[WORLD CUP COUNTDOWN]As Coach Bob Bradley prepared the USA for Wednesday's game against the Netherlands in Amsterdam (TV: ESPN2 and Galavision, live, 2:30 p.m. ET), the attention has been almost as much on the Americans who aren't available as on those who will suit up against the Oranje.
Three of the absentees have been with the national team in Amsterdam.Steve Cherundolo, cleared by his German club, Hannover, trained with his U.S. teammates at the Sportpark Riekerhaven. Oguchi Onyewu, who has yet to resume full training at Milan, joined the team. Even German-American Jermaine Jones, who has yet to play for the USA because of a shin injury, made a cameo appearance at the team hotel, his first chance to meet his potential teammates.
Cherundolo, who has been sidelined with a broken bone in his shoulder for a month, won't play against the Oranje but should be available for struggling Hannover's next game against Freiburg. He says his injury suffered in training at Hannover could have been worse and he considers himself lucky.
Onyewu took part in training with the USA at its camp at the Home Depot Center before its last friendly against El Salvador but has since returned to AC Milan, which will monitor his progress.
Little by little, the U.S. national team infirmary is thinning out. Besides Cherundolo and Onyewu, four national team regulars will miss Wednesday's game against the Netherlands because of injuries but are at various junctures on the road to recovery.
After first being feared out of the World Cup following a knee injury suffered in mid-January, Clint Dempsey has resumed training at Fulham and is optimistic that he'll be able to play again by mid-March -- a layoff of only two months.
Ricardo Clark's lack of fitness after being off for two months set him back when he arrived at Eintracht Frankfurt in January, but a calf strain set him back even more. He finally appeared on the Eintracht substitutes' bench for the first time on Saturday at Stuttgart.
The most recent American to be injured was Benny Feilhaber, who hurt his ankle training with Danish club AGF Aarhus. It resumes league play against FC Copenhagen on Sunday and Feilhaber is no expected to play. No date for his return has been set.
Charlie Davies returned to France four months after being seriously injured in a car accident that took the life of another person. Bradley said Davies' positive attitude and determination give him hope that the striker will return.