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Klinsmann: 'The race is on'
by Paul Kennedy, October 2nd, 2013 11:14PM

TAGS:  men's national team, world cup 2014


[USA MEN] Jurgen Klinsmann was expected to announce on Thursday his U.S. squad for the upcoming World Cup 2014 qualifiers against Jamaica in Kansas City on Oct. 11 and at Panama four days later, but injury questions have pushed back the roster release to the weekend. But even though the USA has booked its ticket to Brazil, don't expect Klinsmann to take his foot off the pedal for the final two games of the Hexagonal.

Of the players he called up for the September qualifiers, only Michael Bradley (sprained ankle) and John Brooks (dislocated elbow) are definitely out for the Jamaica and Panama. Klinsmann said as much to reporters before Tuesday's Open Cup final.

But he added that he does expect Clint Dempsey, who has missed the Seattle Sounders' last two games with a hamstring injury, will be ready to go. Of the 10 field players who started the Mexico game in Columbus, half have since missed playing time because of injuries: DaMarcus Beasley, Alejandro Bedoya, Landon Donovan and Clarence Goodson in addition to Dempsey. When you throw in Jermaine Jones with his on-again, off-again knee surgery, Eddie Johnson with his sore shoulder and Fabian Johnson with the knock on his ankle that required him to come out of Saturday's Hoffenheim game, that means eight of the 10 field starters have been carrying injuries, which explains the uncertainty about who will be in Kansas City for the camp that opens Sunday.

When you consider that Klinsmann called in 28 players for the September qualifiers -- the original 23 players, plus Michael Parkhurst, who replaced the injured Brad Evans, and Goodson, Joe Corona, Brad Davis and Jose Torres, who were called in for the Mexico game after three players were suspended for yellow-card accumulation -- he'll again have some tough decisions to make in terms of picking the 23-25 players he'll likely call up.

Evans is playing again for the Sounders and should slot back into the lineup at right back, though Klinsmann might recall Timmy Chandler, who is starting again at Nuremberg. (Klinsmann said the Sounders starting right back, Rookie of the Year candidate DeAndre Yedlin, was on his radar but he had no plans to call him up any time soon.)

The competition is fierce up front, where Klinsmann can choose from Jozy Altidore, Eddie Johnson, Dempsey and Donovan, in addition to Aron Johannsson, who has already scored 10 goals for AZ, which makes the chances of players like Herculez Gomez, who has since the September qualifiers returned to action in Mexico with his new club, Tijuana, Terrence Boyd (five goals in seven Austrian league games) or Chris Wondolowski getting call-ups slim at this point.

As Klinsmann said Tuesday night, "All you need to say is Brazil. The race is on."

  1. Walt Pericciuoli
    commented on: October 3, 2013 at 9:17 a.m.
    Would love to see how a Boyd, Johannsson pairing would work.
  1. Chris Sapien
    commented on: October 3, 2013 at 12:19 p.m.
    Walt, would be interesting, however, I am much more concerned where Klinns may go with the backline!! One could argue up top and even through midfield is 85% set, injuries not withstanding. But the backfour still has a long way to be solidified and cohesive. Glad that Evans is ready to fulfill his destiny at RB.
  1. I w Nowozeniuk
    commented on: October 3, 2013 at 9:59 p.m.
    I could care less who plays these games; can the chosen ones deliver and make things happen on the pitch.

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