[AMERICANS ABROAD]The news on the U.S. World Cup front out of Germany is not good as the Bundesliga is about to resume after its winter break. Not only is Jermaine Jones in limbo -- unwanted at Schalke 04 and with no takers yet from MLS -- but Fabian Johnson is fighting to keep his starting job at Hoffenheim, andSteve Cherundolo and John Brooks are battling injuries.
Johnson, who started just eight games -- two since September -- in the first half of the season for Hoffenheim, started in its 4-1 friendly win over Turkish club Kasimpasa last weekend, but he had to be subbed out after injuring his thigh.
Johnson, who along with Jones has been an automatic choice in Jurgen Klinsmann's U.S. lineup when healthy, has, according to German reports, attracted interest from clubs in Germany and England, though any move would likely take place after the World Cup.
Cherundolo started his first game for Hannover 96, which he captains, in its final game of the fall campaign and started two friendly games in January but was training on his own this week ahead of its game against Wolfsburg because of what was described as "persistent knee problems."
Brooks was also doing training on his own after twisting his knee in early January. The injury forced him to miss Hertha Berlin's training camp in Turkey. Brooks played well for promoted Hertha early in the 2013-14 Bundesliga campaign, but poor form -- he was told by Coach Jos Luhukay to "grow up" after being pulled from a game in December -- and injuries (first a dislocated elbow and later ongoing knee problems) slowed his progress.
The irony is that the only American playing regularly in the Bundesliga is Nuremberg's Timmy Chandler, who landed in Klinsmann's dog house and has yet to get out.
Television:Americans whose teams are in action in the English FA Cup over the weekend include Tim Howard (Everton),Geoff Cameron (Stoke City),Clint Dempsey (Fulham) andJozy Altidore(Sunderland). Click here for the FA Cup schedule on the Fox soccer channels.
MEXICO MIDWEEK. Jose Torres played 45 minutes for Tigres in its 6-1 win over Atletico San Luis in the Copa MX. DaMarcus Beasley, another World Cup hopeful, started for Puebla in its 1-0 win over Correcaminos.
Other Americans in action in the Mexican Cup on Wednesday included 2010 World Cup defender Jonathan Bornstein, starting for his new club, Atlante, in its 2-0 win over Merida in a battle of teams from the Yucatan region. Playing for second division clubs were goalscorer Paul Arriola and Alejandro Guido (Dorados), Sonny Guadarrama (Necaxa) and Daniel Cuevas (Lobos BUAP).
U.S. World Cup Contenders:
Brad Guzan, Aston Villa (England) idle
Tim Howard, Everton (England), at Stevenage (Saturday in FA Cup)
DaMarcus Beasley, Puebla (Mexico), vs. Chiapas (Sunday)
John Brooks, Hertha Berlin (Germany), at Eintracht Frankfurt (Saturday)
Geoff Cameron, Stoke City (England), at Chelsea (Sunday in FA Cup)
Edgar Castillo, Tijuana (Mexico), vs. Morelia (Friday)
Timmy Chandler, Nuremberg (Germany), vs. Hoffenheim (Saturday)
Steven Cherundolo, Hannover 96 (Germany), at Wolfsburg (Saturday)
Eric Lichaj, Nottingham Forest (England D2), vs. Preston North End (Friday in FA Cup)
Oguchi Onyewu, Sheffield Wed. (England D2), at Rochdale (Saturday in FA Cup)
Michael Orozco, Puebla (Mexico), vs. Chiapas (Sunday)
Tim Ream, Bolton Wanderers (England D2), vs. Cardiff City (Saturday in FA Cup)
Alejandro Bedoya, Nantes (France), vs. Reims (Saturday)
Joe Corona, Tijuana (Mexico), vs. Morelia (Friday)
Mikkel Diskerud, Rosenborg (Norway) in offseason
Maurice Edu, Stoke City (England), at Chelsea (Sunday in FA Cup)
Josh Gatt, Molde (Norway) in offseason
Stuart Holden, Bolton Wanderers (England D2), vs. Cardiff City (Saturday in FA Cup)
Fabian Johnson, Hoffenheim (Germany), at Nuremberg (Saturday)
Jermaine Jones, Schalke 04 (Germany), at. Hamburg (Sunday)
Sacha Kljestan, Anderlecht (Belgium), vs. Club Brugge (Sunday)
Brek Shea, Barnsley (England D2) idle
Jose Torres, Tigres (Mexico), vs. UNAM (Saturday)
Danny Williams, Reading (England D2), at Ipswich Town (Saturday)
Juan Agudelo, FC Utrecht (Netherlands), at Roda JC (Saturday)
Jozy Altidore, Sunderland (England), vs. Kidderminster Harriers (Saturday in FA Cup)
Terrence Boyd, Rapid Vienna (Austria) on winter break
Clint Dempsey, Fulham (England), at Sheffield United (Sunday in FA Cup)
Herculez Gomez, Tijuana (Mexico), vs. Morelia (Friday)
Aron Johannsson, AZ (Netherlands), at PSV (Saturday)
Bobby Wood, 1860 Munich (Germany D2) on winter break