D.C. United officials have confirmed a report by the Washington Post's Steven Goff that U.S. National Team manager Bob Bradley will be attending Saturday night's MLS match at RFK Stadium between D.C. United and the Colorado Rapids. As Goff writes, the likely implication of Bradley's visit to D.C. is that the national team's head man wants to see how United striker Charlie Davies performs in person before Bradley decides whether to select Davies to the roster for the United States' June 4 friendly against Spain and/or the CONCACAF Gold Cup, which for the U.S. begins three days later with a match against Canada at Ford Field in Detroit.
Bradley has until May 21 to finalize his roster for the Gold Cup, making Saturday his last chance to see both Davies and midfielder Dax McCarty -- the only other United player in the 57-man U.S. player pool -- in person. After Saturday, D.C. United does not play again until Sunday, May 29 at the Portland Timbers. If Davies is called up to the Gold Cup roster, he could miss as many as five league matches for United, depending on how far the United States progresses.
Davies was beginning to establish himself as a regular in the national side prior to his near-fatal car accident in October 2009, scoring four goals in 17 senior appearances. His last goal before the accident was this beauty in a World Cup qualifier against Mexico.
Since coming to D.C. United, Davies has set MLS on fire, with a league-leading six goals in eight appearances (though three of them have come on penalty kicks). However, he will face stiff competition for a place on the national team, where the pool of available strikers is deeper and more talented than it was even two years ago. In addition to Davies' former strike partner Jozy Altidore, Bradley's list of striking options includes 18-year-old Juan Agudelo of New York Red Bulls, Edson Buddle of German second-division club Ingolstadt, and Herculez Gomez of Pachuca in the Mexican first division. Bradley must also take into account that he was a very good pair of attacking midfielders in Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey, both of whom are likely shoo-ins for selection.
As for McCarty, he has made five appearances for the national team since earning his first cap in a friendly against Slovakia in November 2009.
Saturday's match against Colorado kicks off at 7:30 and can be seen on CSN in the D.C. area.