Yanks don't have too many PK options
Now that we’ve reached the knockouts, the potential for penalty kicks to decide a match enter play. With that in mind, who would be the first five to step up for the United States if needed?
Bob Bradley has never presided over a game that ended in penalties for the Red, White & Blue, but there are still a few clues.
The obvious first pick of the bunch is Landon Donovan, the team's regular spot kick man. Including shootouts, Donovan has made 10 of his 11 international spot kicks, and seven of those run-of-play scores came under Bradley.
Of course, he isn't likely to take the first one. Unless there's an early miss by one side, I'm thinking he'd go fourth or fifth, third at the earliest.
Interestingly, the last three players besides Donovan to bury a spot kick for the US are not on the World Cup roster: Kenny Cooper, Sacha Kljestan and Eddie Johnson.
Not since DaMarcus Beasley banged one home against China in June of 2007 has another squad member in South Africa scored a penalty kick goal—and that is the only one to the credit of the 22 guys not named Donovan in the locker room.
Beasley could well be part of the first five—that is, if he is actually on the field. A more likely second choice is Clint Dempsey, who has hit a few PKs for Fulham. He seems a more likely lead-off man than Donovan.
Yeoman midfielder Michael Bradley will almost certainly be asked to go 120 minutes if needed and has had mixed success with spot kicks for Borussia Moenchengladbach. Nevertheless, he probably makes the first five.
Defenders Carlos Bocanegra and Steve Cherundolo have successfully taken kicks in club cup competition. Each is a possibility, with the skipper perhaps a shade more likely to be among the selected quintet of shooters.
Beyond that, Jozy Altidore and Benny Feilhaber would probably be closest to making the list.
There are also a couple of good options less likely to be on the pitch at the end of 120 minutes. Robbie Findley hit on PKs twice for Real Salt Lake in last year's playoffs and Stuart Holden had spot success with Houston. Each has netted in an MLS Cup shootout victory.
Looking back, the US haven’t lost in a shootout for over a decade. Since falling to Gold Cup foe Colombia in February of 2000, the 'Nats are 2-0 in penalty kick results.