[AMERICANS ABROAD] U.S. national team coach Jurgen Klinsmannhas been counting on using the March 5 friendly at Ukraine to get one last look at his European-based players before World Cup selections must be made.
But with just two weeks to go before he'll have to name his team for the game at Metalist Stadium in Kharkiv, you can count on one hand serious World Cup candidates who are playing in Europe.
Games to Watch:
Saturday:Sunderland (Jozy Altidore) vs. Southampton (FA Cup), 7:30 am ET, Fox Sports 2
Sunday:Everton (Tim Howard) vs. Swansea City (FA Cup), 8 am ET, Fox Sports 1
To complicate matters, three of those players -- Brad Guzan, Geoff Cameronand Clint Dempsey -- are off this weekend because their clubs have been eliminated from the FA Cup.
Only two likely U.S. World Cup players -- Everton's Tim Howard and Sunderland's Jozy Altidore -- are healthy and in European action this weekend, but there is no certainty that either will start for their clubs in their FA Cup matches.
Howard has given way to backup keeper Joel Robles for Everton's first two FA Cup matches, while Altidore played six games for Sunderland in 21 days before the Black Cats' match at Manchester City was washed out on Wednesday, so he could be rested with a March 2 date in the League Cup final coming up.
Solid World Cup candidates battling or coming back from injuries include Fabian Johnson (broken hand), Jermaine Jones (groin) Alejandro Bedoya (hamstring) and Aron Johannsson (groin).
Then there is the case of Sacha Kljestan, who has been stuck on the bench at Anderlecht, having played one league match in the last two months.
U.S. World Cup Contenders:
Tim Howard, Everton (England), vs. Swansea City (FA Cup)
Brad Guzan, Aston Villa (England)
Edgar Castillo, Tijuana (Mexico), at Santos
Steven Cherundolo, Hannover 96 (Germany), at Mainz
DaMarcus Beasley, Puebla (Mexico), at Cruz Azul
Michael Orozco, Puebla (Mexico), at Cruz Azul
Tim Ream, Bolton Wanderers (England D2), at Millwall
John Brooks, Hertha Berlin (Germany), vs. Wolfsburg
Timmy Chandler, Nuremberg (Germany), at Augsburg
Eric Lichaj, Nottingham Forest (England), at Sheffield United (FA Cup)
Oguchi Onyewu, Sheffield Wed. (England D2), vs. Charlton Athletic (FA Cup)
Geoff Cameron, Stoke City (England)
Joe Corona, Tijuana (Mexico), at Santos
Alejandro Bedoya, Nantes (France), at Nice
Stuart Holden, Bolton Wanderers (England D2), at Millwall
Fabian Johnson, Hoffenheim (Germany), vs. VfB Stuttgart
Brek Shea, Barnsley (England D2), at Doncaster Rovers
Jose Torres, Tigres (Mexico), at Chiapas
Danny Williams, Reading (England D2), at Queens Park Rangers
Jermaine Jones, Besiktas (Turkey), vs. Bursaspor
Sacha Kljestan, Anderlecht (Belgium), vs. Bergen Mons
Mikkel Diskerud, Rosenborg (Norway)
Josh Gatt, Molde (Norway)
Herculez Gomez, Tijuana (Mexico), at Santos
Juan Agudelo, FC Utrecht (Netherlands), at AZ
Aron Johannsson, AZ (Netherlands), vs. FC Utrecht
Jozy Altidore, Sunderland (England), vs. Southampton (FA Cup)
Terrence Boyd, Rapid Vienna (Austria), at Admira
Bobby Wood, 1860 Munich (Germany D2)
Clint Dempsey, Fulham (England)