on the field. Someone to kick an opposing No. 10, and anyone else in near proximity, for 90 minutes every game. Can Pablo fill that role?
Biggest bummer, dude: Frankie Hey!Duck! tearing his ACL and missing the World Cup. I thought Chris Albright deserved to be in the final 23 because of his versatility, but it's too bad it had to be this way.
Biggest bone-head move: Trying to pick a starting XI now. So here goes: Keller in goal; Lewis, Gooch, Pope, Cherundolo across the back; DMB, Pablo, Reyna, JOB in the middle of the park and McBride and Landon up top. Yes, I still like Landon as a withdrawn striker.
TCS PERSON OF THE WEEK:
Every week we're going to pick one person to give a little love, a little special recognition for doing something to really stand out. Could be a player, coach, broadcaster, you name it. Sometimes we may even have to venture outside of the soccer world. Feel free to email in with your nominations.
Out of the "whatever happened to ..." file, THOMAS DOOLEY has put together the American Soccer-Tennis Organization, and has an event slated for Planet LA this Sunday that will feature a plethora of well-known names from the past, including Cien, Luis Hernandez, Karlheinz Riedle and Alberto Garcia Aspe. Dooley himself is apparently gonna play as well, with other Yanks alums like Alexi Lalas, Eric Wynalda and Marcelo Balboa. Too bad Lexi and Waldo made nice on TV last weekend, or I'd pay a few shekels to watch them ping balls at each other.
HONORABLE MENTIONS: Steve Bruce took a strong club at Birmingham and ran it so far into the ground it is now relegated out of the Premier League. Karma, my man. Karma. Steve McClaren ... thoughts?
GRAB A COLD BUD (OR AQUAFINA) AND PUT YER FEET UP:
WHAT I'LL BE WATCHING:
CRYSTAL PALACE VS. WATFORD (7 a.m. ET on Setanta Sports USA): Leg one of the semifinal series to see who will be the last team promoted to the Premiership. Palace made it through the playoffs the last time they were there, two years ago. My boys have been in a bad slump as of late, so great timing for that.
REVS VS. GALAXY (4 p.m. ET on The Deuce): Los Angeles comes off a win over punch-less Real, while New Eng-er-land somehow lost at home to the lying, cheating, stealing Chicago Fire. Good time for a MLS Cup rematch.
PRISON BREAK (Monday at 8 on Fox): OK, I cheated. I already got my mitts on a copy of next week's episode, the second to the last in the season. If you watch this show, you are in for a treat, do not miss it. If you don't watch it, save up your dough for the DVD; it is one of the best new shows on telly.
Planet LA soccer fans, head out to The Home Depot Center May 21 at 6 p.m. PT for a game between U.S. and Mexico national team veterans as part of Fox Sports En Espanol's El Reto Final Nissan. Steve Sampson coaches the Yanks, Bora coaches the squad from south of the 2-0 border.
Real fans just became huge Real Madrid fans. Looks like if Real finishes in the top two in Spain and lands an automatic Champions League bid, they will come to Checkettsville to play RSL on Aug. 12. Real Madrid is currently two points out of second place.
The 2006 Hall of Fame class gets unveiled this weekend out in New Eng-er-land.
Now that May 2 has come and gone, TV dorks like me are next looking forward to the week of May 15, when the TV networks announce which shows are coming back for next year. While Hard C will lock himself in a closet for days when he finds out his beloved Reba isn't coming back, I personally am pulling for ABC to give Invasion one more shot, but it ain't looking too good.
And if one person emails in about 7th Heaven, I am going to let Queen of the Palace write my column next week.
During the season, The Clean Sheet runs each week on MLSnet.com. Views and opinions expressed in this column views and opinions are the author's, and not necessarily those of Major League Soccer or MLSnet.com. Send any questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.