Two weeks ago, he said he had a good idea about who he'd pick for the squad that will face Honduras and Panama but would have to wait and hope "no crazy things happen in the short period of time."
Sure enough, in the three days after he named his
team, he lost two players expected to start and play key roles and almost lost a third.
First, Fabian Johnson left Borussia Moenchengladbach's Europa League game in the 16th minute on Thursday with a hamstring injury and was replaced by Graham Zusi the next day.
On Saturday, Hamburg forward Bobby Wood was the only player Arena called up who did not play the full 90 minutes, exiting HSV's 0-0 tie at Eintracht Frankfurt with what turned out to be a back injury.
On Sunday, U.S. Soccer announced that Sacha Kljestan was called in to replace Wood, who has scored nine goals in his first season in the Bundesliga.
Arena also called up Matt Besler for defensive reinforcements. That move followed concerns by Hertha Berlin about a minor knee injury suffered by defender John Brooks in the 4-2 loss to FC Cologne. The German did clear him to travel to San Jose, though.
The moves brought to seven the changes since Arena announced his squad on Wednesday. The next day, David Bingham replaced Brad Guzan (whose wife is expecting a baby) in goal.
The absences of Johnson,
Wood and Guzan bring to five the number of starters against Costa Rica in Jurgen Klinsmann's last game who won't be available against Honduras. Jermaine Jones and
Timmy Chandler (who will remain in Germany) are suspended.
Injuries are part and parcel with a national team coach's selection process. Klinsmann would wait until the last minute to reveal his picks. In 2013, for the same March Hexagonal matches, he even had to push back the Monday announcement of his squad because of a rash of injuries. He lost eight players -- five of them defenders -- with injuries or illness.
Klinsmann improvised, starting DaMarcus Beasley at left back, and the USA, which also went into March without a point, survived with a 1-0 win over Costa Rica in heavy snow and then a 0-0 tie against Mexico at Azteca Stadium, putting it on a path to qualify for the 2014 World Cup.
All 23 players who Arena called up and whose teams were in action on Friday and Saturday started. That includes Jorge Villafana, who played his first Liga MX game in almost six months, starting for Santos in its 1-1 tie at Tijuana.
Jozy Altidore had a goal and an assist in Toronto FC's 2-0 win at Vancouver, while John Brooks scored his first goal of the season for Hertha Berlin in a 4-2 loss
at FC Cologne.
4 goals (Altidore, Brooks, Dempsey, Morris)
2 assists (Altidore, Zusi)
1 own goal (Bingham)
4 yellow cards (Bradley, Cameron, Nagbe, Zusi)
Jozy Altidore, MLS/Toronto FC, 90 minutes, 1 goal, 1 assist, 2-0 at Vancouver Whitecaps
Clint Dempsey, MLS/Seattle Sounders, 89 minutes, 1 goal, 3-1 vs. New York Red Bulls
Jordan Morris, MLS/Seattle Sounders, 81 minutes, 1 goal, 3-1 vs. New York Red Bulls
*Bobby Wood, Germany/Hamburg, 89 minutes, 0-0 at Eintracht Frankfurt
Kellyn Acosta, MLS/FC Dallas, 90 minutes, 2-1 vs. New England Revolution
Alejandro Bedoya, MLS/Philadelphia Union, 90 minutes, 1-2 at Orlando City
Michael Bradley, MLS/Toronto FC, 90 minutes, 1 yellow card, 2-0 at Vancouver Whitecaps
Jermaine Jones, MLS/LA Galaxy, 90 minutes, 2-1 at Real Salt Lake
**Sacha Kljestan, MLS/New York Red Bulls, 90 minutes, 1-3 at Seattle Sounders
Sebastian Lletget, MLS/LA Galaxy, 90 minutes, 2-1 at Real Salt Lake
Dax McCarty, MLS/Chicago Fire, 90 minutes, 0-4 at Atlanta United
Darlington Nagbe, MLS/Portland Timbers, 90 minutes, 1 yellow card, 4-2 vs. Houston Dynamo
Christian Pulisic, Germany/Borussia Dortmund, 76 minutes, 1-0 vs. FC Ingolstadt
DaMarcus Beasley, MLS/Houston Dynamo, 90 minutes 2-4 at Portland Timbers
**Matt Besler, MLS/Sporting KC, 2-1 vs. San Jose Earthquakes
John Brooks, Germany/Hertha Berlin, 90 minutes, 1 goal, 2-4 at FC Cologne
Geoff Cameron, England/Stoke City, 90 minutes, 1 yellow card, 1-2 vs. Chelsea
Omar Gonzalez, Mexico/Pachuca, 90 minutes, 0-3 at Queretaro
Michael Orozco, Mexico/Tijuana, 90 minutes, 1-1 vs. Santos
Tim Ream, England/Fulham, 90 minutes, 1-3 vs. Wolves
Jorge Villafana, Mexico/Santos, 90 minutes, 1-1 at Tijuana
Walker Zimmerman, MLS/FC Dallas, 90 minutes, 2-1 vs. New England Revolution
**Graham Zusi, MLS/Sporting KC, 90 minutes, 1 assist, 1 yellow card, 2-1 vs. San Jose Earthquakes
**David Bingham, MLS/San Jose Earthquakes, 90 minutes, 1 own goal, 1-2 at Sporting KC
Tim Howard, MLS/Colorado Rapids, 90 minutes, 2-2 vs. Minnesota United
Nick Rimando, MLS/Real Salt Lake, 90 minutes, 1-2 vs. LA Galaxy
*Injured and dropped from squad.